Peter Banks reviews a classroom-ready teaching resource site
When trying to find teaching resources it’s reasonably easy to find items that contain lots of good scientific content. But, with many schools and exams now requiring a societal or moral approach to science, teachers need to develop resources to help students think about the impact science has on us. Engaging Science contains a number of useful resources that fill this gap perfectly.
At first glance the site is very appealing. It’s attractive design and familiar feel makes it easy to use. You can browse through, but have to register (for free) and log in to download resources. There is also an advanced user sign up – you fill in a very short questionnaire – that gives you access to a couple of extra resources.
The resources themselves are excellent and easy to take straight into the classroom, which is exactly what teachers need. Browsing is simple: resources are categorised both by scientific skill and also the big ideas of science. I like that whether you are aiming to focus your lesson on a skill or content, the resources complement both. This is a big positive, as I believe skills and ideas need to be taught alongside each other.
Engaging Science provides a good array of downloads for each activity. For example, a resource in the scientific enquiry category ‘risk’ and the big ideas category ‘matter’ looks at electronic cigarettes. It consists of a set of very well put together PowerPoint files, one for each lesson, plus a teacher’s guide. These look at the ideas around the particle model using a real life scenario and then encourage students to think about the risks involved. Worksheets are combined into the PowerPoint file and both were fairly easy to edit to allow you to differentiate for your pupils.
I have already adjusted my Key Stage 3 scheme of work to include several of these resources. They do exactly what I want them to do and save me a lot of time trying to come up with something on my own.