Showing students the ‘bigger picture’ at A Level

“I’m a Scientist encourages independent thought and shows students the practical applications of their studies. Connecting with real psychologists also helps them decide what they’ll do next year and into the future.” – Lesley, Head of Psychology at Bay House School


Bay House School is a large comprehensive school with mixed attainment. In June 2018, sixth form Psychology students from the school took part in the Society Zone. Head of Psychology Lesley tells us how the activity supported her students’ progression and taught them the real-life applications of their subject.

Why apply for I’m a Scientist?

Lesley regularly takes part in the I’m a Scientist activity to open her students’ eyes to psychology beyond the limitations of the A Level curriculum. “Students can get bogged down in memorising facts and not see the bigger picture,” she says, “particularly in A Level, with so much theory based learning.”

Using the activity with sixth form students

With sixth form students being more independent than younger classes, Lesley introduces the activity a week before their chat lesson and has them spend time engaging with the psychologists during their personal study. Students prepare by reading psychologists’ profiles, posting questions in the Ask section and preparing questions for the class live chat. Lesley’s students cast their Vote for who they want to win the competition straight after their chat. When it comes to using valuable lesson time on the activity, Lesley says “the benefits of the chat far outweigh the time you spend on it.”

Practical applications of curriculum content

Through the I’m a Scientist activity, Lesley’s students learnt about the process of carrying out research, something that is vital to aid their understanding of the research methods unit in their Psychology A Level. Students were able to explore different areas of psychology by chatting to the psychologists about their work, which, in the Society Zone, ranged from researching conspiracy theories to the language we use to talk about alcohol use.

Real people, real jobs

I’m a Scientist tackles current stereotypes by showing students that psychologists are a diverse bunch, not all old men as some textbooks could lead them to believe! Lesley’s students found they could relate to the psychologists in their zone and really engaged with the opportunity to speak with real psychologists currently working in the field. “Students read about studies in books but don’t see those researchers as actual people — the idea they can speak to a real psychologist through this activity kinda blows their mind!”

Whole-school benefits

Lesley’s students really enjoy taking part in I’m a Scientist, and word of the activity spreads around the school. “It’s a great experience and the students are very engaged… Seeing our A Level students get this opportunity encourages lower school students to stay with us into the sixth form.”

Supporting progression and careers guidance
For Lesley’s school, the timing of the June event is ideal. “It’s perfect as students come back after mock exams and are thinking about their next steps and starting university applications. Connecting with real psychologists helps them decide what they’ll do next year and into the future.”

With the full range of A*-E grade abilities in her psychology classes, it was important for Lesley’s students to find out about a range of careers within psychology. “It was good for them to see not all psychologists are lecturers or have PhDs, and that there is a range of levels of career. For those who love psychology and want to pursue it, this gives them an idea of what they can do other than teaching.”


To show your A-Level students the ‘bigger picture’ through I’m a Scientist activities, register your interest at imascientist.org.uk/teachers, or contact admin@imascientist.org.uk for more information.

Already registered? Don’t forget to apply for the next event – we email registered teachers when applications open (about 2 months before the event starts).

Posted on July 16, 2018 by modamy in Case Study, News, Teacher Quote, Teachers. Comments Off on Showing students the ‘bigger picture’ at A Level