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Tes Editorial

Primary science

An elementary investigation

I was keen for my 10- and 11-year-old pupils to tackle openended investigations, so I cordoned off an area in the class and explained that my prized Post-it notes had vanished. All that was left at the scene was a pile of white powder.

I told them a police officer had searched the school and found several samples of a similar white powder, and tasked them with seeing if any were a match. We discussed methods to differentiate between the powders - such as examining them under a microscope or dissolving them in water - and I asked the pupils to record their evidence.

Once they could tell the samples apart, they wrote a report and named a suspect. The children were able to support their conclusions, so the investigation was a success.

Sara Williams is a primary teacher in Durham

Secondary PE

Boost reaction times with two-ball netball

To improve in netball, pupils must learn to respond to instant changes. Start as normal with two teams of seven, but use two balls.

Each centre player stands back-to-back outside the centre circle, facing towards their attacking end - they need to get a quick centre pass out to their players.

If one team gets the ball into the goal circle and scores before the other team, the whistle is blown. On hearing the whistle, both teams return to the centre and the team that scored gains a point.

Now the team that didn't score has two balls in their possession and the other team has none. The same principles of scoring apply; the team with no balls has to intercept.

The game can continue in this vein for the whole session. Using two balls simultaneously improves spatial awareness on court, as well as awareness of opponents.

Rebecca Bownas teaches geography

Secondary drama

Make a noise about performance

Technical theatre is an aspect of performance that tends to be ignored in the classroom. This lesson introduces 12- and 13-year-old pupils to the importance of sound in performance. The simple format generates varied and creative responses because it revolves around interpretation.

After an introduction, students respond to a series of noises. I play a 30-second clip to the class. Working in small groups, they create a still image of the sound. This can be a physical representation or a more abstract response.

Once they have created four of these (to different sounds), the groups link them together with silent movement, bringing the still images to life. This process is repeated until each group has eight to 10 linked images, which are then performed and the outcome is analysed by the class.

Isobel Payne is a drama teacher in Surrey

To access resources for all three lessons, visit:


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Tes Editorial

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