I’ll call them…Dinosaurs!

The following is a diary entry I wrote from the perspective of the Scientist Richard Owen. He is the scientist  who first distinguished the difference between the ancestors of our own common day Reptiles and Dinosaurs. I Studied his environment and thought about his emotions at this time to try and portray this through his entry. This deals with the drama term ‘Visualisation’ and can be linked across several curriculum areas.

Monday 8th November 1841

I think I may be on to something big…

The day started off like any other day. I peeled myself from bed and I slipped on the pristine white lab coat I pressed freshly last night, ready for the day ahead. I walked the short distance to the laboratory and washed my hands thoroughly as always. You never know what dirt and disease can be picked up on the streets of Lancaster, walking past people of all sorts. Some, Scientists like myself, caught up in our latest obsession. Some, business men speeding through the crowds, avoiding beggars to their best ability. Mothers dutifully walking their children to school and then the homeless riddled with illness and bugs. I try to drop a penny their way now and again, but mostly I avoid them, how would I control a nest of flees inhabiting my sterile lab coat after all? However, I digress. Back to subject at hand.

Today I was particularly excited to study fossil collection found by a William Devonshire Saull. I have heard a lot about this collection and have a particular interest on a chunk of spine that he found.

As I approached this collection I forget about the white walls around me, the chemical smell that usually takes a while to settle and get used to, I forget about the dripping of various experiments going on around the lab. All I can think about is the fossil in front of me. It seems to be some sort of Spine, Saull identified it as belonging to an antient creature called an ‘Iguanadon’. These are bigger versions of the modern day Iguana. I however, had a hunch there was more to this.

I started comparing different fossils from this collection. I observed the smooth lengths of fossilized bone and felt the bumps and lumps beneath my fingers. I held small ones behind larger versions, and noted the similarities and suptle differences. Some bones curved and some remained straight, some were thick and strong and others thin and versatile. I have a hunch that these fossils belong to more sophisticated creatures than ancestors of our modern reptiles. One thing I can tell for sure is that these fossils belong to somewhat similar creatures.

After being so engrossed in this study for hours and hours, I finally decided to call it a day. Although my work hours finished many ago, my mind will not focus on anything else. My mind has been reeling ever since I closed the heavy lab door, walked through the narrow street chilled with frost, branching over railings and the hard ground beneath my feat, disregarding the small slips that interrupted my mindless pace. I don’t even remember the precise moment I reached my small flat and sank into my comfy leather chair. All I can remember is thinking. Endless thinking about the possibilities of what I have discovered. I’ve given them a name: Dinosaurs. I need to research more, but I think there may have been a whole other branch or creature we don’t yet know about. The thought is explosive, and I doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight. One thing is for sure however…I cannot wait to get my hands back on those fossils.

 

I think this activity would bring a lot of value to a school environment because it encourages children to get into a mindset of another person, and develop their understanding of emotions. It gives the children a chance to be creative and validate their learning. Various levels of support may be needed depending on the class, such as support with writing or whole class involvement for those who maybe can’t explore the thoughts and feelings of other people as easily. Over all, this was an interesting experience for me, and I believe children could enjoy this lesson very much providing they are allowed to write about a character they are interested in.

Scientific Literacy

So what actually does, “scientific literacy”, mean?

Being literate is ‘the ability to read and write’ (Oxford University Press, 2016). Being able to read and write helps us understand daily processes we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Without being able to read and write, we wouldn’t understand travel timetables, signs, how to tell the time, how to shop or even be able to sustain a job! To me, this would suggest that the idea of Scientific Literacy means simply to be able to understand the ideas behind science and how to use these ideas to conduct experiments, alike how we use reading and writing to understand variables of the outside world.

Not only does Scientific Literacy mean having an understanding of science, bscienceut also being able to form questions and conclusions from the evidence found through experiments (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2003). Over all, Scientific Literacy means that children understand the words used in science, the process of experiments, why the experiments are being carried out, can come up with their thoughts about the outcomes, and also why it is important that they know this for everyday life. This directly links to some key principles in the Curriculum for Excellence (Education Scotland, 2016). Teachers must ensure that when they are teaching science their pupils are not simply just learning the terms like they may learn a times-table. In order to be Science Literate, the children must understand the depth of what they are learning.

A lack of scientific literacy could mean the development of false scientific conclusions. One of the main examples of this was the MMR vaccine scare. In 1998 an investigation into the three in one vaccine for measles was conducted by, the now discredited, Andrew Wakefield. He came to the conclusion that that vaccine could actually increase a child’s chance of developing autism. This research was released and caused fear in parents who then became hesitant to allow their children to receive the vaccine. It wasn’t until 2004 that an investigation intommr Wakefield’s research took place and it was found to be flawed. The medical records of the children he investigated did not match his research and the paper he published was taken  down.

This is a clear example of how important science literacy is. This spread of false information caused the vaccine rates to drop dramatically and a significant increases in measles, causing many children to suffer unnecessarily. New research found that there was no connection between the vaccine and autism and there are no side effects to the vaccine. However, some parents are still wary of the vaccine and refuse to allow their children to receive it.

The process of fair testing is ensuring there are no deliberate advantages or disadvantages to any variables in an experiment (or, to any pupils in a school!). This ensures that the information gathered is reliable. To guarantee reliability any obvious advantages to any factors are controlled.

An example of this is how high a ball bounces (Prain, 2007). The height of the bounce the ball executes is measured, however the following things are considered:Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 20.29.04

  • “Will the type of ball affect its bounce?”
  • “Will the surface on which it bounces affect the bounce?”
  • “Will the height from which you drop the ball affect its bounce?” (Prain, 2007)

These three variables are changed and the experiment is carried out more than once. This, therefore, ensures the test is “fair” which all tests should be, and especially in schools. By taking into account all these factors and questioning how they will affect the experiment a person is, therefore, “science literate” as they are understanding the questioning and issues with the experiment.

This TDT was written by – 

AC1 – Rachel Allan – Explanation of the concept of scientific literacy.

AC2 – Catriona Mcphaden –  Analysis of an example where a lack of scientific literacy has led to inaccurate media reporting.

AC3 –  Myself – Discussion of how teaching fair testing in school science links to scientific literacy.

AC4 – Amy Lorimer – A carefully researched and referenced paper on scientific literacy.

References

  • Education Scotland, (2016). Principles – How is the curriculum organised? – Learning and teaching. [online] Educationscotland.gov.uk. Available at: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningandteaching/thecurriculum/howisthecurriculumorganised/principles/index.asp [Accessed 28 Jan. 2016].
  • NHS Choices, Ruling on doctor in MMR scare, 2010. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/01January/Pages/MMR-vaccine-autism-scare-doctor.aspx
  • OECD, (2003). The PISA 2003 Assessment Framework – Mathematics, Reading, Science and Problem Solving Knowledge and Skills. Paris: OECD
  • Oxford University Press, (2016). literate – definition of literate in English from the Oxford dictionary. [online] Oxforddictionaries.com. Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/literate [Accessed 28 Jan. 2016].
  • Prain, V. (2007) How to interpret multi-modal science texts. Available at: http://www.education.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/5303/linking_science_literacy_strat.pdf (Accessed: 27 January 2016).
  • The story behind the MMR scare, Rory Greenslade, 2013. Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/apr/25/mmr-scare-analysis
  • Utmb Health, Wakefield Autism Scandal, David Niesel and Norbert Herzog, 2012. Available athttp://www.medicaldiscoverynews.com/shows/237_wakefieldAutism.html

     

“Awh, do I need to?”

When I was first introduced to the idea of blogs I can’t say I was pleased.  I’m not one of those people who share their lives  on social media everyday. I can barely write a Facebook status every few months, never mind a couple of hundred words on a blog frequently.

Keeping this in mind, I’m somewhat pleased with the effort I have made in relation to blogging. I made the effort to write blogs about what I’d learned in uni, reading and even the odd artical I found online. I learned through feedback from my peers that I should add more pictures to my blog to make them interesting and less reading based. I even started to enjoy blogging after my first few posts!!

After reading the suggested blogs for inspiration, I have to say I feel much more motivated to continue to blog and put a real effort in to the content I post. Some of my peers went above and beyond to improve their blog posts and make them understandable for the reader. One of which made a model of her ideal classroom on a game. I thought this was absolutely fantastic because without it I wouldn’t have been able to visualise what she was describing. The model also made me aware of how much time she was putting into her blogs. I’m definitely inspired to be more imaginative in my creations in the future.

Another one of my peers really gripped my attention with a video and her thoughts on it. I am now beginning to think about finding relevant videos to add to my blogs. This will make them more interesting and may even make people more motivated to read my posts, as it will not all be text based.

I think I will not only learn how to make more interesting blogs from what I have identified, but will also transfer these skills to placement in the way that I must be able to use media to engage children and split up the text I present.

Overall, I’m glad these blogs were forwarded to us to read because otherwise I fear I may have been stuck in my ways of semi-decent blogs. I look forward to creating more engaging blogs from what I have learned from my peers!

Prezi

I have been asked to think about how I would use one of the topics discussed in my ICT input. I have decided to focus on Prezi as it is something I have never seen before and think has great potential in the classroom. Prezi is a different way to create eye-catching presentations which I think children will really engage in.

Prezi is interactive and allows you to create a background, and move around it easily. A nice example I saw today was a rainforest that zoomed in and out of different animals that inhabit it, which had typical rainforest noises in the background. I think that if this was used in a classroom it would be an interesting way to introduce the topic and set the scene to the children. This is great for all types of learners because it provides visual experiences, physical experiences and auditory experiences. The combination of these three could really engage a child and help them retain knowledge.

The nature of Prezi means you could use it in all age groups of a school, whether it be using mainly visual aspects for younger years, or adding more information based learning for older years.

Ways in which I would use this in a school would be to introduce a topic in an interesting way to the children, or even to sum up information I have taught. I think it would be a good way to validate a lesson at the end of a day in a way that isn’t tiring or repetitive for children. Another way I think this could be advantageous in a classroom could be to get the children to make their own Prezi on a topic they have been learning about. This would probably be too difficult for younger years though, so different levels of support may be needed.

Areas this can relate to in the Curriculum for Excellence is the ICT section. I will highlight some course codes below corresponding to a Primary 4 age group and older, as this is the age group I will be in for my first placement.

“As I extend and enhance my knowledge of features of various types of software, including those which help find, organise, manage and access information, I can apply what I learn in different situations.” TCH 1-03a / TCH 2-03a

Prezi is a program that will help children find information, and organise their own thoughts into a presentation.

“I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, text and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in  creative and engaging ways.” TCH 1-04b / TCH 2-04b

Prezi will allow children to do just that. Children can use any image, sounds and information they want and put it all together in a fun and interesting way.

Prezi seems like a very beneficial resource that teachers can use and I look forward to using it in the future.

 

 

Today in my Dance input we were introduced to many different possibilities of how to deliver a dance lesson. One which I particularly enjoyed was when we were left to move and sway freely, and at the shake of a symbol we struck a pose. I got thinking about how I could vary this and create a full lesson out of it.

I began to think of different types of dances and what poses you could take from each one. This lead me on to thinking about dances from all over the world, and imagining iconic poses that children would enjoy copying and would most likely find familiar. Some key moves I thought of was walking like an Egyptian, Chinese dancing, Hula dancing, Highland dancing and Flamenco dancing. Each of these dances have a varied and contrasting look.egyptian walkhula dance

To begin the lesson I will play music and ease the children in with warm up activities. These will include stretching and moving around the room. For this particular lesson I will need to make the children aware of different world dances. This could be done prior to the Dance lesson, perhaps in subjects such as Geography or RME. Once the children are warmed up I would put examples of different world dances on and encourage the children to think about poses they could extract from these dances. An example could be that of the photos above. I would give 5-10 minutes of practice time for the children to become confident in their poses. Next, I would put the children in groups of 3-4, encouraging them to share their poses with others in their group. The children can pick 2-3 of their favourite poses and create a sequence of each one. The groups could then present their dance to the rest of the class.  To conclude the lesson I would ask each child to find a space and I would provide instructions to cool down, such as lying down and stretching each body part sequentially. This lesson could be followed up by many subjects across the curriculum.

Outcomes which this lesson would cover from the Curriculum for Excellence are:

Expressive Dance

I can explore and choose movements to create and present dance, developing my skills and techniques. EXA 2-08a, in the way that they are choosing the dance moves they favour, practicing in groups, and presenting to their peers.

I have taken part in dance from a range of styles and cultures, demonstrating my awareness of the dance features. EXA 2-10a, in the way that the children are learning dances from different cultures.

RME

I can describe and reflect upon practices and traditions of world religions. RME 2-06c, in the way that the children can show dance traditions of religions and countries.

The learning intention of this lesson would be “To develop an understanding of different dances from around the world.”

The Success Criteria would be ” To observe dances from around the world, practicing poses from each dance and implementing them in a group performance.”

Assessment opportunities of this lesson would be observational. Each child could be assessed on their perception of poses that can be taken from the world dances, and the child’s ability to copy them. The child’s participation in the group task could also be observed as an assessment opportunity.

Prior knowledge would be very beneficial to this activity.  Although the children are given examples of world dances in this lesson, it would be helpful for the children to recognise each culture and perhaps even reasons they may perform these dances, such as for celebration. Children would also benefit from previous inputs on how to strike a pose, and hold it in synchronisation in a group.

 

 

 

Maths is what?

Today I was shown a quote describing maths as ‘Elegant and Beautiful’. This left me baffled as I thought back to my Maths jotter full of messily written, panic stricken, bunk bed sums. Otherwise known as “vertical calculations” to those more Mathematically capable. How could Maths possibly be beautiful?

That’s when it clicked. As a teacher it is my job to make it beautiful. In today’s class we explored what made maths so terrifying and difficult to children. It shocked me to realize that a massive part of the problem can be down to a parents view or even a teachers apprehension. As a teacher it is my job to show children that maths is not something to be scared about. I must put forward that even great mathematicians make mistakes, and alike every other area of the curriculum, mistakes are welcome.

So how do I change my view on maths? According to Haylock (2014) there is evidence that some teachers experience anxiety and panic when they encounter mathematical tasks they are unfamiliar with. One way I can combat this is to be as familiar as possible with the maths I need to teach. This will reduce panic during teaching if I perhaps make a slight mistake and get the incorrect answer. If I continue to be relaxed when teaching maths, I will hopefully be able to keep this relaxed manner when faced with new problems in the subject. This air of confidence will in turn reflect on the children in my classroom.

Another common cause of anxiety in teachers in relation to maths is that it is a difficult subject that only clever people can understand (Haylock, D, 2014). Personally, I think that the difficulty of a topic should not stop someone from attempting it and trying their best. I believe that if I put my mind to it I could achieve anything I wanted to. I also want to pass this belief into the children that I teach. However, I have never applied this term to my ability in maths. From this point on-wards I will strive to do my best in mathematics. This way I will begin to see that I am capable of understanding and teaching in a way which children will enjoy.

There is so much more I need to research in relation to maths and how to teach it in a way that will engage children and provide a math promoting environment. These points are just the beginning in what I hope will be a process of changing my fear of maths, in turn allowing me to eradicate this fear that is ever present in school so far.

Haylock, D. (2014). Mathematics explained for primary teachers. 5th ed. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Stop doing that for your kids!

I recently read a very interesting article/blog that highlighted one Mum’s new revolution on how much we do for children. I’ll add a link here, so that I don’t take the credit. http://www.yourmodernfamily.com/stop/

The basic idea of this post is that we are doing far too much for children which is potentially doing more harm than good. I really enjoyed the description of the event that this woman used. It made me think back to my childhood in a way. I was always the child who would go to my friends house and try to keep as much to myself as possible in regards to their possessions or when offered food. I was terrified that I would make a mess and their parents would be angry, whereas my friends seemed not to care. They would tell me to leave wrappers on the floor or to leave my dirty plate for her mum. I felt very uncomfortable knowing that I was effecting someones home and leaving them to tidy up after me.

Taking this all into consideration I think back at how my mum raised me to help out and mentally thank her. She would help me tidy my room, but never do it herself, she would encourage me to pick up my toys and take my dishes to the kitchen when i’ve used them. I would help her dust and I understood the importance of my actions at a young age. I grew up to continue to help my mum around the house and it set me up to do well at school too. I was used to having responsibilities and could cope with them well. I think starting to get young children to take small responsibilities around the house can really do them well and set them up for a good future. So many things in life depend on having responsibilities and following them through effectively. We should all teach our children to take responsibility and enjoy it.

I then started to think about how teachers could promote this. I have previously come across teachers who kept plants in their classroom, and each week a new child would have the job to water this plant. This is a small example of a responsibility that is not too complicated for a young child. We can help children to become more responsible, they may need reminders now and then, but that is all part of our nurture.

This was a very interesting post to me and I enjoyed the thoughts it brought to me and hope I can use these in my future career as a teacher. I have a new found interest in the way we encourage children to take responsibility and how it can effect them throughout their lives. This is looked into more in the original post and I do not feel comfortable discussing these points as they are put forward so well there, but I do greatly believe that doing too much for our children can lead to lazy, dependent adults.