CUTTing-EDGE SCIENCE RESEARCH
This resource provides guidance for primary teachers on introducing cutting-edge science research projects to primary children.
Cutting-edge science research can provide an incredible stimulus to primary children’s emergent ideas in science and can be linked to the primary science curriculum. Fellows of PSTT’s Primary Science Teacher College, who have backgrounds in science research and experience teaching in primary classrooms are writing articles which explain cutting-edge research in language that primary children can understand.
Click on the tabs below to find out how you can share examples of cutting-edge research projects with your children.
Area Mentor, Alison Trew, explains why sharing cutting-edge science research with young children provides a great stimulus for practical science and how this can be done using PSTT's I bet you didn't know... resources.
I bet you didn't know... articles explain contemporary scientists’ research in language that primary children can understand and suggest questions for children (ages 4-11) and their teachers to consider in the classroom.
Accompanying Teacher Guides (which could be used as classroom presentations) describe activities and investigations that mirror the scientists' research and develop children’s enquiry skills.
Here, Alison describes two examples of I bet you didn't know... articles that link uses of materials and separating mixtures to recent research and new developments in providing clean water and sanitation in the poorest countries in the world. Activities and investigations from the accompanying Teacher Guides, and that children (ages 4 to 11) can do in the classroom to mirror the research, are demonstrated.
Watch the I bet you didn't know... video here:
During lockdown in spring 2021, PSTT Fellow, Rebecca Ellis, who wrote the I bet you didn’t know... Termites can help rainforests survive droughts, shared this article with her Year 6 class (ages 10-11) as home learning. Rebecca used a PowerPoint which includes a recorded video of her talking to her class on each slide.
You can view this recorded PowerPoint here:
Note: This recorded PowerPoint is Rebecca Ellis’ own and was used with the children in her own class. It is not a PSTT resource but shows how you might use a PSTT resource in a similar way.
When using I bet you didn’t know... articles to introduce children to cutting-edge research, we suggest that you follow this sequence:
Provide some background information that will help children to understand the article – in the first 3 slides of her PowerPoint, Becky explains what termites are, the role of decomposers in food chains and webs, and the importance of rainforests and the impact of climate change on their survival.
Explain what the scientists already know – Becky has one slide that explains that scientists are worried about the impact of droughts on rainforests and that they have noticed that termite activity increases during droughts.
Explain what the scientists did – Becky explains how the scientists monitored the effect of termites on a rainforest
Explain what the scientists found out – Becky shares a simple table explaining what the scientists found out.
Discuss the impact of the scientists’ findings – Becky explains how and why termites could be beneficial to rainforest survival during dry conditions.
Introduce an activity/investigation to mirror or explain the scientist’s research which children can carry out in the classroom or at home – Becky asks the children to investigate the strength of tunnels in wet and dry conditions and provides simple instructions, a resource list and images to help the children carry out their own investigations
Tell the children about the scientists who carried out the research – Becky explains that the scientists were an international team and where they worked. Note: this information could be shared earlier in this sequence and in PSTT’s Teacher Guides which accompany all the I bet you didn’t know... articles, there is a slide at the beginning of the PowerPoint explaining who the scientists are.
The PSTT provides Teacher Guides for all the I bet you didn’t know... articles published. These are PowerPoints and could be used as a classroom presentation. They follow a similar format to that described above. Slide notes provide further information for teachers and suggest links to other useful websites. We suggest a suitable age range on each Teacher Guide but as some of these are very broad (ages 5-11), we suggest that teachers adapt these PowerPoints to suit the ages of the children in their class.
The articles and Teacher Guides talked about in both the videos on this page can be downloaded here.
To see a larger selection of articles, please visit the I bet you didn't know... resources webpage.
How to clean water using a molecular sieve [283.31kB]
Article (first published in PSTT's Why&How Newsletter in October 2018).
How to clean water using a molecular sieve [2.54MB]
Teacher Guide (published Autumn 2019).
Toilets of the future may charge your mobile phone [1.09MB]
Article (published May 2020).
Toilets of the future may charge your mobile phone [1.30MB]
Teacher Guide (published May 2020).
Termites can help rainforests survive drought [763.93kB]
Article (published May 2021).
Termites can help rainforests survive drought [2.76MB]
Teacher Guide (published May 2021).
Termites can help rainforests survive drought [272.51kB]
Worksheets (published May 2021).
Safety Notice and Disclaimer
PSTT is not liable for the actions or activities of any reader or anyone else who uses the information in these resource pages or the associated classroom materials. PSTT assumes no liability with regard to injuries or damage to property that may occur as a result of using the information contained in these resources. PSTT recommends that a full risk assessment is carried out before undertaking in the classroom any of the practical investigations contained in the resources.
All materials are ©Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) and are freely available to download and share for educational purposes. Whilst educators are free to adapt the resources to suit their own needs, acknowledgement of copyright on all original materials must be included. Rights to images included in the resource have been purchased for PSTT use only – as such, these images may only be used as part of this resource and may not copied into or used in other materials.