These resources have been reviewed and selected by STEM Learning’s team of education specialists for factual accuracy and relevance to teaching STEM subjects in UK schools.

CPD taster - Key Stage 3 science for non-scientists

This is a CPD taster created to give teachers a better understanding of what to expect when joining one of our secondary science courses. Below you will find a video and a task for you to do in your own time. Once you have done the activity, book on to Key Stage 3 science for non-scientists (NY285).

Are you a non-scientist teaching Key Stage 3 science? Would you like to feel more confident in your own subject knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics so you can better answer student questions and deal with misconceptions?

This course is taught by subject experts on all three sciences and aims to develop your subject knowledge, with a focus on the key principles needed to teach science effectively through explanations, practical work and demonstrations. In this video, Louise Herbert, Professional development leader, explains more. Then, there is a short task to get you thinking about how to prepare useful and effective practical work. 


In this short task, we ask you to start thinking about what we would consider to be the cornerstones of really effective science practical work - purpose and pupil focus - and how we can use practical tasks to develop skills and understanding. The planning bookmark from the "Getting Practical" project contains useful questions to ask yourself when planning a practical.

  1. Download the planning bookmark from the "Getting Practical" project and read through the questions.
  2. Choose a Key Stage 3 practical that you have already done with students, or that you are moving on to soon. If you are not already teaching Key Stage 3 science, you may want to use the simple pH scale experiment as your focus.
  3. Work through the "Purpose" section of the bookmark and note down your answers to the questions. Are there any questions that you cannot yet answer?
  4. Work through the "Pupil's thinking" section. Again, note down your answers and consider if there are any that need further action. In particular, you might want to consider:
    1. What do you want students to be talking and thinking about during the practical?
    2. Could you give them prompts or questions to focus on during the task?

Next steps

In the next video, Louise explains how you could think about the pH scale experiment as an example, and how this course can help you teach Key Stage 3 science confidently and effectively. 

Book your place on Key Stage 3 science for non-specialists (NY285).

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