Collaborative schools project
Maree Timms describes how a group of educators in country Victoria, Australia collaborated on a project to overcome the “stigma” of STEM subjects and make them more appealing, particularly for girls. Students have dully taken up the challenge!
Sam Howey-Nunn, has been inspired by two remarkable women, the 19th Century computer pioneer, Ada Lovelace and the actor, Zoe Philpott. Sam and Zoe are now collaborating in the production of a a new touring show: “Ada, Ada, Ada”. ITM caught up with Sam to find out more about Ada Lovelace, and how her life is being portrayed in this new performance.
Despite the demands of teaching overseas, Robin Nagy wanted to do more. His concern for the plight of endangered species and threatened rainforests prompted him to launch a new venture. In an endearingly understated account, Robin sheds light on the successes and challenges of the Sumatran environmental projects.
The experience of direct learning
Question: How do four year olds learn?
Answer: In any way they can!
Everything at that age is new. All learning experiences are direct – audible, tangible, visible. Children learn by tasting and smelling. The engagement with the immediate environment is direct, and learning is by total immersion. Andy Homden argues that this kind of Direct Learning should play a much bigger role as children progress through primary into secondary.
After two stints teaching Biology in Indonesia and Singapore, Jon Avon makes a strong case for the value of fieldwork. With interest in environmental studies dwindling in Grades 11 & 12 (Years 12 & 13) he thinks that it has never been more important to get students out of the classroom and into the field. In his view nothing motivates students to take an interest in ecology more than a well-conducted field trip. The preparation and responsibilities can be daunting, but the return on the hard work is well worth the effort. Here he offers advice for getting on the road in the right kind of way.
In life it is rare to discover a book that is truly “life-changing”. Silent Spring was just that for Dr Samia Al-Farra. Dr Samia explains how an inspired choice changed her view of the world and opened her eyes to the fragility of our planet and its resources.
An inspired choice
More than forty years ago, as part of my under-graduate course, in Science with a major in Biology, we were expected to read, discuss and write a critical account of ten evidence-based, scientific books covering topics such as drugs, pollution, and population control.
Meet some inspirational scientists on line
If you want to encourage your students to take up science at a higher level, BBC Radio 4’s Life Scientific might just provide the inspiration. Presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili, it is a rich resource for teachers and students of science in Grades 10, 11 and 12 (UK Years 11, 12 & 13). Teachers of ToK (Theory of Knowledge) will also find the series extremely useful. Professor Al-Khalili interviews some of the world’s leading scientists. How did they choose their branch of science? Did it choose them? What influenced them at school? Did family members encourage them? What difficulties did they overcome?