What makes a good science lesson?

Science is a very fun and active subject for children because it enables them to develop investigation skills: when they record, measure, collect and analyse data they are enhancing skills they will use in everyday life. This is important because it allows children to understand how the world around them works. Why do plants need sunshine for growth? How do batteries convert chemical energy to electrical energy? This is a subject where children learn by ‘doing’, rather than ‘seeing’. By allowing them to engage in outdoor learning is the most efficient way to make sure they are receiving best opportunities outwith their classroom.

As a teacher it is important to be passionate about the subject as this will really reflect upon the children. In order to do this, I will need to make sure I am fully involved in the lesson but more importantly, active engagement from the children is essential because they are the ones learning. Rote learning will not help children use their knowledge in practice as they are only memorising the information whereas conceptual learning allows children to link what they have learnt to everyday life processes. This will further allow children to ask questions if they are unsure of anything which will then enable them to remember this question and answer.

Another important way to deliver a good science lesson is by creating opportunities for team work. It allows children to challenge their thoughts and work together to come to a conclusion, but also explore why others may think differently. If they are carrying out an investigation or building a moving object, every pupil will have different expertise therefore by allowing them to work together they are able to share responsibilities amongst one another.


The only way to learn the maths, is to do the maths.

I have struggled with Maths from a very young age. I can remember the anxiety I used to have when the teacher used to say the word ‘Maths’. I never really understood why I disliked the subject so much, but through Tara’s workshops, I believe I may have an idea how it started.

I remember in the upper stages of primary school, the class were doing a lesson on converting mg, kg and mm and I recall a teacher working with me. I found it so difficult. The teacher would explain it but when she asked me, I could not give her an answer. I could sense the anger through the tone of her voice. This is one key incident I believe has put me off maths: the pressure of time.

This anxiety followed me to high school. I had received disheartening remarks from my close ones because I could not do mental maths, and this is one aspect I have always struggled with. I find it difficult to calculate sums in my head and prefer to write it down. I just need a little time to problem solve. There is no rush. But I felt left out because everybody around me could do it so quickly. However, in school there is no time because the teacher needs to move onto the next topic. This is a gap in my education that has been left open , and something I will struggle with but by no means does that suggest I cannot teach maths.

National 5 maths was essential for me to get into University and therefore my anxiety only increased. I went from a C to an A and there are no regrets. I was over the moon when I received my results because I was certain I had only ‘just’ passed again. I realised that I was able to do it all the way along, but I just needed that extra ‘time’.

Tara’s workshops really boosted my confidence. She conveyed some powerful messages. We place so much emphasis on ‘illiteracy’ but what about innumeracy? Technology has become so advanced that we have become lazy and use our mobile phones and calculators for simple calculations. Children are finding it difficult to read time on clocks because they are exposed to it ‘digitally’. I have struggled with Maths and I still do, but it is something I am working on. This will help me because I would want no child to go through what I had went through. If any child requires support, I will assist them individually so that they are fully polished before moving onto the next level. This weakness has in fact become my biggest strength, and a lot of that is due to these workshops. My next steps involve doing the NOMA multiple times until I am confident in it, but also visiting the school textbooks so that I understand it before I base any lesson upon it. Confidence is key in teaching, and I am not going to let my challenging experience affect the children’s experience. Curriculum for Excellence places great emphasis on everyday maths. The 8 outcomes for Numeracy within CfE include: Estimating and Rounding, Number and Number Processing, Fractions, Decimals and Percentages, Money, Time, Measurements, Data and Analysis and Ideas of chance and uncertainty. My next steps will now  be to build upon my reading to develop my knowledge of these outcomes so I am able to plan lessons suitable for the different levels the children may be at.

Reflection- moving forward from semester 1.

On 18th January, we had an input on ‘reflection in professional practice’ to ensure we were all prepared to reflect upon our lesson plans and the outcomes they may have. As a teacher I believe this is important because if I make a mistake, I need to understand why the lesson did not go to plan. Was it because it was not age appropriate? What activities could I implement in the future to make sure the children stay on track? Or was it due to the children not understanding my instructions? How could I be more clear next time? These questions allow me to question my teaching style to ensure the children are getting the best education they possibly can. This lecture was extremely beneficial, especially the range of examples that were given including both weak and detailed examples. This allowed me to visually see and understand the level of depth I need to give. I may prepare a task that I think I have planned well according to the children’s interests and learning levels however on the particular day, the children may not be focused or not behaving the way I wish them to so therefore I must be prepared to make changes to my next lesson to ensure this does not occur again. I understand I will have days where this will occur however it is how I deal with this and how I change this for the future. For this to happen, I must plan my lessons in advance however, it is how I react that matters and having a back up plan will also be very beneficial.

During semester 1, one key moment of reflection were the assignments. We were given input of what was expected of us and how we did this was up to ourselves. Everyday is a learning curve and although I was a little disappointed by my marks, it is fair to say I will only learn from this. The feedback was beneficial. It was my first core module assignment and therefore I implemented the skills I had built and developed in college so the standards are very clear to me now. On reflection, I know that in future I must back up any point I make with relevant evidence. I cannot state facts, rather question why. This was also discussed with my Adviser of Studies who re-enforced the importance of structure and dedicating the right amount of time and words to the different sections within the success criterion. I have made mistakes but is how I use the feedback to rectify these for future assignments that matters.

Why dance?

At the beginning of semester 2, I had my first dance workshop. The idea of this was quite daunting as I had not participated in this subject since primary school. However, it really gave me an insight into the different activities I could involve children in without making it complicated. We worked in pairs and groups where we thought of steps and moves, discussed this and then implemented this into a routine. This process was very effective, as we were able to negotiate with our peers before we concluded which one we liked the best.

I enjoy dance as a hobby. Through the use of technology, I am able to watch videos or solo dancers and groups where I can try to adapt the dance routine that they do to suit me. I feel as if this really helps not only myself, but in school it helps children make choices for themselves. What aspect of the routine do they enjoy? How could they challenge this? Can they put this into practice by working in groups? It helps not only their physical health and well being, but also the mental and social aspects of this curriculum.

One of the outcomes is:

Developing the skills and attributes which I will need for learning, life and work. I am gaining understanding of the relevance of my current learning to future opportunities. This is helping me to make informed choices about my life and learning.
HWB 3-19a

When the children are physically moving, they are developing their control and balance. They are making decisions mentally whether or not their movements are safe or not. This is used in everyday life and work as they will need to think about the health and safety aspect within what they do. They need to be assertive and conscious of others thus developing their social skills. Working with others allows different ideas to bounce off further developing their team working skills. I realised that when I cover this aspect of the curriculum, it has to be child centred and child led rather than me telling them what to do just as in the workshop, we were given instructions but how we implemented this was entirely up to us. As every group shared their routine, I observed and came to a realisation that not one group was the same. Why? Because dance is so broad. It is a subject where there is no right or wrong, rather only areas of development. Children are social beings who like movements therefore I believe through dance, they are able to put their creativity into use.


Society expectations do not define your identity.

This week, we discussed a very important topic in our ‘values’ lecture. RacismWe looked deeper in to the sociological aspect of patriarchy. From a very young age, society has socialised children into gender roles. Girls should be pretty. Boys should be strong. This plays a vital role in the way the children are nurtured as they believe that this is the only way they can behave and when they go against this, they are ridiculed and bullied.

It is amazing to see how far we have come in terms of diversity and equality: Women’s rights, same sex marriages and The Equality Act are all evidence of going against the norm and having the majority say. I think it is commendable that these rights have been fought for and now recognised.

Social media plays a crucial part in influencing our thoughts. With the media sensationalising the news, we absorb the information to think it is true. We discussed Islamophobia and looked at a headline where there was an image of a muslim news reporter with a headline that had no relation to the article itself. This is important as a future teacher, where I will need to make sure children are respectful of each other’s faith and backgrounds despite their differences.

This lecture taught me to be open minded. As a diverse culture, we need to be accepting to children’s beliefs. If a girl wants to play football, she can willingly do so. If a boy wants to paint his nails, nothing should stop him. Whilst watching an advert produced by the company ‘Always’, the expectations of women and men were stereotypical. When adults were told to imitate actions of women e.g. run like a girl, they were portrayed negatively as if women were fragile. However, when children were told to do the exact same thing, they portrayed women as strong and beautiful. This was heartwarming to watch and to see children so open minded at a young age. I want to teach children that it is okay to be who you want. Your gender does not define who you are, nor does your ethnicity. I want them to create their own identity, not the media. Having these rights legalised will help children become whoever they want, rather than be suppressed under society expectations.

Inequalities should not prevent any child from reaching their potential.

This week, we took part in a very interesting task within the values module. We were split into 4 groups, each given an envelope of materials. We were instructed to make a useful resource for a student’s first day at university.

When we opened our envelope, we were puzzled due to the limitation. Our team had constructed a map of the Dalhousie building from paper clips, sticky notes, pencil and blue tac. When we looked around, we observed other teams and realised that some had coloured paper. We assumed that either the other teams used products out with their pack or they were given additional resources. We were then judged on a scale of 10, our team scoring 3 out of 10. We all took it light heartedly however the lesson learnt was an eye opener.

As teachers, it is vital to understand the inequalities amongst the children you are teaching. When you are praising one child for their effort, the child sitting beside them may have the skills but cannot put them into practice due to the lack of assistance they receive at home. We can sometimes be very quick to judge and ‘assume’ children have the resources they need to complete their homework. On multiple occasions I have seen during Christmas time, children take part in a competition where the ‘best looking’ Santa receives a prize. However, there are children who may wish to put their creative mind into practice but may have no resources at home or their parents may be too busy in their work that they put together a simple piece. Those disadvantaged children may look up to the advantaged child and feel discouraged and isolated as they are praised. This in fact increases the gap of inequalities rather than reducing it. As future teachers, it is important to realise that children should always be encouraged to do their best and never feel like there is a barrier preventing them to accomplish their goals.

When I thought about this lesson, I was really inspired by it. Our team received the least points despite our efforts of working together and taking time to figure out what to make. Yet, because the winning team had more resources they were able to construct their piece more quickly. Of course, we felt a little disappointed because we tried our best with what we had. I am extremely privileged to have gone to school, college and university. Not every child has equal opportunities from the beginning but as teachers, we can create an equal learning environment.

It happened for a reason..

Teaching is a not a 9-3 job, it is 24-hour job. As a child, I have admired the way teachers go that extra mile to give you the best education you could possibly receive. From planning lessons to suit every child’s needs, staying late for 1:1 support or whether it be writing individual reports. A teacher’s job is not only to teach but to make sure every child is at the right milestone so that they are ready to progress into the next class. My experience within my primary school was incredible. I loved every aspect of it. However, there was not one person that inspired me but every single teacher that taught me. Every teacher has their own unique method and the one that you understand is the one that sticks with you for the rest of your life. I took that one method to secondary school, college and now to university.

My passion grew stronger as I took on placements throughout the years because being present in a classroom with 30 children and 1 teacher is different. I started observing from a realistic point of view. When children started asking me for help in maths and language, it gave me a deeper insight into what the role of a teacher involved. The responsibility of their education was partly on me. During my HNC in college, I gained a deeper understanding of what the role of the teacher involved. Working both in a nursery and primary school, I was able to understand the transition from pre-school to primary school which was important because I saw that children came into primary one with mixed abilities. My most memorable and recent experience was one that will always stay by me. I understood the benefits of mixing children with different abilities at a table. The support they were giving one another gave me a sense of warmth and happiness. Sometimes children are unable to grasp the teacher’s method, and this is when peer support becomes very useful. Children are at school not only to learn but also to have a great experience both in and out with the classroom.

I have taken on 4 different placements so far and each time I had to leave, I wanted to go back. My journey has not been easy. It is never too late. I am very grateful for the fact I am at university at the age of 21 because I know I would have struggled leaving school as I was not prepared. The skills and knowledge I have gained both academically and in my personal life would not have been there if I had gone to university after school. I have had to work extremely hard to get here but I would not have it any other way. I knew it would be very tough but every time I stand in a classroom full of children, I remember why I wanted to do it in the first place. I want to be that person that encourages and motivates children to do their best even when they feel like they can’t do it. Because every child can. Teaching is not only a job, but a huge responsibility because what the children learn, is dependent on you. But what makes me happy is that the degree that they end up with, started with you.