Science practicals filmed for Education Scotland and BBC Bitesize offering

Date posted

26 February 2021


Academics from Edinburgh Napier’s teacher education programme have been helping bring science into the home for thousands of secondary school pupils in Scotland.

The University’s Dr Colin McGill, Dr Fiona Savage and Dr Eric Easton have worked with Education Scotland and the BBC Bitesize team to film a number of practical experiments to ensure that pupils studying science subjects continue to learn as lockdown restrictions remain in place. 

Work with Education Scotland commenced last Autumn, with a selection of practical experiments filmed within the laboratories at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus.Dr McGill carries out science experiment in front of two camera operators in lab.

These films – which saw the team work with Ian Stewart, a Chemistry teacher from Beeslack Community High School in Midlothian - are already available via YouTube and Glow – Scotland’s nationally available digital environment for learning – as part of the national e-learning offer.

The content covered in the videos is broad, ranging from general science activities such as making a pH indicator from red cabbage for S1-S3 pupils, to videos to support learning at National 5 and Higher Chemistry such as measuring the average rate of a chemical reaction and testing carbonyl compound. 

Dr McGill has also recently completed filming for the BBC Bitesize platform. 

Filmed over three days again at the University’s Sighthill campus, Dr McGill teamed up with Ian Stewart to devise around 30-40 video ideas that covered Chemistry and general Science.

This content was aimed at the Broad General Education (BGE) Science curriculum all the way up to Higher Chemistry and included demonstrations on testing for gases, electrolysis and cracking alkanes. The BBC Bitesize filming was co-ordinated by Education Scotland.

Edinburgh Napier’s Dr McGill was delighted to play a part in supporting teachers through the on-going pandemic. 

He said: “I think these tools are very important to help pupil learning during the pandemic. It’s impossible for many practical activities to be done remotely so this at least gives pupils an opportunity to see the practical activity taking place and to then apply their learning from watching the activity. Teachers have been amazing during this pandemic and I would argue that the work they have put in to support their pupils is hugely underestimated, so if these videos have gone some way to help reduce their workload in any way then that is a huge positive for me. 

“If/when things start getting closer to normal, these videos will still be very valuable for pupils to go over a practical that they carried out in class, or to support pupils who are absent from school for any reason.

“The technical support from Bill Surrage and Sandra Dunbar has allowed this practical work to take place – I’m really grateful to them for the support they have provided. I’m also really grateful to everyone that has made safe access to the Sighthill campus possible.”

A selection of the Education Scotland videos can be viewed on YouTube here.

Edinburgh Napier’s Professional Diploma in Education (PGDE) courses are designed by teachers, for teachers. The programme specialises in Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics, allowing students to become a secondary school teacher. Each subject is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. 

More information on the programme can be found here.