Karen Hornby

Karen Hornby

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.

Location National STEM Learning Centre


  • Hello Naibe, all of our courses are for teachers, and you can see our full suite of courses here https://www.futurelearn.com/partners/stem-learning

  • Hi Mavis. I love the idea of getting children to pair living and non-living things as part of their treasure hunt! It's worth being careful about the corn kernel though, as corn is the fruit of the plant and there’s a seed inside which is alive (but dormant) even though it is dry.

    You can show children that vegetable with seeds are alive by getting...

  • @WesleyChiminya Thank you for sharing your insight here Wesley. Much to think about.

  • What a great question Ashley. I'd be interested to hear teachers thoughts on this too.

    We look at rewards and how they affect learning in our Science of Learning course https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/science-of-learning/7/steps/764395

  • We have a new course starting next week which looks in detail at building a mistake-friendly classroom https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/feedback-for-learning-formative-assessment

  • I think you're right Richard - social presence is important for well-being, improving a sense of belonging etc

  • I've lost count of how many times I've been told 'your mic is muted!' - funny really :-) its technology we're all just starting to get used to.

  • Great idea to demo the task Ravinder!

  • How many did you get Vicky?

  • We'll add a notice at the beginning of the course before it runs again, so that people know the references are there before they get to the end of the course! :-)

  • Hello David, There is a full reference list at the end of the course https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/science-of-learning/7/steps/764448

  • Hi Katrina, It was meant as a planning tool, but I see no reason why you couldn't fill this out in a 'student friendly' way, as an organisation tool, as you say :-) I think the transparency about expectations, roles, deadlines and so on are a good thing.

  • Hi Primila, no you don't need to upload it, as its for your own use. We'd like to hear about how you've used it (or not), whether it helped

  • Hi Taiwo, you are absolutely correct. The balance between asynchronous and synchronous learning will vary between contexts, and for you sounds as though it will be 100% asynchronous.

  • Hi Katrina, we have a lovely section on supporting students to become self-regulated/independent learners in our differentiation course coming up next week: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/differentiating-for-learning-stem

  • We have lots of ideas on our website https://www.stem.org.uk/

    There are some primary resources for home learning https://www.stem.org.uk/home-learning/primary

  • You might be interested in the primary version of this course: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/teaching-for-home-learning-primary-science

  • Please let us know what rules you all come up with :-)

  • I'll bet you got some good discussion out of it anyway Rebecca!

  • Sounds like an engaging way to introduce lab safety

  • What a great idea Robert, thank you

  • I've tried screencast-omatic before https://screencast-o-matic.com/ , and found it fairly easy to put together a pre-recorded presentation with voice-over - there's a free version to try out

  • That's an interesting example Jayne. We are just in the process of completing a new course on Feedback For Learning, and one point which arises, that I had never really considered before I read it, is that mark schemes are really written for teachers rather than students - personally I have always used them too..... ...

  • Hi Joanne, It's a bit like being a newly qualified teacher again, don't you think? Although we may have many years experience face to face teaching, its a new learning curve for remote teaching, so we are trying strategies for the first time really, and learning what works :-)

  • You've made a very good point here Magda. Covering all the content is not the same thing as students learning it. Have you drawn out any key concepts that you could focus on through your revision and homework next year?

  • I'll have a look at Focus, thank you Stephen :-)

  • This may be an issue for quite a lot of students, so good point, and worth checking whether students are having issues

  • Yes, as you say, pros and cons. Building mind maps over a topic/year is also a very useful task, thanks for sharing your thoughts

  • Yes - perhaps collaboratively

  • You might find some ideas here on these topics http://assessment.aaas.org/topics/1/SC/100#/1

    As you explore the topics from this huge research project http://assessment.aaas.org/topics you can see what the common misconceptions are, and use the questions they used..

  • Let us know how it goes Ruth

  • Letters/postcards as a reward always seem to be motivating for students :-)

  • Yes - there's some useful videos in the Big Picture collection for post-16 biology https://www.stem.org.uk/big-picture/resource-collection

  • Its great to hear how your remote teaching strategies are developing into a style that work for you and your students as time goes on. This shouldn't be a surprise really, because this is exactly what happened when we first started as trainee teachers in the classroom and explored what worked (and what didn't) ......... I think this is the process that...

  • Yes its a really useful tool isn't it!

  • @PunitchhayaJaiswal Hi Punitchhaya, It is free to do this course, but the certificate is only available to those who upgrade https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/teaching-for-home-learning-primary-science/1/upgrade

  • @RebeccaPhillips Have you clicked on the upgrade to get the certificate?

  • Hi Robin, hopefully everything in this course can equally be used during 'normal' teaching, to improve engagement with homework for example.

  • What have you tried so far Clare?

  • Hi Juliah, you can drag the posts around - I think by doing it in Canvas mode.

  • I think that's a very valid point Richard. They can't learn if they are not getting involved or engaged - so its a hugely important first step.

  • Let us know how they respond Lynne :-)

  • Good point Juliah! Thinking about how difficult it is for us to write clear instructions just shows how difficult it must be for a child to articulate in writing what they are struggling with. This is particularly tricky with younger children. I think this is part of the consideration when thinking about what to use synchronous time for.

  • Great tip Richard!

  • I think you make a good point Jessica - students often find difficulty in something that seems straightforward. I think writing clear instructions is far more difficult than it sounds, because you have to imagine all the different ways they could be misinterpreted.

  • Allowing time for a Q&A sounds like a useful idea Lynne :-)

  • Hi Jessica, I think its about considering the advantages of each type, and choosing a mode of delivery that suits the content/what students are learning, rather than trying to make the content fit the delivery method. You may find you vary the mix between asynchronous and synchronous, depending on what you are teaching.

  • This is all so interesting Eric, so thank you for sharing these experiences. Embedding video in a google form is a good idea, as students can then watch it at a time that suits them, ans as many times as they want as you say. Do you have any tips on how you've made your videos successful? Do you plan a script?

  • Hi Katy, Welcome to the course. I hope you find some ideas that will help :-)

  • @JaniceRoberts Great, thanks Janice. Looks really useful. Some lovely videos.

    I found all the subjects listed https://www.cambridgeinternational.org/support-and-training-for-schools/support-for-teachers/teaching-and-assessment/resource-plus/

  • It could be worth a chat with the English dept. to see what tips they have

  • Nice idea. I wonder if they could add a picture to illustrate a use of their metal?

  • All very good points Patrick. I think you're right to weigh up the pros and cons, and your own experience of using a particular tool for learning can really inform your own teaching methods, or help you to adapt how you would use it.

  • Good idea Anne. You can use it like a concept cartoon, with the question in the middle, and students post their ideas around it - very revealing of their thinking.

  • How did it work out Lucia?

  • Interesting! Is the BEST Evidence Science Teaching?

  • Yes - even when you're in the classroom! :-)

  • I really like the way you've encouraged collaborative learning with them assigning roles. Extended projects also allow some students to get really deep into the topic. Did you scaffold the activity for some students?

  • hahahaha

  • Great tip Will, about numbering tasks! :-) Its amazing how explicit you need to be when giving instructions remotely.

    Did you try anything that didn't work?

  • Hi Femy, I think interpreting graphs is a key skill which students find difficult - and does need explicitly teaching. We've got some resources here which might help, which are aimed at teaching the mathematical skill before getting students to apply it, or allowing students to practice the skill: https://www.stem.org.uk/triplescience/maths

    (I love the...

  • Good point Will. I agree with you, this is the most difficult aspect of remote science teaching, because in the classroom you do pick up an awful lot when you're walking around the room talking to them. This is where a well crafted question can help to discover misconceptions.

  • All good points David. Do you have the links to any particularly good sources of science videos?

    I like the Veritasium videos https://www.stem.org.uk/resources/collection/161660/veritasium

    And the Twig videos are straightforward: https://www.stem.org.uk/resources/collection/4167/twig-world

  • There are some great points here Jon. Thank you for sharing them :-)

  • I think you need to do what feels best for you and your students. Everybody's mix of synchronous and asynchronous will be different depending on their context, such as access to internet and devices and the students they have. :-)

  • @ClareBeech Great to see that you've kept them short and snappy Clare. Have you just focused on one key item per video? It would be interesting to hear the kinds of things you've used the short videos for. :-)

  • Here are some other confidence rating activities (from our Planning For Learning course) which you could convert into asynchronous tasks using these tools: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/planning-for-learning/4/steps/635095

  • Sometimes just ONE question on a key concept can be very powerful to gather evidence of student thinking, so you can decide on the next steps. https://www.stem.org.uk/assessment-for-learning

  • It is time consuming to get the question right, I agree. examiners reports are a good source - using the mark scheme and taking the 'mark as incorrect' answers as distractors can work well.

    There's also some ready made questions based on research into misconceptions here: http://assessment.aaas.org/topics

    And the diagnostic questions in the BEST...

  • I completely agree about the BEST materials :-)

  • Hi Jon,

    When I click on the links I get the EEF blog: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/news/blog-what-learning-should-we-be-promoting-for-home-during-school-closures/

    And Big ideas in science: https://www.ase.org.uk/bigideas

    I hope these work for you

  • Sounds fascinating Femy. I hope it goes well

  • It is a difficult situation Rebecca, you are right, and a lot of teachers will be concerned about the amount of content they would normally need to cover.

    Are there some key concepts which they have come across so far in Year 10 which you could really embed and deepen understanding of by applying to new contexts, diffusion in biology for example, and all...

  • Hi Soujanya, welcome to the course, and I hope you enjoy it and find useful ideas

  • Hi Megan, Brilliant that you're getting responses from your classes!! They are clearly engaged :-) Getting out of sync with each other can be an issue - we'll look at clarity of plans and instructions, and how to work with parents later - I hope some of it will help

  • Hi Stephen, I hope you find something here that you can pass on to your staff :-) It sounds like you've tried out a number of things between you all, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we move through the course.

  • Hi Thomas, welcome to the course. It sounds like you've already been having some great successes, and I look forward to hearing about your experiences as we go through the course. :-)

  • Hi Penny, Welcome to the course. It'll be really interesting to hear your views and experiences as we go along. Hopefully you'll get a few ideas to help. :-)

  • Hi Esmari, I couldn't have come up with a better wish myself. This has to be the most important thing doesn't it - ensuring some quality learning is taking place, and not just 'busy work'.

    I hope you enjoy the course, and I'm looking forward to hearing your views.

  • Hi, welcome to the course Manette :-)

  • Hi Rebecca, Welcome to the course. We do look at parental expectations in the course, and it will be interesting to hear your views on this.

  • I think that is a common issue Jennifer - how do we know if they've got it? I think the key is to be very selective about what you try to find out - a single, well thought out question at the right moment can be very powerful. We'll look at this, and some tool to help, later in the course.

    I'm looking forward to hearing about some of your successes now...

  • I love the idea of knowledge organisers Stuart. We mention these later in the course, so I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences with them. Enjoy the course! :-)

  • Hi Julie, welcome to the course. It can be a challenge to find out how students are responding to remote learning, and whether they are doing the work. We'll also look at how we can make use of the advantages of this way of learning too.

  • Hi Stuart, There are quite a few 'ready made' multi-choice questions, based on research about misconceptions, that you could make into a google form.

    Project 2016 on the AAAS website: http://assessment.aaas.org/topics

    And BEST: https://www.stem.org.uk/best-evidence-science-teaching

  • @KentJaveMonton Hi Kent, There are details about certification in the last step of the course https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/teaching-for-home-learning-secondary-science/1/steps/777865

  • I'm glad you've found padlet useful Janine. Once you get going with it, you start to think of more and more ways to use it. A bit like the remote version of a whiteboard!

  • I like this idea Anne. Its so open-ended, and takes the pressure of the parent to understand the content. Good for student learning too. Have you ever used this strategy before, perhaps in the classroom?

  • Do you have any strategies you could share that have worked well for activating prior knowledge Kent?

  • Its always good to reflect on what we are already doing well, as don't you think that we don't always do this as often as we should? :-)

  • It's a really good idea to reflect on how you've found learning on this course at a distance, as much of what you have found engaging or frustrating may also apply to how your students feel when they learn remotely :-)

  • Let us know how you get on Kent, if you try it out

  • Yes - the BEST resources are really handy for this

  • Great idea Janine. Let us know how you get on :-)

  • Thats a great idea Jon. That way you are helping students to learn to justify their thinking

  • @PatrickDiepenbroek Yes - you make a good point about focussing on developing those skills which you can, such as data analysis

  • This sounds interesting. Do you have a link?

  • Yes - I think the instructions can 'make or break' the success of an activity :-)

  • Hi Chris, welcome to the course. Video lessons may not make the best use of asynchronous learning, which we'll look at over the next week. Its important to think about the benefits are of both online and offline, and asynchronous and synchronous learning, and choose what is most suitable for your students and the content.