Dataloggers in the Science Curriculum

From the Science National Curriculum: 

Working Scientifically using the Labdisc datalogger from Globisens

During years 3 and 4, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:



  • asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
  • setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
  • making systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers


  • gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions
  • recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
  • reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
  • using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
  • identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
  • using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

During years 5 and 6, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:


  • planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  • taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  • recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
  • using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  • reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations
  • identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.

In Key Stage 3 Data loggers can be used across all disciplines Biology, Physics and Chemistry



If you are planning to incorporate analysis and set up experiments next half term then consider hiring a set of Dataloggers. Four Labdiscs with external sensors or four Mini Labdiscs with external sensors. Free software download for any operating system with examples. All the devices have GPS to allow experiments and sensor readings to be mapped to Google maps.

More information


Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education

Statutory guidance for governing bodies, proprietors, head teachers, principals, senior leadership teams, teachers.


We need to look at delivering Online Safety through different subjects but we need to be joined up concerning the message. This document has references to Online Safety and what we need to be concentrating on.

Online relationships
Pupils should know:
• that people sometimes behave differently online, including by pretending to be someone they are not.
• that the same principles apply to online relationships as to face to face relationships, including the importance of respect for others online including when we are anonymous.
• the rules and principles for keeping safe online, how to recognise risks, harmful content and contact, and how to report them.
• how to critically consider their online friendships and sources of information including awareness of the risks associated with people they have never met.
• how information and data are shared and used online.

Paragraph 80.

Internet safety should also be addressed. Pupils should be taught the rules and principles for keeping safe online. This will include how to recognise risks, harmful content and contact, and how and to whom to report issues. Pupils should have a strong understanding of how data is generated, collected, shared and used online, for example, how personal data is captured on social media or understanding the way that businesses may exploit the data available to them.

By the end of secondary school:

Online and media
Pupils should know:
• their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, including that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts, including online.
• about online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online.
• not to provide material to others that they would not want to be shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them.
• what to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online.
• the impact of viewing harmful content.
• that specifically sexually explicit material e.g. pornography presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviours, can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners.
• that sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail.
• how information and data are generated, collected, shared and
used online.

Internet safety and harms
Pupils should know:
• that for most people the internet is an integral part of life and has many benefits.
• about the benefits of rationing time spent online, the risks of excessive time spent on electronic devices and the impact of positive and negative content online on their own and others’ mental and physical wellbeing.
• how to consider the effect of their online actions on others and know how to recognise and display respectful behaviour online and the importance of keeping personal information private.
• why social media, some computer games and online gaming, for example, are age restricted.
• that the internet can also be a negative place where online abuse, trolling, bullying and harassment can take place, which can have a negative impact on mental health.
• how to be a discerning consumer of information online including an understanding that information, including that from search engines, is ranked, selected and targeted.
• where and how to report concerns and get support with issues

• the similarities and differences between the online world and the physical world, including: the impact of unhealthy or obsessive comparison with others online (including through setting unrealistic expectations for body image), how people may curate a specific image of their life online, over-reliance on online relationships including social media, the risks related to online gambling including the accumulation of debt, how advertising and information is targeted at them and how to be a discerning
consumer of information online.
• how to identify harmful behaviours online (including bullying, abuse or harassment) and how to report, or find support, if they have been affected by those behaviours.

Delivery and teaching strategies

Paragraph 107.

The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including logic, algorithms and data representation. It also covers e-safety, with progression in the content to reflect the different and escalating risks that young people face as they get older. This includes how to use technology safely, responsibly, respectfully and securely, how to keep personal information private, and where to go for help and support.

Sources of Information

Online safety
Education for a Connected World is the UK Council for Internet safety (UKCCIS)
framework of digital knowledge and skills for different ages and stages.
Sexting advice from UKCCIS for schools on preventative education and managing
reports of sexting.
Thinkuknow is the education programme from the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Child Exploitation Online Programme (CEOP), which protects children both online and offline.The site offers materials for parents, teachers and pupils on a wide range of online safety issues and facts about areas such as digital footprints, recognising fake websites and checking URLs.



Getting Ready for the school year 2019-2020

For UK schools. Now is the time to plan your STE(A)M curriculum but what to do, what to purchase, where to go for digital resources.

We have been very active in working with our educational partners to bring a variety of resources to education. The main problem is working out the best way to bring these fantastic resources to the attention of those who have the decision making responsibility in schools.

While we were thinking about this we pondered on the massive changes to TynCan Learning over the past year and so we thought we would simply highlight what we have to offer. Our overriding philosophy is simple:


For us, the best way to do that is to engage teachers and offer them a way to see how digital technologies can enhance the whole curriculum.

We are very proud of the way we have selected the products which we offer to schools. The one thing we will not do is cold sell to schools. If a teacher sees a product, they can usually decide if it has an educational value and if they do decide then the hard part is how to purchase it.


Programming Code

We have been working with Codeucate for about 2 years now. They have a wonderful online coding system for JavaScript and soon Python. The system will take someone with no experience and lead them through to being confident to write their own code. The system has a dashboard where teachers can monitor the progress of pupils/students. The system offers real-world examples which engage young people. We are currently offering a FREE online Summer Course in Javascript for UK teachers. 



For more information:


We are really happy to have teamed up again with Insight Resources to be able to offer the MrBit: software for the BBC Micro:bit. We have known the company for a very long time and I used their software successfully when I was in the classroom. We offer single and site licences for the PC. We are unable to register referrals via the Apps store for the iPad so if you do buy for your iPad, if you let me know I may receive a commission. If you would like the PC edition then simply go to




We have a great relationship with Seamus O’Neill who is the founder/owner of Ready Steady Code. His idea to MIT to include vector grids into Scratch enhanced the program significantly and allowed him to combine coding and mathematics which has enhanced the Scratch program but also engages young people. We are distributors for his excellent book and also his very useful flip books and charts. We are also co-ordinating training in the UK.

For more information


We have worked a number of years with the technology company Globisens. Their data loggers Labdisc are extremely easy to use, the software is available free to use on all devices and operating systems and all the loggers have GPS technology. They have dataloggers for General science but also specific loggers which will cover the Physics, Biology and Chemistry syllabus. There is also one specifically for studying the environment. The company built a mini datalogger which is used in conjunction with tablets. The system is very robust and many schools in the UK are using them successfully to support their STE(A)M agenda.

Experiments using the Labdisc.

As part of our quest to get digital kit into the hands of young people, we have started a hire scheme which enables a school to use 4 general science data loggers in a school for half a term. This allows school budgets to provide high specification technology to enhance learning.


Our partners in Chennai RobotixEdu have a suite of highly engaging products which we are able to distribute in the UK and Ireland. Phiro is a very flexible robot. It has the ability to be a floor robot but can also be transformed into the centrepiece of structure involving Lego, Morphun, Mega Blocks, Duplo.

The robot can also be programmed via a key press, or by coded Swish cards or by mobile phone. It can also be controlled via speech and images. This is a vet versatile device which can be used throughout the school.

See how versatile the Phiro can be


Playbits from RobotixEdu is a screen-free learning system whereby visual and aural feedback is given to the users. The system will support language, maths, music and coding. By using an intuitive electronic wand the user can interact with the system to recognise colours, musical instruments and also put together algorithms to follow a path to rewards. The system is Braille compatible with programmed discs with raised braille print for recognition. The wand can be manipulated for different languages and accents via a USB connection and software.

For more information




PlayBricks from RobotixEdu are an excellent way to introduce programming through play. The system has a base brick and several motors, LEDs and sensor bricks which can integrate with other brick on the market to create moving devices. The devices can also be controlled by using a PlayBits wand and discs adding to the notion of screen-free coding.




Click here to see more.



Marty the Robot is a really clever piece of engineering from our friends in Scotland Robotical. The Robot comes fully assembled and ready to go or you can purchase it in kit form and build it yourself. Marty engages children and adults alike and is very versatile in the classroom.

Find out more




                What is it?: The Hummingbird Kit is comprised of lights, sensors,                         and motors which allow students to build a robot out of any materials.

                 Keystage: suitable for Key Stage 2 +

                 Software Compatibility: Snap!, BirdBlox, MakeCode, Python, Java

                                                       Compatibility: Chromebook, Windows Mac, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire

Bring cardboard models to live by creating ways to move and connect together joints which can really engage young people.  For more information


At TynCan Learning we are always looking for creative and innovative ideas and ways to engage our young people and teachers in learning. We are proud to be part of the Storyball phenomenon.


Storyball is a device which is full of technology. It utilises stories and challenges to get children playing, learning and moving their bodies. Storyball keeps children moving by encouraging them to complete activities outside or inside, with friends or on their own.

Instead of using technology to mindlessly stare at a screen, children are engaged with the world around them on an adventure tailored for them.

The Storyball is now in production, the company have been extensively making sure the technology works especially the speaker system inside the Storyball which is so important for those using the device to be able to hear the instructions. We hope to have the product ready late in the Autumn term 2019.

We hope that we can continue to support schools and young people to engage with technology in a meaningful and fun way so that they will learn and grow.

We hope you now have a clear idea of the type of digital technology

we want to bring to education.


Online Safety information for Parents

We have just signed up to offer free advice on our website for parents regarding online safety.

Take a look at the information available for parents from CEOP and Parentzone.

Every parent should be able to access this information and every school should sign up to have the information displayed on their website.


Voice v Keyboard input

VoiceActivatedIn 2004 I argued that we should be focussing on the spoken word as a way to communicate with computers. I took this position because at the time voice software was becoming particularly advanced and the need for a person to tap a keyboard was no longer the only way to input into the computer. I am thinking here of the likes of Dragon software and others like it. So if there was software around to take verbal input why would we need to teach our children how to “touch type”? What we needed to do was to make sure that our children could speak in a way that the computer could understand. Now the speech to text phenomenon took a little time getting here and we are not yet there but we are much further down the road. Mobile uptake in the last 10 years has accelerated so much globally that the use of phones to take care of elements of our daily lives has increased dramatically. I frequently use my Android phone to send messages using voice. The reason for this is that it is much more accurate than my large fingers on a small keyboard. I also see my grandchildren getting frustrated that Alexa is unable to understand the song they want to play because the are emerging speakers. I also watch them learn how to pronounce the words after an adult has helped them achieve the result they wanted to be able to become independent the next time. The introduction of assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are testament to the massive research and development that are being given over to voice activation.

How should we then consider this technology in the classroom?

Does the fact that technology is home-based exclude it from the school?

How do we prepare our young people to interact with this technology?

Is there a need to teach our children how to speak so that they are able to access the technology they need through speech?

Mal Lee of Digital Evolution of Schooling shared an article recently about How speech recognition is set to disrupt. It is an interesting read with the point that “Voice has the potential to change the playing field just as much as mobile” If this is the case then what are the implications for the classroom?

Do we simply ignore the technology in school as is mostly the case with mobile technology?

Do we look at ways to better integrate speaking opportunities within the school curriculum?

Do we question our curriculum and ask is it really fit for purpose in the 21st Century?

I have been involved in teaching teachers how to use digital technology in the classroom for a long time. If history is anything to go by then those who see the importance of this disruptive technology will be early adopters and will begin to make a name for themselves within the area of “voice-activated learning”. Then there will be others who will fight against the status quo, ( whatever that is) and provide a barrier to this new technology. Whatever happens in the wider society, it would seem that in education circles the technology will only take off if there is absolute unanimous uptake and funding for training.

Don’t throw your keyboards out just yet!

Mobile Phones in the Classroom

June 21st 2018 “the Chief Inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman supported schools who ban mobile phones.” The Headmaster of Eton “endorsed confiscating mobile phones.”

From an article on the Blog Safeguarding Essentials

The LSE study states “Our research shows that not only does pupil achievement improve as a result of a ban, but also that low ­achieving and low ­income pupils gain the most.”



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 Great American Eclipse!:
Labdisc Records Solar Eclipse at Multiple US Locations

Students from Fulton county Schools view the eclipse with ISO glasses next to their Labdisc experiment.

Last week, on Monday the 21st the United States experienced a solar eclipse, the first recorded in the country for almost 100 years. During this total solar eclipse, the moon’s diameter appeared larger than the sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight and transforming day into complete darkness.

The path of total eclipse touched 14 states, 16% of the area of the United States and a partial eclipse visible in all the other states. The event began on the Oregon coast as a partial eclipse at 9:06 a.m. (PDT) and ended later that day as a partial eclipse along the South Carolina coast at about 4:06 p.m. (EDT).

What better opportunity for budding young scientists to use the
Labdisc to record a real and live scientific event!

Together with science students, the Globisens team and their US partner Boxlight – recorded the eclipse in Georgia and New York, with Globisens CEO, Dov Bruker recording in Mexico.  Recording with the Labdisc in multiple locations of the eclipse allowed the young scientists to compare the eclipse duration and the lowest level of light as the eclipse traversed the continent.

In Johns Creek, Georgia a group of students from Fulton County Schools setup a Labdisc using the Labdisc plastic rod and a bucket of sand to stabilize it. They recorded the results over a 2-hour period. The eclipse started with a recorded 40,000 lux and decreased to only 256 lux and then increased back to around 35,000 lux when the eclipse concluded. The students also used a home-made box projector to view the shadow created by the eclipse.

As the sensor-triggered street lights turned on during the eclipse, our young students made several additional observations regarding the natural world around them. They noticed that the birds stopped chirping, and the cicada’s (large insect) and crickets started making noise, which they normally do only after sunset.

See more innovative experiment projects using the Labdisc from around the world

Analysing Data

Image result for big data
What has Big Data ever done for me?

The term Big Data is used quite frequently today and it seems that it is an important facet of our daily lives. Is it something that we should be worried about or should we be looking at what it is and work out how to incorporate it in our teaching?
What is Big Data?
Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing application software is inadequate to deal with them. We produce 2.5 exabytes of data every day which is the equivalent of 90 years worth of High Definition Videos. The idea of Big Data is not just the amount but the variety of devices which are abe to store the or collect the Data. Being able to analyse data from a variety of sources and being able to draw conclusions from the data is really what the idea behind Big Data is all about. Big Data is information gathered from anywhere be it number of Tweets in a day to the indexing the DNA.

The ability of a computer to process the data varies and even when theImage result for big data analysis is carried out on a subset of the data the amount  of information can be colossal. So why should we consider including data analysis in our teaching plans? Firstly we need to have a skilled work force which can obtain information from data. Governments, schools and businesses make decisions based on the information which has been provided by data collection. If we do not teach our young people these skills then we will be unable to make sense of our world because we are unable to interpret the data being provided.
In my view we should be actively teaching data analysis or data handling. We need to make sure that our young people are able to understand the information they are given on a daily basis from a variety of sources. From the moment they wake up they are making sense of their world. The clock or the mobile tells them what time it is. The weather app provides information so that they can make decisions about what to wear. The television or a buzz feed app lets them know what is going on their world depending on what information their mobiles have about their likes and dislikes based on the information they share with the various apps that they interact with. Having the ability to understand and process this information is a key part of growing up in a digital world so why wouldn’t we teach how to collect and understand the data that is out there.We need to teach data handling so that we have a source of expertise for the future. The decision makers of tomorrow will be very much dependent on the data collected, especially in real time, which could effect the way they do their jobs. We need people who can analyse and report back.
The skills needed can be taught in a cross curricular fashion which takes account of Computing, Science, Mathematics, History and Geography. As an example we can gather data collected about earthquakes from the USGS or BGS. We can use this data to simulate an earthquake and allow the young people to make decisions based on the data that they have, this will involve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Once the young people have made decisions based on their interrogation of the data they can put together a presentation for an assembly to the rest of the school. This would allow writing and presentation skills to be worked on and celebrated.Image result for data visualisation
The presentation could involve the use of data visualisations which allow information to be shared in an image format aiding understanding.
A person in a local authority responsible for highways needs to have information about weather conditions and traffic data both in real time and historically so that they can plan for adverse weather conditions. Having the ability to interrogate data in a variety of locations and bring it together for a particular purpose is a skill we need to ensure our young people acquire. Analysing Big Data has its own problems. The very fact that there is more data to analyse means that there will be a bigger error rate and it is really important that we have people who are able to decipher the information and record accurately what is happening.In our example regarding the local authority highways person if the data is analysed incorrectly it may result in too much salt being purchased or too many wagons being deployed on the roads when there is no real weather threat.It is worthwhile looking at the data provided by Traffic England as this site provides real time updates of traffic around the UK and is an excellent resource for interrogation.
As we are all governed by data collected by us or on our behalf. Recent revelations around data collection of personal data by social media companies has come as real surprise to many people and we should be teaching our young people about the way personal data is used and how we can protect them in a digital world. I think it is only right to make sure that our young people are able to make sense of the data around them and interrogate it confidently and make the correct value judgements.