Here are some ideas to help you capture interest by creating festive fun opportunities for science enquiry. These activities should tease out children’s current understanding of the big ideas in science but also provide the means to scaffold and develop more secure understanding. I have created a number of different types of enquiry prompts, based within a festive context, for pupils to address in small groups at their own pace.
All children know that something happens inside them to the food that they eat, but what? The English National Curriculum states that children should be able to ‘describe the simple functions of the digestive system in humans’. There is little guidance on how children will acquire this knowledge. Primary schools do not have the expensive models that some secondary schools have. Consequently, children are often introduced to this exciting part of biology through two dimensional photographs and film. It need not be a flat process. With a funnel, a pair of old tights and a few items from your kitchen you can make digestion a very visual, smelly and memorable experience.
Do we make the most of the wonderful museums that we have in this country? Many are free and offer us an enormous range of collections to view, films to watch, models to touch, interactive displays, models with buttons to press, and more recently there are interactive digital screens that allow us to walk through a virtual world created by CGI. In the reign of Queen Victoria, some of the most impressive free-to-access museums were created for the benefit of the public and they are still there for us today.
How often do we ask the children to stop talking? I know I ask it a lot. But in my defence, I ask them to talk a lot too because talking is vital for thinking.
The number of girls and young women pursuing many STEM subjects is lower than that of their male counterparts. It is the same in many developed countries but the UK has a particularly low representation of women in science-related careers. Industries and colleges have set up initiatives to attract women to STEM roles and some of these involve links with schools, both secondary and some primary, but many factors affect a child’s attitude towards science and engineering. This article considers some of these, including the impact of pink Lego.