National Science Week as an opportunity for programme teachers helping other teachers
The TFAPP programme schools created events for other teachers to learn from, during National Science Week. New technology teachers watched the children at work, and this opened up discussion between them and TFAPP teachers. We think this is a useful strategy for INSET.
Grade 6 Structures and Mechanical Systems
In 2008 we took the Grade 6 Mechanical Systems and Structures strands of the NCS, in a project we called Animals and Stories. In the weeks leading up to the event, each school did the initial investigations of the need/opportunity, types of structures and systems. On the day of the event, about 6 children from each school came to the SciBono Centre with their teacher. Setlhare provided tools and materials. We’d invited a number of technology teachers from another district, and these people each joined a school’s group at their table.
The groups designed and built their animal structures within 3 hours . The design task required them to use the animal to tell a traditional story (African stories, if possible, but ancient Greek fables were handy too). You can see how one group told their traditional story by clicking here:
As well as completing the term’s project, the event was an opportunity for a valuable lunch-time discussion between TFAPP teachers and the visting teachers about the practical issues of teaching technology.
You can find a report and evaluation instrument on the whole event here.
Grade 7 Processing textiles
In National Science Week 2009, we took the Grade 7 Processing strand of the NCS, in a project we called Babies and Bags. The scenario is that a mother needs a bag to carry all the things her baby needs.
In the weeks leading up to the event, each school did the initial investigations of the needs of mothers and babies, types of textiles (fabrics) and methods of sewing and dyeing textiles.
On the day of the event, about four children from each school came to the SciBono Centre with their teacher. Each school practically demonstrated their methods of making dyes from indigenous plants and dyeing calico fabric. We’d invi
ted a number of technology teachers from another district, and these people each joined a school’s group at their table. Again, programme teachers and their visitors had a useful discussion about what the students had done as they heated dye solutions and prepared the cloth.
Events like this, where children demonstrate a stage of a project, seem to be a credible INSET method of showing novice teachers what can be done with simple equipment, creativity and ideas from colleagues.