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Science Teachers’ Guides

Welcome to the NeverOffTopic website!

The units here are designed to help students learn about the nature of science and to consider a range of relationships between science and religion.

There are suggestions here about activities you could run in class and you could also suggest that students can access the student pages (for both Science and RE) and read them in their own time if they would like to.

Key Stage 4


The Theory of Evolution

This unit includes session plans and videos to explain what the theory of evolution says and how it is supported; there are also videos that consider how Darwin’s theory has changed the way we think about life. Many scientists who are religious are quick to point out that evolution is not necessarily incompatible with belief in God. Apparent conflicts can be resolved by noticing that science and religion play different roles – providing different ‘types’ of explanation. This and other ways of contextualising what science tells us are identified in the resources.

Teachers’ guides Yr-10-11-Darwin-and-Evolution-April-2015

Whiteboardhttp://www.neverofftopic.com/wp-content/uploads/Yr-10-11-Darwin-and-Evolution-April-20151.doc PowerPoint – Evolution Tiktaalik bird tracks

Link to pupil page: Who was Darwin anyway?


Explanations in Science

This is an opportunity for students to consider more carefully what types of questions science does and does not address.
Pupil pages Some ideas about Science
Teacher notes and student sheets: NeveroffTopic-Science-KS4-Explanations1 (1)


The Big Bang Theory

This unit highlights the links between theory and evidence, explaining why, at the moment, the Big Bang theory is the best theory we have to explain how the Universe began. The unit also offers videos with astronomers and physicists explaining how, in their view, this picture from science relates to a religious perspective.
Teachers’ guide: Neverofftopic-Science-KS4-teachernotes-BigBang-2015

PowerPoint for Whiteboard: Yr10-11-Whiteboard-Big-Bang
Link to pupil page: The Big Bang Theory


The Cosmic Calendar

This is an activity based on the idea pioneered by the late Cornell University astronomer, Carl Sagan (1934-1996). In chapter 1 of his book Dragons of Eden, Sagan proposes compressing the history of the universe into one human-calendar year, and then seeing where, in that year, various significant events in the history of the Universe would fall. The activity helps pupils to visualize large expanses of geological/ astronomical time by drawing an analogy between the time scale since the beginning of the Universe and the more familiar 12-month-calendar time frame.

Teachers’ guide: Cosmic-Calendar-Teachers-Notes-2015

PowerPoint for Whiteboard: Cosmic-Calendar-Ppt-for-Whiteboard

Link to pupil page: The Cosmic Calendar

Key Stage 3


The Big Bang Theory and Evolution

There are no separate teachers’ notes for KS3 on Evolution and the Big Bang Theory – please see the detailed notes (above) for KS4 and select the activities that suit your lessons.


The Pillcam

This lesson looks at a remarkable invention – a camera that is small enough to swallow. The lesson guide has suggested activities to support KS3 teaching about digestion.
Teachers guide: Neverofftopic-Science-KS3-teachernotes-pillcam-2015
Whiteboard PowerPoint:Neverofftopic-Yr10-11-Whiteboard-pill-cam
Link to pupil page: The Pill camera


Travel to a Black Hole

This topic explores various aspects related to space travel – from planes travelling to the edge of space (e.g. Virgin Galactica planes now being built) to the prospect of journeys over vast distances in space. The topic also takes a close look at black holes – what we think they might be, what they might look like, their impact on galaxies, etc.  Pupils also consider what  living conditions in space might be like, compared to conditions on Earth.

Teachers’ guide: Travel-to-a-Black-Hole-teachers-notes-2015

PowerPoint for Whiteboard:  Travel-to-a-Black-Hole-Ppt-for-Whiteboard

Link to pupil page: Travel to a Black Hole


We will be updating this page frequently over the coming months to add lesson plans to go with the pages.

Notes about the materials we offer

Our resources address objectives in science and RE curricula and have been developed to respond to questions and issues raised by students and teachers.

Our insights are gathered via workshops, research interviews and conferences carried out for the LASAR Research Project. The site has articles, lesson plans, activities, interviews with specialists in their fields, students’ comments and questions, tips, and a whole lot more!

Topics include

The Big Bang theory (both for a science and for an RE classroom), Evolution (both for a science and for an RE classroom), The Nature of Evidence, Miracles, Darwin, Galileo and whether scientists can believe in a Creator.

For easy access, the website has been divided into the following sections:

  • Teachers’ Pages for RE (subdivided into Year 7, 8, 9, 10-11 and 12-13)
  • Students’ RE Pages (subdivided into Year 7, 8, 9, 10-11 and 12-13)
  • Teachers’ Pages for Science (subdivided into KS3 and KS4)
  • Students’ How Science Works Pages (subdivided into Year 7-9 and year 10-11)
  • Our favourite bits
  • Library
  • Other information (contact details)

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)