Sara Loughnane, HoD Biology at St Peter’s Cambridge, and her students explore the nature of science using tangrams. Sara finds the Science Learning Hub inspires her to take new approaches to teaching.
To view the resources Sara used with her students, view the student activity The extra piece.
I thought I would use an activity off the Science Learning Hub which really gets at the nature of developing theories in science. It’s an activity from the Nature of Science strand on the Hub, and it’s called the missing piece.
So what we’re going to today is an activity that models the development of any theory in science, but I think it’s a really good activity for getting us to think about the development of the theory of evolution. You have a small number of pieces in your bag and they represent pieces of evidence collected from scientific observations or scientific experiments. And what I’d like you to do please is try and form a square, a square representing a scientific theory.
If each piece of the puzzle represents a piece of evidence in science, what do you think about this model was it a good model for the way that theories are developed in science?
So it’s kind of like when we’re not doing it right the first time, we’re putting it together, it seemed like it was going to be right, but then that last piece wouldn’t fit so it doesn’t work out all together.
Exactly. A new piece of evidence has been discovered, and what I want you to do is to see if you can make it fit your current theory. You suddenly realise my picture doesn’t work, my theory doesn’t work. Oh dear, what do you do? Start again.
I have taught for a little while now, and I taught the same sorts of things, and so it’s great to sometimes change the way you teach something, and so to get an inspirational idea and how to approach something differently in a different way to what I might normally do, I think is always great. And the Hub has lots of ideas for that.
The two types of resources that I use tend to be the information sheets, which have just phenomenally great information, and some of the activities, the class activities – I use those. It’s a great place to get some inspiration, you know, in ways either to teach something in a, with a new approach or just new information to add to your knowledge. So you might get new examples to use or, yeah, a different context to teach something.
Every time I go there I do find something that either inspires something I’m going to do or something that I will use, or when I do go there with intent to find something, it’s pretty reliable.
Note that this video shows footage from the legacy Science Learning Hub, however all the activities are still available on the new-look Science Learning Hub site.