I love practical science.
Blowing things up, cutting things up, lighting things up!
Science is a practical subject, and should be taught with investigations, demonstrations, and experiments. Your pupils should leave science lessons eagerly anticipating the next explosion, the next dissection, or the next electric shock.
Practical for practical’s sake is not useful. Here is some of the best advice I’ve ever read, from the CLEAPSS manual on delivering practical science:
- The work must be interesting or even exciting.
- The work must have a clear purpose, shared with the pupils (you must know why you are doing the activity).
- The teacher must have rehearsed all aspects of the tasks (you must know how to do the activity).
- The lesson must be well planned, timed and managed (you must know when you and where you are doing each task).
- The tasks must be accessible and manageable by pupils.
Practicals are engaging and usually require less sustained teacher input than ‘chalk-and-talk’. They are easy to mark and provide straightforward follow-on homeworks (graphs, gradients, a few conclusions, improvements to protocol etc.)
This blog will help transform your classroom into a palace of practical activity. Over the coming posts I will share my favourite practicals, top tips for effective practical activities, interviews, book reviews and much more. Hopefully I can inspire you to pack away the textbooks and videos in favour of demonstrations and experiments.
Let’s get started!