Teaching primary science with ENTHUSEiasm
Lorna Brown, a Year 6 teacher at Clifton with Rawcliffe Primary School, explains the impact the ENTHUSE Celebration Awards, and in particular winning the Primary School Science ENTHUSE Award, has had on her school and her own personal development.
What’s your teaching background?
I qualified in September 1995 with a BA(QTS). In the same year, I started my teaching career at Clifton without Junior School as an NQT. I have been teaching at the same school for 21 years and have taught Years 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
How did you find teaching science before you began science professional development?
I found teaching science quite a scary prospect. Although I do feel I had adequate subject knowledge before I begun the science professional development for our ENTHUSE Partnership, I was less confident in scientific enquiry especially in allowing children the freedom to independently explore and investigate.
Whilst teaching Year 6, I was able to impart my knowledge so that they were prepared for their SATs tests. However, my science lessons were a bit dull and dry with very little scientific enquiry involved.
Can you tell us a little about the science professional development you’ve done?
I have worked very closely with the school’s science coordinator, who took on a specialist science role within the school. This involved observing her teach, team teaching and planning together.
The Year 5 children I taught last year were involved in the ENTHUSE Partnership project. As part of this, I attended ENTHUSE CPD training lead by our school’s science coordinator with other teachers from Clifton with Rawcliffe Primary School and from across our cluster of schools. I also attended a four day training course at the National STEM Learning Centre - Extending thinking and talking in primary science.
Not only this, our school was a part of the Tim Peake Primary Project. My year group was chosen to attend workshops with our Space Ambassador, Gareth Dyer, as well as attending Tim Peake’s launch day event at the National STEM Learning Centre
What did you enjoy most about your professional development?
I enjoyed the hands on practical activities delivered at the training sessions I attended.
How has this impacted on your students and colleagues? What have you used in the classroom?
These training sessions provided me with many interesting, practical and creative ideas to take back into my classroom. The children have been enthusiastic about the activities and thoroughly enjoyed them.
It has allowed them to use higher order thinking and develop in-depth discussion surrounding the concepts I’m teaching. The children have developed their understanding of science through engaging practical investigations. As a result of this, the children’s science results have improved and the majority are making good progress.
Many of the children identified as less able have significantly narrowed the gap to their peers, and in some cases, caught up. My colleagues have also benefitted from my training as I have shared activities and ideas I brought back from the training sessions with them. They have since enjoyed using these with their classes and have seen the benefits of them.
How do you see your science teaching developing? Has your attitude towards teaching science changed?
My attitude towards teaching science has changed as I am more enthusiastic and confident about teaching scientific enquiry and delivering practical activities. I want to build up my bank of creative and practical ideas further so that the children in my learning group develop a thirst for discovering scientific knowledge and understanding.