Introduction No Pens Day Wednesday

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No Pens Day Wednesday lesson plans and activity templates have been created by practising mainstream teachers and speech and language therapists and quality assured by a specialist speech and language therapist.

Lesson plans
These were developed using last year’s No Pens Day Wednesday lesson plans as a template. The first 6 lesson plans are new plans for this year’s campaign and the rest of the plans developed for No Pens Day Wednesday last year, which are still current. As all schools will be covering different topics and have different ways of planning, the lesson plans provide an example for schools to adapt, though they can be used as they are if this fits in with your planning. Plans are available for year 7 across all subject areas and a number of plans for year 9. This is not to limit your No Pens Day Wednesday to these years only, but to provide examples which you can use and adapt for different year groups.

Lesson plans aim to follow good practice principles; e.g.

  • They identify explicit learning objectives

  • Support use of questioning, using Blooms taxonomy, to support learning

  • Include plenary sessions that encourage pupils to reflect on their learning

Some lessons include reflection on how the “no pens” theme of the day has affected learning. This could be a discussion you could have in any lesson in order to gather pupils’ views on how an emphasis on talk in the classroom has impacted on their learning and enjoyment of lessons.

Each lesson plan also has key vocabulary identified, signposting to the vocabulary section of the activity templates. Vocabulary is key to all pupils, particularly those whose language is not at an age appropriate level or pupils learning English as an additional language. Teaching vocabulary explicitly as part of the lesson, using tried and tested strategies can make a significant difference to these pupils in particular.

A speaking and listening objective has also been identified for each lesson. Some have been taken from QCA guidelines, whilst others have been taken from our Universally Speaking guides (available to download and order for free from, which track language development throughout the primary years.

Activity templates
In addition to lesson plans, we’ve provided activity templates (separate download on, which are more generic and can be adapted to any lesson. These give some information about the activity and how it can be implemented, highlighting any resources / links that might be useful to support that activity. These activities can be used within any element of a lesson - as a starter activity, main activity, plenary or as methods of recording learning.

Science (Chemistry)

Year/Class: 9



Scheme of Work: Atoms and electricity

Lesson Topic: Introduction to conductivity, voltage and current

Learning objectives:

  • To know what conductivity is

  • To understand how electrons affect conductivity

  • To know what voltage and current are

Speaking and listening objective:

Explain the a sequence of events in a simple but accurate way, using appropriate terminology

Key Questions / Concepts:

  • What does conductivity measure?

  • What happens when electricity passes through a material?

  • How does atomic structure alter conductivity?


  • Several sets of dominoes

  • Circuit game templates from

  • Additional teacher information at



Dominoes demonstration

  • Line up the dominoes closely (standing on end). Apply force (‘current’) to the outside domino – the dominoes (electrons) should not fall over! Now re-position the dominoes with spaces between and repeat the exercise – this time the dominoes should tumble in sequence

  • Teacher describes how the initial force is the ‘current’ and the dominoes represent the electrons in a material

  • Students discuss which demonstration represents the best electrical conductor and why, and describe what is happening

  • What would happen if the dominoes were placed on an uphill slope? (‘resistance’)

  • Teacher recap and reinforce concepts

Vocabulary: atom, electron, conductivity, voltage, current, resistance, parallel circuit

Teach vocabulary using strategies and materials from the activity templates available to download at



Divide students into numbered mixed ability groups, each with a set of dominoes

Each group is tasked to create their own presentation using the dominoes to teach the concept of conductivity, current and voltage to a younger group of students; suggest they can re-produce and ‘talk to’ the dominoes demonstration, use role play or physical theatre, make a picture PowerPoint as a prompt for talk – or any other method they wish
Differentiation: students supported in mixed ability grouping
Extension task:

Can students demonstrate the effect of higher/lower voltage?

Can the students introduce a switch or resistance into their domino circuit?

Try physical theatre instead of the dominoes

Feedback to whole class group

  • Use random number generator ( to select group to show their presentation

Plenary/assessment for learning:

  • Re-make groups

  • Each group completes circuit game cards

How confident am I in understanding the concepts of conductivity, current, resistance – thumbs up/down/neutral?

Which group’s ‘lesson’ was most meaningful for me? Why?

Differentiation / Strategies:

  • Mixed ability grouping to support

  • Visual and simple definition of keywords clearly displayed

  • Whole class ‘think time’ before answering questions

  • Use any additional adults to encourage all students to participate in group

  • Reduce number of game cards in circuit game for target students


Additional teacher information from

Science Concepts - Electricity Overview

Electricity is all about moving really tiny stuff, really fast. It is contained in almost everything around you all the time. Your computer, lights, telephone, and even your own cells, are all charged with electricity at this very moment. Excited about this? Don't get too amped up just yet, there is a lot to know about this stuff, and it keeps getting more interesting as you go.

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