Resource 1: Making Science relevant

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

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. It not only helps students make sense of the world but it is also taking place all around them. Many everyday activities involve scientific principles. It is important that students 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.

Possible strategies

Class discussion

Use local examples where possible, but also encourage students to draw on their own experience in the classroom.

Practical work

  • 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 students a challenge using scrap materials, e.g. obtain clean salt .

Research projects

Students find information from local newspapers or magazines, or interview adults in the community, e.g. 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 grounds are a source of teaching examples in other topics, e.g. corrosion, structures and forces. Take pupils to see them or ask them to find examples or collect data for analysis.

Day visits

Visit local industries, agricultural sites or museums. The effective teacher will link this to classroom work both before and after the trip.


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.

Writing tasks

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.

Discussion tasks

  • Interviews – one child could be the ‘expert’ and the interviewer can ask questions as if it was a news item on 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 science 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.

3. How do we generate electricity?

Resource 2: News item on fuels