Let's Go! Science Trails
An holistic way of looking at science in the world around us using the local environment
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Is your school near a housing estate? A busy road? A playground? Or an area of outstanding natural beauty?
Outdoor learning is an important way of contextualising science and allows children to engage with the environment around them; something which cannot always be achieved in a classroom. This full colour, 80 page book has been developed by a group of teachers in the London borough of Haringey who received funding from the PSTT to develop a set of ‘Science Trails’ to make the most of outdoor areas in urban London.
The book includes:
- 29 Full Colour Trails
- Curriculum Grid
- Cross Curricular Links
- Full Scientific Glossary
- Biology, Chemistry & Physics
Each Trail provides support and ideas for outdoor learning, with a set of objectives, resources/equipment needed, health and safety implications and what to do whilst out on the Trail. They are all designed to be easily adaptable to your own school environment and surroundings, and may even inspire you to develop Trails of your own. The teachers in this project have created an invaluable CPD resource with a huge range of ideas and materials to promote outdoor learning from EYFS to KS2, with easy to use Trails which should be shared with as many teachers as possible.
The Trails were designed to be creative and innovative, using technology that would appeal to children to further enhance the trail experience. iPods, digital cameras and data loggers were suggested to improve the children’s experience on a trail and incorporate an ICT and data element to the trails in a meaningful way.
Written by PSTT Fellow Jeannette Morgan and edited by Ali Eley (Outreach Director).
During the creation of some Trails, teachers involved in the project produced additional supporting resources that were not published in the Let's Go! Science Trails book; some are mentioned in the publication. These materials are freely available to downloaded here. They are listed in the same order as the Science Trails in the book:
Plant reproduction [7.15MB]
Habitat Estate Agents [7.28MB]
Human Life Cycle [926.11kB]
Healthy Eating [2.26MB]
Keep Our Food Safe [102.83kB]
Living and non-living [1.01MB]
Coat Shopping [157.26kB]
Whcih coat is best to take into Narnia?
Water in our World [8.76MB]
Ideas & information
Sound Detectives [7.39MB]
Although each trail has a particular focus, there is scope to cover many other areas of science. Where possible, links between one area of science and another should be made explicit to the children.
The trails also provide opportunities to link to many other curriculum subjects. The following documents contain ideas on how to link the Science Trails to RE, music, art, drama, geography and history, as well as specific links to English and maths. They are listed in the same order as the Science Trails in the book:
Seasonal changes [138.89kB]
Plant Diversity (4-7 year olds) [137.18kB]
Plant Diversity (7-11 year olds) [140.04kB]
Plant reproduction [163.57kB]
Habitats in the school grounds (4-7 year olds) [155.01kB]
Habitats in the school grounds (7-11 year olds) [140.53kB]
Thinking about birds [135.80kB]
Habitat estate agents (7-11 year olds) [137.72kB]
Use our senses [135.80kB]
Human life cycle [138.46kB]
Healthy eating [166.78kB]
Keep our food safe [166.43kB]
Living and non-living [163.21kB]
Everyday materials [162.78kB]
Coat shopping [161.99kB]
Looking at buildings [139.78kB]
Rock hunting [165.13kB]
Fossil hunting [161.75kB]
Water in our world [140.90kB]
A light introduction [142.31kB]
More exploring light [161.55kB]
Earth, Sun & shadows [140.18kB]
Sounds in our school [162.71kB]
Sound detectives [158.95kB]
Electricity in action [164.26kB]
Forces in the parks [142.14kB]
Forces in action [160.87kB]
Further information about the benefits of outdoor science trails can be found in these papers.
The benefits of outdoor learning on science teaching [3.19MB]
Grimshaw et al., (2019) Journal of Emergent Science, 16, 40-45
Let's go and investigate physics outdoors at Foundation and Key Stage 1 level (4-7 year olds) [1.22MB]
Morgan et al., (2017) Journal of Emergent Science, 13, 31-25
Outdoor learning, science trails and inquiry: an introduction [362.50kB]
McCrory (2017) Journal of Emergent Science 13, 29-30
Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the mountains and the stars up above. Let them look at the beauty of the waters and the trees and flowers on earth. They will then begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education.
David Polis, Environmentalist and Outdoor Educator.
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.