Education   Science   Secondary School  

Spring, 2007
Alleynes High School, Stone

Project aims: To model a holistic approach to science teaching, in which pupils discover science in the world and see themselves as active agents in that world.

Alleynes High School was keen to present Scienceas a subject prepared to experiment with new ideas and approaches to improve pupil achievement. With this in mind, the school identified 10 Star, a lower ability year 10 class, as the target group for Hydrocarbons. Miss Ayres, the class teacher, wanted to explore ways of increasing the pupil’s self confidence and raising their academic achievement and understanding of the Science curriculum. In particular she wanted the project to develop a sense of enquiry and encourage pupils to access the How Science Works curriculum in a more active way so that alternative approaches to learning could be explored.

The decision was made to focus on the topic of hydrocarbons, and it was agreed that the group would produce their own film explaining how fractional distillation works through the use of creative role play and original animation.

Throughout the project the lead teacher and James Yarker worked closely together and taught in tandem so the teacher could reinforce key aspets of the science theory and the artist could lead on the creative aspects of role play and animation. Pupils began by exploring the range of molecules involved in hydrocarbons, and went on to physically create these molecules as imaginative characters through a process of writing, group discussion and role play. This creative process enabled pupils to develop the individual ‘characters’ of their molecules which could be effectively represented in the final film.

Pupils produced the live action by each pupil ‘performing’ as their model molecules which they had previously made in class. By acting out the process of Fractional Distillation, Cracking and Polymerisation, pupils were given an opportunity to think for themselves and explore ways of expressing themselves in role. Over time puils became increasingly familiar with the scientific processes involved and their self-confidence significantly increased. In addition to the live ation elements, pupils also worked in pairs with James outside of Science lessons to create sections of animation which appeared alongside the live action in the final film. The animation and film footage was edited together by Stan’s Cafe, and the final film was screened to the rest of the Science Department and as part of a school assembly.

“I was really proud when I saw the DVD and the pupils will be getting their very own copy to take home tomorrow! James worked increatibly hard and it has been wonderful to have talents such as his to use with some of our puils” Rachel Ayers, lead teacher, Alleynes High School

The lead teacher has developed alternative approaches to teaching Science classes.
The Profile of Science across the wider school has been raised.
Pupils’ perception of Science as a ‘non-creative’ subject has been challenged.
Pupils’ self confidence and their understanding of Science in the world has increased.
Relationships between the Science Department and Learner Support Department have been strengthened.

Extracted from Tried, tested, inspirational: Creative approaches to How Science Works.
Published by Creative Partnerships Stoke on Trent.

After this report was written we learned that these students had performed better in their GCSE exam than anyone had predicted. Well done them.


Made by:
Claire A, Chris B, Matt Ba, John B, Matt Bu, Shane C, Jon C, Keiran C, Tom D, Will E, Nicola F, Zoe H, Jake H, Simon H, Laura K, Dan L, Carl M, Thomas M, Leanne W
Artist James Yarker
Teacher: Miss Ayers
Animation Edited by: Craig Stephsn
Thanks to: The Science Department, Alleynes High School
Commissioned by: Creative Partnerships – Stoke on Trent
and: Science Learning Centre: West Midlands
Creative Agent Viv Hampson