Physics - Pastels and Parsels

Dundee High physics teacher Lauren Boath is the only Scottish teacher to be piloting an EU-funded programme to make science more relevant and interesting for pupils, while improving their knowledge.

She has recently returned from Berlin, where the International PARSEL conference was attended by around 100 leading science teachers, educationists and researchers from around the world. Mrs Boath gave a presentation on her experiences of using two of the 54 PARSEL modules available - she chose two on electricity for her S3 class.

PARSEL (popularity and relevance of science education for science literacy) offers short modules for teachers to use in the classroom. Although the project is coming to the end of its current three-year funding, participants hope it will secure further backing.

Mrs Boath believes the PASTEL modules are closer to the principles behind A Curriculum for Excellence than the traditional Standard grade units, which can be quite content-heavy in her opinion.

"The PASTEL modules are good because they give the big picture and they get pupils thinking about their own learning. They cover the same physics (as Standard grade) and are equally rigorous in terms of the science," she says.

She found her pupils matured considerably in their attitudes to learning in the three months they did the modules and worked more effectively in groups.


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