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Teachers: PSHE: Ability

Last Updated: Friday March 10 2006 17:26 GMT

Science Week 2006

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Study and careers


There are fears for the future of university science
National Science Week is an opportunity for people of all ages to take part in science, engineering and technology activities.

Do students have a stereotyped view about what sort of people are suited to studying science?

Learning aims
  • How we decide which skills are useful
  • How we can identify the right course of study

Read out these news reports:

Explain that these news stories show two sides of the public image of science in the UK. Science week is a high-profile drive to get people involved directly in science, technology and engineering.

Finding out more about science can help people overcome negative images of science like those expressed in the article about kids' attitudes.

Why do students think science is sometimes thought to be dull?

Understanding how the stereotypes of different careers are formed can help us make clearer decisions about what we want to study. The two activities below are a good starting point.

Play 'The skills weakest link'

Now run through the following scenarios and the skills linked to them. At the end of each section (e.g. technology) take a vote on which skill is the least useful of the four.


  • Use e-mail
  • Send a text message
  • Install software
  • Programme a VCR

    Job seeking

  • Iron a shirt
  • Word-process a letter
  • Read a train timetable
  • Scan a newspaper (for advert)

    Survival skills

  • Light a fire without matches
  • Skin a rabbit
  • Grow vegetables
  • Drive a car

    Earning potential

  • Drive a car
  • Fast and accurate typing
  • Speak German fluently
  • Build a web site

    Be a winner

  • Run 100 metres in record time
  • Score the most goals in the Premiership
  • Win a Wimbledon title
  • Win the National Lottery (4 million)

    A family home

  • Look after a young baby
  • Fix things around the house
  • Express your feelings
  • Make sure bills are paid on time

    How did students decide what was a useful skill?

    Its context?
    Your gender?
    Your family's values?
    How money conscious you are?
    Your experiences?

    Main activity

    How will you pick which subjects to study?

    Specialising in some subjects and dropping others is part of growing up.

    Below are some reasons for picking a subject.

    Ask students to rank these reasons from best to worst.

  • You've heard it gets you a well paid job
  • You like your current teacher
  • It is what your mates are doing
  • You enjoy the work
  • You did well in your exams
  • It has got good facilities
  • It helps you get a particular job you want
  • Your parents want you to do it
  • Your older brother did it and says it's good

    Print this list as a worksheet

    Give out a copy of the list. Students can cut out the reasons and re-arrange them on a piece of A4 paper. When they are happy with the order, they stick them in place.

    Students annotate the re-ordered list to justify where they placed reasons.

    Extension activity

    Swap lists with another student. Add labels to show why someone might disagree with each of their choices.


    When you choose what to study you are swayed by outside influences. The more you can play to your real strengths, the better you will do. Recap examples of influences. How can you stand up for what you want to do?

    Teachers' Background
    • National Science Week aims to celebrate science and its importance to our lives, providing an opportunity for people of all ages across the UK to take part in science, engineering and technology activities.

    • Hundreds of thousands of people across the UK take part in National Science Week activities every year.

      For more information on events click on the links on the top right of this page.

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