• Science Practical (7)

Interactive teaching and learning blog

Cakes, Russian dolls and bin liners...

Cakes, Russian dolls and bin liners...

October 29th 2015

Cakes, Russian dolls, bin liners, sandwiches, more cakes, trollies, eggs, “fork on a cork” and a hoover, it’s the i2i Partnership "Teacher Subject Specialism Training and SKE Course”.

Last week I attended the first of four training days held at Weydon School, led by Ian Galloway of the Institute of Physics.

I am a career changer and started training to teach physics in September. My prematurely greying hair gives away the fact it’s been just over a decade since I completed my physics degree, hence this SKE course has come at a good time for me, not only to brush up on my physics subject knowledge but also to understand how I could be teaching it.

The day started with cake, tea and introductions to Ian and my co attendees. We were a blend of newbies like me and seasoned teachers, some of us science specialists and some teachers from other subjects.  

Ian kicked off the day talking about forces, gently testing us with questions, what is friction? In which direction does a force act? I have just finished teaching my year 7 class a forces module, so this is a topic I am fairly comfortable with, however I did learn of a few common misconceptions and it was helpful to understand where students often go wrong and why, in particular when drawing forces diagrams!

The day continued more like a guided discussion, then a seminar and I really appreciated that Ian left space for us to ask questions and think out loud as we were getting deeper in to the topics. I was left scratching my head when Ian asked the group why some cars have wide tyres, and scratching my head even more after we ourselves disproved a common misconception on tyre widths with a quick experiment.

My highlight was seeing a co-trainee up to his neck in a bin liner, before Ian sucked the air out with a vacuum cleaner, showing the effect of air pressure on our bodies and also modelling how we use this effect to breathe. A fantastic demonstration I’m sure I can use in my lessons sometime.

The discussion didn’t stop over lunch (and more cake), and Ian continued to answer our questions and pose more of his own between mouthfuls.

After lunch we were throwing eggs into a towel, a very visual method of teaching about impulse. They say you need to break an egg to make an omelette and I’m pleased to report that one of the course members somehow managed to miss the ‘huge’ towel resulting in his egg smashing over the lab floor. At least we knew the principal worked. Note to myself to include wipes on my resource list if I ever use that demonstration in a lesson.

The day raced by, covering more common misconceptions and including many more simple effective experiments and demonstrations using Russian dolls, detergent bottle tops and a ‘fork in a cork’ all of which I am sure I shall use in my lessons sometime in the future.  Looking forward to part 2 in November!

Mark Brightwell, Teach@Weydon trainee

For more information about Teacher Subject Specialism Training, view our web page/89/subject-specialism-training-maths-or-physics

Filed under: Development Posted at 12:50

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