Looking into my pigeon hole made me smile today. I discovered this (And before you even ask, no sister, I can’t take niece and nephew with me):

That’s right, the sesame tree is coming to northern ireland. This usually isn’t my area (primary education), but then I discovered that the main character is an inventor. When you look into it, it really is amazing how many inventors came from northern ireland. Is the sesame tree going to educate and entertain with some local history. I am looking forward to finding out. A bookish inventor… my kind of guy, I like him already.

In my chemistry lessons today, I had fun. The experiments were very simple, but we discussed real world examples and even ventured into tangents; heart disease, perfume and why does heat radiates but cold doesn’t? As an example we reacted a solid acid with a solid carbonate. They don’t react until water is added. ….Boring…. Until it is connected with the real world. The reaction fizzed and got very very cold. I waited and wondered if anybody would make the connection. Then, “this is like a bath bomb”. No, it is a bath bomb! Suddenly it was real and they had a little insight into the world. They understood how something actually worked. Okay, to be fair, half of them didn’t know what a bath bomb was (the boys). Anyway, more connections followed. The acid we used was edible, the carbonate was edible. And these are used in soluble drugs like disprol and soluble paracetamol. When we did the chemistry, and balanced the equations, it was revealed that it produced a lot of salt. Is that a problem? It is if you have high blood pressure and are trying to reduce your salt intake, it is. This little nugget of basic chemistry was overlooked by doctors for a while.

As I read more books that would be considered ‘nerdy’, I am finding that it does benefit my teaching. Weird little anecdotes that reveal how relevant it all is. The best bit is giving students the confidence to understand the world around them. It’s not all magic and you don’t need to be a qualified ‘scientist’ to know how it works.

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