Bite-size solution for science

16th January 2004 at 00:00
My Year 3s were having problems identifying and remembering names of teeth in our science focus, "Teeth and Eating". I came up with the idea of using Plasticine to make their own models of teeth and gums based on plaster casts I got from a dentist.

They had to consider the scale and size of their models, which exercised their numeracy skills. Pupils examined their own teeth in the mirror, as well as the plaster casts. Their literacy skills were also used to refer to information texts on teeth.

They had great fun making the whole tooth (including the root) and inserting each into a hole in the gum made with a pencil. It helped them to explore the shape and properties of different types of teeth. The texts and plaster casts assisted the children with no front teeth to identify and mould their missing teeth so they could make a model of a full set of teeth.

After the lesson, I took digital photos of their models. I linked the next activity to my ICT lesson on combining text and graphics. Pupils used WordArt and arrows to label a photo of their own model. It looked fantastic in their science books and solved their initial problem of not knowing their incisors from their molars.

The follow-up lesson linked well with non-fiction work in literacy in which they researched "Looking after your teeth" in books and on the website They then designed posters to inform people about how to look after their teeth.

Louise Crichton, Year 3 class teacher, Milton Ernest VC Lower School, Bedfordshire

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