Secondary Science

Respiration is not breathing!

By: Catrin Green


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Size: 180 x 148mm
Pages : 224
ISBN : 9781781352410
Format: Paperback
Published: July 2016

So, you have passion for your subject and you get to work with some of the funniest, most surprising and exceptional students. But teaching science isn’t always a walk in the park. How do you get students to think scientifically, remember all of those key words and not get acid in their eyes? Secondary Science is chockfull of workable ideas for the secondary science classroom. Ditch the stereotypical view of a science teacher: white coat, slides, teaching the limewater test to the same class for the fifth year in a row, and discover new and creative ways to inspire the next generation to use science.

Areas covered include: the big ideas in science, scientific skills and knowledge, curriculum, practical work, difficult topics, differentiation, assessment, feedback and the science of memory and learning, including the spacing effect and interleaving.

The book is packed with: advice about teacher talk, fun science games, ideas for developing scientific literacy, ideas for embedding mathematical skill in science, advice for extended writing in science, advice to make practical work safe, meaningful and worthwhile, and top tips for teaching the difficult topics that students tend to dislike! Catrin offers tips for teaching areas of the science curriculum including electricity, evolution and balancing equations.

Suitable for all teachers, including NQTs and experienced teachers who are looking for new ideas. If you are looking for quick and easy ideas to make science fun and relevant, while ensuring that all students are successful and confident in your lessons, and not overloaded with facts, then this book is for you.

Picture for author Catrin Green

Catrin Green

Catrin Green has always loved science and loved sharing that passion. She has been a head of science and now, as a deputy head, works in a school where the science department is at the forefront of teaching and learning. She is a Teach First Ambassador, and runs science CPD as part of an academy chain.

Click here to read Catrin's article on the SecEd website: Classroom ideas: Making science engaging and exciting'.


  1. I found Secondary Science accessible and good to dip in and out of for practical ideas to use in the science classroom. I think our trainees would refer to this whilst on placement or when planning lessons to teach during the university phase. I have requested that our library stock the book, and I have added it to our additional suggested reading list.

  2. While Miss Grace isn't in secondary school yet (whew), she is a grade ahead in her science studies, so I know I will be teaching secondary science by the end of the next school year, so I was very interested to see what was in this book. I was actually thrilled to see how Caitlin suggested block learning, versus teaching a section quickly and then covering it yet again the next year, and hoping kids 'got it' the first time. As a homeschooling Mom,  we've tried different methods to see what works best for Miss Grace, and we are actually switching to a block curricula for the next school year, so the methods and ideas in this book, perfectly align! It was like it was heaven sent! The book offers great ideas on teaching science concepts that parents may find daunting as well. If you teach, or home school, this is a MUST have book!
  3. The book is aimed at science teachers but it will be of great interest to ELT teachers or teachers who deliver CLIL courses in English. The book takes a fresh look at teaching science; as the author says, no -˜white coats, or slides' or being stuck in the rut with the teaching methods and activities. The author has lots of teaching experience which she generously shares with other teachers in her book. Her aim is to develop activities which are memorable, fun, make efficient use of the time, and, above all, enable learning. She shows how to use thought-provoking stories, how to give meaningful explanations, how to make input memorable and make it stick, how to make input for individual sessions relate to content from other sessions (what the author calls -˜joining-up the science curriculum), how to teach so-called difficult topics, and, finally, gives a guide to practical work. Personally, I don't do science in English classes, but when I showed this book to teachers who do, they were very very impressed and inspired.

    Click here to read the review on the HLT website.
  4. This book would be a useful addition to the shelf of any recent entrant to the teaching profession; it's a quick read with many useful ideas. The classroom approaches discussed include a range of styles, with each suggestion tailored to a science classroom.

    The writing is chatty and informal, which makes it accessible for those who want quick ideas rather than deep discussion of pedagogy. That doesn't mean it necessarily lacks depth - on the contrary, there are references and links scattered throughout the text - but you can find some usable ideas without digging. I'd like to try some of these out, for example a wordless essay (tell a story using photos without captions), while others would fill me with terror. To all newly qualified teachers: the author isn't forcing you to write, perform or sing science-themed versions of Pharrell Williams' Happy. The variety means there will be something new for everyone.

    I think it would be fair to say that the accessibility comes at the price of being comprehensive. The focus is more on pedagogy that can be applied in many situations than on the details of specific topics. This does mean literacy and retrieval practice approaches are discussed, often an afterthought when content is the focus. It is interesting that maths is discussed as an example of a difficult topic, rather than as a cross-topic theme like literacy. I did find the explanations of ideas in physics teaching - energy stores and electric circuits, in particular - were not clear and could cause problems for non-specialists who didn't seek more detail elsewhere.

    Some of the points made are less for new practitioners and more for those thinking about the leadership of science departments, for example no-grades marking and policies on practical work. In some ways, this would be a very useful book to stimulate discussion between colleagues with differing experience.

    The wider reading links are often excellent (although some don't mention that they're only for subscribers, and Institute of Physics resources were omitted) but to make them easier to use, short URLs would have been better.

    Click here to see the review on the Education in Chemistry website.
  5. Ever since I have had this book, I have not been able to put it down. I read it from cover to cover within a week and since then it has provided me with inspiration and ideas that I have been using in my own teaching. To say it is well worn now is an understatement.

    I have been teaching for six years now and would recommend this book to newbies and oldies alike. An easy-to-read, well laid out book that is full of easy-to-use ideas that you can transfer straight into your teaching practice without too much trouble.

    It also reminds you of ideas that you may have forgotten about that you knew you had, those that awe and wow for some topics but due to the demands of a teacher's life you have forgotten to use - and this lovely little book has reminded me to bring them out and use them again in my lab. Plus those tried and tested ones, for those difficult topics but you just need a refresher on how to do them again.

    I have used it to help mentor my NQT to create some new teaching moments for her classes and develop her strength in her practice.

    The guide to practical work is an excellent help for new teachers.

    I recommend this book to all science teachers to have pride of place on the front of their desks so they can gain easy access when inspiration is lacking or just when they need a little pick-me-up in their daily practice, Catrin Green may just have the answer.

    Thank you and remember -˜Respiration is not breathing', but this little book may just keep you breathing when you are struggling!
  6. We all remember science lessons from our school days. Whether the lessons were with the more -˜characteristic' teachers in the school, or whether you all released the gas taps when the teacher foolishly left the room, we all seemed to miss the link that science is life! And what an opportunity science teachers have in releasing the magic of life to their pupils, answering BIG questions like “Why am I like my parents?”, or “What will my life be like in 2050?”, or “Why is Pripyat a deserted town?”.

    In this fabulous book, Catrin Green explains that teaching science is all in the explanation and making it memorable. Easy, right? No, not at all, and Catrin offers fantastic practical ideas, guidance, and explorations on how some of the toughest science lessons can be taught, providing a positive impact for teachers and learners. I mean, who likes teaching the processes behind electricity, moles, or osmosis? Not to mention reproduction! Well, Catrin has these areas covered, and even I now feel confident in teaching these areas!

    If you are thinking about writing a book for teachers, use this book as a template. It's truly inspiring, offering teachers at all stages of their careers ideas on actually teaching the subject with support, practical activities, along with ideas for assessment. It's got it all covered. If secondary science is your job, then get this book. Simple!
  7. This excellent, inspirational book by Catrin Green focuses on her experience as a science teacher in encouraging children to learn science, to love science and to love learning science. Recent Ofsted and other research reports have underlined the need to motivate and inspire pupils to learn effectively in science. The strategies to promote enthusiasm for science outlined by the author are evidence of outstanding practice. Catrin stimulates interest and engagement by making the topics relevant to the lives of the learners. She ensures that the explanations are suitable for the audience and promotes a -˜science vocabulary'. It is clear from the text that the author is a teacher who makes learning memorable, inspires discussion and creates opportunities for learners to promote knowledge and understanding by transferring knowledge.

    This book has a range of excellent tips on promoting student involvement in the delivery of learning, the use of props, questioning and development of spelling and vocabulary. In addition, the sections on promoting literacy and numeracy skills within the science lesson, key rules for successful practical work and developing understanding make this book essential reading for all teachers. 

    A truly excellent addition to the -˜How to Teach' series by an author who generates motivation and desire to learn about science. Catrin Green's enthusiasm, subject knowledge and ability to create rapport and involve learners as key players in the delivery of learning make for challenging and inspiring reading.
  8. -‹Secondary school science teachers have always had a tricky balancing act to perform - charged with delivering vast swathes of content, much of it highly complex, in such a way that young people at least stand a chance of developing a genuine enthusiasm for the subject, alongside the ability to think and reason scientifically (oh, and pass exams too). And of course, as we are repeatedly told, doing this successfully is more important now than ever, thanks to the oft-cited STEM skills gap. According to Phil Beadle, who edited this book, Catrin Green is someone who has always managed this balancing act in style, teaching lessons that are relevant, exciting and fun as well as covering the curriculum effectively. In this brilliantly readable guide, she shares her experience and techniques; suggesting  new ways to approach key topics, and activities to ignite the curiosity, wonder and awe that keep true scientists on a lifelong journey of discovery.
  9. A book filled to the brim with lots of engaging teaching ideas that can be easily implemented in the secondary science classroom. There are also some excellent links to up-to-date further reading for those who want to understand more of the -˜why'. I found the chapters on practical work and the science curriculum especially useful in offering up a fresh perspective on how to best implement these important areas of science education. I have never met Catrin, but from reading her book you just know she's a great science teacher - we're very lucky she's put pen to paper and shared some of her wisdom with us. This book would make a great addition to the Rob Toplis edition above in preparing beginning teachers for the secondary science classroom.

    See the full review here.
  10. Science is dynamic. It is not a -˜sit down', -˜be quiet' and -˜turn to page 6 of your notes' subject. 

    That is the thrill of science subjects - discovery. 

    As such, Catrin Green's first book is surely a must for every Science department. It is not a book to be consigned to the Head of Department's library shelf and brought out on -˜special' occasions but one that should be a blueprint for every science teacher's approach to their daily teaching strategies. Green's vision of science teaching is one of balance - the balance between scientific knowledge and scientific discovery through practical work, how refreshing in these days of -˜grey and faceless' teaching methodology.  Each must complement the other and this book should challenge every secondary science teacher to strive for that balance and, in doing so, stimulate the interest of their students in scientific process and knowledge so that more will want to follow science based academic and career paths. 

    She also suggests innovative strategies for teachers to tackle challenging and conceptually difficult subjects within the science curriculum.

    This book will rejuvenate more experienced teachers while confirming in their younger colleagues the original thrill and excitement they had when they first discovered science.
  11. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to student teachers who are beginning to learn what teaching comprises and are starting out on the road to becoming an outstanding teacher of science. Readers can dip into this book to gain grass-roots, tried-and-tested guidance and ideas from a science teacher who learnt to teach outstanding lessons, which engage and enthuse her students in learning science.
  12. This is the book that all science teachers have been waiting for. Finally a book that contains tonnes of ideas and strategies for making sure students love science, as well as pass their exams. It's about time someone summed up science teaching as being about more than a Bunsen burner and a lab coat. Catrin has done just that and has brought science teaching into the 21st century.

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