Resource 1: Making Science relevant
Teacher resource to support teaching approaches
Making science relevant to everyday life
The TESSA resources are underpinned by a view that science is not just an activity that is carried out by people in white coats in a laboratory. Science helps students to make sense of the world and they need to realise that it is taking place all around them. Many everyday activities involve scientific principles. It is important that pupils get the opportunity to apply their scientific knowledge to an understanding of their own environment and that they understand that the skills they develop in science are relevant to some of the problems they face in everyday life.
Use local examples where possible, but also encourage pupils to draw on their own experience in the classroom.
- Use local examples and materials, e.g. hibiscus indicator; local minibeasts for work on classification or adaptation; wood and kerosene to compare calorific content of fuels.
- Give pupils a challenge using scrap materials, e.g. obtain clean salt.
Pupils could find information from local newspapers or magazines or interview adults in the community, such as brewers, mechanics or health workers. This could be the basis of a poster, oral presentation or role play.
Making use of the school grounds
Besides the obvious opportunities for ecological investigations, the school grounds are a source of teaching examples in other topics such as corrosion, structures and forces. Take pupils to see them or ask them to find examples or collect data for analysis.
Visit local industries, agricultural sites or museums. The effective teacher will link this to classroom work both before and after the trip.
Ask pupils to write about examples of science around them (e.g. chemical change in the kitchen or forces on the football field) or to bring materials to the classroom.
Use local issues as a stimulus for creative written work, e.g. a letter to a newspaper or radio script on local environmental or health issues.
- Interviews – one child could be the ‘expert’ and the interviewer can ask questions as if they were producing a news item for the radio.
- Pupils come to a decision about a local issue, e.g. health promotion or energy supply.
You should create a file for yourself and keep any newspaper and magazine articles that you find that contain or are about scientific issues. Every time you start a new topic, ask yourself how it relates to everyday life and help your students to make those connections.
Brainstorming as a class or in smaller groups can help students to make connections between the science they learn in class and their everyday lives.