Go to our new-look site, it combines the Biotechnology and Science Learning Hubs with a new look and new functionality. This is our legacy site and is no longer maintained.


Teacher Resource - Walking on custard

Videos continue to be a useful media to demonstrate aspects that cannot be recreated in a classroom. For example, www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN2D5y-AxIY external link is a fun video showing John Tickle from the BBC television show Brainiacs running on top of a swimming pool full of custard without sinking in. It is a great example of non-Newtonian fluids at work.

Read through the information below to help you select an appropriate strategy to assist your students to become actively involved in the video and to gain an understanding of the science concepts.

Guiding principles for using videos

Most students are interested in videos/DVDs, and they can stimulate and arouse curiosity, but teachers need to use this media in a way that meets the intended learning outcomes. Listening to and viewing a video needs a purpose and a focus.

Some guiding principles to using video in the classroom:

  • Always view the video beforehand. Poor teacher preparation can invalidate the worth of the video.
  • All students need to be able to see and hear the video.
  • The video needs to be relevant to work being covered, and this relevance needs to be made clear to students.
  • The viewing should not take a whole session. There should be time to discuss relevance beforehand and check student learning afterwards.
  • Overuse of videos reduces their effectiveness as a teaching tool.

Teaching and learning approaches

Complete a worksheet

  • Questions to answer – short, factual, not too many.
  • Diagram to complete and label as you watch the video.
  • Fill in a simple worksheet about the video before viewing, then correct it as the video is viewed.

Break the viewing into sections

  • This scaffolds the listening – you can ask questions and then move back to the video.

Peer questioning

  • Each student devises some questions to ask someone else before/during the viewing.
  • Afterwards, in pairs, they ask their partner these questions.


  • After watching the video, students write a paragraph summary – perhaps provide some keywords.
  • One or two students present their summaries


  • Prepare some questions beforehand.
  • Students answer the questions during or after the viewing.

Question dice

Use the template provided to make the dice – you can make the dice out of coloured card or wooden blocks:

  • Each student takes a turn rolling the first question dice (What, why, how etc...) and uses the question starter facing upwards to make up a question related to the video to ask the group.
  • Each student then takes a turn rolling both question dice and uses the question starters facing upwards to make up a question related to the video to ask the group (How could…? Why might…?).

This question dice activity can be also used to generate questions for investigation or questions for before or after reading some text.

Nature of Science

Many different approaches and methods can be used to develop investigations in science, and these approaches can involve creative insights.