All About Science Literacy

When one is scientifically literate, they will realise and understand the scientific ideas and methods required to take part in everyday life. Throughout our lifetimes we regularly hear stories about many different issues around the world, such as global warming and new medicines and drugs that have been invented to apparently improve the quality of life. As a scientifically literate person, one must be able to answer things that they question by investigating the answer. These questions come from our inquisitiveness in everyday life.

Scientific literacy suggests that a person can recognise scientific concerns underlying local and national choices and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. One who is scientifically literate can display positions that are scientifically and technologically well-versed. They are also able to look at scientific statements and evaluate them by studying their source and procedures, and use this in such a way that they can then put forward arguments to reach a conclusion.

Being science literate means not believing the first thing you hear before you have surrounding evidence to the fact. In 2002, BBC news reported that German scientists had found out that blonde hair would become extinct within the next 200 years as it is a recessive trait. It stated that for “a child to have blonde hair, it must have the gene on both sides of the family in the grandparent’s generation” (BBC News, 2002)

The New York Times, found out later that year that no actual study had been done. Despite this revelation, the study continued to be cited in publications right up until 2006.

This sparked a panic and instantly everyone knew about this, though it was only one study, which turns out to not have even happened. Therefore, you should not trust any fact unless you find more than one reliable study to support the evidence presented in the fact.

I believe that it is important to teach children how scientific experiments can sometimes be “fixed” to derive a preferred outcome. This, is often to fool people into believing something that isn’t true. For example, on the 1st April 1957 the BBC aired a ‘Panorama’ programme which hoaxed thousands of viewers to believing that spaghetti was grown on trees in Switzerland which, anyone who is scientifically illiterate would testify isn’t scientifically possible. For children to develop the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts so that they are able to challenge facts they believe aren’t correct then we, as teachers, must teach fair testing throughout the scientific curriculum. I believe that it’s important to enforce to children that they cannot just take the conclusion from their first experiment which they only carry out once. For reliable results they must repeat the experiment several times to ensure that their conclusions are correct. Thus, building their scientific literacy.


BBC NEWS (2002) Blondes ‘to die out in 200 years’ Available at: (accessed 26/01/16)

BBC NEWS (1957) BBC Fools the Nation Available at: (Accessed: 8/02/16)

ICT: Animation

Teamwork—a hugely important skill in animation! When we teach animation to children, often they will be required to work in pairs or groups, therefore teamwork and cooperation is essential for the lesson to be successful. In a lecture the other day, in pairs or small groups we were required to make a mini movie using animation. We were instructed to have a director and a camera person in our groups, and then one person playing one character in the animation. If the people in the group do not get along or work well together, it just won’t work. You need all these people to ensure the smooth running of the process of creating an animation and it wouldn’t work even if there was only one of these team members missing.

ICT skills are important when creating animation on a computer. The child needs to be able to work a camera and understand why you would place it at different angles, different distances away from the subject of the animation and the effects that all these changes would have.


Image from: img2

Children need the ability to add in sounds to their animation to make it more exciting and creative. They need to be able to either record a sounds themselves through a microphone (which also require ICT skills), or the ability to source a song online and then add it into their animation. This can get tricky, especially if you aren’t that good with ICT, therefore the children should be shown how to do this.

Internet safety is key! A teacher must ensure that he/she teaches the pupils how to use the internet safely before allowing them to go online or use ICT. There are so many resources out there for children to use. Classtools is a great website with lots of different activities for the children and the teacher to use. Here is a link to a profile I created on ‘Fakebook’, which can be used as a resource for teachers to teach children about fictional or historical characters in a completely safe way.

ZU3D is a great software that is safe to use and makes creating animations really easy. It is simple to record your own sounds and add them into your animation wherever you want, or to add subtitles or credits into the movie. We were introduced to this software the other day in uni and this is an example of what can be created:

The teacher should familiarise the children with how to work this software before getting into the lesson. The teacher should ensure all of these skills are taught to the children before creating an animation to ensure the best possible outcome.

Speaking of outcomes, here are the expected experiences and outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence:

available in PDF format at

available in PDF format at

Free your mind!

After recently reading some of my peers’ blog posts on their ePortfolio, it is clear to see that some people have been putting in a great deal of effort and really engaging with the blog. They are reflecting on topics which weren’t even set as tutor directed tasks. This shows a strong commitment to their own professional development.

From writing these blogs posts, not only are my peers able to voice their opinions and invite us to respond to create a debate, but are they transforming and developing their ability to be critical. They are simply taking a statement or current topic and giving their thoughts and opinions on it.

I fully understand that a lot of people on our course may be quite apprehensive about posting on their blog. It can be quite a daunting process for some students and some will feel a bit nervous about voicing their opinions online in fear of receiving negative comments in return. These people should not be made to feel like this!

At first, when the idea of an ePortfolio was introduced to us, I admit I was a bit unsure of it. I had never done anything like this before. The more posts I started to write, the more I felt that it was a really good way to express yourself and your feelings. The ePortfolio is like a blank canvas to start with and gradually over time as we are adding to it, we are creating a masterpiece that reflects ourselves, our personalities and our lives. My favourite part of reading peers’ posts are when I come across a personal part in it. To me, this makes the post more memorable and relatable.

cohort definition (2)

I think it is really important for all of our cohort to be reading other people’s blogs often. Not only will it set the standard for blog writing but will it give people the chance to leave a comment for the author to perhaps suggest other ideas relating to the piece of writing. Like the definition states—our peers in our cohort are there to help and support us, not to put us down.

Free whatever it is that you are thinking, because in the end it may help someone else understand or encourage them to voice their opinion too.


One Born Every Minute

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Made using


Throughout an episode I recently watched of One Born Every Minute on Box of Broadcasts, I noticed the professionalism that took place by the midwives and the doctors in the wards.

From the diagram above, almost every word on it relates to midwives and doctors in their jobs. The words I thought were most applicable to this type of job were teamwork, supportive, considerate, listening, friendly, and helpful. During the programme, one of the nurses identified that midwifery is more than just a job, proving their professional and personal commitment. All of the staff who helped to deliver the babies were very aware of the language they were using towards the patients. In a job like that, you really need to be conscious of other people’s feeling and emotions and maintain a level of awareness for others.

The hospital staff all conducted a very high level of professionalism during the programme. Firstly, I want to make it clear that I am not against this in any way. You need to be able to enjoy your job and in the programme it was very obvious that the midwives were making this possible for each other. But, If I was to make any criticism towards their professionalism it would be that they were fooling around in the staff room.  The reason that I do not have an issue with the staff having a bit of fun is because patients don’t really see into the staff room. As long as the staff are acting appropriately and professionally in front of the patients and visitors in the hospital then that is fine. The only reason I thought it was relevant to bring this up was because in some jobs that would be unacceptable and you need to be aware of the boundaries when it comes to your professional career.

The midwives in the ward had such a great way of working with the patients. I noticed that they made the women feel comfortable and at ease, which is definitely something you would want whilst giving birth. They used their sense of humour to do so and tried making jokes to relax the patient. They created a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere for the patient.

Dress code is very important when it comes to acting professionally. Your appearance is the first impression you give someone, and if the first thing someone notices about you is the fact that you aren’t dressed appropriately, it will have a long lasting effect and majority of the time, a negative one. By dressing appropriately, you are off to a good start towards being a professional. NHS staff are required to wear uniform at all times simply for the reason of hygiene. However, it does also show that they are all part of a team and portrays their professionalism. The midwives wore their NHS tunics and all had their hair tied up. The doctor wore a shirt and dress trousers which looks very professional and conveys a sense of importance.

If I were the one who was designing and developing a degree in Midwifery for students, I think a mixture of learning methods would be the best option. Everybody learns in different ways, and it would be unfair if the assignments were all written, in the case where there is one student who loves writing and one who hates it, and perhaps prefers to give presentations, as it puts the person who hates it at an automatic disadvantage. They should be given the chance to excel in something they enjoy doing as the chances are they will do better in something they have enjoyed doing.

It would be necessary to attend all lectures, do background reading and self-study throughout the course to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of midwifery. However, it would also be necessary for them to attend practical training sessions and professional practice as does this not only reinforce knowledge they have learnt as they see it in a real life scenario, but does it show them how to act professionally. They will be able to see the staff during their placement, for example, and know what is appropriate and what isn’t in being a professional in the health care industry. Their time should be spread equally between all of these learning methods.

I feel that this episode of One Born Every Minute has shown that the skills that are required to be a professional in the teaching industry are also very applicable to other types of professional careers. I have learnt from this episode that sometimes the ability to calm and relax people is necessary in teaching, for example in a child who has anger issues. However, at the same time nursing and midwifery are totally different jobs (both very rewarding and appreciated) and the things that take place in the hospital don’t tend to happen in the classroom. Therefore this means that I can only take some basic skills, e.g. the ability to be helpful, from the programme and apply it to my own professional development.

Peer Review Strategies for the Classroom

Pinterest is such a fantastic resource for teachers. It is so easy to use and is full of great ideas. I have started a new board on my account where I have saved some peer review strategy ideas. I will continue to use this board over the period of my course, so hopefully by the time it comes to me having to use peer review strategies in the classroom, I will have this as a reference to go to for ideas and inspiration.  P (2)

Peer Review and Feedback

Before we do anything here, we need to understand what feedback is to be able to give feedback to others. Simply, as Google states, it is information which is used as a origin for development and improvement. It has a very meaningful purpose to it, yet provide us with many benefits and challenges.

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Below is a diagram to describe the different forms that we can receive feedback in.

what is feedback










Peer review has a very meaningful purpose. Through self-assessment it activates us as students, as learners of our own learning. Through peer assessment it activates students as teaching resources for one another. It puts the people/individual giving feedback at an advantage, alongside the people receiving it.

Receiving feedback helps develop key skills, such as critical thinking and reflection, communication, self-motivation and time management. It also allows us to be able to give constructive feedback to others, therefore helping them improve. If we engage with peer review, we are also engaging with assessment criteria which leads to improved application of our own work. We get a richer understanding of our own work. 

On the other hand is the challenges of peer review. Reluctance of one or more to partake in the process can be a barrier to effective results. Some people, especially young children, may have a dislike to assessing or judging their friends. Others may not get on with other people taking part in the peer review process, which is an issue. In general peer review is very time consuming, therefore a lot of teachers, for example, may have 101 other things to do and simply doesn’t have the time to sit and do a thorough assessment. Finally, if people lack evaluative skills them this can cause a lot of problems.

Next, we need to understand how to give useful criticism. By understanding what ineffective feedback is, it allows us to understand what effective feedback consists of.

Below, is an interesting video I found on YouTube that brings up some points that I hadn’t thought about whilst looking into peer review.

The woman in the video has used the bird house as an example. She feels that there is so many things that the pupil could improve on from the bird house, that she suggests giving feedback to them in parts: one thing at a time. I feel that this is a really good idea. If a teacher bombards you with loads and loads or corrections to do on your work, you are going to be clueless as to where to start. However, if each correction is pointed out to you gradually, it allows you to fully focus on improving from the feedback that is given, without having to worry about all the other mistakes that you’ve made.

Another issue that was raised in this video was resubmission. I feel that this is really important to be able to hand something in a second, third, even fourth time! I know from my own school experience that if a teacher hands you back a piece of writing with all the corrections that you should do to improve your work , but they are never going to look at it again, then your initial thought is why bother doing the corrections if I don’t really have to?

I remember throughout my time in high school studying Higher English, my teacher got to the point where she would just expect another draft of my essay in each day to go into my folio. I must have handed in about eight copies of the same essay to her (I’m pretty sure she got sick of me and ended up just telling me that it was really good after the eighth copy). But, I wanted to keep receiving constant feedback from her to help me improve my work to get it to the highest standard I could possibly achieve. After all, it must have worked as I got my B in Higher English and here I am studying Education at the University of Dundee! To me, this is proof that effective feedback is definitely beneficial.

Most of all, I am delighted to see people actually taking the time to read my work on my ePortfolio and give their opinion on it. I really value what people are saying. Receiving feedback on my work was definitely a positive experience for me, even though it contained good points about it and points that I could improve on. It is a confidence booster to read the good points that people are making about my work. I sometimes write posts for my ePortfolio and wonder “am I doing this right?” but from the comments I am receiving from my peers, it most definitely implies to me that I am doing something right!

From leaving other people comments on their work, I have learned the basic things to look out for when assessing, such as spelling, grammar, and identifying whether or not they are following the learning criteria. Also, I’ve learned how to be critical. At first, I didn’t want to mention things that people should improve on because I didn’t want to feel like I was being picky or nasty. Often this can be a barrier to leaving feedback to others. Now after receiving comments from peers about how I could improve my work, I have realised it isn’t nasty or picky at all. It is actually really helpful and important.

I feel that as I go through my course at University I should be engaging with other people’s work on ePortfolio and leaving constructive criticism in the comments as this will really help both the student and I. The student will gain a deeper understanding of their work and I will develop skills which I can use in the classroom.

Pupils need feedback on their work in the classroom – it is really important. We learn and develop from receiving feedback, therefore it is crucial for children to be presented with critical comments upon which they can improve. Not only will they understand where they are going wrong and be able to prevent it happening again, but will it allow for them to become more critical by seeing good examples of criticism. They will understand what it is to give feedback, and how to do it. There are lots of resources that can be used in the classroom to get children self and peer assessing. I will show examples of strategies that can be used in the classroom to get everybody thinking about peer review in my next post.

Constructive criticism and peer review is the way forward!


Brain Research and Development Through History

brain dev

Following up from the lecture on the Physical Child: Brain Development with Will, I have looked further into the development and research on the brain that has evolved over the 20th century. To do this, I used a really helpful website that I found which displayed a timeline of all the brain development research up to the year 2000.

1905 – Santiago Ramon y Cajal and Camille Golgi win the Nobel Prize for their research on the structure and function of nerve cells.

1911 – Henry Head (British Neuroscientist) publishes ‘Studies in Neurology’. Within this, he conducts relevant studies with neurologist Gordon Holmes on the neurophysiology of sensory perception in the cerebral cortex, and especially peoples’ spatial perceptions of their own bodies.

1929 – Hans Berger demonstrates the first human electroencephalograph. This is an instrument for measuring and recording the electrical activity of the brain.

1932 – Lord Edgar Adrian and Sir Charles Sherrington win the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their research on neuron function which details the mechanisms by which nerves transmit messages.

1934 – Egas Moniz (Portuguese neurologist) oversees a series of prefrontal leucotomies as a treatment for depression.

1936 – The first lobotomy was performed in the United States by Walter Freeman and James W. Watts.

1944 – Joseph Erangler and Herbert Spencer Gasser share the Nobel Prize for their discoveries relating to the highly differentiated functions of individual nerve fibres.

1949 – Walter Rudolph Hess wins the Nobel Prize for his research and work on the interbrain. This includes the hypothalamus, subthalamus and parts of the thalamus. His research shows that the interbrain is liable for coordinating the activities of the body’s internal organs.

1961 – Georg Von Bekesy wins the Nobel Prize for his work on the function of the cochlea (a division of the inner ear). His work details the physical mechanism of stimulation within the cochlea, therefore tracing the perception of sound to its fundamental anatomical elements.

1963 – John Carew Eccles, Andrew Lloyd Hodgkin and Andrew Fielding Huxley develop work on the mechanisms of the neuron cell membranes. They discovered the chemical way by which impulses are communicated or repressed by the nervous system.

1970 – Julius Axelrod, Ulf von Euler and Sir Bernard Katz share the Nobel Prize for their discoveries concerning the storage, release, and inactivation of catecholamine neurotransmitters and the effect of psychoactive drugs on this process.

1981 – Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel are co-recipients of the Nobel Prize for Physiology which they also share with Roger Sperry. Wiesel and Hubel’s research centres on how visual information is transmitted from the retina to the brain. Sperry’s work concerns the specialization of functions within the cerebral hemispheres of the brain.

1990 – U.S. President George Bush declares the decade starting in 1990 the “Decade and the Brain”.

1991 – Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann share the Nobel Prize for their work on the function of single ion channels which increased understanding of how cells communicate with each other.

1994 – Alfred G. Gilman and Martin Rodbell share the Nobel Prize for their discovery of G-protein coupled receptors and their role in signal transduction.

1997 – Stanley B. Prusiner wins the Nobel Prize for his discovery of a new genre of infectious agents known as prions.

2000 – Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel share the Nobel Prize for their discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system.

The Enquiring Practitioner

Practitioner enquiry is a ‘finding out’ or an investigation with an origin and method that can be explained or defended. This is usually carried out within the practitioner’s own practice or by working together with others. It is thought that practitioner enquiry should become something that is carried out every day in a school.

With being an enquiring practitioner, I think one of the many benefits is that ultimately you are helping shape education and continually changing it. Through practitioner enquiry you are encouraged to challenge and transform education as a teacher. Also, it allows the teacher to continue to learn and develop their own understand of what teaching and education is. It also helps teachers bring new ideas and new ways of teaching to the table, which could be the way forward. Lastly, practitioner enquiry allows us as teachers to become more professional.

The GTCS states “The findings can then be shared so it becomes more than reflection or personal enquiry.” Here, we can see that practitioner enquiry is also beneficial when done as a team. We already know that working collaboratively is extremely valuable to a lot of people, because we can learn things from others that we may not have thought of before, therefore by reflecting back to your colleagues about practitioner enquiry, we can see things that were missed by ourselves.

On the other hand are the more challenging aspects of being an enquiring practitioner. Practitioner enquiry is something you would really have to get used to at first, which will require a lot of time, effort and commitment.

To me as a student teacher, I know that I have to be an enquiring practitioner whilst in school, and even out of school.

The most successful education systems …invest in developing their teachers as reflective, accomplished and enquiring professionals who have the capacity to engage fully with the complexities of education and to be key actors in shaping and leading educational change. (Donaldson, 2011, p.4)

Practitioner enquiry is a really important means of developing school and education in general, therefore I am willing to be critical, questioning, thinking, leading and developing. I will therefore develop a better professional knowledge and understanding.

What is the point in reflecting?

Through the online unit, I have learnt so much about reflection. Reflective writing was never something I was good at throughout school. I didn’t really do any more than describe the event and talk about my thoughts and feeling at the time. I now realise that there is a lot more to reflection, and had I known this at the time my work would have significantly improved.

Reflection is an action in learning. It is an activity that provides us with proof that we have stood back from an event, been able to be critical of ourselves and our work, and even see things from someone else’s point of view. Reflection is taking things a step further than simply describing your thoughts and feelings.

Why reflect?

I’ve discovered through doing the online unit that there are many reasons why it is beneficial to reflect. Reflection gives us the chance to gain a lot more knowledge on our work, and deepen our understanding. We can consider the way in which we learn. If we reflect, and evaluate our work, we can create a plan of action for the next time: how will we deal with this if it happens again? What would I do better next time?

To me, reflection means looking back. So far in my course, I have taken notes during lectures and then reflected on them at night: looked back on my notes. If I don’t understand something, I simply research it to ensure I do know what it means for future reference. Reflection allows us to resolve uncertainty. It allows us to empower ourselves as individual people. When you reflect on something, I think you get a sense of purpose. You feel like what you have done is worth doing, because you’ve taken more from it than the simple knowledge.

The ability to be critical of yourself is crucial in life. If you have this skill you will constantly be learning and growing. You are able to consider what you have done, and know how to improve. Reflection helps to develop this important life skill, hence why it is important to constantly reflect on your work.

‘It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively.’ (Gibbs 1988)

In Learning by Doing, Gibbs (1988) outlines the stages for a ‘Structured Debriefing’, which are based on Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning Cycle and which encourage deeper reflection. This includes:

Description What is the stimulant for reflection? ( incident, event, theoretical idea ) What are you going to reflect on?
Feelings What were your reactions and feelings?
Evaluation What was good and bad about the experience? Make value judgements.
Analysis What sense can you make of the situation? Bring in ideas from outside the experience to help you. What was really going on?
Conclusion (general) What can be concluded, in a general sense, from these experiences and the analyses you have undertaken?
Conclusion (specific) What can be concluded about your own specific, unique, personal situation or ways of working?
Personal action plans What are you going to do differently in this type of situation next time? What steps are you going to take on the basis of what you have learnt?


The above evidence shows us how to successfully and fully reflect on something. If we go through each stage above and answer it according to our work or experience, we can get the most we possibly can out of reflection. From the online unit about reflection, this piece of information has been the most helpful resource to me. I feel this model explains reflection really well, and shows me exactly how to self-evaluate anything I’ve done. I feel it is very thorough and anyone who is to follow this should get a really positive outcome.

From personal experience, I already feel myself questioning everything I do. I am evaluating myself, and my work more often and I feel like it is really helping me to understand why I do what I do. Reflection is really important and I feel that it is crucial that everybody does it. It helps us to go through life with an real understanding for everything.

Reflection is definitely something I want to include in the classroom in the future. I think it is really important for young children to look at what they’ve done. If they see the things they’ve done well it will have a definite improvement on their confidence. Similarly, if they see the things they haven’t done so well in, they’ll understand what they need to do to improve. A regular time set aside for reflection would be really beneficial in the classroom. Not only does it allow for the teacher to track how pupils are doing, but do the children get to see how they’re progressing themselves. If they start this at primary school age, they are guaranteed to be able to go on through life using constructive criticism—a skill that they’ll definitely need!

The benefits of active learning and co-operative working

The benefits of active learning

In order to fully internalise your learning, you must do extra activities. Active learning is going a step further than just taking in facts and figures. It is asking yourself why this figure is important, and is this fact even true.

By coming away from a lecture and researching the information you’ve been given further, you are helping yourself understand better. This is a way of internalising information, enabling you to retain it for longer. From personal experience, I have found that researching subjects further after a class has definitely helped me to understand things better. I get a feeling of fulfilment after doing so, and feel I have been productive. So, not only does active learning internalise information, but it gives you a sense of achievement and accomplishment.

Active learning also allows you to develop the ability to think critically. Whilst you are busy researching a topic, you should be constantly questioning things in your head.


The benefits of co-operative learning

Team work and working collaboratively can be really beneficial whilst studying. When you work in a group you are expected to contribute your ideas and opinions in order to develop the discussion. Whilst you do this, you are growing more confident by voicing your opinions. Working co-operatively is a vital life skill, so by using it whilst studying it is essentially setting you up for future life experiences.

Whilst everybody is delivering their thoughts and opinions to the discussion, you should take notes on this. This way, you can go back to them, add more notes and use them for future reference. You could argue against their point, or provide evidence to back the point up.

Each individual brings something different to the table, which we can add to our general knowledge of the topic. This widens our view of the subject area.

I feel that a really important of factor of working co-operatively is the instant help that is available. Advice should be available to you if you need it. If other group members are being co-operative, they should be more than willing to help you if you’re stuck.