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#ASEchat 144 National Demonstration Day

ASEChat Summary

Monday 17 March 2014 with @ScienceWeekUK

In celebration of the release of the short documentary Demo: The Movie and the first national “Demo Day”, the #ASEchat on 17 March 2014 focused on demonstrations. Participants were asked in advance to watch the documentary (available here: and to discuss their thoughts and experiences using demonstrations. All participants were also encouraged to participate in Demo Day, a national celebration on 20 March 2014 where teachers and technicians will use science demonstrations as part of National Science & Engineering Week activities (more information available here: Both the film and Demo Day are part of a wider campaign called Get Set Demonstrate, which aims to support teachers and technicians in getting more impact out of school science demonstrations. 

Here are some top tweets from the session in response to different questions: 

Q: The film suggests using a Predict-Explain-Observe-Explain (PEOE) approach to using demos. Why is the predict element important? 

@MaryUYSEG Asking pupils to predict and EXPLAIN prediction gives them an investment in observing carefully and engaging brain

@dodiscimus but I think sometimes avoid predictions - no point if these are random guesses e.g. flame colour@dodiscimus Sometimes exposes misconception - students have to 'lay their cards on the table', commit!

@ViciaScience I think ‘P’ gets commitment, shows class range of views, and brings subconscious thinking into consciousness. Vital.

@ljrn42 a form of active learning in a way rather than just sitting as passive observers of what sir is doing

‏@alomshaha PEOE just a tool. As demos are just a tool. Teacher must exercise judgement in terms of how best to use. 

Q: How do you balance pedagogy & performance during demonstrations?

@ViciaScience start with a performance then switch to pedagogy. Bit of magic to hook, then dialogue to promote learning

@Bio_Joe It's more about a clear narrative than performance for me

‏@oboelizzy how to answer that in 140 characters! PhD thesis anyone? 

Q: What are your favourite demos? 

@oboelizzy · mustn't just think of 'showy' demos most basic sci experiments can get learners thinking well if properly demo'd 

@ViciaScience · my favourite demo is showing how quickly CO2 levels change in a room, and also around illuminated leaves 

@NeedhamL56 Silent demos, get students to narrate, as you perform. What question would I be asking you now? Approach

@N4LYO hovering paper clip always brings a 'wow factor' #cheapAndCheerful

@Stockportslic Repelling poles in magnets brought astonishing shrieks of delight too ... Chasing rolling magnetic with another magnet

@ejw232 Mine is 'Magic Mazola Oil'. My magic oil fixes broken test tubes :)

@TMBSScience cheap but so much science - steel wool and 9V battery - covers surface area, circuits, redox, reactants/products 

Q: Demo tips for new teachers?

@agittner practice, practice, practice before doing it in front of students v. important

‏@dodiscimus How about a demo CPD session? Newbies do demo and get critiqued by all about improvements

@agittner as well as watching magicians, TV chefs are good to watch, Mary Berry is doing a great demo at the moment

@NeedhamL56 also observing colleagues doing demo. Pick up extra background info 

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