stimulating children's interest in science, capturing their imaginations and engaging them in enquiry
The Scientriffic! project focusses on stimulating children’s interest in science from an early age by capturing their imagination and engendering scientific enquiry through practical and playful investigations. Science specialist staff at Oldham Sixth Form College worked in consultation with primary schools in developing and delivering stimulating and engaging science events for children at the Regional Science Centre Oldham (RSCO).
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
- To engage young people using new and collaborative methods to support formal and informal learning about science.
- To stimulate Oldham Primary School pupils to enjoy science using practical investigations that will be fun and engender scientific enquiry.
- To deliver, utilising the Regional Science Centre facilities, a series of engaging and stimulating science themed events for Oldham Primary School pupils.
- To enhance collaborative working between the Sixth Form College and Oldham Primary Schools to promote the teaching and learning of science.
Project Lead: Gemma Nuttall, Oldham Sixth Form College/Regional Science Centre Oldham
Partnership was at the core of the Scientrrific! Project. Science mentors worked closely with school staff to plan how they could best support their students, to promote science, to offer bespoke sessions and to engender scientific enquiry. Primary pupils visited the RSCO to use its specialist equipment and to attend specialist sessions. Topics as diverse as energy in food, forces and magnetism, crystal gardens, gases, micro-organisms, evaporation, friction, electricity and conductors, and solids and liquids were covered.
Although some pupils enjoyed a ‘one-off’ event at the RSCO, or a single visit to their school from a mentor, many schools committed to a sequence of related lessons. This brought consistency to the support their pupils received. The mentors developed programmes of sessions which were delivered to pupils within particular age groups or particular ability levels. This helped, once more, to ensure the consistency of the experiences of pupils across the borough.
Throughout the three years the project ran with PSTT support, a large number of sessions were delivered to a number of schools in Oldham and further afield. Topics delivered have included electricity, changes of state, micro-organisms, digestion and light. Activities have included making a traffic light circuit, making an electromagnet, modelling the digestive system so we could see what happens to our food when we eat it and investigating shadow sizes. A number of ‘science days’ have also taken place in schools as part of a science week.
CPD Events for teachers also proved popular. Sessions looked at physics in the new curriculum and practical activities which staff could use with their classes including making traffic light circuits, tuning fork ball games, friction in liquids, balloon rockets and modelling the solar system with balloons and string! Teachers enjoyed the opportunity to work together and try out activities to use with their classes. Following the success of the ‘Primary Physics’ course, another course was developed on working scientifically in the new curriculum. This led to after school INSET sessions to teachers on various aspects of the new curriculum.
Further courses were delivered including one on how science is assessed in primary schools. Activity from the project has been linked into the local Science Co-ordinators network which provides an opportunity for Science Co-ordinators to discuss planning and assessment in their schools and share good practice.
- The development of a sustainable model which has had an impact on a large number of children and teachers. The sessions for children have provided opportunities for learning beyond what would normally be possible in the primary classroom. They have been enjoyed by all children and feedback has been very positive.
- In addition to the sessions for children, the CPD activities for primary school teachers have widened the impact of the project. These sessions allowed good practice to be shared among teachers which they can then use with their own classes.
- The development of assessment grids which have been trialled by a number of schools involved in the Oldham Primary Science Network has added another aspect to the work and further widens the impact of the project. Grids to be marketed through the National STEM Centre with the development of a CPD course on assessment in primary science.
Oldham 2012 Conference poster [4.62MB]
Find out more about this project by completing the form below and a member of the Primary Science Teaching Trust team will get back to you.