Integrating Science

I know the title sounds like some dreadful policy statement, or yet another course which promises high scores for the league tables without any dumbing down, nudge nudge wink wink. But it’s not. Instead, it’s a simple activity you could do with any science class. It would work well during Science Week, and I think the results might be worthy of a display. Even if it started as a joke on Twitter:

Why not start with your preferred version of this, and see what kids can suggest about the real links between science topics? This would be an interesting review activity towards the end of KS3, for example. Electron shells are both physics and chemistry, as are proton numbers – but can students write in the overlapping regions how it works? What about the chemistry of aerobic respiration (or is that physics because of the energy change)? Geology can be considered as what happens when physics (convection, fluid dynamics, expansion/contraction etc) meets chemistry (minerals, rock composition, acids). I’m imagining large circles drawn on a demo desk, and students adding post-it notes with their ideas in the appropriate gaps.

I like the idea of having students spot and explain the links between what are so often seen as completely different regions of the subject. I used this with my year 13 students recently, when we discussed how a melting ionic compound is breaking both chemical and physical bonds. Making these connections between subjects help to improve both understanding and recall. I’d love to hear how other students – and teachers – integrate the varied science topics into a Venn diagram in their very own way. Links in the comments, perhaps?

(I should add a thank you to @PookyH for her description of how to embed a ‘live’ tweet’.)

And I’d like to apologise to regular readers for the long pause between posts; I’m in the middle of several new projects, one of which is just getting off the ground. Check out studenttoolkit.co.uk for more information.

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2 thoughts on “Integrating Science”

  1. Gosh, There’s a blog to bookmark for my tutees!

    I’ve been teaching a really simple course recently which i’ve found so…strange to teach. Basically it’s teaching parents to do science with their children, which in itself probably sounds very simple but you’d be surprised how many parents fear science!

    Anyway…to get back to the point šŸ™‚ I’ve found that many students (both the parents and the (ks2) children involved ) don’t really realsie how much science they actually do everyday and that by making them realise this gives them a lot more confidence in doing science. Well…either that or makes them terrified to do anything in case they create a race of mind controlling nano-bots…

    Sorry, I ramble.
    Welcome back.

  2. I’ve used a similar idea with teachers to help them identify the ‘big ideas’ of their subject and how they link together. As an educator it can be useful to stand back and remind yourself of the big picture now and then.

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