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Science - Give them the big picture

What it's all about

Trying to explain to pupils how an enzyme changes shape when it is heated above 45 degsC can be a lesson in frustration, writes Diane Wilson.

But at an Association for Science Education conference, I was introduced to an animation that perfectly illustrates the different elements of the process the enzyme undergoes. Sunflower for Science, a software package produced by Sunflower Learning, includes 30 resources, from DNA to nuclear physics.

I use this in a number of ways. I typically start a class by running a demonstration on an interactive whiteboard to show pupils what they will be doing. They then run the animation themselves - repeatedly if necessary.

With Simple Circuits, pupils first watch the animation on the interactive whiteboard, then perform a practical experiment in the lab - or on laptops if another class is using the kit. On the laptop, they can drag a photograph of a battery into a circuit diagram and watch it transform into the symbol for a battery, which helps them with drawing circuits.

I can differentiate work for pupils and keep them focused. Those who storm ahead are kept occupied with data analysers.

The technology also illustrates concepts that are impossible to demonstrate in class, such as DNA replication. Animations bring the concepts to life and pupils can watch them over and over until it clicks.

The latest edition offers new ways of sharing activities via a link, so a pupil with an internet connection can access it at home. www.sunflowerlearning.com

What else?

Gerwyn Bish's PowerPoint provides a thorough introduction to DNA, plus a quiz. bit.lydnaDingba.

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