I’ve already written about my love of story-telling in science teaching when extolling the virtues of Carl Sagan as a Great Explainer. Not only does a story tell the human experience behind scientific discoveries, making them less dry, but I am convinced that they help young students remember and recall more information. We have evolved over thousands of years as creatures of oral story-telling.
The #ScienceStories project therefore aims to write down some interesting stories of scientific discoveries and the scientists that made them. The #ScienceStories project is inspired by Mr Pink’s amazing #50allusions project where he and twitter’s Team English have written a series of posts on common literary allusions which students may or may not be aware of, with a view to improving their literacy and their cultural capital.
I hope that the #ScienceStories will produce a flexible resource that can be used in a number of different ways. The sheets could be read by the teacher before the lesson as inspiration to tell the story. Or the sheets could be used with specific lessons linked to those concepts, as introductory, or extension tasks. Or cover lessons to prepare students for the next topic. I also plan to put together several related stories as mini extension booklets to use in mixed KS3 classes to stretch, challenge and inspire pupils who have completed tasks or who are seeking extra homework (these kids do exist, especially in KS3, and we should be finding ways to stimulate them).
Like #50allusions, I’d like this to be a team effort, but one with a common format so that they can be put together in a coherent booklet if necessary. You can volunteer yourself and which story you’d like to write on this spreadsheet. You can also download a blank proforma (EDIT: .doc blank proforma, now as this seemed easier) to write your story, and when you’ve finished email me (ww9066 at gmail dot com), and I can give it a quick copy edit and stick it up.
Like the #50allusions, I suggest our #ScienceStories are two pages long, the first an overview of the story with a picture or two, with questions and reflections on the reverse (in part related to the curriculum link), and then some extension questions and where students can find further reading. Take a look at some of the amazing allusions for more inspiration, which you should also pass on to your English Department.
Reckon we can have this ready to go for September, don’t you?
Update Feb 2019
So… September was optimistic, no? But thanks to Adam Boxer’s excellent blog on Core Knowledge and the Hinterland information that frames the key knowledge, and the suggestion that the #sciencestories could make a good repository of Hinterland information I was kickstarted into giving the project a shove. So there are now 6 finished articles with questions, extension and further reading – available as PDFs or Word documents. I hope that you can see how easy they are to write and how useful they could be as framing activities to core knowledge or extension activities for the super speedy in your class.
Update March 2019
We’ve moved fast – We’re now up to 14 stories, and I’ve learned many things I didn’t know before, such as the film actress that contributed to the invention of Wifi, an ethically dubious experiment that shed light on the nature of digestion in the stomach, the role of muslim scholars in writing the laws of refraction and the sad story of the Radium Girls who paid with their lives to teach us about the dangers of radioactivity.