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Each lesson contained a number of the stages of the 5Es model.

The food web construction activity in Lesson 1 was initially used to engage, but also served to explain and elaborate on the concept of how animals in a food web interact. Lesson 2s PowerPoint presentation was also meant to serve the above purposes, and the animal design activity was meant to allow the students to elaborate on what had been discussed that session. The Hunters vs. Survivors activity in Lesson 3 was engaging, as well as hopefully allowing students to elaborate on what they already knew about predators and prey. The camouflage exercise was a simple engagement activity. The final lessons worksheet was used to explain and explore the relationships between species, and the lolly game was used to further explore and elaborate on this top, as well as engage students. Attach all four lesson plans as an appendix. The lesson plans should have a column on the right that includes observational notes and comments from you and your partner. The two lessons I ran were the ones focussing on Habitats and Adaptation (lesson 2), and Relationships between Species (lesson 4). Overall, I found that the activities that were interactive and involved the students doing something were those that were most effective at not only engaging them but also at helping them to learn the content. For example, the symbiosis game involved the students collecting lollies according to certain rules. This was certainly a lot of fun for them, but also allowed them to make a real connection between the ways they collected their resources and the kinds of symbiotic interactions. The game included visual, audial and kinaesthetic components, allowing for students with different learning styles to benefit from the activity. In contrast, there were definitely things that didnt work so well, or could have been improved. Lesson 2 for the most part wasnt particularly effective. This was probably due to a few factors. Firstly, this was the only session where the students were sitting at a desk, and this may have made them more inclined to simply sit back and not pay attention. Secondly, I tended to waffle off topic during this session, and this probably made it confusing for the students in terms of what knowledge they thought they should be remembering. I expected the students to be more disengaged than they were (aside from lesson 2), but also I expected them to take some time to warm up to the idea that we were teachers too, especially as their teacher referred to us as student teachers. I was surprised however that the students were so willing to involve themselves in the activities, and show us as teachers the same sort of courtesy and respect they showed their regular teacher. I was also surprised that our approach to session 4 worked so well. Planning for that lesson had been minimal, as we had sourced most of our material from one of our colleagues, simply to experiment with how this would affect the way the lesson ran. Interestingly, the lesson seemed to fit seamlessly into the flow of the previous sessions, and implementing activities that we ourselves didnt come up with was easier than I expected.

Im confident that our students did learn at least something from our sessions. Firstly, at the start of each session we asked a few questions about the previous weeks material, and for the most part the group was able to answer them all. We also sat down at the end of the last session and asked for some feedback, and were pleasantly surprised when the students all agreed that the felt they learnt more in one of our sessions than in an equal time of their regular classes. Whilst Im sure this is an exaggeration, it certainly implies they learnt something. Most of the lessons went according to plan, with no serious revision necessary. The exception to this was when we ran out of time, which happened every week. Some activities were left out in this case, but perhaps in future it would be useful to check the time more frequently and cut out less important activities, rather than the ones at the end of the lesson. What did you learn about planning science lessons? Did you make any changes in your approach to lesson planning over the four weeks? Planning for the most part was straightforward. We used a template given to me in my Chemistry Learning Area class, and it served us pretty well. One thing I have learnt however is that working in pairs was quite a bit easier than planning lessons alone. Being able to bounce ideas off someone was invaluable, and perhaps something to explore in an actual school setting. You are asked to reflect on your aspirations and development needs as a science teacher. Some points you might consider include: Before this experience, I had imagined teaching science as maintaining a good balance between practical work and chalk and talk teaching of theory. These four lessons have for me emphasised that including interactive material that isnt prac work, is also important. Its certainly in most cases more engaging than chalk and talk or conventional methods such as answering questions from a text book, but I also believe it can be more beneficial to the students learning. I also learnt, primarily from our third lesson, that it is important to have an objective for whatever activity you use. The tournament between students hunters and survivors was engaging and fun, but afterwards we reflected and found that even we werent sure what we thought the students would have learned from it. Additionally, this activity was the only time during the whole four weeks that I thought the students lost focus and misbehaved. This is a clear sign to me that there is a limit to how much one should do for the sake of fun. I found that I was a lot more confident when dealing with the students than I had anticipated, but not wholly free from nerves. This uneasiness is what I believe contributed to my waffling in lesson 2, as this was my first lesson of teaching ever. To this end, I certainly learned that in addition to having a goal for each activity and certainly objectives for what should be learned in ach lesson, I realised how important it is to be committed to these goals. Otherwise, as I found out first hand, one can go off topic a fair bit. This not only means you have less time to cover all the activities you have planned, but can get confusing for students, as it makes it much harder to maintain a train of thought.

This experience has not only affirmed my belief in myself, and that I can become an effective science teacher, but also has made me realise how enjoyable it can be. I really look forward to getting into a science classroom and using the skills I have developed here and at my placement to impart on my students the same passion for science that I possess.