Archive of: November, 2019

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introTextImportance of Practical Science
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Almost without fail, this is a question asked at the beginning of each science lesson and, from the perspective of the students, for good reason - practical science means less writing and more fun.

There is nothing quite so pleasing as setting students off on a practical activity, and hearing shortly afterwards, “That’s sick, Sir!”. For me, this is what science is all about – discovering something new, investigating why something happens, or puzzling over why an experiment hasn’t done what was expected. What better way to inspire children than to give them the opportunity to develop their own knowledge through guided experimentation?

However, from a teaching perspective, practical science goes beyond simply motivating the students.

The Gatsby Foundation highlight five key purposes of practical science:

  •    To teach the principals of scientific inquiry
  •    To improve understanding of theory through practical experience
  •    To teach specific practical skills, such as measurement and observation, that may be useful in future study or employment
  •    To motivate and engage students
  •    To develop higher levels skills and attributes such as communication, teamwork and perseverance

As teachers, it is therefore important that, whilst we are aware of the motivational effect of practical activities, a clear educational purpose is established for all lab-work. This is particularly important given the increased emphasis on ‘working scientifically’ in Common Entrance exams, but also later at GCSE and A level.

Moving forward, it is my aim to continue to enhance our practical science provision at Cargilfield, developing a curriculum which draws upon the inquisitive nature of children to build them into the doctors and scientists of the future.

So, at a time when, in many schools, time doing practical science is being reduced due to curriculum, exam, and financial pressures, lab-work at Cargilfield continues to be an important element of the pupils’ scientific education.

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Almost without fail, this is a question asked at the beginning of each science lesson and, from the perspective of the students, for good reason - practical science means less writing and more fun.

There is nothing quite so pleasing as setting students off on a practical activity, and hearing shortly afterwards, “That’s sick, Sir!”. For me, this is what science is all about – discovering something new, investigating why something happens, or puzzling over why an experiment hasn’t done what was expected. What better way to inspire children than to give them the opportunity to develop their own knowledge through guided experimentation?

However, from a teaching perspective, practical science goes beyond simply motivating the students.

The Gatsby Foundation highlight five key purposes of practical science:

  •    To teach the principals of scientific inquiry
  •    To improve understanding of theory through practical experience
  •    To teach specific practical skills, such as measurement and observation, that may be useful in future study or employment
  •    To motivate and engage students
  •    To develop higher levels skills and attributes such as communication, teamwork and perseverance

As teachers, it is therefore important that, whilst we are aware of the motivational effect of practical activities, a clear educational purpose is established for all lab-work. This is particularly important given the increased emphasis on ‘working scientifically’ in Common Entrance exams, but also later at GCSE and A level.

Moving forward, it is my aim to continue to enhance our practical science provision at Cargilfield, developing a curriculum which draws upon the inquisitive nature of children to build them into the doctors and scientists of the future.

So, at a time when, in many schools, time doing practical science is being reduced due to curriculum, exam, and financial pressures, lab-work at Cargilfield continues to be an important element of the pupils’ scientific education.

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IMG 20190930 170741

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Cargilfield

“Are we going into the Lab, Sir?”

Importance of Practical Science

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IDValue
perch_page_path/teaching-and-learning/news/archive.php
introTextSimple methods bring success!
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Algebra Simplification

Algebra can seem abstract and confusing to pupils when they first meet it.

The fact that you are expecting quite young children to imagine letters representing numbers can be tough enough. Then making it harder by confusing the matter with methods that frankly do not make much sense.

Initially pupils are expected to write expressions

e.g. Consider the number y

Write an expression for:-

“twice the number”  2y
“four more than the number”  y + 4

less than 20”  20 - y

The pupils get the hang of these and hopefully see the logic by relating the to the number 6 for example.

The next challenge involves simplifying expressions.

Gathering Like terms

Consider 2a+3b+4a+6= 6a+9b

Some textbooks talk about “adding 2 apples and 4 apples to get 6 apples then 3 bananas and 6 bananas to get 9 bananas”. And stressing that you can’t add apples to bananas.

The children have just about got used to a letter representing a number when suddenly it becomes an apple, banana, egg or car!

Attempting to simplify 7ab -3- 5- 6- 2+ 5 + ab using apples and bananas makes no sense. (negative 5 bananas subtract 2 bananas ?? 7 apple/bananas ??)

A Better Way:

Using the listing method
Starting off with 2+ 6think of as a pile of sand, x metres above ground level. Adding 2 piles high of this sand with 6 piles high will give a pile 8 high.

Negative amounts of are then thought of as holes in the ground. 

-3is thought of as a hole three lots of metres down.

Looking at the examples below.

1) – is thought of as a pile of sand metres high filling in a hole of giving level ground.

i.e. 0 metres.

2) 2– 3is thought of as a pile of sand 2metres high filling in a hole deep leaving us with a hole of metres deep 

i.e. -a

page2image33563792

This is then used to explain the Listing Method:

A negative will cancel out a positive.  (filling in holes) 

Two positives will combine to make a bigger positive.   (a higher pile)

Two negatives will combine to make a bigger negative.  (a deeper hole)

Consider 1. 

List 3a - 4+ 5a - 2b

 

page3image33655856

= 8a - 6b

Consider 2. 

List -3y - 2z + 4z

 

page3image33677648

y(or -z+y )

This method is especially useful when simplifying expressions with powers of letters. 

Consider 3.

page4image33657104

This method has been used successfully for the last few years. The pupils are more accurate and are more likely to understand the logic of gathering like terms.

It can also be used to understand basic negative number calculations.

R. Farnan 18/11/19

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Algebra Simplification

Algebra can seem abstract and confusing to pupils when they first meet it.

The fact that you are expecting quite young children to imagine letters representing numbers can be tough enough. Then making it harder by confusing the matter with methods that frankly do not make much sense.

Initially pupils are expected to write expressions

e.g. Consider the number y

Write an expression for:-

“twice the number”  2y
“four more than the number”  y + 4

less than 20”  20 - y

The pupils get the hang of these and hopefully see the logic by relating the to the number 6 for example.

The next challenge involves simplifying expressions.

Gathering Like terms

Consider 2a+3b+4a+6= 6a+9b

Some textbooks talk about “adding 2 apples and 4 apples to get 6 apples then 3 bananas and 6 bananas to get 9 bananas”. And stressing that you can’t add apples to bananas.

The children have just about got used to a letter representing a number when suddenly it becomes an apple, banana, egg or car!

Attempting to simplify 7ab -3- 5- 6- 2+ 5 + ab using apples and bananas makes no sense. (negative 5 bananas subtract 2 bananas ?? 7 apple/bananas ??)

A Better Way:

Using the listing method
Starting off with 2+ 6think of as a pile of sand, x metres above ground level. Adding 2 piles high of this sand with 6 piles high will give a pile 8 high.

Negative amounts of are then thought of as holes in the ground. 

-3is thought of as a hole three lots of metres down.

Looking at the examples below.

1) – is thought of as a pile of sand metres high filling in a hole of giving level ground.

i.e. 0 metres.

2) 2– 3is thought of as a pile of sand 2metres high filling in a hole deep leaving us with a hole of metres deep 

i.e. -a

page2image33563792

This is then used to explain the Listing Method:

A negative will cancel out a positive.  (filling in holes) 

Two positives will combine to make a bigger positive.   (a higher pile)

Two negatives will combine to make a bigger negative.  (a deeper hole)

Consider 1. 

List 3a - 4+ 5a - 2b

 

page3image33655856

= 8a - 6b

Consider 2. 

List -3y - 2z + 4z

 

page3image33677648

y(or -z+y )

This method is especially useful when simplifying expressions with powers of letters. 

Consider 3.

page4image33657104

This method has been used successfully for the last few years. The pupils are more accurate and are more likely to understand the logic of gathering like terms.

It can also be used to understand basic negative number calculations.

R. Farnan 18/11/19

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Cargilfield

Algebra SImplication

Simple methods bring success!

Read More


Posted on

IDValue
perch_page_path/teaching-and-learning/news/archive.php
introTextHow young children experience learning
image/cms/resources/cargilfield-preparatory-school-7o7a1514-photograph-by-angus-bremnerc.jpg
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Planning in the Moment

Young children live in the here and now. If adults are to make a real difference to their learning they need to seize the moments when children first show curiosity, and support their next steps immediately. When children are allowed to select where, with what, and how to play, they are truly invested in their play, they become deeply involved and make dramatic progress.

Young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skilful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment-by-moment basis, the adult will be always alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment), and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment). From National Standards document Learning, Playing and Interacting 

Planning in the moment can be broken down into three stages:

  • The Child’s Spark – This is when the child first shows an interest in something. There should be an air of fascination around the object and concentration in what they are now doing.
  • The Teachable Moment – The teacher will notice this and approach the child. This is the opportunity to extend their interest, by asking open-ended questions and considering ways to apply this interest to other options within the environment.
  • The Documentation – At a later date, you can document the observation. Include the spark, the teachable moment and what you did next. This will help you to map out each child’s interests, and plan an environment that works for them.
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In Nursery we are beginning to embrace the concept of planning "in the moment" which emphasises the critical role of the adult in promoting child-led learning, giving early years practitioners the confidence and insight to work and plan in the moment, and enabling our children to live, learn, play and develop in the here and now.

We aim to ensure that practitioners can integrate spontaneous planning and rich adult–child interactions into our everyday practice and early years curriculum, responding to the unique needs of each child. We want each child to feel that we value them and their ideas and suggestions; responding to and extending their individual learning. Making detailed and sensitive observation to really see what they are doing, make sense of their actions and to recognise individual achievements which in turn will further their learning and development.

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Planning in the Moment

Young children live in the here and now. If adults are to make a real difference to their learning they need to seize the moments when children first show curiosity, and support their next steps immediately. When children are allowed to select where, with what, and how to play, they are truly invested in their play, they become deeply involved and make dramatic progress.

Young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skilful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment-by-moment basis, the adult will be always alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment), and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment). From National Standards document Learning, Playing and Interacting 

Planning in the moment can be broken down into three stages:

  • The Child’s Spark – This is when the child first shows an interest in something. There should be an air of fascination around the object and concentration in what they are now doing.
  • The Teachable Moment – The teacher will notice this and approach the child. This is the opportunity to extend their interest, by asking open-ended questions and considering ways to apply this interest to other options within the environment.
  • The Documentation – At a later date, you can document the observation. Include the spark, the teachable moment and what you did next. This will help you to map out each child’s interests, and plan an environment that works for them.
perch_rightColBody

In Nursery we are beginning to embrace the concept of planning "in the moment" which emphasises the critical role of the adult in promoting child-led learning, giving early years practitioners the confidence and insight to work and plan in the moment, and enabling our children to live, learn, play and develop in the here and now.

We aim to ensure that practitioners can integrate spontaneous planning and rich adult–child interactions into our everyday practice and early years curriculum, responding to the unique needs of each child. We want each child to feel that we value them and their ideas and suggestions; responding to and extending their individual learning. Making detailed and sensitive observation to really see what they are doing, make sense of their actions and to recognise individual achievements which in turn will further their learning and development.

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Nursery

Planning in the Moment!

How young children experience learning

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Cargilfield where everyday is an adventure

Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.

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