Numeracy challenges in GCSE science

Numeracy challenges in GCSE science

But Miss, I don’t even know which equation to use! Three top concerns of science teachers at the moment include: The GCSE required practicals the numeracy demand of the new GCSE Last week I led a workshop with teachers from schools in Hertfordshire in an attempt to address these in tandem.  Titled “teaching numeracy through physics practicals” we reflected on students’ difficulties with using maths in science and looked at some experiments which can help overcome these. Starting with a lively discussion about “what do students find difficult...
Launching a new partnership – one year on

Launching a new partnership – one year on

One year ago, six schools and a university in East Kent agreed to do together what we could not do alone.  A year into the partnership and over thirty events later, what have we learned? This article has grown from a talk we gave twice to gratifyingly large audiences at the Schools Together Group conference in York in May 2018.  We were pleasantly surprised that so many schools were interested to see what can be achieved in a year and are delighted to share our experiences if it helps others considering doing something similar. East Kent...
Mentoring for Heads of Science

Mentoring for Heads of Science

To celebrate National Mentoring Day, and to help develop my own practice as a mentor, I’m offering a free mentoring session for up to 5 Heads of Science before Christmas.  To take up this offer, please contact me and tell me a bit about yourself and your role. Who needs a mentor? We ALL need a mentor!  From trainee teacher to established headteacher, it is important to have someone with experience and expertise whom you can call on for confidential advice. Heads of Science, being rare beasts, are often appointed with little experience...
How to revise GCSE science (part 1)

How to revise GCSE science (part 1)

OK, we’ve finished the course; time for some revision! But how best to lead revision with a whole class?   We always hope to have a bit of time at the end of Year 11 to review the whole course and do some practice papers. And yet if we do have time for revision it can be deadly: going over all the same old material again with students who are way less motivated than we think they should be. We start nagging: “if you fail to prepare – you’d better prepare to fail!” Who is groaning more: the students or the teacher? So, is there a way of...
Encouraging science research projects at school

Encouraging science research projects at school

John Holman (RSC, Wellcome Trust, University of York) ran a session at the ASE meeting in January 2016 on attitudes to practical science at schools around the world.  This was my response to a call for reflections in July following the meeting. “Thank you for your email and the attached report. John and I have met since the ASE meeting in January to discuss the role of Young Scientists Journal in encouraging and inspiring school students to engage in science projects with publication as a motivating end-point. I would like to contribute...