Tag Archives: resources

Droppin’ science

Happy New Year to one and all- hope your holidays were relaxing, or if they weren’t, then at least still food-and-fun-filled.

Kicking off the new year in style, we will be at the ASE conference in Reading from tomorrow- stop by the Science Museum stand and say hello!

And how about this Hip-Hop Experiment for getting students to talk science: GZA, of Wu-Tang Clan fame, has teamed up with Columbia Uni Professor Chris Emdin to teach young people science through rap, in a project launched in 10 New York City schools. They believe that the challenge of coming up with rhymes about science, and standing up to deliver them to their peers, can help engage hard-to-reach students in a way they can feel proud of.

Droppin science: students in Harlem take turns delivering raps in class. Dr Emdin,left, joins in.

‘We should find new ways to capture the interest of a new generation’ says Dr Emdin. And how right he is! We agree wholeheartedly, and have been living by this philosophy for a long time- which is why we promote the use of powerful questions in discussions (e.g. how could Justin Bieber reduce his world tour’s carbon footprint?) and more recently, digital games in the classroom, to give students a way into talking science by showing them that it’s absolutely relevant to their lives and interests.

Emdin says the skills required for success in science are much like those of a good rapper: ‘curiosity, keen observation, an ability to use metaphor and draw connections.’  Might I add, science and music are both creative fields, and without imagination, there isn’t much moving beyond what ideas already exist!

Feel like giving the science rap a shot? Why not, why not. After teaching a lesson, set your students the task of coming up with some rhymes for homework, instead of a report or essay. If you do try it, we’d love to hear how it went!

Royal resources

Did you know? The Royal Society has a whole selection of curriculum-linked science teaching resources for Key Stage 2, 3, 4 and 5. (But do explore what’s available for other key stages than your own, because many activities and experiments can be adapted)

The site is called Invigorate and the resources are based on the work of scientists connected with The Royal Society (eg Isaac Newton). The big thing is that they make the link between ‘historical’ science and our lives today, or how today’s scientific research might impact on the society in future. In other words, they reinforce to your students that science is a part of society; the context in which discoveries were made affected those discoveries, just as much as those discoveries changed society.

X-ray imaging changed the world

X-ray imaging changed the world. Image Noosaradiology.com

Pop over to the site and have a good look through the available resources -from quizzes to practical experiments- which are also linked to plenty of really useful background material like videos and podcasts. Loads of the experiments are based on the projects on display at the Summer Exhibition 2011, so your students can feel connected to real science going on today, and you can find out more about the scientists behind the research too.

Hopefully you will find these resources useful inside and out of the classroom. We really like that they link science in the classroom to science in the world around us and also to the people doing that science- a really important way for students to appreciate how science shapes our world.

Good luck!

New Punk Junk!

Short films are a great way of providing your students with some knowledge to bring into a discussion, or helping them formulate an opinion on an issue.

We do love films… And we love the Punk Science boys- our home-grown rambunctious science comedians. So we have put the two together.

We now have two new Punk Science films that will make all your dreams come true! Well, they will if you dream about having a fun video on ‘going green’ to show your students before a climate-science themed discussion, or a short flick that clarifies the difference between genetic modification and selective breeding.

If you dream about exotic holidays and eating cherries ’til your stomach aches then I’m not sure if Punk Science can help… but they will make you smile. Enjoy!

Eco Dan: Punk Science shows us how it's done

Eco Dan: Punk Science shows us how it's done

Think tiny

Nanotechnology is a hot topic, and there is a wealth of information online- we have just found a useful site that covers the main things, from the definition of nanotechnology to some of its applications and risks: 10 things you should know about nanotechnology. You can get your students to explore it for research prior to a discussion on the topic… but it’s quite text-heavy, so if you need to lighten things up, why not use Punk Science’s Nanotechnology Song to hook your students in first!

Artists interpretation of carbon nanotubules

And if you want to do some demonstrations or activities in the classroom, this site contains some cool experiments you or your students can do quickly, with instructional videos. Mmmm, liquid crystals…

Climate spice can be nice

Climate science is a hot topic, and right now we have quite a few great (if we may say so ourselves) exhibitions and resources here at the Science Museum, things that will inspire discussion and make teaching climate science that much more engaging.

Right now a special exhibition called Ten Climate Stories is open on the ground floor, revealing the hidden stories behind some of our favourite objects and also showcasing some incredible artwork. The Antarctic Sno-Cat is so amazing, it gives us chills (excuse the pun)! And do you have any idea what goes into making everyday objects like a toaster? We think you will be surprised!

Antarctic Sno-Cat: the stuff adventure is made of

Investigate our climate-changing world in Atmosphere, make sense of how climate works and travel back in time to uncover the secrets of our ice core. This is a really immersive exhibition, designed as a space with its own landscape, oceans and atmosphere so we think your students will find it a lot of fun to explore!

Oh, if you get the chance and bugs don’t bug you out, TAKE OUR COCKROACH TOUR! Put yourself in their shells and take a look at those bizarre creatures known as humans… Weekends only (so maybe this is best for you and a friend), space is limited to ring 0870 870 4868 to book your place.

Of course, pay a visit to the Energy gallery to get your students thinking about the ways we fuel our lifestyle and where our electricity comes from. You will have to book a timeslot for this (it is free), and your students will benefit from an excellent briefing to get them thinking about the energy debate before they go into the gallery. Do call our Learning Support Team to book.

Once you’re back at school (or at home) you can play our online game Rizk which is all about the difference between thriving and surviving- representing the choices we make to develop our world and the risks we take. I’m a big fan of it’s slick, moody graphics- beautiful!

Rizk - whats the difference between surviving and thriving?

We also have a whole range of learning resources that will help you engage your students in the topic (which can be a bit tricky to make appealing, we know!). So on our website you will find everything you need to plan a collapsed timetable day- but you can pick and choose activities to just use in your classroom too.

Our resources are all developed and tested with teachers and students (we even ran the Carbon Cycle Caper at ASE conference in January and it got rave reviews) so hopefully from all this you’ll find something that suits your needs and helps you add a bit of climate spice to your lessons!