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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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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Why Science Is Essential For a Career In Medicine

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Source

Science has traditionally had a reputation for being one of those school subjects that is considered somewhat boring, evoking memories of lessons in classroom laboratories populated with the unmistakable odours of chemicals and the hissing of Bunsen burners. However, it appears that this interpretation of one of the most fascinating subjects in the world is beginning to change among young people; this is highlighted particularly by the fact that there has recently been an increase in the number GCSE students studying science, this includes students taking science, additional science and further additional science.

This is perhaps not so surprising when you consider the fact that the sciences remain the most important subjects for those looking to win a place at medical school. However, getting into medical school is hard, especially when you consider that there are over 10 applicants for every place; therefore you need to ensure that you achieve near to maximum marks in your GCSEs and A-Levels, failure to do so will ensure that you are denied entry. However, while science is one of the core subjects for entry to medical school, you are also expected to get A’s and A*s in a wide range of subjects, especially English Language and Mathematics.

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The rising importance of a STEM-Education

As we become further engulfed by the 21st century, it is becoming more widely accepted that a strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education will be pivotal to a student’s future success. Below are just 3 reasons as to why this might be the case…

1. Future jobs: “The Future of the Economy is in STEM”

We are all becoming increasingly aware of how pervasive technology is in almost every aspect of daily life. As the workplace changes, STEM knowledge and skills grow in importance for almost all types of jobs. STEM-employment is projected to grow by approximately 13% between 2012 and 2022, with some of the biggest rises seen in jobs such as biomedical engineering, software development and operations analytics. Furthermore, it has been shown that STEM professionals can typically expect to earn more than double the median wage, thereby leading to a financially rewarding career.

2. Develop skills which can change the world

The problems facing today’s world require complex solutions. Issues such as global warming, emerging diseases such as the recent Ebola and Zika viral outbreaks, the all-elusive cure to cancer orthe development of a successful interdependent world economy all come into this category. The solution to these problems will arguably fall upon the shoulders of individuals who have a strong foundation in the STEM subjects.

What’s more, President Obama has recently confounded this view:

“Science is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world…”

President Barack Obama, March 23, 2015

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woman and computer screen

The Evolution of Learning: The Emergence of Technology

The growth of technology over the previous twenty years has impacted on all of our lives in numerous different ways. Access to the latest technology was once exclusive to the western world, however there has also been a shift in this respect and now even citizens in the developing world have access, albeit limited, to this technology. Unsurprisingly this has further contributed to the increased globalisation of the world.

The internet, which is regarded by many as the greatest invention thus far in mankind’s history has largely been responsible to this. As we are all more than aware, the internet has led to the emergence of social media, which has for the first time allowed western citizens to connect with those living in the developing world; it has also helped to increase awareness of the issues faced by these people.

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The Growing Role of Technology in the Classroom

As you would expect, this technology has been utilised in the education sphere with great effect and has helped to enrich the learning experience of students both here in UK and around the world. Not only are young people’s live being culturally enriched through living in an ever evolving, multicultural society, some students are now offered the opportunity to interact with students in other countries through video conferencing, chatrooms, blogs and more, both through the medium of computers and mobile phones.

However, there are additional benefits which have been delivered due to advances in technology; revision was once considered to be one of the most difficult aspects of a student’s learning. Unsurprisingly this has now becomes more accessible for students due the numerous ‘apps’ which are available to those studying for their GCSEs and A-Levels. There has long been a belief amongst older generations that technology has had a negative impact upon the development and learning potential of young people. However, it is now possible to ensure that a student’s mind stays sharp through enrolling in online summer courses.

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Levelling the playing field

Aim is a community project set up by a group of three mums who had a vision to level up the playing field, making grammar school places more accessible to all.

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My background is not in teaching; I am a mental health advocate and a mum of three boys ages 10, 5 and 3.  I wanted to do something for my community, and had been exposed to the 11 plus ‘craziness’ when my 10 year old son was in Year 5. I am naturally very passionate about people having a voice and opportunities being equal, so when I looked into the disproportion of grammar places being awarded to children from higher income families compared to lower income families, I was motivated to try and make a change.

The grammar school system is a shocking example of educational opportunities not being equal, which is the opposite reason why grammar schools were introduced – in order to make education meritocratic and fair.  The tutoring culture has changed this but the 11 plus, the gateway to grammar, is two or three decades behind.

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MST-chemistry

How to win a place at medical school

Article by the creator of  www.examvault.net and www.alevelbiology.co.uk

If you’re reading this blog on the MST website or Twitter page, then the chances are you may be interested in applying to the most competitive course in the UK. With 10 applicants for every medical school place you’re going to need all the help you can get and I hope that this blog will be of use to you. I will be as transparent as possible in order to hopefully help you out as much as possible.

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I applied to medical school for 2015 entry. My GCSE and AS level grades are as follows:

GCSE

Chemistry A*, Biology A*, Application of Maths A*, Methods in Maths A*, History A*, Chemistry A*, Resistant Materials A*, Arabic A*, Geography A*, Religion and Philosophy A*, English Lit A, English Lang A, Physical Education A, German B (i.e. 10 A*, 3 A, 1 B)

AS Level

Chemistry A (283/300), Biology A (261/300), Maths A (294 A), Physics A (263/300), Arabic A (80/100)

UKCAT: 660

Now let’s put the grades aside for the meantime. I chose medicine because I have a deep interest in the human body and there are few careers that are as good respectable and secure as medicine. But one quick point. Don’t do medicine for the money. Being surrounded by doctors has taught me that if there is one thing that doesn’t come along with medicine (at least in the UK) is money.

But this isn’t of much use to you. I’m sure you know the reasons for why you want to do medicine. So cue the application process…

All students in the UK apply through UCAS. You choose between 4 medical schools and a 5th course that’s not medicine (which can be to a university you applied to for medicine). I applied to: Cambridge, Cardiff, Bristol and Birmingham. Here is a breakdown of each university:

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