A classroom activity that can span a number of lessons and class groups. Invite an expert to speak to your class about their careers and expertise in their field. After a short introduction from the expert, the floor is opened and the students can ask the expert about any aspect of the introduction they found most interesting.
After this session with the experts, students are then invited to split up into groups, to conduct further research and develop their own lesson activity that they will present to another class group, sharing what they found most interesting and consolidating what they have learned from the session with the expert, and the additional information they have learnt from their own research. This activity could incorporate other classroom subjects such as creative writing, design technology, mathematics etc.
This activity allows for students to take ownership of their own learning and learn more about aspects of the lesson they found most interesting, as well as develop their skills in communication, teamwork, and research.
This is an activity that can be done in the classroom, or as part of a school trip. However, in this example, this is conducted totally as an in-school activity.
Experts can be invited to give a presentation to your classroom group, preferably in person with hands-on and interactive aspects that the pupils can participate in. However, this can also be done online over zoom or a similar video conferencing platform. If done online the guest can show videos, quizzes etc to make the presentation more interactive.
After this presentation, the pupils are then welcomed to ask the expert questions about anything that the guest has talked about throughout the presentation, with the teacher encouraging the pupils to take notes and think of potential ideas for future activities.
After this session, the pupils are allowed to break up into groups, and with support from the teacher/educators, they are encouraged to come up with an in-class activity that can be used to teach other groups about what they found most interesting about the experts’ presentation. After workshopping these ideas and conducting additional research, each group of students are then given the opportunity to conduct their activity with a different class group, ideally those who were not present during the invited guest’s presentation.
- To introduce the students to a new topic and to take ownership of their own learning
- To work as a team to develop an idea and conduct their own research on a topic
- To communicate what they have learnt to others.
The expert presentation can be done in person, or online. If done online an interactive whiteboard or projector will be needed as well as speakers, all connected to a computer with internet access.
For students to develop and research their own ideas, they may require access to the internet or computers.
There is a lot of versatility with this activity and depends greatly on the resources available to the class group and the cooperation of other subject leaders, eg if the activity involves maths or design technology subjects.
Script/programme of activity
- The class teacher should introduce the activity and the guest speaker, informing the students of what is expected from them, during the presentation and afterwards.
- The guest speaker gives an interactive presentation about their area of interest/work/research.
- After the presentation, pupils are encouraged to ask questions about areas they found interesting in the expert’s presentation.
- After this session, the pupils are allowed to form groups and with the support of the teacher, develop an activity based on what they have learnt from the expert, and their own research.
- Once an idea has been developed, the student groups are given an opportunity to lead their activity with another class group.
Teachers should inform the class of who the students are going to be meeting before the activity, and should also have some questions prepared to ask the expert, to start the QnA and get the conversation flowing.
After the session with the guest, the teacher will need to work with the groups to develop their ideas into fully prepared activities that can be shared with others.
The teacher may also need to reach out to other faculty members to enquire if it would be possible for the pupils to present their activity to other classes/subject groups.
This activity could be done as a community outreach activity.
Guardians may also be asked to help the pupils prepare for the activity.
The invited expert should prepare an interactive presentation for the class and be happy to answer questions from pupils about their work/life (if related to the topic).
Key elements for inclusivenes
Inviting guests who are from under-represented groups in the field can be a good way of promoting inclusivity and showing the diversity within the field and can act as role models to the students.
Also allowing the pupils to develop activities that they are interested in can encourage pupils who might not be as interested in the scientific aspects of the subject, to get more involved.
A version of this activity was done by the OSOF partners at Nuclio. They invited an analogue astronaut to speak to the pupils of a professional school. Some of the pupils that participated were a group of students who were interested in learning more about what astronauts eat-in space. Following this session, the teacher worked with these students to develop a food technology activity based on what they had learnt, which they intended to present to a group of students of a younger year group.
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