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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second [Tanya] In this video, you will see how the resources used impact on childrens’ learning. You will watch three clips where children carry out the same task but use different resources. As you watch the clips, make a note of how the children interact with the resource and demonstrate their understanding of how the heart works.

Skip to 0 minutes and 30 seconds [A] [Teacher] If we look at this picture, can you tell me some things about the heart then?. [Pupil] You could lift the tubes up and see what was underneath [Teacher] Do you think there might be something underneath here? [Pupil] There could be like there, where that arch bit is. [Teacher] This bit here? [Pupil] Yeah. [Teacher] Okay. [Pupils] They’re very veins. [Teacher] Can you see any on there, would you? [Pupil] There. [Pupil] Yeah, there. [Pupil] The really thin lines. [Teacher] Why are they there? [Pupils] To transport the blood around. [Teacher] Okay, what if I was to look inside the heart, what would I see?

Skip to 1 minute and 7 seconds [Pupil] You’d see a lot of veins that go across the heart because- [Pupil] You would see blood and- If you could open there, wouldn’t you see the- [Pupil] Up the tubes. [Pupil] Up the tubes? [Teacher] Maybe, if you were to cut where, do you think? [Pupil] Like there, right around there. [Teacher] You think if you did that, you’d be able to- [Pupil] Would the tubes go inside the heart? [Pupil] No, I think it would just be on the outside cuz it ends about there. [Pupil] I know that there’s a wall which separates the two sides of the heart, and I think it’s called a septum. [Teacher] Wow. [Pupil] Is there ventricles in a heart?

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds [Pupil] And a right ventricle and a left ventricle. [Teacher] Very good. [Pupil] And there’s all different color. [Teacher] It is different colors, why do you think there’s different colors on there? [Pupil] Cos some of it’s got blood and some of it’s got less blood. [Teacher] So why do you think the blood is there? [Pupil] There. [Pupil] Here and here. [Teacher] And do you think that’s actual, if I was to touch that, would I get blood on my finger? [Pupil] No, I think it would just be on the inside and it would show through this, the flesh. [Teacher] Okay, so this bit here that’s a different color? [Pupil] Yeah. [Pupil] Yeah. [Teacher] What do you think that bit is?

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds [Pupil] Is it oxygen? [Teacher] You think oxygen, you think emptiness? [Pupil] I think it’s just, well, cos I know real moving, I know that’s real. But on a working heart, well, there’s always blood in the heart. So it could be that that’s on the outside and hasn’t properly gone through- [Teacher] So you think this is- And this could just be the normal heart without blood on it. I think the blood is inside it. [Teacher] So you think this is actual blood. You think I’d be able to touch that and I’d be able to get blood on my finger? [Pupil] Yes. [Pupil] If you touched it on the inside? [Teacher] If you touched that bit on the inside.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 seconds So you think on the inside. Do you think it’d be on the inside or the outside? [Pupil] I think it depends. [Teacher] Okay. [Pupil] Depends [B] [Teacher] Can you tell me what this is? [Pupils] Heart. [Teacher] It’s a heart. What does a heart do? [Pupil] It pumps blood around your body. [Teacher] What’s it look like? [Pupil] Kind of like a baby. [Teacher] Can you explain that a bit more? What do you mean? [Pupil] Just the body of a baby. [Teacher] That short of shape. Kind of that sort of shape, yeah? Anything else? What would you see on a heart? [Pupil] It’s got organs that go out and it’s got some- [Teacher] So it’s got something that comes out of it.

Skip to 4 minutes and 8 seconds [Pupil] Yes. [Teacher] Can you see that on here? Can we see anything that comes out of it on here? [Pupil] Maybe the top bits. [Teacher] Maybe what? [Pupil] There, poking out, so I think they could make, wait, these blue bits. Cos I’m presuming that’s the blood that doesn’t have the oxygen. That will lead it to the lungs which would be somewhere around here. And then they go back in through here and into, wait, somewhere around there and get to the right nature. [Teacher] What would it look like if I was to look inside the heart? Should we have a little look? [Teacher] Do you want to open it up now and have a little look?

Skip to 4 minutes and 35 seconds [Pupil] That would be- [Teacher] You can open up some more bits if you want. [Pupil] The blood? [Pupil] Would that be all of the blood without oxygen? [Teacher] Okay, maybe. Do you want to open it up with them? Can you see it. If I put it there, can you see open up any more of it? [Pupil] And I think blood comes through the aorta. [Teacher] Okay, what’s the outside of heart look like if I was to do that? [Pupil] Looks like a big red organ. [Teacher] A big red organ? Okay, anything else? [Pupil] It has some veins going out. [Teacher] Can you point to the veins? Where are the veins that you can see on the outside?

Skip to 5 minutes and 23 seconds And what do you think they do? [Pupil] I think one of them carries the oxygen, I’m not sure. [Teacher] Okay. [Teacher] Veins carry blood. [Teacher] Okay, great idea. So if I look on here, there’s some bits that are redder, you’ve pointed that bit out. [Teacher] But there’s some other bits that are a little bit paler in color, aren’t they? [Teacher] Not quite white, that’s the wrong thing to day, but they’re paler, aren’t they? What do you think those bits are? [Pupil] Could they be where the oxygen is? [Teacher] Could be? [C] [Teacher] Well guys, I’ve got these here. [Teacher] Do you want to have a little touch and tell me a little bit what you know about the heart?

Skip to 6 minutes and 12 seconds [Pupil] I don’t know much. [Teacher] That’s all right, well tell me what you notice, Charlie. [Pupil] Squishy. [Pupil] It’s squishy. [LAUGH] [Pupil] They squidge quite a lot. [Teacher] Yeah. [Pupil] There’s blood. [LAUGH] [Pupil] Is it? [Pupil] Yeah. [Pupil] Well, what else would it be? [Teacher] Do you, want to give it a go, too? [Pupil] That’s, what’s that? [Pupil] This is the muscle. [Pupil] Is this the fat? [Pupil] And the fat here is quite hard. [Teacher] Okay. [Pupil] It’s really hard around there. [Teacher] It’s hard there. [Teacher] That’s good, you can turn it over and have a little- [Pupil] I’ve got some of the main veins. [Teacher] Turn it around that way a little bit as well, okay.

Skip to 7 minutes and 18 seconds Show us what you’re looking at there. [Teacher] What did you see? [Pupil] The inside on everything. [Pupil] Ew. [Pupil] See how far you can go in. [Teacher] What you’re noticing? Wow. [Pupil] That is really hard. [Pupil] And it goes all the way down. It goes all the way. [Pupil] It comes off if you touch it. Come on, now feel it, it comes off. It’s actually really weird. [Pupil] Put in there, put it in the actual tube there. [Pupil] Which one, this one? [Pupil] Yeah. Put a finger in. [Teacher] You found a what? [Pupil] I think I found some sort of valve. [Teacher] What’s a valve? [Pupil] It’s something that controls flow of blood.

Skip to 7 minutes and 31 seconds [Teacher] Okay, what do you mean by that? [Pupil] So that it can either one way valves where it can only go one way through, it can’t go back. And the other valve it opens and closes to let blood. [Pupil] Gosh, there’s loads of blood in there. [Teacher] What can you see there though? You are noticing loads on this side. [Pupil] I can see some of the fat. [Pupil] And what is this, this is all smooth, and that’s all wrinkly. [Teacher] So you were saying you think that this bit is the fat that’s running around here? [Pupil] Yeah. [Teacher] Yeah, okay. [Pupil] I think this is harder. [Teacher] All right. [Pupil] This is all soft.

Skip to 7 minutes and 59 seconds [Teacher] Okay, what do you notice around here? I noticed you were looking at lots of sections, what have you seen? [Pupil] It’s some tubes and everything. I’ve forgotten what they were called. [Teacher] Okay, can anyone remember what the tubes are? [Pupil] Veins and arteries. I know some of the names, there’s the ventricle aorta, some things like that. [Teacher] Wow. [Pupil] Then we’ve got the four chambers. [Teacher] The four chambers so can you point out some of those chambers for me? [Pupil] I can see them. [Teacher] Can you see them? [Pupil] There’s one, isn’t that? [Teacher] So that’s one of the tubes, isn’t it? That’s one. [Pupil] There’s one there. [Teacher] Can you see where the chambers are?

Skip to 8 minutes and 31 seconds [Pupil] I can just pretty much see two. I can probably feel some, yeah, I can. [Pupil] Are they the tubes then? [Pupil] Oh no, look where my thumb is. [LAUGHS] [Pupil] I wanna try and get all the way. [Teacher] Can you get all the way down? [Pupil] I can. [Pupil] Yeah, you can get to the other side if you have a long enough finger. They look the same, these look the same. [Teacher] Can you any of you find the veins? [Pupil] These are these red things. [Pupil] Well there’s the one’s at the top that go in and out and then there’s these. [Pupil] We’re gonna be using those scissors again. [Pupil] Is it hard, what does it feel like?

Skip to 9 minutes and 5 seconds [Pupil] Like slime. [LAUGH] I’ll make sure they’re washed. [Pupil] It is hard and squishy at the same time? [Pupil] It’s tough. [Teacher] Is it tough? Why do you think it’s tough? [Pupil] Cos I’m slicing through all the fat, which is normally hard, not the softest thing in the world. So I’m right on the huge build up here, which is not good. [Pupil] Let me hold it. [Teacher] That’s a good idea, well done. [Pupil] I’ll hold it. [TEacher] Good teamwork there. [Pupil] Yep, that’s one. [Pupil] There you go. [Teachers] So you’ve got two a few chambers you’ve noticed. So what’s this in the middle if that’s not a chamber? [Pupil] Probably the vein down so you can get to other chambers.

Skip to 9 minutes and 43 seconds [Teacher] Okay. [Pupil] It looks like it leads through to the other side. [Teacher] What do you find? You’re finding these stringy bits and there aren’t you? [Pupil] Yeah. [Teacher] You think a heart string? Does anybody else have any ideas what those could be? [Pupil] They’re very strong, though. [Teacher] Okay.. [Teacher] Should we do another cut? [Pupil] Yeah. [Pupil] Yeah. [Pupil] Oh gosh it feels weird. It doesn’t feel like paper. [Teacher] It doesn’t feel like paper? What does it feel like? [Pupil] All gooeyish. [Pupil] I wouldn’t think it felt like those. [Pupil] This is hard. [Pupil] You’re getting to the fat now, so- [Pupil] I know so you can really see the muscle. [Teacher] Okay, let’s have a look at that.

Skip to 10 minutes and 19 seconds Can I borrow that for a second? [Pupil] What’s that? [Pupil] Woah. [Pupil] What is that? [Pupil] What is that? [Pupil] I actually don’t know, it’s really hard. [Teacher] If you look at these chambers then, can you tell me any difference between them? [Pupil] Well, not much- [Pupil] One side is very muscular because it’s pumping it all around the body. The other one is just pumping it to the lungs. [Pupil] This one looks like the harder side and that one is- [Teacher] Which one looks like the most muscley side, do you think? [Pupil] That one which is pumping it around the body. [Teacher] So you think that’s why, because that’s pumping around. So what’s happening at this side then?

Skip to 10 minutes and 55 seconds [Pupil] It’s going to the lungs then it comes back to the heart, then it goes and pumps around the body. [Pupil] This one’s more elasticky. [Teacher] It’s elasticky? [Pupil] It must be strong, though. [Pupil] Yeah, let me see if I can rip it. [Teacher] You’re pulling something out. What is it you’ve found? [Pupil] Yeah, I don’t know what it is, I think it’s a blood. [Teacher] You don’t know what it is? [Pupil] Hang on, don’t pull on that. [Teacher] What do you think it might be? What might look like that, do you think? [Pupil] A tendon? [Pupil] It’s attached to this gross gooey thing. [Teacher] What does it look like, what does it feel like?

Skip to 11 minutes and 37 seconds Why, what makes- [Pupil] It’s not as very elasticky. [Teacher] So this is more elastic than that bit? [Pupil] Yeah, cos this is really hard, this is not? [Pupil] Is it proper - 00:11:42.920 –> 00:11:45.280 align:middle line:84% [Pupil] Okay, I’m telling you it’s what it looks like.

Skip to 11 minutes and 45 seconds [Pupil] Yeah, it’s proper - I’m trying other pieces in it. This is at the bottom. [Teacher] Okay. [Pupil] But it’s on the inside. [Teacher] So is that almost like the skin on the outside, do you think? [Pupil] Yeah, but it’s the inside so it’s very smooth. That is very smooth. [Pupil] Is this the bit that you were talking about, Charlie? [Pupil] Yeah, it’s quite long. [Pupil] And it looks very stringy over there as well. [Teacher] Stringy, so what could those stringy bits be? [Pupil] They’re the tendons. [Teacher] The tendons? [Pupil] The tendons, yeah. [Teacher] Okay. [Teacher] Keep it all together. So why do you think it went through that bit? What would that have been?

Skip to 12 minutes and 30 seconds [Pupil] A tube which would lead into the heart. [Teacher] Great. [Pupil] I forgotten which chamber it’s from. [Pupil] Well, let’s see. [Teacher] Have we looked in this one? [Pupil] I think it will be, I think- [Pupil] It doesn’t smell very pleasant. [LAUGH] [Pupil] Displeasant. Looks like a valve. [Pupil] It reeks. [Reflection] {Sarah] The first resource we used was a photograph of a heart. I chose to use that rather than a diagram because I felt that a diagram would be too abstract. And I wanted the children to actually be able to see a real heart, but without being able to touch it. The second resource we used was a model of the heart.

Skip to 13 minutes and 6 seconds Now I chose to use that because models can lead to misconceptions with children. In this case, the model was very much too big. The colors on it, I felt, would lead the children to see things differently. And the way that it opened up also could potentially lead to misconceptions. Then the third resource that we used were some real hearts that had actually just come from the supermarket. And they actually were lamb hearts. Those resources would be very hands on, allowing the children to be able to touch it and to be able to dissect and actually see the real insides of a heart.

Skip to 13 minutes and 45 seconds With the first resource, the impact of the learning was that the children were able to actually look at a real heart. And you could actually see that they were looking at the resource and commenting on it. But the language I had them using was very much based on their previous experience. So they’ve used the words ventricles, and they talked about the blood being pumped around. They didn’t actually look at the heart and see anything new. And in fact that led them to have a lot of questions that they couldn’t answer. Such as when they were looking at the dark parts of the heart and not being able to work out what that was.

Skip to 14 minutes and 22 seconds With the model of the hearts, it was interesting to see that children actually didn’t even use it until they were prompted. They spent a lot of time, again, talking about things that they already knew. Didn’t actually get them to open up the bits. Didn’t lead them to very much to say about that. With the real hearts, the children went in there straight away, they wanted to touch. And the language that they were coming out with was very much based on their senses. So they were actually getting that learning from right there and then, they were right in that moment.

Skip to 14 minutes and 59 seconds And really enjoying getting their hands on that heart and being able to pull it to pieces, in a way, and actually work out for themselves how that heart worked. And actually, one of those children that was in that group was a child that had not had an experience before with dissection of a heart. And they were there pulling it to pieces, finding new bits and going, that’s hard, I wonder what this does and pulling it out. And bits that the children were being confused about in the other two examples, these children seemed to get. So the fact that the heart was covered in fat, they knew that straight away. They could describe it.

Skip to 15 minutes and 37 seconds They were there touching it, going this bit’s hard and this bit’s soft and squishy. This has got to be the fat that’s around it. And then that got them talking about why. The veins that were around the heart to give them a bit more chance to really think about why they were there and how they were different to the ones that were on the top. And when it actually came to looking inside the heart, the questions that they were coming out with were really interesting ones. And ones that would keep them motivated to find out more in the future. In some cases we have to use models when we are demonstrating things to children in the classroom.

Skip to 16 minutes and 13 seconds But we need to make sure that we point out the fact that they may not be exactly how they really would be in the real world. We probably needed to be careful that the children did understand very much about the size of it. And did need to understand about the fact that it doesn’t open up in that sort of way. And that the colors may be slightly different. And actually maybe using that alongside other resources would have been a lot more powerful. With the examples that we looked at today, I think the children would be most enthusiastic and were evidently most enthusiastic about using real hearts.

Skip to 16 minutes and 46 seconds Those children, even though they may not have used as much technical vocabulary at times, they are the ones that are going to want to find out more. That it led them to so many more questions that they wanted to find out the answers to. And those children then when they look at a heart and actually find out, well, this is called this, and this is called that, and this is where this comes from. It’s going to be so much more meaningful to them because they’ve had that hands on experience.

Resourcing practical science: three types of resource

The resources you use in a classroom can have a big impact on children’s learning.

In this video you will see three groups of children exploring a heart. The three groups were given three different resources and asked to explore them. They were encouraged to talk freely about what they knew and to use the resources to ask questions and answer them. Most of the children had previously looked at the heart and therefore had some prior knowledge to bring to the discussion.

The resources were:

  • a photograph of a heart
  • a model of a heart
  • real animal hearts.

As you watch the three groups of children, consider how they interact with each of the resources and explain how the heart works.

You will notice that Sarah does not answer the children’s questions during the activity. As a teacher, we may at times give children a chance to ask and answer their own questions through enquiry. This is an important skill children need to learn. However, to ensure that children do not go away with misconceptions it is equally important to address anything the children misunderstood. In this case, after the cameras stopped, Sarah did explain the workings of the heart to each group and answered any of their remaining questions. Time was taken to address any misconceptions which had arose from the groups’ discussions.


Comment on the use of the chosen resources. Which did you think initiated the most learning from the children and why do you think that was?

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Teaching Primary Science: Getting Started

National STEM Learning Centre