Up to the minute teaching ideas and activities to keep your lessons up to date and cutting edge!
See below for teaching activities based around current news stories, videos or articles.
Students now have to learn and be able to apply a long set of physics equations for the new 9-1 GCSE. We have some resources that should help.
To help students get to grips with rearranging equations try Maths skills in Science – rearranging equations.
A useful set of cards to reinforce students recall of equations. They can also be used as an aid to help students rearrange equations to change the subject. Maths skills in Science – physics equations.
Speed equations jigsaw is a challenging interactive activity that can be printed off or played on an IWB.
If your students find the equation triangles useful to use then try our interactive versions 'Electricity equation triangles', 'Forces equation triangles' and 'Speed and acceleration equation triangles'.
The proposed wall between the US/Mexico border has implications for wildlife.
Students could research the habitat and the types of species that exist along the border.
Ask students to think, pair, share what these might be e.g. populations divided, food and water sources reduced, less mates available for reproduction, reduced gene pool, population decline, reduced biodiversity etc.
Watch the BBC video clip 'Divided desert', about the endangered pronghorn might be affected.
Link the wall to the idea of geographical isolation leading to speciation by asking students to predict what may happen, over a long period of time, if the pronghorn population gets subdivided and isolated into two smaller groups.
To aid their thinking give students prompt cards to help with terms such as - variation, mutation, natural slection, favourable alleles, offspring etc.
Ask what might happen if conditions on one side changed e.g. the main food available on one side of the wall was different to the other - e.g. ground plants or bushes. Ask what would happen to the two populations if the conditions on both sides of the wall stayed much the same.
Ask students to read the following article from the BBC www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39947141
(The whole programme is available on iPlayer until 16/06/2017 www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08qkz77/michael-mosley-vs-the-superbugs ).
The article has interesting links between antibiotic resistance and the possibility of using viruses to attack bacteria, by invading their cells. Ask students to recap how viruses invade and multiply in human cells by explaining how they could be used to destroy bacteria.
There are several resources about antibiotics which are relevant for the AQA 9-1 Biology GCSE specification.
Watch the video and ask students to make notes about its structure and properties. Can they suggest any possible uses?
Researchers are developing graphene as a sieve to separate the salt from salty water to produce drinking water.
Ask students to draw a diagram or model how this could work.
Read about the research on the BBC website.
Watch the following video about how graphene was first made.
This 3 minute video from the BBC is a fantastic introduction to Mars.
We've prepared some questions that you could ask students to answer as they watch.
1. Why did the Romans name the planet Mars?
2. Where does the rusty red colour come from?
3. What are the 2 moons of Mars called - what do the names mean?
4. Schiaparelli named the marks he observed on Mars 'canali' (this is Italian for channels). Why did this mislead some people to think that there may be intelligent life on Mars?
5. how long would it take to get to Mars from Earth?
6. How long is one martian year?
7.Why couldn't we survive on Mars?
8. Why does 100 kg on Earth weigh just 38 kg on Mars?
Scientists have been trying for years to turn hydrogen into solid metallic hydrogen. Two scientists have put hydrogen under very high pressure and claim to have produced a very small amount of metallic hydrogen. To hear one of the scientists, Isaac Silvera talking about their work follow the link BBC 'Science in action' (first 7 minutes). (Or for the news article go to BBC news). There is some controversy as to whether their claims are correct - this leads to a good opportunity to discuss with students the peer review process that is followed before work is accepted.
Increasing strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria are potentially a very serious threat to the human population worldwide.
This article provides an excellent starting point to highlight the problems associated with resistant bacteria.
The following resources are all suitable to use for the new GCSE Biology curriculum, more on their way - watch this space!
The following Panorama program explores antibiotic resistance and overuse 'Antibiotic crisis' (30 mins)
for a slightly different slant on the development of antibiotics.
Read the article from the BBC 'Smoking 'causes hundreds of DNA changes'
How many mutations are caused in every lung cell each year by smoking a packet of cigarettes a day?
Why does this increase the risk of developing lung cancer?
What are cancer causing chemicals called?
Explain why someone who has given up smoking for ten years could still develop lung cancer.
Read the article on the BBC website.
How far is a light year?
Describe how the planet is formed from the dust cloud.
How old is the 'young' star it has been formed from?
What type of planet has been formed?
How did the antennae used detect the new planet?
Take a look at the following resources:
Links to AQA GCSE Physics - 4.8 Space physics
Read the article from the BBC 'DNA confirms cause of 1665 London's great plague'
1. What do you think is meant by the term 'energy positive'
Read the article in the Guardian newspaper:
Use the information in this article from the UN Environment Programme to explain why energy effeciency in buildings is essential if we are to reduce climate change.
Ask students to find the following figures in the text a) length b) mass c) age of the fossil d) length of time this type of dinosaur existed for.
Ask them to convert the figures a) length in metres to cm, mm, km b) mass in metric tonnes to kg, g c) age of the fossil into standard form.
Ask students to suggest reasons why this fossil is a rare find.
Scientists are often inspired by the way nature seems so much better at certain things than man made materials. The most recent news report was the incredible strength of limpets teeth. Read
Can your students think of any examples of how animals and plants seem to be better at certain things than artificial materials?
Give each pair of students two different paragraphs from the article from the Telegraph ('The natural substances better than anything we can make'), so they have one each.
In pairs ask each student to draw a picture of the organism and it's special property that they've been given (no talking or writing), their partner should guess what they have illustrated.
Look at the map.
What does it show?
What can be classed as a wetland?
List any wetlands that you have visited or that are near you.
Why are wetlands inportant?
How many people are estimated to depend on wetlands?
How much wetland habitat has been lost since 1900?
How much of the earth's surface is covered by wetlands?
Ask students to
The infographic provides a wealth of information about the diets of many different countries over the last 50 years.
If in a computer suite or with access to tablets students could explore the infographics. They could find out the following:
Testing out the new ALMA telescope astronomers have found a solar system in the process of formation. Read the article from the BBC here.
How old is the young star?
What do the dark rings show being formed?
Where in the sky is the star located?
How far away is the star from the Earth?
Work out the distance in km that the star is from the Earth.
Hint the speed of light is 300,000,000 m/s (3·00 × 108 m/s).
Ask students to predict what will happen in air when the ball and feathers are dropped at the same time. The ask students to predict what will happen when they are dropped in a vacuum.
1. Why was the scientists discovery awarded the Nobel Prize?
2. Red and green LEDs had already been invented, why was a blue LED important?
3. Do you have a device with a blue LED, if so what is it?
4. Why are blue LEDs more energy efficient than traditional bulbs?
5. What was the 'stumbling block' that these researchers overcame?
Ask students to work in pairs. They could read the article and take it in turns to underline
Ask them to summarise the information in a mind map or timeline to show the connections between the scientists, their work and the work of others.
Ask students to find out about the life and work of a female scientist who interests them. They could think about any difficulties that they faced and reasons why they succeeded.
Ask students to read the article and underline the disease causing organisms in red, symptoms in blue and treatment in green. They could summarise the information e.g. as a table, spider diagram etc.
Students could suggest guidelines to help athletes avoid catching the different infections.
Put students into pairs. Ask one student from each pair to read the first 6 paragraphs from the BBC article. Then ask them to describe to their partner where DNA is found in a cell. The second student draws a cell to show where the DNA can be found. They should suggest a technique to explain how a baby could be concieved with DNA from three parents.
Read the article further to see how the technique is carried out.
Currently very topical with the recent ban on selling 1600 Watt vacuum cleaners. Bans on other high powered appliances are being considered.
As a topical introduction to a lesson on the power ratings of appliances.
Provide students with a copy of the article and ask them to describe the ways in which the Harlequin ladybird is a threat to our native ladybirds.
Maths skills – Using the information in paragraphs 6-8 ask students to work out the actual number of harlequin ladybirds had 10 spot ladybird and 2 spot ladybird DNA in their guts.
Students could constuct food chains for the harlequin ladybird, can they find out what may prey on the ladybird?
See the article from www.cnet.com
KS3 - Ask students to read the article and compare the atmosphere of Titan with that of the earth. (See our resource 'Earth's atmosphere – spot the difference' to compare the Earth's early atmosphere with its composition today).
Ask students to pick out five words they don't understand and challenge them to find the meanings.
KS4 - ask students to read the article and identify the gases mentioned and ask them to draw their molecular structure.
KS5 - research what an infrared spectrometer measures.
Ask students to read the article from the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27425217 ).
It's often difficult to explain scientific concepts to an audience of non-scientists. Ask them to highlight any words that have been used to explain how the titanium dioxide works that are not scientifically accurate. Can they replace the words to explain it more scientifically? (They may need to find out how titanium oxide works to reduce pollutants).
Ask students to research other uses of titanium oxide. Ask them to suggets other applications for titanium oxide nanoparticles.
Draw a diagram to show the structure of a short section of DNA.
Draw another diagram to show the unique DNA that scientists have produced.
Discuss what implications this might have in the future.
What is air pollution? What has caused the high levels in this recent case?
How does it affect health?
How could air pollution be reduced?
Do you think air pollution is getting worse in the UK?
Describe the graph, what does it tell us about air pollution in the UK?
Try our resource Earth's atmosphere – spot the difference, to compare the Earth's early atmosphere with its current composition.
What is the advantage of being well camouflaged?
Click on the picture for an explanation of the discovery about the Big Bang.
What do scientists think has caused the oldest light (we can detect ) to twist?
which helps confirm his theory and win his bet with fellow scientist Prof Neil Turok!
What do you think 'exoskeleton' means?
Which organisms have an exoskeleton?
What is the opposite of an exoskeleton?
What could an artificial exoskeleton be used for?
How closely did your ideas match the actual astronaut training?
Were you surprised by some of the skills and knowledge astronauts need?
1. How were leeches collected in the middle ages?
2. Why were leeches a popular medical treatment?
3. Why did leech smuggling become common?
4. Why did bloodletting using leeches go out of favour?
5. What useful property of leech saliva was first discovered in 1884?
6. Draw a diagram to explain how hirudin inhibits thrombin.
7. What other properties of leech saliva have been discovered?
8. How are medicinal leeches used in modern medicine?
9. Compare how medicinal leeches are sourced now with how they were collected in the middle ages.
10. Explain why wild European medicinal leeches are now very rare, possibly extinct.
Ask students to draw a robot.
Does it look like the robot below?
Ten tonnes of water are being pumped every second from the Somerset levels.
A. Calculate how many tonnes of water are being pumped
a) per minute b) per hour c) per day d) per week.
B. One tonne of water is equivalent to 1 000 litres
Convert your answers to find out how many litres are being pumped
a) per minute b) per hour c) per day d) per week.
C. Fizzy drinks cans hold 355 ml of liquid.
Calculate how many cans could be filled with the water that is being pumped
a) per minute
D. The farmer is concerned that after being submerged for several weeks the plants in the fields will be dead. Can you explain why this might be the case?
A. a) 600 tonnes/min b) 36 000 tonnes/hour c) 864 000 tonnes/day
d) 6 048 000 tonnes/week
B. a) 600 000 litres/min b) 36 000 000 litres/hour c) 864 000 000 litres/day d) 6 048 000 000 litres/week
C. a) 1 690 140 cans per min
Before watching the film answer the following questions.
- How many freshwater fish species are in the UK?
- Name as many you can.
- How many freshwater fish species are there in the UK?
- List the species that Jack Perks mentions.
- List the problems that our fish species face.
- Explain how filming all of the freshwater fish species in the UK will help with their conservation.
Take notes as you watch and listen.
What condition is Jonathan Wyatt suffering from?
How did Professor Maclaren treat the condition?
a) Describe the procedure.
b) Explain how the therapy works.
Why will other types of blindness be more difficult to treat?
Evaluate the potential impact of this therapy on levels of blindness across Britain. Click here for a more detailed article from the BBC.
Look at the picture - what do you think it shows?
Compose a tweet to describe what you can see (remember to use just 140 characters).
i) Which living organisms inspired the scientists with their waterproof properties?
ii)What feature of theses surfaces did the scientists add to their new material?
iii) How does water behave on a waterproof surface?
iv) What uses could this super waterproof material have?
v) Find the following words in the article.
hydrophobic, nanostructures, macroscopic
What do you think they mean?
Find the elements mentioned in the article on the periodic table.
A) Colour code them according to how they were named.
2) Anglo saxon words
4) Discoverers and scientists
5) By Humphry Davy
6) By William Ramsay
7) Colour, taste or smell
B) Which element was not discovered on Earth?
C) Choose three more elements and find out how they got their names.
Can you find the three scientific terms that have been used?
Construct a carbon cycle with our jigsaw resource and use it to answer questions.
Read the article.
How is the Spanish slug adapted to its environment?
Why are scientists concerned about its spread?
Take part in the SlugWatch survey.
Study another invasion threatening our woodlands using our resource 'Science in the news – Britain's ash trees' (available to subscribers)
Read the article about the theory and discovery of the Higgs boson.
1) Discuss how scientists worked together to develop the theory and then prove that the Higgs boson existed.
2) What is the Higgs boson? - read the 'Best explanation of Higgs boson/' at the bottom of the BBC report. Could you explain it to someone else?
Try the resource 'Plum pudding atoms' for an activity exploring Rutherford, Geiger and Marsden's gold leaf experiment.
1. Look at the pictures of the Tom Tato and the apple tree.
2. What is unusual about these plants?
3. How do you think they were produced?
4. Read the articles - were you right?
5. Why is this propagation technique useful?
Scientists have sequenced the genome of several big cat species. What is the importance of this?
Q How much DNA do you think a tiger shares with a domestic cat?
1. Which cats have had their genome sequenced?
2. How much DNA does a tiger share with a domestic cat?
3. What features have big cats evolved that make them excellent predators?
4. Why is knowing the genome of big cats important for their survival?
Calculate the average speed that Voyager is travelling at.
Click here to find our resource 'Science in the news - Voyager's 11 billion mile journey' for more activities about Voyager.
Read the article from New Scientist 'Predators learn to see through camouflage'
1. Which animal is easier to see the nightjar or the mantis?
2. Describe the two types of camouflage mentioned in the article.
3. Can you think of any other types of camouflage?
4. Design and make a game using two different coloured sheets of paper to see if it is easier to catch one type of moth over another. Did you improve at spotting the camouflaged moths?
5. Explain how species develop camouflage over generations.
Show students the map without the key. Ask them to complete the key using the jargon buster in the article.
Answer the following questions
What is a shooting star?
What is a meteor caused by?
What is the difference between a meteor and an asteroid?
Try our resource 'Earth and space - taboo' as a quick starter game.