Science-is-fun

5 tips on making Science fun for kids!

Science is fun with MST

It’s no revelation that even as adults we enjoy learning about the things we love and the interests we are passionate about. For starters, we never seem to mind setting aside precious hours to indulge in our favourite pastimes, nor do we find them a chore.

Being captivated by a special subject or hobby should be fun and it’s remarkable how little it can feel like learning when you know how.

At MST, we know that all kids have one thing in common and that is the ability to have fun! It makes understanding and exploring new concepts interesting, which is actually half the challenge. So we thought we’d share some fun ways to keep kids engaged in the wonderful subject of Science.

MST tutors ScienceExperiment away

Ditch the exercise books for a few hours and take a look at the world around you. Science is everywhere and this is what makes it so exciting! Some of our favourite mini-experiments to try with your children are easy and don’t cost a fortune.

Kids of all ages will enjoy building – and erupting– a mini Volcano sciencebob.com/make-your-own-volcano

Powering a little soap boat sciencebob.com/build-a-soap-powered-model-boat

or slinging a marshmallow catapult (my personal favourite!) marshmallow-catapults-summer-fun-for-kids

Most of these will take under an hour and are not just a fun learning experience but precious bonding time with your little ones.

Stage a Science quiz

Learning about Science– or any subject– in groups is not only super fun, but offers a great solution for a creative playdate. Split a group of children into groups and task them each with writing ten questions on a Science subject of your choice, this utilises skills such as research, group discussion and verbal reasoning.

Part 2 is where it gets fun for all of you parents! Channeling your inner Jeremy Paxman, pose as an expert quizmaster and fire away with the questions, allowing each team to work through their answers. After all that excitement and some serious brain power, we suggest both teams (and presenter) win a well-deserved prize!

Take a day trip

In and around London you will find hundreds of attractions to visit with your children that will stimulate learning around the Sciences. But if push came to shove, there’s only one place that would top them all and that has to be London’s internationally famous Science Museum.

This iconic attraction is full of exciting and interactive experiences to enjoy that will take you on a creative journey through history, exploring each and every moment that brought us to where we are today.

We also understand that the new interactive gallery is currently undergoing a significant refurbishment, so we expect big things from this when it re-opens in Autumn 2016. We are so thrilled that entrance fees to the this museum remain free of charge for everyone. Although, please note, some additional attractions and simulators require a fee, including the IMAX experience.

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Maths & Science tuition

Muhammad Answers: The reasons why you might need tuition

I’m Muhammad Ali and for the record, yes, that is my real name! I’m an Islington based private Maths and Science tutor and founder of mathematicsandsciencetuition.com

It’s not uncommon for people to assume that tuition is purely for additional support with a specific subject. Whilst this is true in many cases, it is not the only reason we are asked to tutor students. In fact, there are many reasons we engage with our pupils and I felt it was important to share these. Not only to dispel this archaic stigma of failing or lacking in some way, but to encourage parents and adult learners to see the additional benefits of nurturing one’s talents.

So here we are, a few reasons why you might consider tuition.

MST Tuition

Focused learning

This is where I work with students on an area or topic that they are finding tough. I will design lessons around this (it is never a case of one size fits all in tutoring) and run these at a pace that suits them. It is difficult in a classroom to keep up sometimes, as teachers can whizz through the syllabus and often children feel unable to ask the teacher to repeat points, when it means, in effect, asking the whole class to go over it again. In a tutoring session they can ask questions freely. I am also able to pinpoint the exact elements they are struggling with the most and we can really focus on these.

Maintenance

Many of my students come to me in order to sustain a good and consistent level of results and to ensure their understanding of maths or science remains steady. These students often have quite a solid understanding of their subject but need private tutoring to provide an extra layer to this and really concrete it! Students who come for maintenance tell me having tutoring ensures them an in depth learning of the subject, particularly when they find their classroom or home environment difficult to concentrate in.

Exam Preparation

Having tutoring in the lead-up to exams is imperative in my view in order to consolidate a student’s knowledge and get them feeling confident before their exams. I ensure my tutees tackle practise questions so they understand the format and expectations of the exams. We will also spend time revisiting topics, learning about exam techniques and honing revision skills. I like to make sure my students are continuing their practise and revision outside of our sessions so I teach them to effectively take ownership of their revision and learning.

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MST-clock

Top tips for GCSE revision

As exam time creeps closer we share some expert revision tips that are bound to boost your confidence! We spoke to some students who successfully completed last year’s round of GCSEs to get their top tips on revision. 

Here’s what they recommended…

1. Plan, don’t cram!

GCSE-revision

Plan in advance. Don’t cram! Before you start, make a list of all the topics you need to revise for each subject and then make a daily revision plan. Breaking topics and subjects up so you are not revising a single subject all day really helps you to focus. Revision plans also help guide you; having a timetable to follow means you have a start and finish point. Without this you could feel overwhelmed which may put you off ever starting! Making a plan also helps you to understand how much time you need to dedicate to each subject.

2. Timing is everything

The subjects you feel the least confident in are the ones you need to devote extra time to in order to feel prepared for the exams. And let’s face it, these are often our least favourite subjects, so this is no easy feat! But if you can find your most productive time of the day to concentrate on these, it will seem better. Everyone’s best times are different so it may take a few practise runs to find out when you feel the most focused. Take advantage of these peak times!

3. Revise with friends and family

Meeting with friends for a revision session can be really motivating. Although you need to make sure it doesn’t just turn into a catch up! Being sociable and feeling like you have achieved something will really help spur you on. You can learn from friends, swap notes, test each other and revise creatively e.g. act out a history scene or use the internet for inspiration.

Getting your family to test you will also boost your revision skills. You can find test questions online (all exam boards have past papers available online) for many subjects or better still, write your own!

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School library

School Academies Explained: The Important Things To Know

Following the recent announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that all schools in the UK will become academies by 2022, we explain exactly what this means for the education system and the changes you can expect.

George Osbourne

What is special about an Academy?

Firstly, the way in which an Academy is funded is different from the traditional local government funded system. Instead, Academies receive funding via central government.

It is also the responsibility of the school principal or headteacher to run daily operations within the school and they report into charitable bodies called Academy Trusts. It is through these trusts that support is given and received along with strategic advice and expertise.

Academies will have more freedom and creativity surrounding teaching and the curriculum, which is hoped will encourage more creativity and innovation at school.

Finally, an Academy will have control over teachers pay, contractual terms and conditions and term lengths.

What remains the same?
Academies will receive the same level of funding per child as a maintained school and they must follow the current laws and guidelines surrounding admissions, exclusions and special educational needs.

What are the reasons behind changing the current system?
It is believed that with greater independence and in some cases “sponsors”, standards and results in Academies will improve at an accelerated rate.

Whilst some Academies that were previously schools are indeed performing better than before, there is no evidence to suggest a definite upward trend when schools make the conversion and in some cases Academies have shown poorer results.

What are people saying about this?
Supporters and decision makers such David Cameron and George Osborne himself, claim that by removing the bureaucracy surrounding locally maintained schools it will empower headteachers to drive standards higher than ever. This comes in response to a dwindling position on the global educational league table and a bid for drastic reform.

Photo credit: bbc.co.uk

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A candid view on the 4+ admissions process, selective entrance exams and the rules of registration

“So which school are you thinking about?…” the friendly woman chirped at me. “Sorry?” I quipped back in disbelief. I felt my cheeks tingle and a shiver prickle my spine. I looked down at my beautiful, tiny, 8 week old baby. It hurt even thinking he would soon grow too big for me to cradle; let alone think of him going to school! I was still in a lovely new-born daze; swirls of intense love, pride and tiredness constantly circulated my body.

I had decided to try out a local mummy and baby meeting that morning and whilst I had pre-empted the friendly conversation and free digestives I was totally unprepared for questions about schooling. I assumed talk would focus on the basics like winding and sleep deprivation, I certainly wasn’t prepared for actual thinking. I wanted to remain here, in the present, clutching my new baby, not thinking about the future and waving him off at the school gates.

I concluded (in my head of course) that this woman must be mad. So I stared back at her blankly, creating an unavoidable awkward moment until another woman leant in and said, “I have just registered for XX”. I was astounded by the normality in her tone. She was cradling an even smaller bundle than me and already she had his future years mapped out. Was she mad too? What group was this again? Had I got the wrong day? Or was this normal?

As the two ladies chatted on I listen intently. Questions and comments flew back and forth as they expertly debated the pros and cons of the local schools. Which catchment are you in? Have you put his name down for the prep school? You’ll have to go to church every week if you choose St Mary’s…Are you prepping her for the 4+? It was an eye opener to say the least.

We were in the privileged position to be able to afford independent education, but the demands and challenges of selecting a school or indeed the selection process hadn’t even occurred to me. How do I select the right school for my child? I don’t even know his character yet! How does an assessment of a 3 or 4 year old work?

4plus-admissions-process

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