Often the best way to teach something is to keep it simple… | Portsmouth High School

Often the best way to teach something is to keep it simple…

I visited Mr Oliver’s science lesson this week and found his class performing a very strange experiment.

They were using tweezers to pick up tiny pieces of paper whilst another member of their group timed them for one minute. Upon further investigation I discovered that these were a variety of different colours as well as pieces of newspaper. The girls selected the pieces of paper from different coloured backgrounds.

When I asked the girls about their observations they told me they had discovered that it was much easier to pick up a piece of coloured paper or newspaper from a white background than it was the white pieces from a white background. The same applied to the newspaper background in that it was much harder to pick up tiny pieces of newspaper from a newsprint background.

The girls were learning about natural selection in evolution. They were replicating predators eating a variety of insects from different coloured environments. The bugs that blended in the best were the most likely to survive and then they would breed more of the same colour which would mean in time that they would dominate that environment.

It struck me as I left the lesson what a beautifully unpretentious way this was of demonstrating what could be a complex concept. We live in a world of technology and almost infinite information, but often the best way to teach something is to keep it simple.


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