How to create impactful ‘Meet an expert’ live lessons

Each live event reveals new ways that we can improve our live lesson offer for students, and AXA Coral Live 2020 was no different. We had amazing feedback from teachers, and some pointers to make the ‘Meet a coral scientist’ lessons more interactive, rather than just an interview / show and tell with a marine biologist followed by a student Q&A session.

We feel it is really valuable for young people to get a sense of different careers and we have identified four areas that we think will make a difference for future lessons.

  1. Ask each featured scientist to come up with the ‘wowiest’ thing that they do in their job and start the lesson with this, whether it be a pre-recorded video or live demonstration.
  2. For younger audiences focus on types of word used to describe the job from verbs (what do scientists actually do?), to adjectives (what is the job like? what qualities do scientists need?) and nouns (what equipment does this scientist use?).
  3. Use of quizzes to activate learning or for featured scientists to set tasks for participating classes.
  4. Use of a careers overview students sheet, so that students can make notes and come away with a concrete understanding of a potential career (see below).
Career Student Sheet examples

We are also having fun trying to simplify one-sentence descriptions of a marine biologist role, using xkcd’s Simple Writer, a syntax checker that highlights if you use words not featured in the 1,000 most common words.

Here’s our best try…

A marine biologist is a job where you ask questions about how the sea world works. You then try to answer these questions by looking at what happens and changes both in the big sea, and in little seas you can make at work.

Have a look at xkcd’s excellent book Thing Explainer to see more of their work.