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Subject Genius Blog: Science
IB chemistry – acids and bases, the yin and yang of the chemical universe
One of the most difficult chapters in International Baccalaureate (IB)/A-level chemistry is the one on acids and bases. It challenges...
20th August 2018 at 09:00
Time to get personal: practical ways to show your passion for biology in the classroom to help students engage with the natural world
Ask yourself and reply honestly: when was the last time you transferred your passion for your subject to your students? For that matter,...
9th May 2018 at 10:02
How to overcome barriers to learning and inspire the next generation of scientists
It wasn’t always an obvious passion, like many young girls, aged five, I wanted to be a fashion designer. It wasn’t until secondary school...
19th June 2017 at 12:01
How drawing images and diagrams can help learners to grasp complex scientific information
I first started teaching in 2001, and have taught all three sciences to a range of abilities and age groups from 11-19 years (specialising...
4th April 2017 at 14:04
How to engage bright science students in dull syllabus content
Thermal efficiencies and energy transfers of different materials is a fairly dull and uninspiring aspect of most physics exam board...
3rd April 2017 at 16:07
How homework can help your students consolidate their learning and create more enthusiasm for science
I have to lay my cards on the table – or perhaps science teachers are more likely to lay their mats on their benches - I’m not a big fan of...
30th March 2017 at 16:30
Teacher with Outstanding Feature
How to teach an observed lesson on the difference between elements, compounds and mixtures
This term we have had the delights of learning walks and lesson observations by the senior leadership team. I had drawn the deputy head to...
23rd February 2017 at 14:02
Meaningful relationships: establishing a deeper understanding of chemical bonding
A sixteen-year-old in the first year of her IB chemistry course recently asked me, “What is the difference between the Chemical Bonding...
20th February 2017 at 17:23
Keep pupils engaged with a science circus in your classroom and a speed-dating style revision exercise
Being a teacher can sometimes feel like you are spinning plates, trying to keep everything going until the end of term. However, sometimes...
7th February 2017 at 14:04
Maths: contextual learning is best
My 16-year-old daughter has the type of brain that makes her either a joy or a nightmare to teach. Her synapses and neurons never seem to...
26th January 2017 at 14:13
“Help, I don’t have a maths brain!”
One of the most common reasons why students are deterred from subjects such as physics (and to some extent, chemistry) is the misconception...
19th January 2017 at 14:31
IB physics – be inspired to teach relativity
Reality and space-time I once read a long time ago that it is easier to teach relativity to small children than it is to teach adults,...
5th December 2016 at 15:03
What do teachers do 400 times a day, 70,000 times a year and spend a third of our time in the classroom doing? Allegedly asking questions...
22nd November 2016 at 16:18
‘It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog’
I have always found that GCSE results day consists of a multitude of emotions. There are hopeful parents, nervous teenagers and equally...
8th November 2016 at 15:02
Getting it right in your first few lessons
There is so much advice and more blogs than you can read in your summer break on how to get your first lesson(s) off to a good start as an...
27th September 2016 at 15:05
A school-based magnetometer!
With huge thanks to the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, we now have a magnetometer in our school, collecting real data about the...
20th September 2016 at 17:29
The first week back…
The first week back in September is always a weird one for me. It brings with it new students, new seating plans and new challenges. There...
8th September 2016 at 17:33
The NASA Hyperwall
This resource is as amazing as it sounds. In April I went to the Geosciences information for teachers (GIFT) workshop as part of the...
7th September 2016 at 16:31
Preparing A-level students for the new style of exam papers
This time last year I was handing out packages that represented a small dead tree. I gave each of my AS and A-level students all the past...
19th May 2016 at 17:28
The bean bag boy
The bean bag boy grinned and explained to me ‘that the beans inside the bean bag stops all of my voice coming out the other side’. After...
17th May 2016 at 16:40
The role of boys and teachers in the uptake of physics by girls
You will have noticed that the number of girls taking physics beyond GCSE is a problem. Why a problem? Because of the brain drain this is...
10th March 2016 at 15:17
Trying not to lose the plot: are exam grades the whole point of my job?
It's very much the midst of key teaching time with exam classes at the moment, in case you hadn't noticed: the next weeks between now and...
11th February 2016 at 15:01
Kazakh ecology project
I am a biology teacher from Northern Ireland and I have been working at Nazarbayev Intellectual School, Aktobe in western Kazakhstan for...
20th January 2016 at 17:53
How to get your students excited about Tim Peake’s mission
Tim Peake is about to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) as the first British ESA astronaut to go there and I could not be...
14th December 2015 at 18:24
I’m not a big homework fan!
I have to lay my cards on the table – or perhaps Science teachers are more likely to lay their mats on their benches - I’m not a big fan of...
4th December 2015 at 20:46
Teaching almost everything through astrophysics
Christmas is coming – the John Lewis advert is out after all and it is all about looking through telescopes! (That is my interpretation at...
25th November 2015 at 17:52
I love PowerPoint!
It’s the fashion nowadays to talk of “Death by PowerPoint”, conjuring up images of boring meetings presided over by David Brent lookalikes...
24th November 2015 at 12:37
Stretch bright sparks' minds with the ultimate science quiz
I often find myself searching for science books that I can use in my lessons, anything from entertaining fun science to incredibly...
11th November 2015 at 10:25
No James Bond this year – have I short-changed my students?
It’s that time of year again with year 10 - I enter my darkened classroom to the James Bond theme, dressed in dinner jacket and brandishing...
30th October 2015 at 15:33
How opening a book could unlock the wonders of the natural world
Sparking curiosity about the world is one of the many reasons we teach science in school. Ultimately, science allows children to ask...
23rd October 2015 at 12:03
Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! Cool Runnings!
Since the days of video first appearing in school (I know you’re all thinking how can Simon Porter be so old, he looks so young in his...
19th October 2015 at 17:56
Unlocking creativity in extended projects at all key stages in Science, including the EPQ
This year I seem to be waging a war on the idea that Science and Maths are not creative and the latest place I have gleaned inspiration...
16th October 2015 at 16:30
A role-play lesson for teaching about electricity
What type of car does an electrician drive? A Volts-wagon! I need a joke to cheer me up as it’s year 7 electricity time again. As a...
9th October 2015 at 16:30
Am I getting too old for this!
One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve travelled the world teaching Physics in various international schools (Peru, Papua New Guinea, Norway, the...
29th September 2015 at 15:59
Science class of 2015: top tips to make engaging lessons for the 21st century
Another school year begins and the year eight students walk into their new science class. To the right of the blackboard, is the obligatory...
16th September 2015 at 16:05
Making box-on-a-slope problems fun
I had a lot of fun in June for an hour or so when my colleague in the maths department introduced me to a fantastic new resource. We...
14th September 2015 at 17:08
PGCE student inspired new year's resolution
I was incredibly lucky this year to have a fantastic PGCE student taking my Year 10 class. Great PGCE students really help you to question...
3rd September 2015 at 11:31
Why it's sometimes important to take your teaching to the classroom outside
It is at this time of year that thoughts turn to planning next year's programme of study and in biology it is important to consider when we...
9th July 2015 at 10:33
Encouraging students to think beyond gender stereotypes in science
This is an extract from an assembly I recently gave: When I chose to study further maths and physics at A-level and subsequently physics at...
6th July 2015 at 12:27
Is time travel possible? Teaching the Theory of Relativity
Is time travel possible? Can we someday change the course of the present and future by altering events in the past? Probably not, even...
6th July 2015 at 12:06