Four to five chairs are arranged in an inner circle. This is the fishbowl. The remaining chairs are arranged in concentric circles outside the fishbowl. A few participants are selected to fill the fishbowl, while the rest of the group sit on the chairs outside the fishbowl. In an open fishbowl, one chair is left empty. In a closed fishbowl, all chairs are filled. The teacher introduces the topic and the participants start discussing the topic. The rest of the class outside the fishbowl listen in on the discussion.
In an open fishbowl, any member of the class can, at any time, occupy the empty chair and join the fishbowl. When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the fishbowl and free a chair. The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the fishbowl. Depending on how large your class is you can have each class member spend some time in the fishbowl and take part in the discussion. When time runs out, the fishbowl is closed and the discussion is summarised.
In a closed fishbowl, the initial participants speak for some time. When time runs out, they leave the fishbowl and a new group from the class enters the fishbowl. This continues until all the class members have spent some time in the fishbowl. When time runs out, the fishbowl is closed and the discussion is summarised.

Picture This

You can use this tip to enable the pupils to work together to take down as much information as they can.

1. Put the pupils in groups. (4s work best). Each pupil in the group needs a number.
2. In preparation for the lesson, prepare the information that you need the pupils to remember. A combination of pictures and words works best. Place this somewhere in the room where pupils cannot directly see it.
3. Each group requires a large piece of sugar paper and a different coloured pen per person. (This helps with accountability).
4. Take it in turns to call out each of the numbers of the pupils in the group. Each pupil needs to go up to the information sheet and has 30 seconds to memorise as much information as they can from the sheet. They then come back to their group and put the information onto the sheet.
5. Meanwhile, another pupil number is selected and they come to the information sheet to memorise the information. It is up to the group to decide both how and what they memorise. Repeat as many times as necessary for the amount of information you have.
6. At the end of the activity, ask a series of knowledge questions to each group to assess what they have learnt.

Stand out!

This week’s teaching tip is called “Stand out” and is a useful idea to use to recall knowledge about a particular aspect of a topic, but in a more challenging way.

1. Pupils need a whiteboard and should work in a four.
2. A question is posed (eg write a fact about the nucleus.)
3. Each pupil has to write their own fact that they know to be true, but they are trying to think of a fact that nobody else would write down.
4. After a fixed time, the pupils are told to share their fact with the others in their group. They score a point for every correct, yet unique, fact.
5. The process is repeated with a different question.

You can sometimes extend the thinking by giving a suitably open ended question that could enable them to link this topic to one that has gone before.
You could also use pictures and ask pupils to write questions on the pictures, encouraging them to think of unique ones, and pushing them into higher order thinking.