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Twig Science - free resources for Scottish schools

Kevin Thornley explains more about Twig Science, and how he found it an invaluable resource.

Chemistry Teacher, Penicuik High School, Midlothian

Twig World (previously known as Glow Science) was a resource that I came across at the beginning of my Initial Teacher Education through various peers and colleagues. After using this resource throughout the year, I hope to be able to share a useful and practical insight into what it is and why I found it invaluable!

What is Twig Science?

In practical terms, it is an online resource comprising hundreds of short films which help to support the teaching of Science experiences and outcomes within Curriculum for Excellence. Each of the films is mapped onto the curriculum and corresponds to one of the four areas; ‘Planet earth’, ‘Forces, electricity and waves’, ‘Biological systems’ and ‘Materials’. This is one of the key features which make this resource invaluable, the ease with which the appropriate film can be found means it is a lot more convenient than sifting through DVDs or searching through endless folders on a hard disk!

While the films themselves are fantastic in their own right, each is accompanied by an array of documents, quizzes, diagrams and other information which can aid with the planning and implementation of lessons, especially when teaching a non-specialist subject within ‘Science’ classes.

How good is Twig Science?

Excellent. It really can be summed up in one word. Ease of use, as already alluded to, helps in this area but it is so much more than a convenient tool. The quality of the material which has been produced is outstanding. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are very visual subjects, and the incredible graphics and animations on display within these films really help to bring the subject areas to life.

Each of the films is under three minutes long, at face value this may not seem much. However the films manage to accurately and succinctly convey information in a manner which is not only eye catching but accessible to a wide range of pupils with visual, textual and audio prompts to suit all needs. The relatively compact timing of these films also means they can be easily worked into almost any lesson, no matter how tight time is!

How can Twig Science be used in the classroom?

This is where, in my eyes, the true value of the Twig resource is realised. The quality of the content and its succinct nature means that I have used them in a variety of ways. At times, I have used these videos as introductions to new topics – as a visual tool to help capture the imagination and encourage enthusiasm for a new area of study. Alternatively, I have found them equally useful as a way of summarising and highlighting the main points of a lesson, shown towards the end, to help tie all the threads of the lesson together in stimulating way.

While these are the two ways I have preferred to employ them, there are numerous other ways in which they can be utilised. For example to aid revision for tests, to provide a recap of the learning from the previous lesson, etc.

While brief, I hope this has been enough of a useful insight to encourage the exploration of Twig Science to discover how fantastic this resource really is. Now that I am embarking upon my probation year, I will definitely be continuing to use Twig to help enhance my teaching.