My brilliant idea - Box of tricks
Science - Ages 11-16
This idea is aimed at stretching gifted and talented pupils and can be used with older pupils in general.
Put pupils into groups of two to four and place a box of apparatus in front of them. Let them look at each piece and see if they can identify what they are and how they might be used. This forms the natural starter task.
Introduce the topic of the lesson, which should involve an experiment at some point. The idea is that you instruct pupils what you want to find out - which element reacts the most with water or heat, etc - and pupils design the experiment using the apparatus in the box.
This is great for creative thinking and team work. For an extra challenge, add pieces of apparatus that are not needed for the experiment or simply give only those pieces needed to differentiate the task further.
Chris Wheeler teaches at Ashton on Mersey School in Cheshire.