The Perfect (Ofsted) Science Lesson

By: John Beasley


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Size: 174 x 124mm

Pages : 176

ISBN : 9781781351307

Format: Hardback

Published: November 2014

Have you ever sat in a science classroom as either a pupil or an observer and been bored? John has, but it should never have happened. Science can be the most absorbing, engaging, gross, fascinating, smelly, exciting, practical, electrifying, challenging and explosive subject in the curriculum. No other subject can - literally - make your hair stand on end!

John draws on his years of experience as a science learner, teacher and trainer to reveal the habits and mindsets of great science learners and teachers - and shows how these mindsets and habits can be taught. He gives clear guidance (referenced to Ofsted advice on outstanding practice) on engaging starters, success criteria, motivational lesson activities, effective plenaries and powerful feedback which will show that crucial progress over time.

This book really will make your lessons go with a bang!

For all primary and secondary science teachers. Essential reading whether you are a trainee teacher, newly qualified or more experienced and looking for fresh ideas. The Perfect (Ofsted) Science Lesson shows you how to: hook pupils into learning, deliver consistently engaging lessons, get more from your curriculum time, establish routines and good learning habits, keep motivation and attainment levels high, make your practicals more productive, use feedback effectively, re-invigorate your practice, and deliver consistently outstanding lessons.

Picture for author John Beasley

John Beasley

John Beasley had a highly successful 25 year teaching career as a head of science and later as a deputy head teacher in a school in challenging circumstances, helping to quickly turn it around. More recently, he has worked as a University PGCE tutor, teacher trainer and science advisor in several schools.  Together with his wife, Jackie Beere OBE, he now works as a consultant and trainer in primary and secondary schools, delivering training on subjects such as The Perfect (Ofsted) Lesson, Coaching for Success and Growth Mindset. John edited Jackie's book, The Perfect Teacher and has contributed to other books in the Perfect' series. This, together with his previous teaching and training experience, led to him writing The Perfect (Ofsted) Science Lesson.


  1. 1. What is your overall impression of the book?

    Dr Reed Johnson referred to The Perfect Science Lesson as a toolkit, and I feel this encapsulates the book perfectly. It's a selection of different instruments to make, mend and adjust science lessons.

    The book is a practical guide that focuses on why science teaching is as it is now, and how to ensure our students receive well planned lessons that achieve maximum learning. It takes apart some of the different aspects of science teaching and lesson planning and suggests a plethora of ways to approach them, providing realistic methods to improve pedagogy. Alongside this, the book considers some overarching themes, such as the teaching environment and learning mindset.

    The book appealed to me because my teaching style is influenced by my own early experiences of science, which were very traditional, and I wanted to change this. The Perfect Science Lesson helped me diversify how I approached lessons - from introducing short, snappy activities to giving students choice and control over their learning.

    It is an extremely accessible and easy-to-read book that you can appreciate as a whole or dip into when planning a lesson.

    2. Who do you think would benefit most from reading the book? What will they learn?

    This book is great for anyone planning lessons - whether that's as an NQT learning the craft or experienced teachers looking to refresh their methods. It is also suitable for primary or secondary teachers - non-science specialists who have become science subject leaders in primary schools might find it especially useful.

    I think any teacher who picks up this book will learn how to make science manageable, interactive, fun and do-able within different curriculum designs (creative cross curricular- or subject-led).

    3. What did you think about the quality of the writing? Please consider the tone, structure and ideas. Does it suit the audience?

    The writing is direct and friendly - similar in tone to a knowledgeable tutor from university or experienced teacher/head. The book is also well structured. There are four chapters, each divided into short sections addressing typical lesson considerations, such as setting clear aims and objectives, or marking and feedback.

    The first chapter sets out the current state of science teaching, linking Beasley's ideas with Ofsted reports. The second chapter considers what makes an outstanding lesson, including topic-specific information boxes and bullet points for aspects such as questioning, starters or assessment. The final two chapters delve deeper into the teaching and learning of science with plenty of practical tips.

    4. Please discuss the research used to underpin the ideas. What evidence does the author use? Is it robust and up-to-date?

    This book makes use of educational books, journal articles and reports. For example, Beasley uses Ofsted's 2013 report, Maintaining Curiosity: A Survey Into Science Education in School, to provide an overview of common science teaching issues and examples of schools which have demonstrated outstanding science teaching. He also supports his suggestions on how to model work to students using Berger (2003/2014).

    These written sources are cited in the bibliography and many are post-2000, giving The Perfect Science Lesson a very up to date feel. Beasley also includes other references in his book, such as YouTube videos, TES resources or publishers' websites. These tend to be cited on the relevant page.

    5. What did you learn from reading the book? What ideas/approaches/practice will you change or adopt as a result of reading this book?

    The book contains many suggestions and issues that I will regularly return to, however a couple of sections really stood out.

    Mysterious Science Starters are great for engaging pupils - even last thing on a wet Thursday afternoon. For example, one idea is to have the materials and instructions for a task (e.g. constructing a circuit, assembling apparatus) ready as soon as pupils arrive in the classroom. You then get them to work out what they are doing and why.

    I used this as an assessment for learning activity when starting electricity with year 6. They were provided with one battery, one wire and a bulb. They didn't have a battery holder or bulb holder, and were not allowed to use any additional equipment. Their aim was to make a circuit in as many ways as possible. The activity gave me the opportunity to observe who was or wasn't confident with the resources, and explore the extent of pupils' vocabulary and knowledge as they tried to explain what was going on - all in the space of 10-15 minutes.

    I will also be reconsidering how to provide effective marking/feedback to students in view of Beasley's ideas in Chapter 2. I know I include less effective marking, such as “Use pencil!”, and want to rephrase these so that they relate more carefully to success criteria or a student's targets.

    6. Could you share a quote from the book that particularly resonated with you?

    -˜Being unpredictable at the start of every lesson makes your pupils wonder, before they even get to your classroom, how the next lesson will start. They will look forward to finding out - and so be engaged before the lesson begins.'

    Click here to read the review on the Chartered College of Teaching website.
  2. This Useful little tome - another in the highly successful 'The Perfect -¦' Series of hand books from Independent Thinking Press - provides teachers with practical ideas to us in their science lessons and to establish the link between great teaching, professional development and Ofsted expectations.
  3. Science certainly is not a static subject. New discoveries are being unearthed on a daily basis and the opportunities to get pupils enthused in the world around them are boundless.

    As teachers, we can get stuck in a rut, concentrating on the same strategies and pedagogical ideas that were the foundation of our training.
    With so many strands of the curriculum to cover, how is it possible to keep updated with the latest scientific thinking and experiments, and how is it possible to keep updated with all the latest ideas?

    In his new book The Perfect Science Lesson, John Beasley takes a look at what is and isn't working in science teaching and then offers effective strategies for improving enjoyment and achievement.

    The Perfect Science Lesson includes:
    Strategies that can be used immediately for primary and secondary science classrooms and labs; Links to 2014 inspection criteria; Advice on engaging starters and developing pupils as outstanding learners through metacognition, mood control, growth mindset and good learning habits; How to plan for and retain engagement during the lesson with a variety of suggested activities; The crucial role of feedback for all and especially of imperative feedback for pupils; The latest research on what works to improve motivation and outcomes for learners; And much more!

    This book is suitable for trainee and newly qualified teachers and for re-invigorating outstanding teaching practice for all, including experienced science teachers.
  4. Packed with engaging starters and plenaries, motivational lesson activities and advice on outstanding practice, John Beasley's book illustrates how science can be the most explosive subject.
  5. The useful and informative guidance in this book should form a part of the armoury of all teachers who want to ensure they deliver, effective, informative and enjoyable science lessons. It clearly demonstrates not only the delivery of knowledge but also the strategies that can be employed to enable practitioners to make learning enjoyable and relevant to their students regardless of age.
  6. This book is a must have essential for all primary teachers. John has pinpointed exactly why primary science has declined in the years following the end of KS2 Science testing but he also offers up some excellent ideas and practical tips on how to make this core subject manageable alongside an already over crowded curriculum. His ideas about running science alongside the Maths and English curriculum are well thought out and meet Ofsteds demands for a truly integrated curriculum that combines knowledge and skills equally.
  7. This is a nice read, whilst it relates directly to current OFSTED and Government Directives. This is an essential read for all training science teachers. It links well to the Maintaining Curiosity Report and provides a toolkit which woul be really useful for trainees hungry for lesson suggestions. There is a nice bit in challenges and lesson ideas/ questioning using solo taxonomy. The focus is on progress and the importance of marking meaning something, not just for the sake of it. I like how it relates to metacognition and the use of learning conversations in relation to peer assessment. This book makes good reference to the relevant literature, whilst making it accessible. It also highlights the importance of science in society and role models to make it relevant.

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