Teaching – Science Week

Teaching Thailand- As part of my job in the private school teaching Science in English – experiments suitable for students

2013 in Review

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Categories: Exploring Thailand, Festivals, Teaching - Science Week, Teaching Thailand- Government School, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Science Week 3

This was a couple of weeks ago now, but I’ve been hectic since and this is the first chance ive had to upload photos and write! Science week was at the end of August. As I knew this was the last one i would be doing with the students I wanted to make it special and put lots of effort into thinking of things the student could make, rather than watch me at the front demonstrating something to them and thats how I decided on these experiments.


My year 4s learnt how to make Hoop Gliders. They fly better than a paper aeroplane and are really simple to make. I thought the students would be super quick making them so that we could spend the rest of the lesson outside throwing them and hitting targets. But no, there were 3 strips of card and the students took most of the lesson decorating the card. All you need is 3 strips of card (5 inches long, 1 inch wide) a straw, and tape. Curl one bit of card into a small circle and tape it. Make the other two into a big circle and tape it. Then tape the small hoop at the bottom of the straw, and the bigger at the top of the straw. Voila, you have a hoop glider. It takes about 5 minutes to make unless you want to decorate or unless the students struggle putting tape on (some of mine did!)


Here are the picture of my classes throwing the gliders at me!


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My Pratom 5s had more of an activity week rather than strictly science but the activities i followed were in a science book! For the first lesson the students made a guitar from a shoe box, old pens and elastic bands. It was super easy and taught them about high or low pitch, depending what size pen was used. For the second lesson they made a basic harmonica. All you need is more straws, card and double sided tape. They put the tape on the card then lined up all the straws and then cut the bottom diagonally so that when you blow into the straw different pitched sounds can be heard. I had a fantastic eureka moment with one class who finished early. So i made them put all the harmonicas the same way round and had them copy my tune. At the end i made them put all the tunes together and we made a sort of melody. I think its possibly the first time teaching that every single student knew what to do and did it in time. It felt fantastic! Didn’t sound half bad either…


Was too busy making melodies to take photos so here is a drawing instead.

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For the year 6s they were instructed to make mini water turbines in groups. This was not simple to make and needed a lot of stationary and parts! Including; big water bottle, 6 screw top lids from bottles, a heated glue gun, 2 discs of plastic, a knife, 30cm wire and strong waterproof tape. Also a bucket for the water to run into.


The students started by giving the disks of plastic and the lids to to the teachers who put hot glue on, then they were able to set them out they way they wanted to make a functioning wheel. A pin was then used to make a hole to thread the wire through. The wire was then bent to hold the wheel in place and taped to the bottle. A knife was used to make a hole in the bottle for water to pour through.


Some of the experiments worked and some didn’t. It was better if the hole was lower because then the water had more pressure on it and would come out faster and hit the wheel stronger and turn it. Most students had to keep the water flowing from the tap to get it to work correctly and a few broke the wheels. I also gave them the option of making the plastic disks smaller. These worked better as the less weight meant it was easier to turn with little water falling onto it.


Once again didn’t get a photo so here’s another drawing.

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Science week 2

Another month has flown by already and I’ve just finished my second Science week. I toned down the craziness for this month but we still had fun and the students were still excited!


My Pratom 6’s are away in Malaysia at an English camp this week, so I’ve had 8 less hours to teach which was nice! It also means I only had to prepare science week lessons for years 4 and 5.


Since Pratom 4 have just finished a topic on food, I decided to go with that theme and we did taste testing and locating taste buds. For the first lesson I taught them other adjectives to describe food ( At the moment it’s mainly delicious, or occasionally tasty.) So I taught them creamy, minty, fruity, greasy, bland, salty, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Then as a class they thought of foods to go in each column.


Each class ran the same way so for the day of testing I got the students to run through the list again, just putting hands up and shouting out answers, then picked a volunteer. He/She had to test 3 different liquids and describe them to me. Before I started I checked they weren’t allergic to anything nor minded having a blindfold on.


Then I fed them “creamy” “spicy” and “minty” liquids. This was milk, chillies in water and then toothpaste in water. The students thought it was hilarious when the volunteer had to swallow the spicy mixture, and again when they found out the blue liquid was toothpaste!

The rest of the students then got into groups and were given salty water (water and salt dissolved) Sweet water (water with sugar dissolved) sour water (with lemon juice) and bitter which ended up being strong tea. They were given toothpicks and had to test the water and say what each were, as well as colour in a diagram of tastebuds on the tongue.


Here’s the sciency part, or “fun facts” that I didn’t know until I researched the topic! Sweet and salty tastebuds are located on the tip of your tongue. Sour to the sides and bitter at the back. Girls have more tastebuds that boys, and usually there are over 10,000 in your mouth.


The kings class jokingly asked me if the salty water was from the sea and I told them yes, that I had collected it that morning from Songkhla. Their little faces were so cute with confusion, trying to work out if I was joking or not. Then a girl asked if there had been oil in it (Earlier this week there was an oil spill that damaged Koh Samet, an island nearish Bangkok, more info here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/30/thailand-koh-samet-oil-spill-tourism) I told her I scooped it out before they tasted it! I think she realised I was kidding….


For the Pratom 5s we focused on eyesight and used a Snellen Chart to test their eyes .(The chart with the letters that get smaller and smaller.) I taught the students how to make their own one on a piece of A4 paper. The first line of letters is 4.5cm tall, second 3.1cm, third 2.2, fourth 1.8cm, fifth 1.3cm, sixth 0.9cm and seventh 0.7cm. I told them they could pick random letters or spell out words, but that the first line should have one lettter, the second two and so on, as well as leaving gaps between the lines. Once measured out they filled in the letters with black markers. I made them swap charts with friends then stand twenty feet away and try to read each others. If they can read the bottom line then they have twenty twenty vision. Most of my students could not read that line, as most people have twenty ten vision. Also students that had glasses on took them off and tried to read it (most got to the second or third line then gave up) then they put them back on and could usually read the rest. Good to know their glasses are working!


Also in my kings class one student chose the letter “W T F” to start their Snellen chart with. Bearing in mind he’s 11 and in Thailand I giggled to myself and gave him the benefit of the doubt and walked on, not saying anything. About 2 minutes later though I hear “What the F***” shouted by his friend back at him – so his friend obviously knew what he had written!

My Pratom 6s don’t have science week but starting monday they are learning about the Solar System as a full topic of 3 weeks so this should be interesting.

Didn’t get many photos this week, I was too busy teaching…

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Categories: Teaching - Science Week, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Science Week

Ahhh it’s a been a while since I’ve updated, sorry!! Its because I am busy living in a city, lots to do now! Plus school has been hectic too, not only teaching English (and science) but listening exams, speaking exams, marking books and setting midterm tests too. I guess since the last post I’m pretty much settled in my new place. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the students recently and thanks to Science week their personalities are shining through. My kings class for Year 6 (the cleverest P6/4) are a bunch of actual crazies!! And 4/2 are the cutest, the ones who always want hugs and high 5s!

Science week went really well, I think Teacher Ya and I were as excited as the students for the experiments! For P4 I did the first lesson on secret codes that they had to work out and the second lesson was a secret message made from 100% lemon juice, written on paper with cotton buds. It goes invisible as it dries but when held over a flame (candles) the message appears as the acidic ink burns first. Teacher Ya and I both attempted this before hand and both burnt holes in the paper. The students were super excited to see their messages appear, and we only had one message catch fire out of 120 so that’s pretty good! (The children weren’t allowed near the flames, nor did they attempt to burn the messages either, as its a really fine line to how close you hold the paper to the flame for the message to appear and the risk of it catching fire!!) Some kids wrote lovely messages, such as I love Teacher Zo and Teacher Ya!

I ❤ Teacher Zo


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Teacher Ya first attempt!


P4/2 posing!


Crazy kids and teacher


His message reads “Teacher Zo is beautiful!” DSCN7949

For P5s I spent the week on optical illusions. The first lesson was based on optical illusion pictures, asking if they could see the old lady or the young lady and how many feet does the elephant picture have, some really famous illusions! Even Ya my assistant had never seen them before and was impressed with them. It was funny to hear the “ahhhhh” sigh of when the students finally got the illusion then explained it to their friends. For the second lesson the students made their own illusions, drawing a picture on one side of a circle card, and another drawing on another circle card, which when put with a string through and twiddled would form one picture (eg a fish bowl on one side, and a fish on the other.)

Here is how to : http://www.pbs.org/parents/fetch/activities/act/act-motionpicture.html

And here is a video showing some of the ideas the students had; http://youtu.be/qrNZBujPbFw   21399_391980187588789_83107114_n

Playing with the left over card!


For P6s, the students learnt about gravity the first lesson, then the second lesson they were told to bring in boiled eggs (I wanted to use normal eggs but thought boiled would be less messy when they broke) and then made bases and parachutes out of string, cups, card and cotton. We then launched these off of the school building and the students then got to see whose egg survived. There wasn’t much time to do this so even if the egg did survive the students started eating their boiled eggs as soon as the experiment was over! Some students did think outside the box and used 2 parachutes, or added more string, and one group added extra padding to the bottom of the cup, which saved their egg from cracking!

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So my first Science week was a success….yay! Since that was 2 weeks ago now, I have been preparing for Midterm tests (speaking, listening, book work and an actual written exam.) The written exam has been submitted and the students will sit the tests next week.

During the weekends I have been exploring Hat Yai. I was invited to go to the Floating Market just outside of Hat Yai with Karen and the Thai teachers from her school, who took us in an air con car! It was mainly food, being sold in little boatsand you had to lean over, order and the food would be passed to you in a basket on the end of a hook, where you took the food and gave the money back. I had fried chicken, iced tea and samosas! Last weekend I went for  a nice dinner at Gaps Garten, a german place which I think is one of the most expensive restaurants in Hat Yai and it still only cost me the equivalent of £12 for a yummy dinner of duck breast, pan fried garlic potatoes, gravy and 2 glasses of wine!! Also found an Italian/mediterranean restaurant called Basil, which is run by a lovely lady called Smiley, who really looked after us. Her most expensive pizza (italian style in an oven) is still only £6. This weekend I went to Greenway market too, a night market that runs every night from Wednesday – Sunday. Me and my friends were there for 3 hours looking around and still hadn’t seen everything! There’s lots of bargains and very cheap clothes. I got lots of nail wraps as trying to grow my nails and ate a cheap dinner there too and bought a new pair of hello kitty sunglasses. The rest of the time I’ve been at the pool as found a cheap big one I like and got a sort of membership there!

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Karen and I at Gaps


With Karen, Alison and Rania and Thai teachers at a market DSCN8038

Floating Market!


Karen with a Kitten for sale at greenway market (500THB – £10)

DSCN8061 At my favourite pool I found! (hello kitty sunnies!) DSCN8063

Categories: Teaching - Science Week, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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