Sparking off each other

4th July 2008 at 01:00
What do you make of the science curriculum, and how are you keeping pupils motivated post-exams? Virginia Hunt listens in to your views on The TES website

What do you make of the science curriculum, and how are you keeping pupils motivated post-exams? Virginia Hunt listens in to your views on The TES website

How do you go about nurturing the next Charles Darwin, Harry Kroto or Stephen Hawking?" asks Purplebear, voicing concerns on The TES science forum about how to generate enthusiasm for science careers in pupils. But will the new key stage 3 science curriculum, with less prescribed content and more flexibility in teaching approach, be able to do this?

Suz3 has her doubts and says: "The new GCSEs cannot possibly be aimed at creating future scientists. The bright kids in our school are disillusioned and frustrated by it. Few want to continue. Unfortunately they are stuck with it."

Kevgeall, though, supports the changes: "They were designed around the premise that science education needs to do two things: produce future scientists and improve everyone's scientific literacy. Those are two different aims, hence the different courses. Up until recently everyone assumed that you could do both at once. Ridiculous, when you come to think about it."

2Tony2 notes: "I think one of the intentions was to allow the majority who don't go on to become scientists to get something useful out of their GCSE." (

Now that exams are done what can you do to keep pupils, and yourself, awake? Mangleworzle suggests you get them busy, making the class look pretty and boasts "some fantastic room displays on photosynthesis, a three-metre wide 3-D solar system on the ceiling, a large plate tectonics and dinosaur extinction display," all produced by pupils. What better way to "decorate your room without spending half your life doing it."

Not to be outdone, HezWad says: "My Year 9s made me a full-size 3-D card skeleton. It's still hanging in the corner of my room." Their current project is a "full-on forensics workshop with urine analysis, blood grouping, blood splattering, fingerprinting, DNA extraction, photofits, etc."

Add your own ideas at If you still need inspiration our scientists show even more creativity at Pumpkin "started off digestion by eating cat food with a fork from a tin," reassuring us that it's "not really cat food but Mars bars melted together with jelly. Tastes nice and certainly got said pupils sitting up."

Virginia Hunt is The TES deputy website community editor


- Use this optical illusions PowerPoint to explore how we see things in key stage 3 biology

- Differentiated worksheets on food webs for lower key stage 3 pupils

- Fun challenges that bring science to life for primary children

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