Science Camp Somers Reflection

Our first morning of science camp in Somers was literally damp but in the first few hours our minds were filled to the brim with ideas all we needed were some real students to test it all on! We managed to take part in Science Survivor and see Dolphins frolicking just off the beach and late into night gaze at the power point presentation- I mean sky.

I discovered that working in a team is really hard work particularly if you have a combination of the dominant “you can teach me anything I am already a teacher type” to someone who is struggling to even get a word into the conversation. I took this as an opportunity to sit back more than I usually do and go with the flow- a key aspect to teaching really.

Finally an hour before they arrived we managed to agree on what we might do and I sat back to see how it was going to work. We were given 15 year 7 students to “have” for 2 hours and decided to break up the time each taking in turns a teaching component.

I was really pleased that I could team teach with a similar type of student teacher to myself who, like myself, was happy to explore another idea rather than simple regurgitate the “class room” traditional science lesson. I was given the last teaching section so I exploited the prior concepts introduced at the beginning of the session.

I asked the students (in groups) to take one of the object we had collected at the beach and decided on an appropriate habitat for the object. They were asked to think about the information they had learnt about habitats and to analyse the object in terms of size, shape, colour or other attributes.

The groups presented the following in summary:
Group A: A cuttlefish skeleton: Could be found in a bath room as it may match the tiles, the shape could contain soap and the material was easy to drill holes in to let water drain away

Group B: Kelp weed: Could be found your bedroom as it could be a belt. It was strong, long and the “right” colour to wear with jeans

Group C: Sponge (falling apart) could live in a house and become Michael Jackson because it too was falling apart. This description when on to tell a story about Micahel’s nose falling off- I could have controlled this a little more as the student was doing it more for a reaction

Group D: Cuttlefish Skeleton: Could be found in the city as it was white, 10 cm tall so not too big to take up space and could easily blend in.

I was excited by the results and loved this activity as a way of going beyond the “correct” answer. I got some wonderful feedback from my group member and some questions of “how is that science?” from others.

This was a wonderful opportunity to teach.

About Sarah

Currently teaching in Collingwood College as a science and outdoor education high school teacher. After a huge 2020 I have decided to change direction and later in the year plan to undertake a coding bootcamp... After training to be a teacher via a Diploma of Education and Masters in Chemistry via thesis on the effects of bushfire on receiving water bodies (Gippsland 2002-2003) at Monash University Clayton Campus, Melbourne, Australia I have been teaching in Secondary schools in Melbourne including Sophia Mundi Steiner School . I have been an active member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), represented Australia at the world Canoe Polo Championships, am keen on other sports: netball, basketball and road cycling. I am a keen gardener and owner of chickens as well as a German Shorthaired Pointer and mother to four children. Life is busy but I would not have it any other way!
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