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Piece of cake

Knowing what's hot and what's not can help your young scientists spark, says Caroline Molyneux.In the world of teenagers, things move fast. And ideas date quickly. So I add, adapt and very often totally revamp.

A lesson on diets and slimming programmes opens with a clip from TV's Little Britain and "Fat Fighters".

Year 7 remember the reproductive organs of a flowering plant by singing along to the Grease 2 song "Reproduction" with a slideshow of the words and a labelled diagram of the plant.

Each weekend I jot down the topics for the coming week in my teachers' planner. New ideas for lessons pop out everywhere. For example, an idea jumps out while shopping in the local supermarket: the Hallowe'en goods are out, why not use fake blood to investigate if the height of a drop of blood affects the diameter of the spot produced? This is a superb How Science Works investigation for the new GCSE syllabuses. Watching my local football team (the mighty Wigan Athletic) I think, why not get pupils to write to the footballers and ask them about their diet?

I feel a satisfied buzz when the pupils are excited about the lesson and are wondering what is coming next

Caroline Molyneux teaches at Balshaw's Church of England High School in Leyland, Lancashire


Key stage 3

Book Saving Planet Earth. (Collins, pound;20). Beautiful pictures and dialogue to help stimulate the minds of your pupils when thinking about sustainability and recycling.

Resource Badger Science: Level Assessed Tasks (, pound;53 each). An activity for every topic at key stage 3 broken down into a separate book for each year group. Gives level ladders for the children to use when writing and one for marking.

Website ukindex.htm The science and plants for schools website.

Website ARKive is a free online library of films, photographs and sound recordings of endangered and threatened plants.

Key stage 4

Book The Periodic Table - Elements with style. Adrian Dingle. (Kingfisher Books, pound;6.99). A cute little book great for looking at each of the elements in the periodic table. Can be used for Unit C4 in 21st Century Science. Well illustrated with useful fun facts.

Resource Genes in a Bottle Kit - Bio Rad ( A simple kit that allows pupils to extract their own DNA and take it home on a necklace. This is a bit of a change from the Kiwi or Onion DNA extraction, if you want to enthuse pupils.

Website Great website for teaching Unit B1 in 21st Century Science from the Genetic Interest Group. Includes a fun interactive quiz with moving animations to test pupils' knowledge.

Helen Waddington teaches science at Unity College in Burnley.

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