LESSONS - PREPARATION
The first meeting took place in Zagreb, Croatia, in November, 2021. Prior to the meeting the following tasks had been carried out: lessons were devised in order to demonstrate the practical activities which your school plans to include in the resource package, the materials required to run the practical lesson at the meeting were gathered and brought to Croatia with staff in V. Gimnazija providing some basic lab resources, a lesson plan was written for each lesson, uploaded to the Team for the ErasmusSTEPS project and printed out for inclusion in a Project Meeting booklet. These lesson plans included relevant details of the curricular area covered. At this meeting the teachers involved presented the practical activities/lessons which they had selected for trialling ( two per school). Each school ran a lessonfor all of the attending staff and pupils on each of their activities, with the Croatian lessons on fossils being entirely run by pupils from V. Gimnazija, Zagreb. The lessons were not carried out with primary classes during the meeting due to Covid restrictions and time limitations, as running and discussing two lessons per partner school took considerable time. The coordinator critiqued each lesson and suggested changes where relevant. One lesson per school was selected by consensus for inclusion in the resource pack. We talked about the practicality of carrying out each of these practical lessons in our own countries, their relevance to each curriculum and the manner in which we would trial these lessons in our associated primary schools. Questioning was discussed, as was how each lesson could be adapted for different age groups and abilities. Each school agreed to run at least one of the other school's practical lessons with their local primary school(s) before the first L.T.T. meeting, but no particular lesson was chosen at this stage as it was felt that this should be a decision made back at school after discussion with the relevant science teachers. Feedback from primary teachers and pupils will be a vital part of these trials and will inform how we proceed further. There were no issues which had to be dealt with at this meeting . Arrangements for the first L.T.T. meeting to be held in Belgium were made . We postponed setting up the project website as we felt we had a significant amount of work to do modifying and trialling the selected lessons and acting on feedback to produce a final product. The lessons would also have to be translated into English prior to the next meeting, which again would take some considerable time and effort. (As a result of the ongoing impact of covid ( and of two earthquakes in Croatia which damaged the school) the demands of everyday teaching were particularly heavy at this time.)
The first school exchange meeting took place in MIA Brugge. 12 pupils from Dollar Academy, V Gimnazija Zagreb and IES Francisco Giner de los Rios worked alongside 20 pupils from MIA Brugge to trial and further develop lessons for the resource pack.
The meeting started with ice-breaker games for the students, followed with a presentation given by students from each school about their own school, with a focus on how science is taught in their country. Over the first two days of this meeting, each school presented one or more lessons which they had developed and received feedback on the suitability of the lesson, modifications proposed etc.. The four most suitable activities were selected for inclusion. These were: Fossil Fun (Croatia); Pirate Pupils (Scotland); Almighty Air (Spain) and Magical Magnetism (Belgium). Over the remaining days all participants learned how to carry out each of these experimental activities safely as well as becoming familiar with all of the proposed contents of the resource pack, necessary as they had to cascade their learning to their peers when back at their own school and help to train local primary teachers in running the selected lessons.
The goals of this first L.T.T. meeting were: to enable the staff and pupils to create/strengthen good working relationships in international group (vital for the success of the whole project which involved several groups working on different but complementary aspects of the project at each school); to select a design for the packaging of the resource box which is both functional and attractive; to agree on a standard design for many of the paper resources such as lesson plans, syllabus links, risk assessment forms, resource lists, pupil worksheets, etc.; to participate in a training session on how to teach each of the practical's and to select which of these practical's will be included in the resource packs. A vital aspect of this training was a focus on health and safety, and risk assessments were previously carried out for each practical using the national guidelines for each of the participating countries. We examined the primary science syllabus of each country to ensure that lessons are relevant to the primary pupils as well as being stimulating and enjoyable. All of these goals were met. Each practical lesson was modified in the months subsequent to this project meeting as a result of feedback gained from the participants. In addition the pupils attending the meeting worked together to produce a fifth lesson on floating and sinking which will not be included in the resource pack as the materials used are available to teachers already but details of which are avalable on this website. The main results/outcomes of this meeting were the finalisation of the design of the resource pack and its contents, the selection of 4 practical lessons and associated resources for inclusion in the box and the assignment of one specific practical to each school for trialing as well as arrangements for each school to develop further their own practical lesson.
The second school exchange meeting took place in Dollar Academy . 12 pupils and 10 staff from MIA Brugge, V Gimnazija Zagreb and IES Francisco Giner de los Rios worked alongside 25 pupils from Dollar Academy. . These were all pupils and staff who were engaged in development and teaching of two Science lessons for primary pupils at their own school. The primary teachers and pupils who were the focus of the week's lessons came from two Clackmannanshire schools: Strathdevon Primary School and Dollar Academy Prep School. On the first day of the meeting various ice-breaking activities were run . The Scottish team then ran the lesson on vision ( Pirate Pupils) for the other participants. After lunch, the Croatian pupils taught everyone else how to teach their lesson on Fossils. The following day the Belgian and Spanish teams taught how to run their lessons (all of this was done in a hands-on practical manner) in the morning. In the afternoon, four primary classes from Dollar Academy Prep School were taught with pupils from the different partner schools being randomly assigned to each lesson so that by the end of the week each pupil had taught at least 3 of the lessons. On the Wednesday we discussed each of the lessons and alterations were made to the lesson plans based on feedback from that discussion as well as on feedback from the staff at the Prep School. After a trip and further discussion on the Thursday, staff and pupils spent a half day at Strathdevon primary school, where 4 classes were taught. The feedback from this was used to further refine each lesson. The goals were: to learn how to train primary teachers from Clackmannanshire to teach practical science, to practice this training by helping to run hands-on practical lessons for each other as well as for primary teachers and pupils, to become familiar with the contents of the prototype resource pack and with how to use all of the materials in that pack, to use feedback from teachers and from each other to decide on the final contents of the resource packs and their design. These objectives were all met. The main result was the formation of a core team of staff and pupils who are familiar with the contents of the resource pack and how to use them and who have the training and confidence to train others how to teach each of the practicals included in the pack. Another important result was the fine-tuning of the lessons based on feedback from primary pupils, primary staff and the participating staff and pupils from the partner schools. The participating staff and pupils benefited from this meeting in ways similar to those described for the first L.T.T. meeting.
At the second Transnational Project Meeting, which was the final meeting of the project, we uploaded resources to the website, finalised arrangements for the ongoing updating of the website which will be the task of Dollar Academy and MIA Bruges, with the other partner schools continuing to upload materials to the project Team, carried out an evaluation of the project and started to write the final report. Training of primary teachers and class teaching of our four lessons is ongoing with a workshop for trainee teachers in Spain planned for June, 2023 and lessons for pupils in Seamab school for children in care in Scotland are also planned for June, 2023. Training of primary teachers/trainees will be an ongoing process in Andalusia as a result of the involvement of CEP and in Dollar Academy in partnership with RAiSE( Raising Standards in Science Education, a charity which works to promote Science teaching in Scottish Schools) . It is further planned to continue running the primary science teaching module at Dollar Academy for Form VI pupils. In this module the Form VI pupils teach local pupils at 3 to 5 primary schools per year. Tasks were set including the ongoing translation of all materials into English, the uploading of additional resources for lessons which had been designed and trialed but not included in the final resource pack ( Fizzy fun, Magic Box, Floating and Sinking). This was the last ever Erasmus meeting for Dollar Academy but it was rewarding to hear that the partnership which we had set up is ongoing, with the Spanish and Belgian schools about to start participation in a new Erasmus project.
STEM - WORKSHOP
A workshop for probationer primary teachers was held in Dollar Academy in early 2022. This was attended by 18 teachers from 14 primary schools in Clackmannanshire. The lessons 'Fizzy Fun' and 'Pirate Pupils'were trialled at this workshop in a hands-on practical lesson which lasted over 2.5 hours.
The probationary teachers were enlisted and administration was carried out by J MacLean from RAiSE and STEM officer for Clackmannanshire.