What the resource is:
The resource is a fifteen minute Teachers TV programme showing how dance and science can be taught together through the topic of ‘ourselves'. The video opens with a scene of children in the school hall with a voice over providing an overview of the approaches demonstrated. The rest of the programme is seen through the eyes of the class teacher and the local science adviser who discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson. Although the opening credits suggest this is key stage 1 science, the children are a Y1, Y2 and Y3 class.
The aims of the resource:
The resource aims to show how dance can be brought into a science lesson and how team teaching can enhance learning. It also begins to examine issues in science teaching such as differentiation, recording and explaining results. The central themes of the programme revolve around where science should be taught and whether science learning can be fully integrated with learning of another subject or will both become diminished as a result. The programme starts with a dance activity focusing on naming of body parts and then leads into the role the effects of exercise on the human body.
key findings or focus:
The selection of simple body parts, like elbow and knee for a predominately Year 2 class is perhaps too simplistic but recording learning using a camera and "floor book" is effective. The children's responses throughout are an informative aspect of the film that could have been further developed. For example, at one point a child says, "we are getting hotter because we are warming up our body". However this is not explored either at the time nor in the discussion later.
Paired work is demonstrated in dance and through talking and listening in science. These are all vital aspects of child centred teaching.The quality, authority and credibility of the resource:
Many primary schools are reviewing aspects of teaching and learning and seeking ways of delivering the curriculum in a more integrated and relevant way. The clips are clear and the focus on the children and their ideas is an enjoyable aspect of the film. Although only 15 minutes, it seemed longer and was difficult to break into smaller sections because of the way the programme had been presented.
Some key issues in current science teaching are emphasised, such as the need for repeat readings, to take standard measurements, not just observations and to draw conclusions. It is not a surprise that the teacher requested further clarification on these points, from the adviser. They are key issues, but whether they are the most important aspects to improve science teaching and learning in this lesson is questionable.
One important issue that is not raised is that of homeostasis, how the human body regulates its own temperature. Using Centigrade thermo strips the children found little change in temperature, which was a comfort! However it was a concern that the adults were expecting measurable temperature differences in centigrade. A rise to 100 Fahrenheit would only be a rise of 2 degrees Celsius. Marathon runners have recorded temperatures of above 39 degrees (102.2 degrees F). However children using temperature strips in Celsius were unlikely to gain noticeable changes in readings. The temperature strips were referred to as thermometers, which was also unfortunate. If the children were older this type of activity would have made an interesting introduction to how temperature is maintained.The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
This programme demonstrates the importance of having good scientific knowledge and understanding. ITE tutors and mentors could look at aspects of the lesson and discuss how the children's ideas could be developed further. This programme provides a good opportunity to raise questions such as;
"What would really improve science for these young children?"
"Is there an issue about where science is taught?" and
"Does science learning always have to include writing?"
The programme also provides a useful starting point for a discussion on how science might be linked with other areas of the curriculum.The relevance to ITE students:
The programme shows that the strength of the lesson was good planning between the dancer and the teacher. The key learning that takes place is mainly due to the dance practitioner having a clear idea of what she wants the learners to achieve and how to develop their skills. This results in progression in learning.
The programme also enables reflection on the different roles needed when undertaking team teaching; moving from facilitator (scribing and taking pictures) to teacher. This is a skill that even an experienced teacher has some issues with.
Students might question the value of the scribed work, what it could be used for and how it would aid future learning.
This clip is also effective for observing different ways in which feedback can be given. In this lesson a focus on feedback could provide an opportunity for reflection and analysis.
The additional resources linked to the programme are all out of date and there are several links to internet sites that have changed. This will be frustrating to busy students.Reviewed by:Hellen Ward
Foreman. J. (2005) Role play and drama (Chapter 7) in Teaching primary Science: a practical guide. Ward, Roden, Foreman and Hewlett. (2005) PCP London.