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starters for science

A series of five-minute videos created to support teachers to get started with practical science enquiry.

Starters for Science is a series of five-minute videos created to support teachers to get started with practical science enquiry. They require minimal resources and can be used in school or at home. This means that teachers can do science enquiry with a class and any children who are at home can do the same lesson.

Each video includes:

  • A question or scenario related to the real world
  • Time for children to think about what they already know
  • A demonstration of a starter practical activity
  • Time for children to think of their own questions
  • Ideas about what they could find out for themselves
  • Encouragement to share what they found with others

Please note that the videos are designed to get children doing some simple practical science enquiry and as such are not age specific, nor directly aligned to any particular curriculum unit. They are intended to give children valuable practical experiences that they will then be able to draw on once they meet the relevant concepts in a more formal learning situation.

OVERVIEW AND TEACHER NOTES

STARTER FOR SCIENCE FOCUS KEY WORDS YOU WILL NEED YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT
1. Paper Towers Structures Weight, gravity, shape, strength
3 pieces of A4 paper, some books (or plastic plate with small, heavy objects) Sticky tape, other kinds of paper or card, ruler
2. Straw Planes Flight Air resistance, gravity, shape, distance Paper straws, card, sticky tape, scissors Different kinds of paper or card, ruler or tape measure
3. Paper Flowers Absorbency Absorb, liquid, solid Bowl or tray of water, paper, scissors Different kinds of paper or card, stopwatch or timer, other liquids
4. Shadow Puppets‏‏‎ Shadows Light, shadow, block, opaque ‏‏‎ ‎‎‏ Small piece of card, scissors, sticky tack, torch or mobile phone Ruler
5. Falling Paper Air resistance‏‏ Air resistance, weight, gravity, speed‏‏ Pieces of A4 paper Card, other kinds of paper (sugar or tissue paper), ruler, mobile phone
6. Levers and Catapults Levers Lever, pivot, force, catapult Different types of spoons, cylindrical objects (pen, pencil, glue stick, rolling pin), scrunched up paper ball Elastic bands, bendy spatula
7. Animal Camouflage Adaptations Camouflage, visibility, predator, prey Plain paper, colouring pens, pencils of paint, scissors Leaves, twigs, natural materials, glue
8. Mirrors and Light
Light Light source, reflect, travel, straight lines Shiny, flat objects (mirrors, CDs, DVDs or saucepan lids), source of light (mobile phone or torch), dark place Sticky tack or plasticine
9. Melting Ice Insulation Solid, liquid, melting, insulating Ice cubes, different types of socks, cups or containers, timer (clock or stopwatch) Ruler, foil, bubble wrap, fabric or other materials to test
10. Paper Friction Friction Force, friction, grip, contact Two similar sized books Other kinds of books: exercise books, hardbacks, paperbacks, magazines
11. Pendulum Timers
Forces
Gravity, force, pivot, oscillate, swing, air resistance
String or wool, something small and heavy (a blob of sticky tack, some coins taped together, a key or a marble), card, sticky tape
Ruler, timer, scissors
12. Spinning Paper Air resistance Fall, wing, force, gravity Paper, scissors, paperclips, spinner template Card, different types of paper
13.. Blowing Bubbles

Bubbles Gas, liquid, solid, float Pipe cleaner or wire, washing-up liquid, fizzy water or lemonade, raisins or grains of rice Pot of bubbles
14. Colourful Ink Chromatography Colour, ink, spread, absorb, separate Felt-tip pens, dish of water, kitchen roll, sticky tack, scissors, ruler, books or containers (to prop up the ruler)
15. Making Music Sound Vibration, pitch, high, low 2 drinking glasses, water, spoon, cardboard box, elastic band, 2 pencils Extra elastic bands
16. Floating Boats Floating and sinking Force, shape, mass, weight, buoyancy 3 squares of foil (approx. 15cm x 15cm), large container of water, small objects, e.g. 1p coins, pieces of lego, marbles, cloth

Click here for a downloadable PDF version of this overview.

Click here for a downloadable PDF version of this overview in Welsh.

Click here for the supporting teacher notes giving short descriptions of the science behind each video, plus some top tips.

Click here for these supporting teacher notes in Welsh.

VIDEOS

VIDEO

1. Paper Towers

  • Explore and make different shaped towers with Alex Farrer

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

2. Straw Planes

  • Take flight by building straw planes with Tom Jones

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

3. Paper Flowers

  • Investigate absorbency and paper with Vanessa Seehra

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

4. Shadow Puppets

  • Change and measure shadow size and shape with Katharine Pemberton.

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

5. Falling Paper

  • Explore how to slow down falling objects with Jeanette Morgan

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

6. Levers and Catapults

  • Create and test your own catapult with Jules Pottle

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

7. Animal Camouflage

  • Investigate and make camouflaged animals with Tracy Tyrrell

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

8. Mirrors and Light

  • Use reflection to see around walls with Rufus Cooper

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

9. Melting Ice

  • Explore how we keep things cold with Elaine Stockdale

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

10. Paper Friction

  • See friction in a whole new way with Jenny Lister

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

11. Pendulum Timers

  • Work out how to create your own 30 second timer with Alex Farrer

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

12. Spinning Paper

Investigate how you can change the speed of a paper spinner with Rufus Cooper

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

13. Blowing Bubbles

Find out things you never knew about bubbles with Jules Cooper

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

14. Colourful Ink

Discover the different colours that ink is made from with Katharine Pemberton

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

15. Making Music

Explore making different musical sounds with Hannah Osueke

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

16. Floating Boats

Work out what shape of boat is best to carry cargo with Emma Crisell

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEOS - WELSH VERSIONS

VIDEO

1. Paper Towers - Welsh version

  • Explore and make different shaped towers with Alex Farrer (voiceover by Haf Hayes)

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

2. Straw Planes - Welsh version

Take flight by building straw planes with Tom Jones

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

3. Paper Flowers - Welsh version

  • Investigate absorbency and paper with Vanessa Seehra (voiceover by Haf Hayes)

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

4. Shadow Puppets - Welsh version

  • Change and measure shadow size and shape with Katharine Pemberton (voiceover by Haf Hayes)

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

5. Falling Paper - Welsh version

  • Explore how to slow down falling objects with Jeanette Morgan (voiceover by Haf Hayes)

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

6. Levers and Catapults - Welsh version

  • Create and test your own catapult with Jules Pottle (voiceover by Haf Hayes)

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

7. Animal Camouflage - Welsh version

  • Investigate and make camouflaged animals with Tracy Tyrrell (voiceover by Haf Hayes)

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

8. Mirrors and Light - Welsh version

  • Use reflection to see around walls with Rufus Cooper

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

9. Melting Ice - Welsh version

  • Explore how we keep things cold with Elaine Stockdale (voiceover by Haf Hayes)

WATCH VIDEO

VIDEO

10. Paper Friction - Welsh version

  • See friction in a whole new way with Jenny Lister (voiceover by Haf Hayes)

WATCH VIDEO


Safety Notice and Disclaimer


PSTT advises teachers to refer to either the CLEAPSS website or SSERC website for up to date health and safety information when planning practical activities for children.

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.

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