After the exams – a classroom update

Exam season is over again. Time to relax!


jk. I am, of course, still very busy. Year 11 and 13 gone though so less work having to be done out of school time. Yes!

Year 12 have been back for a few weeks and we are focusing on practical skills to prepare them for year 13 practical work. In the past we have just started on a year 13 topic after the exams (usually gravitational fields) but thought we would have a change this year.

I can’t remember if I got the structure I’m loosely following from the fantastic PTNC email list or TalkPhysics. But thank you to whoever posted up their year 12 after exams plans and to the other teachers who responded to my request for ideas!

We have looked at how to draw straight line graphs from various known power laws. Looked at combining errors. Done a few experiments to test and practice these ideas: intensity of light at different distances from a source and Charles’ Law. This last week we have been using logarithms to plot data and find out the relationship between quantities.  It has been great to show them an application of logarithms. Seeing an abstract mathematical concept be put to use in such a useful, practical, straightforward way is very satisfying. Finally, the last few weeks will be used to look at exponentials in physics.

Year 10 are probably not very happy because we’ve been working harder than ever to get through a unit before the end of term. Spent quite a lot of time earlier in the year improving extended writing skills and I hope that will benefit them in the long run. We also did the controlled assessment around Easter time this year and they have a deadline of the summer holidays to get all of it finished so I can mark it over the holidays (yey! 😉 ) This means I’ve been staying after school quite a lot as they arrive to finish off various bits and pieces.

Years 7 are doing a space topic. I’ve had them plotting some data on Jupiter’s moons – distance vs orbit time. Quite challenging for some of them but I’m determined to get their graph skills to a higher level to make things easier later on. A few have done extra homework to finish off and extend their solar system fact sheets. All this and I hear the new dual award doesn’t have any space physics in. Such a shame for this engaging topic to be dropped (It’s still in physics gcse).

I’m teaching year 8 about habitats and environments. Woodlice. Woodlice everywhere. Physics practicals are so much less… alive. 🙂 I’m also getting them to draw lovely graphs.

Looking forward, I’ve seen my timetable for next year. I’m really looking forward to being full time again. I have felt like I’ve really missed out on a lot being part time. The pay off, of course is I’m a bit worried about how I’ll cope with all the extra work. Especially as changes to our training schedule and mentoring program mean I’m working 2 full extra days a week and get the same number of frees as I do now.

The biggest challenge on my new timetable is going to be the mid to low ability dual award classes I’ve got in years 10 and 11. I haven’t taught dual award GCSE to classes like this before (previously we did BTEC with them). Going to need some different tactics to my usual ones. Looking forward to the challenge though.

I also met the parents of my new year 7 form at an induction evening for them. Get to meet the pupils in a few weeks at induction day. 🙂

Just a few more weeks to get through before a lovely Summer break. Thanks for reading!


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