Healthy Schools day – burning crisps

I was tasked with the job of running a session with a health related theme.   I decided to compare the energy in different crisps, with the primary objective being purely to demonstrate what an good source of energy they are.

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The photographs show 2.5g of various crisps being burnt under 20 cm3 of water.  Whilst we tried to ensure the flame tickled the test tube as much as possible, collecting accurate results wasn’t the primary objective for this lesson.

(If we had wanted to collect more accurate data we could have made calorimeters like this made by students of Phillip Cook in the USA)

The importance of good quality science CPD

microscale production I’ve been a science teacher for more years than I care to remember.  I’ve also been on plenty of courses in that time.  I tend to be very selective which courses I attend now, as my time is so valuable (and I’ve walked out of many courses for this reason).  This week I’ve been fortunate to spend a day attending quality CPD on the ASE Northern Area Science and CPD Conference.   (The picture was taken during a workshop on micro-scale production of gases using syringes run by Alan Goodwin)

This was the third ASE CPD event I’ve attended in the last few months, all of which have been of extremely high quality.  (For those of you that aren’t ASE members, I can honestly recommend membership as it gives you access not only to the best quality science CPD, but also the most reasonably priced science CPD I’ve seen on the market.)

I’m active on Twitter and I pick up tips off there.  I also use Google Reader to follow a number of blogs written by teachers who interest me.  Whilst both of these are useful there is no substitute for ‘proper’ CPD.  I tried to think of what makes good CPD, and what I should be aspiring to when I run CPD of my own.

  • Clear objectives published before the event so teachers can decide if the course will be useful to them
  • Opportunity to engage with and interact with other science teachers
  • Relevance to the audience
  • Being given or coming away with information that is useful to you
  • Getting ideas that you can use in your own teaching
  • Delivered by someone with good subject knowledge
  • Draws on the presenters own experiences – tried and tested
  • Has the ultimate aim of improving teaching and learning
  • Opportunity to interact with presenter after the event
  • Resources/notes etc to take away
  • Leaving course participants ‘buzzing’ and eager to try out ideas in their own classroom

I’m pleased to say that the ASE regional conference delivered on all counts.

Comparing KS3 NC level descriptors using Wordle

It was suggested to me that I compare the old and new (and now abandoned) key stage 3 level descriptors to see what the differences are.

For your convenience I’ve listed the old and new level descriptors side by side.  I’ve also fed the old and new descriptors into Wordle to gain an overview for each level.  These are included in the attached document as well.

I’d be interested to hear viewpoints on the differences between the old and new level descriptors.

comparing level descriptors.pdf


Update (11/06/10):

Given the lack of detail in the Government statement I’m wondering if I got the wrong end of the stick. On the QCDA site there are level descriptors (KS3) from 1 upwards, and a document dated hidden at the bottom of the page, and then the 2007 descriptors also listed at the bottom that seem identical but missing levels 1 to 3. Is it the new levels 1 – 3 we are not meant to be using? I can’t believe we are going back to the v. old level descriptors but in the lack of detailed guidance from the Dept of Education it’s hard to know what to think!