transition science: explorative quest

using handheld technology to investigate big scientific questions

Kit boxes of handheld data devices and other equipment, called ‘Explorative Quest Boxes’ were developed to be used in primary school to enhance teaching and learning and enthuse young scientists and staff with an exciting ‘hands on’ investigative approaches to science. Young scientists developed and carried out their own research and collected their own independent evidence using the latest handheld technology that enables students to visualise and explore patterns and relationships in real time.


  • To provide a smoother transition from primary to secondary school through a two-stage project – stage one completed in primary school and stage two completed during the first few weeks of arrival at secondary school.
  • To forge stronger collaborative links between science staff of secondary school and primary staff.
  • To develop ‘Explorative Quest Boxes’ of handheld equipment to provide a lasting resource for partnership schools to use for successive years
  • To train teachers and develop their confidence in using handheld technology and to give them experience of supporting young scientists using the equipment to collect data and analyse data
  • To develop and evaluate a model of collaborative working across the school cluster with the potential to be extended to other school clusters.


Project Lead: Neil Anderson, St Michael’s Catholic Secondary School, Truro

The data devices along with associated equipment were put together into Exploratory Quest boxes which the teachers were trained to use and then given to use with their pupils in school. The aim was for pupils to design open ended investigations, collecting and analysing data for themselves thus engaging them in a real process of scientific enquiry. The boxes contained other resources such as teacher’s guides and pupil materials to support the investigations.

A range of ‘quests’ were developed including:

  • Exploring the temperature changes to skin during exercise
  • Using force plates to investigate forces involved in jumps, walking and running

The boxes provide a lasting resource for the future.


  • Evaluations from primary and secondary pupils showed enjoyed using the handheld technology and undertaking the quests.
  • Teachers reported that the science teaching was more fun and that their confidence had grown in both using the latest technology and in introducing and supporting pupils with investigation work
  • Strong collaborative links were forged between primary teachers and science teachers

Exploratory Quest boxes are now available to schools on request – contact us for more information.



Truro Neil Anderson Explorative quest Poster [6.78MB]



St Michaels 2012 conference poster [8.02MB]



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.