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BBC micro:bit: this year’s best free gift for science and design and technology teachers

By Dave Gibbs, Computing and Technology Specialist, National STEM Centre You may have heard of micro:bit. If not, don’t worry, you will. Arriving in the hands of every 11-12 year old in the country during the spring term, it is BBC Education’s biggest project in 30 years. The micro:bit is a tiny programmable device – a small computer. And it’...

Zero Robotics is out of this world

Zero Robotics is a computing competition that is, literally, out of this world. Organised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and NASA, and welcoming entries from ESA member states (including the UK), it offers secondary school students the chance to solve space challenges and control robots on the International Space...

Bringing AI and robots into the classroom

From films like I, Robot to the current BBC series on Intelligent machines, artificial intelligence is a topic which excites students and brings together science, technology, engineering, maths and computing in fascinating contexts. The development of artificial intelligence seems to be gaining pace now (see these fifteen key moments in the story...

Why World Space Week is the perfect time to talk Tim Peake

In the playground the other day I got talking about Tim Peake and his exciting mission to the International Space Station. The parents I was talking to replied ‘Who’s Tim Peake?’“Who’s Tim Peake?!”, I echoed, “Only the first British astronaut for over 20 years!” I was a bit overly excited…Of course Tim is not the first Briton in Space; Helen Sharman...

Ten activities to do during World Space Week

 As World Space Week is fast approaching, taking place between 4 – 10 October 2015, I thought it would be a great time to share my list of ten exciting activities and resources to engage your pupils with space for this annual celebration.So here are a few ideas...   Excite younger learners with this solar system song and try...

Girls Can Code - so why aren't they?

Girls Can Code is a BBC Three programme where five girls, who confess to disliking technology, are challenged to create a successful app in five days, or more accurately, five grown women with different interests. All of these girls who like their tech, without understanding how it works, come up with a marketable idea for an app that is pitched to...

Perfect problem solving with Bojagi

As a mathematics teacher, I like to start the term with some basic number skills with my KS3 groups. This choice is grounded in solid reasoning: check the pupils have got a grasp of the basics before moving on to another topic. Prime factor trees make great display work, and Pascal’s Triangle can have the ‘wow’ factor. But how else can that start-of-the-new...

Scratching the surface: coding ideas for primary schools

A secondary school computing teacher told me recently that children from one of their feeder schools had no experience of Scratch (an almost-ubiquitous block-based programming environment) so they had to provide some remedial intervention. The surprising thing about this statement is that only one of the schools doesn't use the programming...

Radars, three times the speed of sound – this is the world of engineering!

When you shout across the playing field at school, your voice is travelling at around 343 metres per second. In miles per hour, that’s 767mph! Despite what a Year 9 once told me, it is definitely a lot faster than “that lad in Year 10 who’s got trials for county athletics”.So, why am I talking about the speed of sound? I read a news report ...

Should primary school children be learning times tables by heart?

The new curriculum requires children to all memorise their times tables and has caused two leading mathematics experts to speak out.Jo Boaler, a professor of mathematics education at Stanford University has spoken of how timed multiplication tests cause anxiety for many children, blocking their working memory and preventing the recall of mathematical facts...

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