Section 5 - Resources
5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies
5.2 The development of the motor car and bicycle
5.3 Text types
5.4 Inclusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
5.6 Additional resources
5.1 Thinking and teaching strategies
A brainstorm activity can be conducted by an individual, a small group or a whole class. It is a list of all the thoughts, ideas and concepts and is the first recording of knowledge about a topic.
No suggestions are wrong - they are all recorded, without discussion, on whiteboard, butcher's paper or using a graphic organiser program. Leaving a brainstorm on display for a few days allows students to add their ideas when they think of them.
A second stage to a brainstorm is the identification of subheadings and sorting the ideas accordingly.
A concept mapping activity can further develop one of the headings relating to the topic.
It explores related concepts and is planned under relevant question starters - how, when, where, why, who, what.
Mind mapping represents the links between concepts and establishes common grounds. A mind map is an excellent way of planning a report, persuasive argument, discussion or debate. It allows for relevant details and references to be added and is, potentially, a rough draft.
Plus. Minus. Interesting
The PMI activity is a visual representation that organises thinking into positive and negative aspects and the implications of both on an idea. It is best organised in columns and can be used in developing an argument or debate or making decisions.
More information about thinking tools can be located at:
The question matrix encourages application of the question starters - how, when, where, why, who and what - in a variety of contexts. Use of this strategy encourages higher level thinking as students realise the potential of asking specific questions.
The question matrix can be accessed at
DebateDebates take a bit of organisation but are a lot of fun. Students learn to respect the rights of others to have different, valid points of view. In planning a debate, start small - with directed discussion and development of one aspect of each side of a topic.
A standard debate process is:
Students form 2 teams of 3 speakers. One team is the affirmative and the other, the negative.
The teams are each given the topic and allowed a certain time to plan their arguments. A leader of each team is chosen.
In the debate, speaking order is
- leader of the affirmative team (3 minutes)
- leader of the negative team (3 minutes)
- 2nd speaker affirmative (3 minutes)
- 2nd speaker negative (3 minutes)
- 3rd speaker affirmative (3 minutes)
- 3rd speaker negative (3 minutes)
Then it is usual to take a short break, for the leaders to plan their final speeches.
The leader of the negative concludes their argument and rebuttal (1 minute) followed by the leader of the affirmative team (1 minute).
Following a debate, students can discuss points raised. In formal debates, an adjudicator judges the whole debate and announces the winning team.
This resource explores many directions of divergent thinking.
Interviewing people is an excellent way of obtaining first hand information about a subject by asking relevant questions of a person who has experience and knowledge of the subject being studied.
The key to successful interviewing is to be VERY WELL PREPARED
You WILL NEED:
- An interviewer - the person conducting the interview and asking the questions
- An interviewee - the person being interviewed and answering the questions
- A method of recording the interview - this can be either by a scribe who writes the answers as the interview takes place or by using a cassette recorder or video camera to record the interview. It is a good idea to transcribe the taped interview as soon as possible after it is done.
STEP 1 - Groundwork
- Decide what you need to know - make a plan of the development of your unit of study, work out what you need to know and plan your questions accordingly.
- Decide who is the best person to interview - someone who knows a lot about the subject and is keen to talk about it.
STEP 2 - Preliminary contact
- Write, telephone or visit the person you wish to interview.
- Introduce yourself, explain who you are, what you want to find out and why you need to know. Ask the person if they would agree to being interviewed. Give a brief explanation of how you will conduct the interview, who will be present and how long you expect it to take. Ask if the interviewee would mind being taped or videoed.
- If the person agrees, make an appointment time for doing the interview. Arrange WHEN and WHERE - try to hold the interview in a place which is comfortable and will have no distractions or interruptions.
STEP 3 - Preparation
- Choose the questions. They must be logical and on the topic. Try to make them lead on from one another so that you can develop the ideas or information that the interviewee is telling you about.
- AvoID questions that can be answered with YES or NO - they waste your time, frustrate the person you are interviewing and don't really tell you anything.
AT THIS STAGE IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU PRACTISE INTERVIEWING - ASK YOUR PARENTS / TEACHERS / FRIENDS TO HELP. ALSO PRACTISE SCRIBING AND CASSETTE OR VIDEO RECORDING.
STEP 4 - The Interview
- On time
- Tidy and well presented
- Well organised
- A good listener
- Prepared for ANYTHING!
When the interview has finished, ask the interviewee if it would be all right if you contacted them again - for further explanations, clarification or maybe more questions.
If the interviewee has books / photos / papers for you to use or borrow, you must be honest with yourself. If you aren't very good at keeping track of your own possessions - DON'T BORROW FROM ANYONE ELSE.
If you do use the materials offered, make sure you return them as soon as possible - and always within a week.
STEP 5 - Finalisation
- When you have finished the whole interview process, including contacting the person again if necessary, it is essential that you make an effort to thank them.
- Write a note or call to see them - mention how the interview helped and if possible (and if you want to!) tell the person the assessment and comments you received for your work.
- You could even show your final copy so that the interviewee knows how you used their information.
- Depending on the circumstances a small gift may even be appropriate - judge this on how you would feel if you were the person being interviewed.
REMEMBER to add the details of your interview to your bibliography. It is a great idea to acknowledge an interview as a source of information.
BIBLIOGRAPHIC FORM for example:
|Name of interviewee||Date||Title of interview||Place|
|Sherie Smith||1 July 2003||How did you travel to school today?||Name of school|