Science and History

Deliver science topics and develop enquiry skills through cross-curricular science and history and citizenship contexts

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These resources have been created by the Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University. Each topic offers the opportunity to foster interest and engagement in science through cross-curricular teaching and learning of history and citizenship. They could be used with Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 3 pupils.

WHY

There is no doubt that our experiences and perceptions of the world can be described as cross-curricular. Everything which surrounds us in life can be perceived and appreciated from multiple perspectives. It is interesting therefore that we are, more often than not, required to teach in distinctly separate topics and themes, even in primary schools. However, by applying a theme across two (or more) subjects we are able to stimulate creativity and understanding in pupils. Combining subjects in this way allows pupils the opportunity to form meaningful connections between subjects that better reflect the real-world.

Delivering science through an historical context provides an extra depth through which the nature of science can be explored. Historical methodology complements science enquiry skills: both disciplines require the questioning of evidence, the development of arguments and nurture critical thinking and reasoning. Through history, pupils are introduced to social and ethical issues relevant to science which increases the opportunity for creative, independent enquiry.

HOW

Using PSTT cross-curricular projects

Twelve classroom resources are available for cross-curricular science/history teaching. All have been trialled at Key Stage 3 but could also be suitable for Key Stage 2 pupils.

Planning your own cross-curricular project

In a primary school, this is often simple as you are both history and science teacher. In a secondary school, you will need to make links with the history department at your school and find a member of staff who will work with you to plan and deliver a cross-curricular project. Before you start planning, it is a useful to think about the similarities and differences between the subjects that you propose to link. Consider the skills, techniques, outcomes and teaching approaches for each subject.

Select a topic that combines both science and history, for example:

  • Ancient Egyptians: the history of pyramids and the engineering & forces involved in construction of pyramids
  • The Football World Cup: look at the way the world cup has spread and the science behind football materials and techniques

More examples can be found on Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) science ideas web materials.

TOPIC NOTES

The objectives, the tasks and relevant historial notes for each topic are included in the following notes for teachers:

pdf

Crash Test Dummies: the marc bolan crash [278.57kB]

Teachers' Notes

Marc Bolan's 1977 car crash is used as the context for an activity that covers forces, car safety and advances in the car industry.

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pdf

Time Raiders: Death of a Mummy [127.90kB]

Teachers' Notes

Students evaluate evidence from a recently discovered mummy to work out how it lived, how it died and learn about the function of its preserved organs.

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pdf

Vanished: A Blitz mystery [1.01MB]

Teachers' Notes

This activity is set in World War Two. There is a mystery to solve: students will compare the properties of different liquids and need to use both science and history skills to get to the bottom of it.

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pdf

Testing the Theory of Evolution [417.77kB]

Teachers' Notes

Pupils learn about Charles Darwin and his work on the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. They will draw an image of what a human might look like in the future taking into account the environment they have predicted.

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pdf

Transporting living things [269.76kB]

Teachers' Notes

Pupils will consider the different characteristics and needs of a tiger, a jellyfish and a highland cow.

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pdf

Life on mars: new technology [472.34kB]

Teachers' Notes

Students will explore developments in technology since 1970s with a particular focus on the technology that most young people use at home.

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pdf

Food miles Past: Food miles present [330.80kB]

Teachers' Notes

Pupils will investigate food miles in both the Roman period and the present day to consider the differences and the impact transporting food has on the environment.

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pdf

Did man really walk on the moon? [295.13kB]

Teachers' Notes

Pupils are asked to consider the evidence provided and use it to establish an argument for whether they feel the Moon landings were real or a hoax.

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pdf

The Roman Banquet: food groups [399.74kB]

Teachers' Notes

Pupils are asked to match the various nutrient groups with the food groups and consider the nutritional benefits. Using food cards that cover the kinds of foods eaten in Roman times, they will plan a diet for a Roman senator, soldier, laundry boy and a child.

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pdf

Introduction of species & impact on the environment [503.22kB]

Teachers' Notes

Students will learn about the transportation of breadfruit in the late 18th century, needed to feed British slaves in the West Indies. Using this and other examples (red kite, prickly pear and Scottish beaver), they will consider the implications of the introduction (or reintroduction) of species to various countries/regions.

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pdf

Drugs testing in sport [419.68kB]

Teachers' Notes

Pupils learn about the different drugs often used in competitive sports and asked to match the drugs to their dangers.

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pdf

Any old evidence: bones & skeletons [508.80kB]

Teachers' Notes

Pupils are provided with a number of images of bones and asked to work in groups to draw what they think the animal would have looked like. They will use clues from a modern viewpoint, a 19th century viewpoint or from Greek mythology to help them.

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RESOURCES

You will find that some topics have both Teacher Resources and Pupil Resources whilst others have only Pupil Resources.

pdf

Crash Test Dummies: the marc bolan crash [1.26MB]

Pupil Resources

Marc Bolan's 1977 car crash is used as the context for an activity that covers forces, car safety and advances in the car industry.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Time Raiders: Death of a Mummy [1.79MB]

Pupil Resources

Students evaluate evidence from a recently discovered mummy to work out how it lived, how it died and learn about the function of its preserved organs.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Vanished: A Blitz mystery [1.95MB]

Pupil Resources

This activity is set in World War Two. There is a mystery to solve: students will compare the properties of different liquids and need to use both science and history skills to get to the bottom of it.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Testing the Theory of Evolution [2.60MB]

Pupil Resources

Pupils learn about Charles Darwin and his work on the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. They will draw an image of what a human might look like in the future taking into account the environment they have predicted.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Transporting living things [2.10MB]

Pupil Resources

Pupils will consider the different characteristics and needs of a tiger, a jellyfish and a highland cow.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Life on mars: new technology [1.18MB]

Pupil Resources

Students will explore developments in technology since 1970s with a particular focus on the technology that most young people use at home.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Food miles Past: Food miles present [708.25kB]

Pupil Resources

Pupils will investigate food miles in both the Roman period and the present day to consider the differences and the impact transporting food has on the environment.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Food miles Past: Food miles present [378.82kB]

Teacher Resources

Pupils will investigate food miles in both the Roman period and the present to consider the differences and the impact transporting food has on the environment.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Did man really walk on the moon? [805.28kB]

Pupil Resources

Pupils are asked to consider the evidence provided and use it to establish an argument for whether they feel the Moon landings were real or a hoax.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

The Roman Banquet: food groups [915.19kB]

Pupil Resources

Pupils are asked to match the various nutrient groups with the food groups and consider the nutritional benefits. Using food cards that cover the kinds of foods eaten in Roman times, they will plan a diet for a Roman senator, soldier, laundry boy and a child.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

The Roman Banquet: food groups [848.70kB]

Teacher Resources

Pupils are asked to match the various nutrient groups with the food groups and consider the nutritional benefits. Using food cards that cover the kinds of foods eaten in Roman times, they will plan a diet for a Roman senator, soldier, laundry boy and a child.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Introduction of species & impact on the environment [1.85MB]

Pupil Resources

Students will learn about the transportation of breadfruit in the late 18th century, needed to feed British slaves in the West Indies. Using this and other examples (red kite, prickly pear and Scottish beaver), they will consider the implications of the introduction (or reintroduction) of species to various countries/regions.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Drugs testing in sport [1.19MB]

Pupil Resources

Pupils learn about the different drugs often used in competitive sports and asked to match the drugs to their dangers.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Any old evidence: bones & skeletons [1.00MB]

Pupil Resources

Pupils are provided with a number of images of bones and asked to work in groups to draw what they think the animal would have looked like. They will use clues from a modern viewpoint, a 19th century viewpoint or from Greek mythology to help them.

DOWNLOAD

pdf

Any old evidence: bones & skeletons [523.59kB]

Teacher Resources

Pupils are provided with a number of images of bones and asked to work in groups to draw what they think the animal would have looked like. They will use clues from a modern viewpoint, a 19th century viewpoint or from Greek mythology to help them.

DOWNLOAD

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