Playtime with Friction Simulation

I have started on the topic Force this week. One of the alternative concepts that students have is that there is only frictional force between objects only the object when the object is moving.  So, I decide to spend sometime addressing this. This is how the lesson enactment using iPadslooks like:

(1) Activating Prior Knowledge

This question is posted to the kids : I am applying a force to a box. Is there any frictional force between the box and the floor?

Mentimeter is used to collect their responses. Surprisingly, most of them are aware that the frictional force exists

(2) Encouraging Learners Engagement

Get them to go to play with Friction Simulation  in pairs.  There is a need to spend some time explaining terms like “Sum of forces”. They are able to see for themselves that Frictional Force does exist even if the object is not moving

As the students play with the simulation, they post some interesting questions based on their observation.

(1) Why is the object still moving even if the sum of forces is zero?

(2) Why is the object not moving even if I have applied the maximum force?

By using their questions, I use that to reinforce the concept of forces.

(3) Concluding Lesson

I conclude the lessons by letting them do some PSLE Science MCQ related to friction. Again, I use Metimeter to poll their response. Most are able to get it right.

Personally, I feel quite happy with myself over this lesson.  The kids explore and ‘experience’ force.   This is definitely a technology-enabled lesson as without technology, all these won’t be possible.


Lessons with my loveable 51s!

This year, I have the chance to teach the academically challenging 5/1. So far, I am loving them as all of them are really eager to learn!  Here are things I have done so far during lesson enactment so as to best engage them.

(1) Pacing and Maintaining momentum

Slow is the word of the day for this class. I always start off by reiterating of what has been previously taught  in the previous lessons.  I am glad the now they are able to articulate words like condensation and evaporation. My next challenge is to get them to remember what the process means!


(2) Encouraging Learning Enagagement

Playing, playing and more playing! I get them to write down the facts on cards and get them to play “card games” with one another. I do not state how to play, they then come up with their own rules (like matching or “snapping”).  I ask them to bring the cards home to learn.  Some of them did and can remember some of the facts.  It is not the majority but at least it is a start

I am also using Quizlet  for the kids to revise the science facts. Of course, kids love playing with the game.  I realize that my kids are not very exposed to technology (e.g., they do not know how to create tabs in Google Chrome) . So the more, I need them to use iPads and computers often.  For the initial stages, it might be slow but it is worth it.



Assessment and Feedback with technology

I survive the first week of school!  And as the very kiasu me, I have started my teaching.  I am teaching students of two extreme ends (yes, again!) but I enjoy the challenge.  This year, I wish to spend more time using data for assessment and feedback (one of the four teaching process in the pedagogical practices in STP).

Last year, I did but I personally felt that is done at a rather superficial area.  There were perhaps too many gaps that I tried to cover all in the end , I covered nothing!  This year, I need to be more strategic. Take a look at the data and focus the fundamental weak gaps I need to close (especially for my weaker kids). There are lots of holes to cover but I will need to choose the biggest hole to tackle first. After all, time and resources are finite.

So, for my academically-challenged  students, I need to start covering their fundamental weakness in maths (e.g., place values) in the start of the year.

To start off this year, I have made use of Kahoot and  Mental Sums to have a sensing of their weakness.  Kahoot, again, has proven, to be a hit with the students. They simply enjoy it.  But , enjoyment is just not enough. They need to learn from their mistakes.

So, in using Kahoot, I check for their understanding and provide feedback(teaching process) based on their weakness. Looking at the results, there are two major weakness that I need to address .  The students are not able to :

(1) identify the tenthts

(2) convert fraction like 2/5 to decimal

So,  on the next day, I focus on these two basic concepts and give them another Kahoot quiz.  There is improvement in results definitely. For next week, I will still constantly review these 2 concepts while I embark on algebra!




Final Lap for PSLE

Yes, it is Term 4 and three more weeks to PSLE.

Now, I need to give it all for their final lap. Good to see some of them finally making more efforts but is that enough? I guess I will just stay positive and focus on what they are doing now..

My plan for them

(1) At least 2 papers 1 in Week 1 an Week 2. For Week 3, 1 more paper 1.

Will then assign koobits homework to focus on their mistkes

(2) Focus on MCQ and get them to explain to explain the process for some significant questions.

I really hope that all of them can clear PSLE and move on to secondary school!

Cooling Science in NDP Parade

It is NDP week! But , the science teacher in me , never rests.  In NDP 2017 [Link], the organizers are using the Airbitat Smart Cooler

It is so relevant to the students. On on hand, we can talk science. On the th other hand, we can talk about the NE message (“No one owes Singapore a living. We find our own way to survive and prosper, turning challenge into opportunity.”). After all, it is August and time to level up the patriotic level of our students . #onenationtogether (I am still on high after NDP 2017!)

Some questions to ask:

(1) Why is there a need for water to be chilled?

(2) Why can the “unusable” chilled water for building can be use to power the Airbitat Smart Cooler?

(3) How does the chilled water cools the surrounding air?

(4) What type of material do you think is used to make the tubes (heat exchanger)? Should they be a good conductor or bad conductor of heat

I am planning to do this with my P5s this week. Stay tuned for my upcoming reflection!

Self-Heating Mala Hotpot

I chanced upon this video just last week on self-heating mala hotpot [Link]. This video gets me really excited as I see the process of evaporation and condensation being applied in real world context. It is so much relevant to what my P5s have been learning.

So, what do I do with this video? I let my P5s watch this and get them to put forth their theory as to how this self-heating mala hotspot work. I do guide them by telling them to think about water cycle, condensation and evaporation. They then post their theory on padlet [Link].  I went through the responses immediately and highlighted their mistakes.

From their responses, most of them are able to observe and explain the evaporation. However, most group do not really see how condensation comes in. They simply say “heat gets into the food”. It is a very vague statement without the mention of condensation.

This is my hypothesis to the “missing condensation”. For condensation, they do know that the warmer water vapour touches the surface and loses heat. But, they are not able to relate that the surface will thus gain heat from the warmer water vapour. This perhaps implies that they have difficulty understanding the “transfer” in heat. The transfer is not uni-directional. It is bi-directional.   When Object A loses heat to Object B, Object B gains heat from Object A. I have been emphasizing in the class but clearly, they have not internalized this concept. This is something that I will work on for the next couple of weeks.

In the next day, I continue with this video and bring their attention to video (at around 2.25 min). The presenter said “ouch” as she touched the plastic lid. This again is the work of condensation. I use this short segment to reinforce the point that I made yesterday.  I guess I might need them to feel the “work” of condensation so that they can grasp the concept.





Kahoot ! Yes again

It has been another “kahooty” week for me!


Being encouraged by my students’ enthusiastic response, I am more than willing to spend sometime every night to design questions for them. These questions are definitely not “anyhowly” but questions need to cover their learning gap (for example, I repeated the questions that they did wrongly for their practice paper 1).  For this week, I feel a sense of pride when the whole class can get one or two questions all correct. I know some of you might feel that no big deal for that is just a simple question. But, for my class, there is no such thing as simple question. I need to stay positive if I were to keep myself sane! And even more, when they feel “upset” with me as I key in the answers wrongly. Glad that they are thinking and not just simply “anyhowly” clicking.


For this week, I use Kahoot for the first time for my Science class in a slightly different manner.  I actually get them to submit their answers to some of the question in the practice paper. I carefully chose the questions so that they can do it within 2 minutes. Their response? Simply awesome! At least, I can see the sense of urgency and really focusing on the questions. If I simply just ask them to do the practice paper, I do not see the intense and fast thinking. Rather, they would “look here” and “look there” and apparently not focused on the work.

Just as a simple tweak to their learning experience with the use of Kahoot change their behaviour almost completely.  They are seriously deep in thought and can see some of them having intense conversation with their peers over the answers. When the answer is revealed, I get some of them share their reasoning.  It is good to hear that they are actively using elimination method to help them in their MCQ.  This helps them in getting the answer in the shortest time. I emphasize that it is not necessary to know everything in the question. The students tend to spend time on things they do not know.  Sometimes, with the use of elimination by focusing on what they know, they can get the correct option. This is something I will need to reiterate again next week.  It is an important exam technique that they must have.

With the use of practice paper,  my students are “complaining” the waste of time as they need to search for the questions. I choose the questions  based on “doability for my students” and they are not in an order. For the next round, I will “preempt” them with the questions first by giving them the question order.

Another way in which I use Kahoot for my class is to get them to recall the scientific concepts. I am quite taken about that they have forgotten about their properties of matter (Solid, liquid and gas).  The whole class simply cannot answer this question : “Which of the following cannot be compressed?” They absolutely have no idea that I am asking for gas. This is something that I need to work on next week.




Same same but different : Google Form Revisited

Last year , I used Google Form extensively for my P6 Science class [Link].  This year, I also started using with my class but with a twist. Why so ? Because the context is very different. Last year, my Science class was the academically strongest class and most students are reasonably motivated to do well in their studies.

This year, the class I am taking is just the opposite. Knowing where they are in their Science, I know that they would possibly will not try even given the second attempt. It can be just case of “anyhowly” trying as they may simply do not understand the question.

Here are the changes I made:

(1) Answers are provided so that they can know the correct answer straight away.  My assumption : They need immediate response or else they will only remember the wrong answer given.

(2) Feedback with video links are provided for the “popular questions”.  Students are supposed to copy the feedback on their question paper.

(3) Revisit the top “cannot-make-it” questions. and go through in class


As like last year, there are some students who just wish to get the marks. They are interested in keying in the answers and getting the marks but do not seem too eager to review the feedback. I need to constantly “nag at /scold” them to do it. Perhaps, the eagerness to review the response would level up when exam nears.

So, how does that beat the typical going-through in class?  Such technology-enabled activity allows them to do it at their own pace and some of them ask questions (not a lot but at least some really ask). They would also ask their peers for help.

Would I continue with this with my class? Yes, I will but not as frequent as last year.  At this stage, I need to focus on building their scientific content. Getting them to do the MCQ, without the science content, might not be too beneficial for them.







The Challenges with Evaporation and Condensation

Have been teaching my P5s about evaporation and condensation since end of Term 2. I have planned a series of activities including getting them to take pictures of condensation and getting to demonstrate their learning on Padlets. They seem to be able to able to answer even the challenging MCQ questions but their challenge comes in when answering open-ended questions.

From their homework submitted and the use of Padlets to demonstrate their learning [Link 1 and Link2], they seem to face challenge in communicate clearly about these two processes in open ended questions. The challenges are described as follows:

(1) Scientific Accuracy

They fail to identify the process accurately as they are mixed up over condensation and evaporation.

E.g : The water condenses or the water vapour evaporate to form water droplets.

(2) Heat transfer during evaporation and condensation

They would simply say , “the water vapour condense” without describing the heat transfer. Even they mention heat transfer, they would simply say water vapour loses heat. There is no mention as to where the water vapour is losing heat to.

(3) Water vapour in condensation

Student do not explain where does the warmer water vapour comes from. The warmer water vapor may come from surrounding air or the water which has just evaporated

With these learning gaps, there is a need for me to design learning experience to close the gaps. On reflection, I may not be very explicit in my success criteria in my previous lessons. I may have articulated them verbally but these might not be enough. So, for my next course of action. I would explicitly write the success criteria on the board and would reinforce them.  Here are the success criteria :

(1) Correct identification of the process.

– The process(es) can be condensation, evaporation or boiling, freezing or melting or a combination

–  Check for the final product of the water. Is it water droplets/steam/water vapour?

– Differentiate between boiling (with bubbles) and evaporation

(2) Describe heat transfer

– Use terms like “water gains heat from XXX ” and “water vapour/steam loses heat to XXX