disappearing tracks by dfsiopmhy6



     What the teacher said
     ‘This was a completely new approach for me and it surprised my
     class. In science, I don’t usually project OHTs on the classroom wall.
     This alone was original and immediately grabbed the children’s

     ‘As the children began to realise that there were no right or
     wrong answers, they started to speculate about possible theories.
     With confidence growing in the classroom, I was pleased to see
     some of the less outspoken children taking part in the discussion.

     ‘I think that giving the children the freedom to record their ideas
     however they wanted was successful. They each used a slightly
     different approach, and incorporated both writing and drawing
     into their reports.

     ‘Because I wanted to bring out the children’s creativity, it was
     important to think carefully about the way I responded to their
     ideas. I placed equal value on every suggestion and explored them
     all in some detail, making sure that I gave the pupils thinking
     time. Ideally, I would have spent longer considering the difference
     between observations and inferences, as this was something that
     really got the class thinking.’

     Ref: QCA/05/1592
     @ Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 2005
The mystery
of the
Year 5 pupils let their imaginations
run free when they looked at
pictures of animal tracks.

                                       Year group:         5

                                       Subject:            science

                                       NC programme        Sc1p1a, Sc1p2i,
                                       of study:           Sc1p2j, Sc1p2l

                                       Framework for       24 – to write
                                       teaching English:   recounts based on
                                                           subject, topic or
                                                           personal experiences
                                                           for (a) a close friend
                                                           and (b) an unknown
                                                   In this project you will see evidence of pupils:
           creativity:                             • questioning and challenging
                                                   • envisaging what might be
            find it!
                                                   • exploring ideas, keeping options open.

                                                   The project story
                                                   The teacher planned this 30-minute lesson with the aim of
 This activity directly challenged pupils to
                   envisage what might be.         showing the pupils that scientists may legitimately interpret the
                                                   same data differently and therefore disagree. She also wanted
                                                   to begin to show the pupils that scientific knowledge can
                                                   change, given new evidence or new interpretations of existing
                                                   evidence. Science is an activity that involves creativity and

                                                   To capture the pupils’ interest, the teacher began by telling the
         The teacher grabbed the pupils’
    attention by starting the lesson in an         class that this was going to be a science lesson with a
                             unusual way.
                                                   difference. She switched off the light and projected three
                                                   overhead transparencies onto the classroom wall, one after the
                                                   other. The pupils fell silent as they looked at the images and
                                                   tried to make sense of what they were seeing.

    Stimulating visual materials fired the         The first slide showed two sets of bird tracks heading towards
                     pupils’ imagination.
                                               p   each other without actually meeting. The second showed two
                                                   sets of tracks converge and meet, becoming blurred on an area
                                                   of ground that had been ‘scuffed up’. The final slide was
                                                   similar to the second, but also showed a single set of tracks
                                                   leaving the scuffed-up area.

 Allowing the pupils to choose their own           The teacher asked the class to look carefully at each picture
approach to the task encouraged them to
                     think independently.      p   and, working on their own, to produce a report (in any form)
                                                   that answered three questions: ‘What do the pictures show?’
                                                   ‘What might be happening in the pictures?’ (and finally) ‘What
                                                   does this exercise have to do with science?’

                                                   Intrigued by this unusual task and pleased to be able to choose
                                                   their own way of presenting their ideas, the pupils settled
                                                   down to work well. Chideraa recorded her observations then
                                                   justified them with an explanation. Daniel produced an
                                                   annotated drawing that combined all the strands of his
                                                   argument. Ines gave inferences based on her observations, with
                                                   some drawings to support them. A few pupils even created a
                                                   storyline to describe what they thought was happening in the
                                                    You will see the teacher promoting creativity by:
                                                    • starting the lesson in an unusual way, with
                                                      stimulating visual material
            creativity:                             • directly challenging pupils to envisage what
                                                      might be
       promote it!                                  • encouraging the pupils to work independently
                                                    • valuing and praising pupils’ ideas
                                                    • asking open-ended questions.

       The pupils responded to the task in          When they had finished, the teacher asked the pupils to share

  surprising, individual ways. The diversity        their ideas with the rest of the class. In total, there were 27
  of their theories showed that they were
     thinking independently and, in some
                                                    different explanations of what might have made the tracks,
             cases, quite unconventionally.         ranging from chickens, blackbirds and penguins, to burglars
                                                    and even aliens.

Challenged to envisage what might be, the           Several of the children thought that the marks had been made
   pupils speculated about possibilities and
 saw different scenarios in their mind’s eye.
                                                f   by two birds meeting, fighting, one dying and the other
                                                    walking off. Rachael suggested that the marks were made by
                                                    ducks eating. Liam thought that they might have been made
                                                    by a pair of ducks mating. The teacher explored every idea,
                                                    asking the pupils open-ended questions to draw out more
  By valuing all contributions, the teacher
gave the pupils the reassurance to explore
         more imaginative, unusual ideas.
                                                p   information. As the class began to realise that there were no
                                                    right or wrong answers, several pupils gained the confidence to
                                                    put forward some very different theories. Ishika suggested that
                                                    someone could have been kidnapped by a thief. Bradley
                                                    speculated on whether the tracks might be evidence of an alien
  The pupils showed an ability to keep an
                                                    invasion. George suggested preparations for a war, with a
      open mind and look at things from
                 different points of view.
                                                f   ‘good versus evil’ motif and advance guards meeting
                                                    unexpectedly, precipitating hostilities.

                                                    After the main discussion, the teacher asked the pupils how
                                                    they thought this activity was linked with science. Some
                                                    suggested ‘observation’, ‘investigation’, ‘proving what
                                                    happened’ and ’being creative’. Ines’ response was: ‘Because
                                                    you have to think what is happening with just a bit of

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