Science presentations to my #PGCE peers using my online peers

Following a science audit (a series of multiple choice questions on primary science topics) I discovered I didn’t know as much about the Earth and Moon as I thought I did (and yes, before you ask I *did* get the biology, chemistry and genetics all right – phew). To get us to act on our areas of weakness, we need to give a 15 minute presentation to our peers on a  topic in that area.

Why does the moon appear to change its shape at different times in the month?

Here are some slides summarising what I did – I didn’t use them, as this was a hands on exercise.

Reflection on the exercise:

Research: the motivation to research the topic was definitely helped by knowing I would be sharing what I learnt with others (made sure I really understood it to be able to answer questions).

I found some great information online, including some nice youtube videos that showed demonstrations of setting up a ‘sun’ (torch), ‘earth’ (basketball) and ‘moon’ (ping pong ball on a stick), and showing how the shadow and the reflected light of the phases of the moon are created. Links bookmarked on delicious.

However that led me to a major problem. I got stuck from the flat diagrams showing this type of demonstration – how when we are on Earth do we see the Moon when it is on the side between the Sun and the Earth? Surely the Moon is on the sunny side of the Earth – you know – the part in the sunshine i.e. during the DAY time. Isn’t it night when we see the Moon?

Fortunately I have an incredible PLN and so tweeted my frustration after a sleepless night worrying about the state of the moon phases. Within a few minutes I had a link from Tony Hirst to a brilliant interactive demonstration that showed me exactly what I needed. I could sleep easy !

Organising the presentation: Once I had got the topic straight in my head I started thinking about how to demonstrate this in easy steps. I wanted to turn this into an activity if possible. Twitter came to the rescue yet again…

Tweets about a moon phase activityThanks to @audm, a PGCE student elsewhere in the country, who had seen her PGCE colleagues showing this demonstration, I had the outline of a great activity ready to use. I loved the idea of getting my peers to draw the phases themselves, I could see that it was a great way to answer the questions I had had about viewing the moon from different places too.


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