Primary teacher and all round amazing lady, Liz Southwell, has written the following post, all about how she got her school having fun with science during lockdown. Read on for some fantastic pointers!
Our Great Science Share
I joined Raysfield Federation as Year 3 teacher and science leader in September and have been keen to raise the profile of science throughout the school. I registered our school to join in the annual Great Science Share event at UWE this year and we had a lot to talk about! Our project-based approach to learning has lent itself to projects being STEM-based and, in the Spring Term, projects included building a new garden area to attract wildlife, holding a whole school sponsored fitness challenge, attracting birds to our school site and persuading our community to become blood donors.
Then came lockdown…
I decided to set the whole school a weekly science challenge via video on our Class Dojo network: we started with making paper aeroplanes and O gliders. We had a brilliant response and children were instinctively changing materials or improving their designs, using their science questioning skills.
Despite the face-to-face Great Science Share event being cancelled, I found, via the Great Science Share website, that there was still an opportunity to share our science ‘virtually’ on Tuesday 16th June. Using the ‘Science at Home’ resources published by the Primary Science Teacher Trust, I continued to set weekly science challenges: a starter investigation that children could then explore further at home. I also introduced the Great Science Share’s Question Makers, which are tools to help children to generate their own science questions.
Each week, and on Tuesday 16th June, we have shared video summaries of all the investigations that the children had been doing and, thanks to links with our Parish Council and Avon Wildlife Trust, we have also been able to share pictures and videos of our community projects, which have included planting a wildflower meadow and building a ‘Secret Garden’ to brighten up our central courtyard and, most importantly, to attract wildlife to our school site.
While school may still face disruption to timetables in the coming months, the resources that we have used to inspire investigation and questioning from the PSTT and the Great Science Share will be so useful to continue to inspire our science learning in school.
Read some of the brilliant questions and investigations that our children have been sharing below
How can we lift an ice cube with string? (Using salt helps ice to refreeze around the string, meaning that the ice can be lifted up)
What is a tornado and how does it work?
Can I make the best bubble? Bubble snakes were very popular!
Which items float and/or sink in oil and water?
Which material (pasta, rice, Coco Pops, Lego or marshmallows) makes the loudest shaker? Lego was definitely the loudest whereas the marshmallows could barely be heard!
Which pollinating insects can we find in our wildflower meadow? Year 3 planted the wildflower meadow in the Autumn and the children have really enjoyed visiting the meadow throughout lockdown.
Do different colour backgrounds make ice melt faster? In this experiment, grey was first, then red, blue, purple, green and, finally, white!
How do I measure my pulse rate (finding carotid, radial and brachial pulse rates) and what affect does exercise have on my heart?