Tag Archives: discussion technique

Swab test to predict future illness?

Could a single drop of your saliva tell you if you are prone to genetically inherited diseases?

Model of DNA

Model of DNA (SSPL)

Well this could soon be a reality according to scientists at Edinburgh University. They are developing a quick and cheap swab test to analyse your DNA. the Results could tell you if you were healthly, likely to develop a disease or diagonse conditions like cystic fibrosis. You can read more about this research here

Would you take the test? Would you like to know what your future health might be?

This story is a great starter for a dicussion around DNA, gentetics and gentic inheritance. The human barometer technique would be the perfect way to measure your student’s opinion and see how they would feel about having this test done.

Top Techniques : Powerful Questions

‘Would you wear second hand pants to save the Earth?’

How do you get your students interested in discussing a topic? Well one simple technique to hook them is to ask a powerful question. The Talk Science team have devised an easy way to come up with great questions that link what your students are interested in outside of the classroom with what you want them to discuss in lessons. Click here to find out how we do it and you too will find yourself asking your students great questions like :

‘Do boys pollute more than girls?’

and many more…….

Santa’s Den – how green is your sleigh?

Top tip: Engage your students by making your discussions topical

It could be the Copenhagen conference or the Large Hadron Colider – take advantage of whatever’s happening in the news to get your students talking. On a Christmassy theme here’s a great idea generated by teachers in Newcastle on a recent Talk Science course.

Santa’s Den

Using the format of popular TV show Dragons’ Den, students work in small groups to pitch ideas on how to make Santa’s sleigh more eco-friendly – even Santa is looking for ways to reduce his carbon footprint these days!

Santa, his sleigh and a polar bear

Santa, his sleigh and a polar bear

This is a fun and easy way to look at alternative fuels and energy sources. What do you need?

  • Some dragons (technicians do this very well as do fellow science teachers! alternatively get your students to play the part)
  • Five or six small groups of students
  • Information on alternative energy sources

Plenty of info on energy sources is available on the Science Museum’s Energy Gallery website and also from our ‘Does Flying cost the Earth?’ mini site.

Give the groups time to come up with a new way of powering Santa’s sleigh to maximise his green credentials. The add in whatever extra constraints you like – a budget limit, must generate enough power to travel round the world, does it work in the dark etc.

Each group pitches to the Dragons who can cross examine the ideas. The Dragons then decide if they want to invest or not.

For more information about role play activites click here.

Merry Christmas from the Talk Science Team!

Give your students Swine Flu

Add a humerous twist to your discussions with Giant Microbes. Anyone who has been to our training course will know that we love the cute and cuddly bugs from STDs to sore throats and everything in between. And now they’ve added Swine Flu to the Giant Microbe family.  

Swine Flu Giant Microbe

Swine Flu Giant Microbe

Giant Microbes make fantastic talk objects which help manage classroom discussion becasue only the person holding the object is allowed to speak. Matching your talk object to the topic of discussion in this way adds a fun dimension to the lesson – we watched a great lesson at Westminster Academy last year on microwaves where the talk object was a rubber hand (wave… do you get it?).