Category Archives: Website News

Why I started Flipping Biology

For the first 6 years of my teaching I followed a rather traditional method of teaching. I delivered content in class using a PowerPoint, students took notes and then we may spend a lesson doing a practical or an activity, then I would set homework which we may or may not have time to go through in a future lesson. Every year in faculty meetings we would lament the lack of time for activities, quality individual feedback, development of scientific skills and longer-term projects. To try and combat this we would argue for extra contact time with senior management and get angry with exam boards for never reducing the size of the syllabus that needed to be delivered. Every year you would feel the pressure to ‘get through the content’ and many topics needed to be rushed through only once to meet the deadline of exams. If students were ill, or absent for matches or music lessons then it meant meeting with them at other times to repeat the lesson. When the exams approached you were asked to repeat many lessons by students who couldn’t remember, had poor notes, didn’t listen or just wanted to sit and feel like they were learning it again. Then I found Flipped Learning . . .

“Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which first contact with new concepts moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space in the form of structured activity, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.” (

The important point to make here is that flipped learning is not just getting students to do homework in class and then teach themselves in their own time. It’s about making the most of the time spent in the classroom when the teacher is present (group space). Through the use of technology it has now become possible to deliver the content to a high standard out of the classroom (individual space). When looking at Bloom’s taxonomy one can see that remembering and understanding are at the base of the pyramid. These are lower order skills that the students can work on in their own time. The advantages of this are that they can learn at their own pace at a time that suits them. I make detailed animated tutorial videos for each Biology Topic; these are hosted on YouTube and internally on planet eStream. The students watch these and answer the questions that come up on screen to make sure they engage with the content and provide me with feedback about how and when they watched the video. They use the video along with a detailed PowerPoint to make notes on that particular topic. They can pause, rewind, and replay the lesson as many times as they like. They can watch it and make notes at a time that suits them. They will never miss another lesson again!

When they come into class they have done the groundwork on the topic and we can use the notes to take part in the practical activities that I have planned for them. Looking back at Bloom’s taxonomy they will now build on the higher order skills such as applying, analysing, evaluating and creating. These are quite often covered at homework time when the teacher isn’t there to help, but now I can go around and see individual students much more often, give them instant feedback, help them with problems and develop their learning. It solves many of the problems listed in the first paragraph and also creates better independent lifelong learners. The classroom becomes a fun engaging place to be rather than a lecture theatre. Better student teacher relationships are developed and teacher becomes a ‘guide on the side’ rather than a ‘sage on the stage’.

Just like any teaching method, Flipped teaching requires good planning and preparation for it to be effective. I am currently over half way through an online course in flipped teaching that will give me Flipped Certification Level I.


New Pre-U videos

This is my latest set of ‘flipped’ teaching videos for section 1.1 of the Cambridge Pre-U on Eukaryotic Cell Structure.

New IB Biology Pages

It has been a while since I have managed to update due to other work commitments, but as I approach revision time with my IB students it seems logical to create some resources that are useful for everyone at this stage.

Therefore I have made a new IB page for revision resources which can be found here.

I have made a quick IB revision quiz for Core topic 1 on cell biology to start with. This is designed to quickly assess your factual recall on this topic, and is a good way to remind yourself of all the little details you need to know.

There are plenty of skills required to get a 7 in IB Biology such as; data interpretation, evaluation, application and practical science understanding to name just a few but if you don’t know these key facts then you don’t have the foundations needed for these higher level skills.

I will be posting similar tests for all the core topics over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

You will also find a very useful resource covering the 7 key practicals you should have completed.

Many of you will also be carrying out your Internal Assessment projects at the moment so I have created a page to help you with writing that up. It can be found here.

I plan on blogging more about the IA in the future as I am marking my classes now and have learnt a lot about going through the process for the first time this year.

Mr Exham on iBooks

I am very pleased to announce that my first eBook has been published on the Apple iBooks store.

It has been designed for iBooks and will work on iPad, Mac and iPhone (depending on operating system).

It is hopefully the first in a series of books covering the IGCSE course. This first book is FREE and covers the sections on life processes and classification. It contains interactive multiple choice questions at the end of each section and practice diagrams to label.

Why not download it now and give it a 5* rating? 

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IB Update

The IB Biology syllabus has been updated this year and to reflect that I have made a new summary of how the course now works.

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A Level Biology 2015 – Edexcel B

It looks like will be specifically making resources for the Edexcel Biology B course starting in 2015. Many of the courses have overlapping topics so many of the resources will be relevant for other courses as well. For now please enjoy this useful outline I have made for the Edexcel Biology B course.

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Mr Exham – Past, Present and Future

I have been meaning to write this post for a while in order to let you know what the plans are going forward for, and this week seemed like as good a time as any with the GCSE results coming out and a new academic year starting.

Firstly I would like to thank everyone who has used the website in the last year, I have received some great emails and tweets and I am really glad that it’s been useful to so many people. I’ve now decided to take in a few different directions. Firstly I am making some of my key resources, which take the most time and effort to make, available to purchase through This has meant spending more time on these resources to make them as clear and informative as possible, and it has also given me the impetus to make more of them! There will soon be a PowerPoint for each section of the IGCSE course along with revision quizzes.

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I will continue to make free resources as well, including Quizlets, revision sheets, YouTube dissections, practical demonstrations, worksheets and I also intend to write Socrative quizzes for teachers.

Given that there will be a new A-Level starting in 2015 (read the Ofqual announcement here) I will no longer be adding to the current A-Level pages and resources. Instead I will focus on making new resources ready for the launch of the new linear A-Level next year. I will also be blogging about the various courses and exam boards offering Biology A-Level as my department make their decision about which to choose.

Thank you once again for all the positive feedback and please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see on!

Mr Exham


Welcome to, an online blog designed for students, teachers and anyone who loves anything Biology!

The primary aim of my blog is to create an information resource for pupils studying Biology IGCSE, A Level and the International Baccalaureate (IB). I will also be regularly posting links to anything in the Biology world that I find interesting, be it news stories, articles, videos, or games, in the hope that Mr Exham will inspire YOU to Make Sense of Biology.

If you have any questions please email me.

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