With inspiration from Sciences ‘Principles & Practice’ and ‘The Sciences 3 – 18’ here are some of the things that we came up with as key features of a good science lesson.
- Stimulate interest in pupils and staff
- flexibility and choice (Variety)
- Motivation, challenging, engaging and enjoyable
- Consistency not just random facts
- Actively involved – Interactions
- Questioning – to consolidate knowledge
- Develop thinking and understanding
- Discussion and reflection
- Learning outdoors (Field trips)
- Observation, recording and classification skills – Using real materials/living things in real life situations
- Scientific literacy – Process, summarise and present findings e.g. how to identify reliable sources
- Confidence in skills e.g. scientific communication
- Higher order thinking
- Effective use of interdisciplinary work
- Links between science and other curricular areas
In the lecture, I appreciated, straight away, the helpful tip that was given about how to make sure all pupils would have to work together and share answers. This was done by making everyone sit together, rather than being more spread out, and everyone was giving a number and therefore might be chosen to give an answer, rather than having volunteers. This also gave me the opportunity to sit with people that I might have never spoken to before therefore, I was able to hear different points of view and be involved in more of a discussion. This also kept us all on task as we knew that there was a chance we might be asked to give an answer.
Understanding why maths is so important was interesting, however, something that really stuck with me was the attitude to maths and that teachers need to promote the enthusiasm and joy in this subject. Maths can be expressed in different ways and if the teacher has a negative attitude towards it and portrays this to the pupils they most likely won’t want to participate and it will instill a negative attitude, surrounding maths, within them. If maths can be taught in a more engaging way and all the answers can be explored through different ways of thinking, children might be more open to enjoying maths and wanting to be good at it.
Parents opinions on maths were also mentioned. Sometimes if parents aren’t good a maths they will give up on trying to help their children and agree that maths is just something they’re not good at and never will be. This gives the impression that it’s okay not to be good at maths but as it was mentioned in the lecture understanding maths and having knowledge of numbers is just as important as being able to read and write.
There was also a discussion about myths and anxieties to do with maths, such as “you either have it or you don’t”, “you don’t need maths in later life” and even “women can’t do maths”. These need to be challenged because we can’t accept that one of the most universal languages is so pointless and can’t be achieved through practice and hard working. Children need to know that they can achieve in maths and that getting questions wrong does not mean that they are incapable it means that they can learn and grow and explore what went wrong to better their understanding.