Engaging Pupils in Biology


Engaging Pupils in Biology through core practicals KS3 to KS5

Biology Class Lab Equipment

Please note that we are curently updating the dates and times for this course.

This short course is aimed at Science teachers who are non-biology specialists who will need to plan and carry out ‘core practicals’ within the biology modules as well as biology specialists who want to refresh and enhance their subject knowledge.

“Are we doing a practical today?”  Most science teachers will be familiar with this enthusiastic greeting by pupils at the door of the laboratory. Placing practical work at the heart of science is an often cited expression of its importance to the teaching and learning of science for young people (Holman 2017; OFSTED 2013; Sherborne 2013).

Currently, with the emphasis on ‘core practicals’ and developing scientific skills within GCSE specifications science teachers have an even greater opportunity to motivate young people in the science classroom; a majority of GCSE students report that they would like to do more practical activities in science lessons (Leevers, 2017). But, delivering effective, practical focused science lessons is not straightforward with practical work considered to be “misunderstood and badly used” (Osborne, 2015: 16). As a non-specialist, developing confidence and self-efficacy in this area, can be daunting. For biologists, developing a pedagogy that promotes deep learning for pupils also presents its own challenges.

In this series of CPD sessions, we will explore six of these ‘core practicals’. Each session will consider how the core practical might be delivered successfully and safely in the GCSE classroom. We will reflect on how each task might be used not just as a stand-alone activity that pupils have to complete for their GCSE science portfolio but how the task may be modified to promote pupil cognition as well as how the task might form the basis for deeper learning and mastery. We will consider the idea of learning progressions; how does the scientific idea, that the practical task addresses, progress from GCSE to an advanced level; should these practical tasks at GCSE and A’ level ‘talk to each other’?


Sessions will be from 3pm – 5pm and will focus on the following areas of the biology curriculum:

  • Microbiology (Monday 25 June 2018) | Book Here
  • Fieldwork/sampling (Monday 2 July 2018) | Book Here
  • Enzyme activity (Monday 9 July 2018) | Book Here
  • Photosynthesis (Monday 16 July 2018) | Book Here


£90 per session (please note that sessions need to be booked at least seven days in advance).
Ressources are provided and attendees will receive a Goldsmiths CPD certificate of attendance.

Course Tutor: Dave Dennis, MA Science Education (King’s College, London).

Contact | 020 7919 7326 | teacherscentre (@gold.ac.uk)