Three science geeks walked into a lab …


and discussed Avogadro’s number, trains approaching the speed of light, the Mpemba effect, should you walk or run in the rain, multi-dimensional worlds, throwing ping pong balls at trains, electric cars, and should you pour the milk into coffee straight away or wait. We also poured acetone and turpentine on foam, set fire to methylated spirits and wondered what the embryos in the picture on the iPad were.

For the record, 6.02 x 10 ^23 is the number of molecules in a mole, none of us knew enough about special relativity, sometimes warm water appears to freeze quicker than cold water, it makes no difference, interesting to speculate, the ball will slightly deform the windshield, they use a constant speed petrol engine to recharge the electric motor, and if you pour it in straight away the coffee will stay hotter for longer. And we suspect they were frog embryos but it wasn’t connecting properly.

None of that (except the chemicals) has anything directly to do with what we are teaching. But it is what makes us science teachers. We enjoy it and we had fun – there aren’t all that many people you can have those conversations with!

And those conversations are what build your professional networks and are part of keeping you passionate about what you’re doing. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, teaching can be a hard slog. Plus if you are used to having those sorts of conversations it’s so much easier to talk about problems, ask questions or work together to improve programmes and lessons.


I’ve spent a lot of time as the only science and maths teacher in remote schools, and looking back I can see what I missed out on. When I started teaching we were still in the days of faxes and phone calls. How much easier now to jump onto Twitter or surf the blogosphere! It can’t replace the sort of ramble we had today, but it’s certainly better than being on your own.

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