So was the Stretch and Challenge wall a hit ?
I tried the wall in two lessons so far and all pupils said that the activities did stretch and challenge them. The exception was one pupil who admitted to choosing an easier topic because she wanted to be creative.
There was a range of challenges to choose from but here’s how some of them went down with the pupils:
Pupils reported picking this topic as they were interested about stories in the news about food and health. It was challenging because “it makes you think hard about the news that is going on around you; that you have no idea about”. It was enjoyable ” because you weren’t focussing on practical and there was no rushed atmosphere with only having 50 minutes”.
One pupil reported choosing this as they enjoyed considering different ethical positions and found it very interesting to consider both the positives and negatives of eating from a moral perspective. It challenged her as she had to “think about opposing views to my own and consider things from another persons perspective”. Another said “I really enjoyed this task as it is good to think about topics that don’t always come up in lessons or in conversations”.
This task was chosen by pupils who worked together to produce a fun and informative poem on the causes and symptoms of food poisoning
” what about rice
which you can’t reheat twice
It contains bacillus cereus
which sounds very mysterious”
The tasked challenged them because they had to remember facts about food poisoning and make them rhyme so that they were more memorable.
This was chosen as it was random and therefore perceived as challenging. The challenge picked was the question Do you need to understand Chemistry to be able to cook well? The pupils felt stretched as they found it difficult to grasp the question and therefore had to break down the question carefully.
Another pupil picked a random challenge which was to write a quiz on food education. She did one on knife skills and cooking methods which we had covered in a previous lesson and and I must say it was very impressive. I may use it to question pupils in the future.
The pros were as follows:
It was interesting and different.
It stretched me.
It made me think about other food issues.
It got me thinking outside the box.
I really enjoyed it because it was an interesting topic which I had never thought about before.
I enjoyed it and would like to expand my skills on the topic of ethics.
It made me think outside the box and to put my views into perspective.
I really enjoyed it as it really made me think and concentrate on the real meaning of food education.
The wall could be improved :
With “glitter” and ” shiny things” to draw attention.
By hiding the challenges behind a colourful piece of paper so people don’t look and think this look ” too hard” and go for something else.
By having activities that can be done quickly and activities that take a longer amount of time.
Group tasks such as debating or compiling a poster on a topic would be good.
By having difficult levels of difficulty for all the topics instead of a few.
The wall is great as it is.
It could be improved by adding a group or team quiz exercises.
It could be improved by ” having a broader range of articles”.
From a teachers perspective I really think this lesson was successful in stretching and challenging the pupils. I was very impressed by the quality of the work produced and amazed really. I think it could be used effectively in lots of situations such as during a cover lesson, used to provide extension lessons, use as the basis of a lesson every term or used for pupils who would like to do some extra work at home or after school. As a teacher it is important to know exactly what is on your wall so you can direct pupils to activities which you know will challenge them. I also think the wall should be reviewed every term and updated with new and exciting activities.In response to the pupils feedback I will now make sure I add some challenges for groups and will put up an envelope with activities that take 10 minutes or so and are therefore suitable for extension tasks in practical lessons. It’s taken a while to get this wall organised but I think it has been a very fruitful exercise and I am pleased that the pupils found it both challenging and enjoyable. I hope it helps others too.