Online ExpertTrack in Teaching

Teaching Practical Science: Progress Student Learning Through Hands-On Science

4.6 (76 reviews)

Discover how to engage students aged 14-16 in science, using hands-on experiments in this three-part CPD ExpertTrack for teachers.

Created by

National STEM Learning CentreNational STEM Learning Centre

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Discover how practical work improves student learning across science subjects

This CPD ExpertTrack is aimed at secondary school science teachers who are looking to improve learning and engagement among students aged 14-16 through practical science.

The three featured courses explore strategies and approaches for incorporating practical work into science lessons. By looking at context, progression, assessment, and learning outcomes, those involved in teaching science will develop approaches to improve engagement and encourage learning. The three courses build up teaching practice by using examples from biology, physics, and chemistry.

Improve science learning outcomes using active learning

The question of how to engage students in science subjects goes wider than just schools. It is a matter of record that we are facing a global STEM skills gap. Developing practical and scientific skills with students throughout school will be key to addressing this skills gap in the near future.

Explore approaches to making learning come to life using practical science experiments

Hands-on science allows students to better understand the connection between theory and practice. Using practical science experiments can make what students have learned in textbooks come to life. By involving students in the learning process, teachers can encourage active learning, and ultimately boost learning outcomes.

Teachers on this ExpertTrack will benefit from our CPD approach which emphasises reflecting on practice and trying out approaches in their own classroom whilst learning online.

Discuss how to improve learning outcomes in a social learning environment

You’ll benefit from a peer-to-peer learning environment. Teachers can share their insights on how to engage students using practical science experiments with fellow professionals, exchanging advice and sharing best practice.

The practical work examples in this ExpertTrack are taken from the UK’s GCSE curriculum. However, the pedagogical approaches and many of the experiments are transferable to other curricula.

Key skills you will learn

  • Teaching
  • Practical Work
  • Teaching Science
  • Planning Lessons
  • Teaching with Contexts
  • Teaching Science Experiments
  • GCSE Teaching
  • Active Learning
  • Student Engagement
  • Teaching Biology
  • Teaching Chemistry
  • Teaching Physics

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Develop your confidence in delivering and evaluating teaching for practical skills in biology, chemistry and physics for 14-16 year olds.
  • Develop effective learning outcomes for practical work in biology, chemistry and physics.
  • Reflect on the effectiveness of practical activities on every students’ learning.
  • Design progression and assessment approaches within practical work.
  • Collaborate with peers, educators and mentors to share and critique ideas for teaching practical science.

Experience required

This ExpertTrack is aimed at those involved in teaching science in secondary schools, to students aged 14-16 years. You’ll need to have awareness of the science curriculum and health and safety requirements for teaching hands-on science in your local area. The courses are built around the UK GCSE framework, though the insights would be relevant to any science teaching context.

The examples used in this course are based on practical science experiments for students aged 14-16 years. The approaches to practical science explored would also be relevant for those teaching students aged 11-19 years.

Getting started

This ExpertTrack will improve your confidence in teaching practical science and enable you to develop approaches in planning practical science experiments to improve student learning.

This CPD ExpertTrack for teachers and others involved in teaching science to students aged 14-16 is designed to facilitate a peer-to-peer learning environment, with discussion, activities and reflection.

Learners would benefit from some experience of teaching science as well as a strong grasp of relevant scientific principles.

ExpertTrack course overview

  • Course 1

    4.5 (26 reviews)

    Develop practical lessons to help 14-16 year old students understand biology with this CPD for science teachers.

    3 weeks

    3 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Teaching with context in biology
      • ExpertTrack: Teaching Practical Science: Biology
      • Developing your teaching with us
      • Teaching with context
      • Context for biology practical
      • Planning for context
    • Week 2

      Learning through practical work in biology
      • Learning through practical work in biology
      • Enzymes practical work
      • Learning objectives for practical biology
      • What does success look like?
      • Classroom task
    • Week 3

      Progression in practical biology
      • Progression in practical work
      • Building progression of skills
      • Progression of knowledge
      • Reviewing your professional development
  • Course 2

    4.5 (24 reviews)

    Participate in CPD to enhance your physics lessons with effective practical work for 14-16 year olds.

    3 weeks

    3 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Everyday context for physics practicals
      • ExpertTrack: Teaching Practical Science: Physics
      • Developing your teaching with us
      • Bringing in context
      • Radioactivity practical work
      • Learning with context
    • Week 2

      Progression of learning through physics practical work
      • Progression of learning
      • Planning progression in practical work
      • Linking for learning
    • Week 3

      Assessment of learning through practical work
      • Changing barriers into learning opportunities
      • Problem solving with practical work
      • Assessment through practical work
      • Reviewing your professional development
  • Course 3

    4.8 (26 reviews)

    Discover approaches to engage 14-16 year old students through practical lessons in chemistry with this CPD for science teachers.

    1 peer-graded assignment

    3 weeks

    3 hours per week

    • Week 1

      Context for chemistry practicals
      • ExpertTrack: Teaching Practical Science: Chemistry
      • Developing your teaching with us
      • Engaging students to learn through practical work
      • Making practical work accessible
      • Applying what you've learnt
    • Week 2

      Progression in practical chemistry
      • Progression of practical technique
      • Progression of knowledge
      • Planning for progression
    • Week 3

      Assessing learning through practical work
      • Assessing learning in practical chemistry
      • Planning for assessment
      • Subject knowledge or practical skills?
      • Reviewing your professional development

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World-class learning with National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

Meet your instructors

I taught science for ten years and was Head of Science for three years, before becoming a subject specialist at the National STEM Learning Centre.

Professional Development Leader: Physics at the National STEM Learning Centre in York. My background is a Head of Science and Assistant Leader of Teaching and Learning. www.stem.org.uk

ESERO-UK Teacher Fellow, working for STEM Learning, York. Using the context of space to inspire STEM teaching and learning. Teacher of physics, satellite engineer, father of two.

I am a Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Learning Centre. I have been a biology teacher for 34 years with 10 years as Head of Science and 7 years as a senior leader.

I am a Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Learning Centre in York. My background is chemistry and physics secondary teaching, as well as having been a Head of Science.

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ExpertTracks are a series of online courses designed to help you master new skills in specialist areas. You pay a monthly subscription fee which includes access to all courses within the ExpertTrack, as well as assessments and the final digital certificate.

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