Staying On Topic: What Is Topical Science?

Topical science is the new buzz word in education. Just one tiny problem – not everyone knows what it is, let alone how to use it. So we thought we would demystify it for you.


Topical science is teaching science using real-world events. It aims to help students make connections between what they learn in the classroom to the events that happen in the real world. Ultimately, it should help students understand the overarching implications of scientific knowledge and help contribute towards it.


So how can you use this is the classroom?

A typical STEM lesson usually involves four basic steps:

  • Identify a real-world problem.
  • Ask questions to explore the problem (and potentially solve the problem).
  • Develop solutions.
  • Explore a hands-on activity.

Let’s put that into context. Say you want to teach a lesson on Global Warming:

  1. Start the lesson with a Twig film like The Global Warming Debate: Part 1
  2. Open up discussion in the class using news events such as;
  3. Then, divide up the class and task them with coming up with solutions to the problem (things like growing more plants).
  4. Finally, another class could be dedicated to a hands-on activity. This could be anything from taking the class on a field trip to assigning every student to plant a small sapling.

Alternatively, you could always open the class with a real-life event and cement understand with a Twig film!

Don’t forget – you can also sign up for the latest topical science news, straight to your inbox with Reach Out Reporter.

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