uncategorised – Empiribox
Smash Stereotypes this Science Week – 6 Scientists you should know about

Think of a scientist. Any scientist. What image do you have in your head? Probably a man. Probably a white man, able-bodied, in a white overcoat, with grey hair. No, we are not mind readers- it’s just that that is the image we’re all conditioned to expect when we think of scientists, and it’s a stereotype that’s hurting diversity, inclusion and progress in STEM.
Throughout history, the accomplishments of women, disabled people or people of colour have been minimised or forgotten, and in old textbooks, film, and media, it’s the work of white male scientists that appear most frequently. Thankfully, this is starting to change, but there’s still a long way to go. In 2019, government data showed that, for the first time, over 1 million women were working in STEM in the UK. This was a great milestone – but before we rush to celebrate, that same report showed that women still only make up 24% of the STEM workforce. Considering women make up 50% of the population, we’re far from parity. 
When it comes to people of colour, according to a 2020 article in the Professional Biologist, “In contrast to other academic disciplines, the experiences of STEM scholars of color are relatively unvoiced, which hinders examination of the factors that reduce participation and retention”*. Meanwhile, the Campaign for Science and Engineering reported that disabled STEM students were 57% less likely to take up postgraduate STEM study than non-disabled students**.

Change the picture this science week!

Simply put: you can’t be what you can’t see. Representation is essential when it comes to encouraging the next generation to take up further study and careers in STEM. Science Week 2021 is from the 5th – 14th March, so this Science Week, why not focus on smashing stereotypes and talking about people from different backgrounds who have made significant contributions to science? Here are some examples to get you started, let’s see how many people your pupils recognise…

Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852

An English mathematician and writer often regarded as one of the first-ever computer programmers for her contribution to Charles Babbage’s theoretical work on computing, called the Analytical Engine. Lovelace published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Her work has often been overlooked throughout history, however, her work laid the foundation of our digital world. 
 

Neil deGrasse Tyson, 1958 

An African-American astrophysicist, planetary scientist, author, and science communicator, known for taking complicated scientific principles and making them easier to understand, regularly appearing on TV, radio and social media. He’s the director of the Hayden Planetarium, and once said “One of my goals is to bring the universe down to Earth in a way that further excites the audience to want more”. 
 

Geerat Vermeij, 1946

Having lost his sight at age 3 due to glaucoma, Vermeij has gone on to make invaluable contributions to palaeontology through his tactile approach to analysing and interacting with fossils. Because he cannot rely on his sight, he uses his sense of touch to analyse fossils and artefacts. His colleagues have said he has a “singular insight into evolution” by taking in the details of the layers, shapes and elements with his hands, which otherwise could go unnoticed, making contributions to palaeontology “that will be cited in 100 years time”.
 

Katherine Johnson, 1918-2020

An African-American mathematician whose work for NASA contributed to numerous successes in the American space-race in the mid 20th century. At a time when digital computers were only just being introduced and were prone to errors and blackouts, astronaut John Glenn was wary about relying on the computers’ analysis of the safe trajectory for an orbital mission. Famously he asked for Johnson specifically to double-check the computers’ numbers manually, saying “if she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.” His flight was a success, and marked a definitive turning point in the US-Soviet space-race. Johnson’s contributions to NASA and mathematics were recently portrayed in the film Hidden Figures, highlighting her extraordinary achievements at a time when being black and female were seemingly insurmountable obstacles to success, inspiring the next generation to do anything they put their minds to. 
 

Stephen Hawking, 1942-2018

One of the most iconic scientific figures of our time, Stephen Hawking was a theoretical physicist and author of A Brief History of Time, whose insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions. Hawking’s work transformed our understanding of gravity, space and time, all while living with a motor neurone disease diagnosis since 1963. Despite his debilitating illness and the loss of his voice in 1985, he was known throughout the world for his sparkling wit and notorious sense of humour, bringing the abstract world of theoretical physics to life.
 

Marie Curie, 1867-1934

The polish chemist and physicist, best known for her discovery of polonium and radium. She won a Nobel prize for this discovery- making her the only person to win two Nobel prizes in different fields (Physics and Chemistry), and was the first woman to ever win a Nobel prize at all. Her work developed the theory of ‘Radioactivity’, a term she coined, and led to the development of mobile radiology units, which were used to provide X-rays during WWI. Although she passed away due to exposure to radiation through her work, her legacy to the field of science was phenomenal. 
For more inspirational, modern-day science heroes smashing stereotypes, check out the British Science Week website. They also have a downloadable activity pack for some science week activities to get your students engaged!

Look for some more fun activities to help you celebrate British Science Week? 

Whether you’re a teacher, parent or home educator, at home or back in the classroom, celebrate with us by joining our super scientists Chris and Sarah for 5 days of practical science fun as we combine the power of online learning with hands-on experiments.
Simply visit home.empiribox.com/british-science-week-2021 sign-up, put on your lab coats and follow along with us LIVE as we create some memorable, curriculum-aligned WOW moments together.
* https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz167 
**https://www.sciencecampaign.org.uk/static/uploaded/50c4b928-d252-4ce8-825065f92d8deca3.pdf 

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Empiribox @ Home At The Awards!

We get how times are tough with the changing safety policies and the impact of the pandemic on schools – which is why we believe any positive moment or success story should be shared and celebrated within the education community.
We are extremely proud of our latest wins this year for Best Crisis Communications or Response Campaign and Best Global Education Campaign. But more importantly, for what the awards stand for.

About Empiribox @ Home

Empiribox @ Home is a library of digital science resources, including interactive video lessons, hands-on practical activities, editable worksheets to evidence pupil learning, and interactive quizzes for summative assessment. The platform has been designed to support schools and families with virtual home-school science lessons, aligned with the KS1 and KS2 curriculum.
Our mission: to prevent learning gaps during the pandemic, while making classroom and blended learning as fun as possible!
Find out more about Empiribox @ Home for your school here.
During lockdown, we launched our new platform – Empiribox @ Home, which went live on 25 May 2020… and has been sent to over 1,900 UK teachers and counting!

WON: Best Crisis Communications or Response Campaign

First up, at the #GlobalAgencyAwards in September, we were up against Brand Advance & NHS’ Ramadan COVID-19 Campaign for the Best Crisis Communications or Response Campaign. To be considered in the same category as a socially important campaign like this is a privilege. We cannot put into words how humbling it was that we won other than these.

WON: Global Education Campaign

A month later, we celebrated our second big win at the #GlobalMarketingAwards, competing with Fullscript – Health and Wellness Blog for the Global Education Campaign title. We were extremely excited to win but also very honoured to be recognised alongside another amazing campaign with such a powerful message to engage and educate.
“We are thrilled to be part of this award, which best exemplifies how digital learning resources and education technology is essential and must be accessible during these uncertain times.”
– Richard McGrath, Chairman and CEO, Empiribox Ltd.

“Industry recognition is awesome and keeps you motivated, especially during these trying times. With these awards specifically, we couldn’t be happier because we’re being recognised as a team and for our core values: working with the best edu businesses who can truly make a positive impact to teaching and learning.”
– Bryan Plumb, CEO and Founder, Bee Digital.

We hope everyone shouts out their own positive messages and accomplishments during these trying times and that your young learners continue to discover the wonders of science – whether they’re back in the classroom or learning from home.
Stay safe!
Try our double award winning Empiribox @ Home online science resources for FREE, perfect for social distancing in the classroom and learning from home.

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The New Normal: Let’s Experiment Safely!

So, school is back. And teachers now have the added curveball of needing to find ways to reintroduce structure, routine, and a sense of normality of a school life that will feel anything but normal.
Many schools are keeping pupils in ‘bubbles’ to reduce the chances of infection throughout the school. But school life (and children, come to that) are not designed to maintain a socially distant 2m space between other human beings. A group activity of 6 children, properly socially distanced, would take up half your average classroom.
So when it comes to science, how can we get around practical science lessons full of interactive experiments while maintaining social distance? Here are some ideas from the Empiribox team…

1. BREAD vs GERMS

A popular (and topical) experiment to help get children to understand the importance of handwashing and how germs work, is the bread experiment.
1. Take 5 slices of bread and place them into ziplock plastic bags. One piece of bread will remain untouched, as the control.
2. The 2nd piece should be touched by each of the students after playtime, before using hand sanitiser and touching the 3rd piece of bread.
3. After this, they wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water and touch the 4th piece of bread.
4. Then make sure all students rewash their hands again with soap and water.
5. If you have a frequently used device, like a laptop or a phone that needs sterilising, you can add a 5th piece of bread to the experiment after the pupils have wiped their hands on the device.
6. Ensure the device and the students’ hands are thoroughly cleaned immediately afterwards!
7. Label all the bags and leave all four/five pieces of bread out of the way in the same conditions for 3-4 weeks.
8. The results will be stunning (and disgusting!) and will certainly help ensure pupils keep on top of their handwashing!
You can check out one teachers’ results here.

2. THE EXPLODING WATERMELON

Take it outside! There are some great experiments which can be done out in the playground that will not only give children a change of scene, but help maintain social distancing while engaging in practical science experiments. For instance, one fun experiment which is great in teaching children about forces, is using elastic bands to explode a watermelon. Not only is it a fun (and messy!) hands-on experiment the kids get really engaged with, it’s a great way of showing the principles of potential and kinetic energy.
1. All you need is a medium sized watermelon, a bowl to place it in to keep it steady, and a LOT of large elastic bands, about 300-400.
2. Make sure the kids are gathered around at a good distance, and invite them to come up one by one to place elastic bands around the middle of the watermelon (to get things moving we recommend you quickly place a lot on yourself with the help of a TA to start with).
3. Encourage the children to note down the changes they see in the watermelon.
4. It’ll start to bulge at the top and bottom, and they’ll start to see bubbles and cracks emerge as the pressure builds up.
5. As they’re placing the elastic bands, explain to them that the elastic bands have potential energy, which increases when it’s stretched. The potential energy can then be turned into kinetic energy when the potential energy creates movement.
6. As each elastic band is placed around the watermelon, the potential energy of both the elastic bands and the watermelon increases, as the watermelon contents are displaced and its shape changes.
7. When the watermelon finally explodes, it’s a really memorable way of illustrating how something as small as an elastic band can have such a big effect!
8. Just make sure the kids wash their hands thoroughly before eating the results of their experiment.
Find out more about how the watermelon experiment works in this great blog post.

3. THE HEART RATE EXPERIMENT

Another experiment which can be done outside and all students can participate in, is the heart rate experiment. In this experiment, children are learning about the effect that cardiovascular exercise has on their heart rate.
1. To begin with, each pupil must stand still and measure their heart rate via their pulse, i.e. how many beats per minute.
2. After they record this, they must all run around for one minute, before standing still and re-recording their heart rate, and writing it down.
3. You can get them to repeat the experiment with different exercises- like star jumps, skipping, or walking.
4. Each time, get the students to measure their heart rate afterwards, and log the results.
5. Make sure the children leave a few minutes between each exercise, or the results won’t be accurate.
6. The great thing about this experiment is that no equipment is needed and the students don’t have to share resources. They each take and track their own results, which can then be taken and used in the classroom to write up reports and create graphs and charts in future lessons.
7. This experiment opens up conversations about health and wellbeing, as well as giving children an understanding of the effect exercise has on their heart rate.
Every school is adapting differently to protect their pupils, but there are ways of ensuring that children stay engaged and motivated in science and actively participate in scientific experimentation. For more ideas, check out the rest of the Empiribox website and see how we can help support you and your class!
home.empiribox.com

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What Kind Of Reaction Do You Call That?

Reactions are happening all the time in everyday life. For example, boiling an egg or baking a cake. These are all examples of chemical reactions. Whereas if you see a rusty nail or a rotten apple, these are the results of less appetising reactions. There are also reactions that are exciting to watch, such as creating a home-made volcano using baking soda and vinegar to produce CO2… and fireworks!
Discover more about the different types of chemical reactions and how you can speed up the rates that they happen…

5 Types of reactions

Find out if your class can name the types of reactions first and start the lesson off with a quick-fire pop quiz!
Synthesis → When two substances are combined to make a new substance or ‘compound’. An example of a synthesis reaction is when sodium (a highly-reactive metal) and chlorine (a poisonous gas) are mixed to create a new substance, sodium chloride (table salt). While salt is safe to consume as part of a healthy diet plan, it is neither a highly-reactive metal or poisonous gas you’re putting on your plate of chips.
Decomposition → Unlike a synthesis reaction, when two substances are mixed to form a new substance, a decomposition reaction separates a complex substance to break it down into two different substances. There are three main types of decomposition reactions: Thermal (using heat to separate the substances), Electrolytic (when an electric current passes through it, usually in a liquid solution) and Photo decomposition (when substances react when exposed to photons or light).
Combustion → When a compound is mixed with oxygen to form water and carbon dioxide. Combustion has a faster rate of reaction which produces a lot of heat energy. The most common examples are: when wood or coal is burned to create heat (in a stove, BBQ grill or fireplace), burning petrol or diesel to power a vehicle… and fireworks!
Displacement → When one or more compounds remove a substance from another compound. This reaction can occur as a Single Displacement (one substance is removed) or a Double Displacement (when two substances are “swapped” – when positive and negative ions switch places to form two new substances).
Photochemical → When light or photons are used to initiate a chemical reaction. In nature, photochemical reactions occur when sunlight is converted into good energy for plants during photosynthesis. In chemistry, a prime example of a photochemical reaction is photography. Here, silver chloride is broken down to form metallic silver on the photographic paper when exposed to light to create the photographic image.

Reaction Rates

It’s important to know that not all chemical reactions occur at the same rate. Some happen very quickly, like explosions and volcanic eruptions. Other reactions can happen over a longer period of time, such as souring milk or rusting metal. It is the speed of the reactants turning substances into products that we call the reaction rate.
For a chemical reaction to happen, the reactant particles must collide with each other, which is referred to as the Collision Theory. If a collision results in a reaction, this is known as a successful collision. For a collision to be successful, the reactant particles must have enough energy to initiate the reaction – or ‘activation energy’ (the minimum amount of energy required for a successful collision).
The reaction rate can also be changed by using a catalyst to speed up the reaction or an inhibitor to slow it down. Adding energy, such as heat, sunlight or electricity to a reaction can significantly increase the reaction rate. If you increase the concentration of the substance or the pressure of the reactants, this affects the reaction rate too.

Important Reaction Terms

Reactants → Reactants (also referred to as reagents) are the substances that are used to bring about the chemical reaction. A reactant is any substance that is consumed or used up during the reaction.
Products → The substance that is produced by a chemical reaction is called the product.
Catalyst → Sometimes a third substance is used in a chemical reaction to speed up or slow down the reaction. Enzymes are natural catalysts, which copy genetic material and break down food and nutrients in the body.
Inhibitors → An inhibitor is used to slow down the reaction. Examples of these are corrosion inhibitors, preservatives and UV stabilisers which are ideal to control the rate of reaction too.

Experiment Ideas

Here are two interactive ways in which you can test the rate of reaction using heat (catalyst) and Alka Seltzer (reactant).

DON’T FORGET: #1 will get messy and #2 requires adult supervision!

TEST #1: For teachers to show the class:

1. Fill four transparent, open-topped bottles halfway with different water temperatures, varying from cold to hot.
2. Add a few drops of food colouring to each bottle of water – each one with a different colour to make the bottles easier to identify – and move the bottles around into a random order.
3. Add Alka Seltzer tablets to each bottle at approximately the same time and ask your students to watch the reactions.
4. Get your students to write down which temperature range of the bottles from cold to hot, identifying which bottle contains the coldest water and which bottle contains the hottest.

TEST #2: For your students to try themselves:

1. Fill half of one transparent bottle with cold water and fill half of a second transparent bottle with hot water. Remember to label each bottle COLD or HOT.
2. Carefully place an Alka Seltzer tablet inside a deflated balloon and attach the opening of the balloon to the open top of the first bottle, so it is securely hanging to one side. Repeat step for the second bottle.
3. Once both balloons are attached to the bottles, lift the balloon vertically to squeeze out the Alka Seltzer tablet from inside the balloon so it can fall inside the bottle to mix with the water. Repeat this step for the second bottle.
4. Watch the Alka Seltzer react to the water and inflate the balloon.
5. Record your results and explain why you think one reaction was faster than the other.
Teachers, why not video the experiments and share them on your school website?
To understand more, help bridge education gaps and to make remote learning as fun as possible, we want to support teachers (and parents too!) with Empiribox @ Home. This includes access to a vast library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for students – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, adapted hands-on experiments and more! – whether they’re learning at home or in the classroom.
Discover more visit Empiribox Digital here.
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope this helps teachers, students and parents to stay safe and engaged during these unique times.

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How to Teach Children about Germs & Viruses

I think we can agree that it’s a bit of a confusing time at the moment – especially for children. Their schools have been shut, their friends have been social distancing and face masks are the new norm. All of this change has been due to a virus.
With more information available about the effects of viruses and how to stay safe – the easiest way to keep your students aware and engaged during the pandemic is to help them understand the basics – putting the current situation into perspective.
Take a look at our Pop Quiz and Pop Practicals for a fun and educational way to learn about germs and viruses, and keep children safe too…

1. Pop Quiz!

Question: What are the 4 types of germs?
Answers: Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi and Protozoa.
“What is bacteria?” → There are tiny, one-celled creatures that survive by feeding on the nutrients in their local environment – including the human body. When bacteria reproduces inside the human body, it can cause infections, such as ear infections and pneumonia. However, some bacteria are good for maintaining a healthy body. This type of bacteria can be found in our intestines which enables our bodies to retrieve nutrients we need from the food we eat… and get rid of the rest in the form of waste. Scientists also use bacteria to create vaccines and medicine.
“What are viruses?” → Unlike bacteria, which can reproduce inside or outside the human body, viruses need to be inside living cells so they can grow – they can’t survive long outside a host (a human, animal or plant). This means that viruses spread when they’re inside a host, which can make the host sick with a range of diseases, like chickenpox or the flu.
“What is fungi?” → These are multi-celled, plant-like organisms. Most plants survive by creating food from photosynthesis, however; fungi get its nutrients from other plants, animals and humans, and thrive in warm and damp habitats. Most fungi aren’t as dangerous to humans if they are very healthy.
“What is protozoa?” → Like bacteria, protozoa are one-cell organisms and, like fungi, protozoa live in places with a lot of moisture. As a result, this organism can spread through water, contaminating it comes into contact with animals and humans. When this happens, protozoa can cause diarrhoea, nausea and stomach pain.

Extra: Facts about viruses

– Viruses can’t be cured by antibiotics in the same way as bacteria.
– Viruses can be round, spherical or rod-shaped under the microscope.
– Viruses are made up of nucleic acid surrounded by protein.
– Viruses copy themselves to grow, spread and infect other cells, which are called virions.
– Viruses can live in one-cell organisms, like bacteria.
– Viruses are easy to contract because they are the smallest germ.
– Viruses can be spread by insects bites, like mosquitoes, or through bodily fluid.

2. Pop Practicals!

Here are two Pop Practical ideas that your students can easily create at home to learn how to stay safe.

Pop Practical #1: Create your own hand sanitizer

What you’ll need:
– 99% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
– 100% aloe vera gel
– Essential oils (optional)
How to make it:
1. Put 160ml of isopropyl alcohol into a bowl
2. Add 80ml of the aloe vera gel to the bowl
3. Mix the isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel together
4. Add a few drops of essential oils, such as peppermint or tea tree, for a cool and refreshing scent if you wish
5. Pour inside a bottle, such as a dispenser with a pump, a plant mister or a small travel sized bottle for liquids

Pop Practical #2: Take the handwash test

What you’ll need:
– Bowl of water
– Ground pepper
– Soap
How to make it:
1. Add a few shakes of ground pepper to the top of the water. (The pepper will act as the germs, while the water is the surface of the skin).
2. Then, place a fingertip into the bowl of water with the pepper. The pepper will stick to your hand to simulate what happens when germs stick to the surface of unclean hands.
3. Next, wash your hands and coat a fingertip with soap.
4. Put the fingertip with the soap into the water amongst the pepper. You should see the pepper spread out across the water, which mimics how soap breaks down the virus.
Get your class to take photos or video their Pop Practicals so you can share them on your school’s website, social media channel or include in your next digital newsletter to spread the word!
To understand more, help bridge education gaps and to make remote learning as fun as possible, we want to support teachers (and parents too!) with Empiribox @ Home. This includes access to a vast library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for students – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, adapted hands-on experiments and more! – all while they learn from home or back in the classroom.
Discover more visit Empiribox @ Home here.
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope this helps teachers, students and parents to stay safe and engaged during these unique times.

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Back to School: Be Prepared For The Unexpected…

Are you ready for the gates to reopen? The current plan is for all schools in England to reopen in September, while schools in Scotland are set for a “soft start” on 12 August. However, there are concerns that it’s too soon for lockdown to be over, as relaxing restrictions could trigger a “second wave” of the coronavirus.
After studying the effects with contacts carrying the virus, including the impact of the government’s “phased return” strategy for schools in England, researchers at University College London (UCL) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have determined that the Test-Trace-Isolate (TTI) programme needs to be scaled up for it be an effective way of preventing a second wave from actually happening.
According to UCL: “The results of the modelling suggest a second wave in the UK might be avoided with increased levels of testing (between 59% and 87% of symptomatic people tested during their active COVID-19 infection) and effective contact tracing and isolation.”
A recent news report from BBC News revealed that: “the [TTI] study showed the combined effect on pupils and parents would be enough to cause a second wave without an effective test and trace programme. This would happen around December 2020 and would be twice as big as the first peak, unless the government took other actions such as re-imposing lockdown.”
Meanwhile, preventing the spread of the virus has also been linked to school closures, as stated by Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia: “The evidence is clear that schools are important in the spread of Covid-19,” he said. “Our studies show that, across Europe, closing schools was the single factor most strongly associated with drops in infection rates.”
With this in mind, schools should be prepared for anything – including lockdown extensions and local restrictions.

New local restrictions in the North of England

Due to a rise in COVID-19 cases that have been reported across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, the government has imposed new local restrictions to help control the spread of the virus.
The new local restrictions have limited social contact to people in their household or “support bubbles” only. Meeting anybody at indoor public venues, such as pubs, restaurants, cafes or shops, are against the government guidelines, unless visiting people outside your household in exceptional circumstances, like family members in nursing homes. Businesses like gyms and sports facilities, including swimming pools, will remain closed, while learning institutions, like early years and childcare settings, may continue to provide education and childcare. This extends to holiday clubs, tuition or other activity providers, in accordance to the national safety guidance.
The pandemic pattern in the North of England is put into a clearer perspective by Dr Luke Munford from the University of Manchester: “the trends in the north are decreasing much slower than the rest of the country. In May, the three worst hit regions were all Northern, whereas the three regions with the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates were all southern. All-cause mortality is also much higher in the North. We need to understand why this is; what is different in the North compared to the South?”
Echoing Munford’s points, Professor Clare Bambra from Newcastle University advised: “The pandemic is evolving differently across the north and the South of England. This needs to be taken into account when developing the next stages of our response. We cannot have centralised, one size fits all policies when different regions are at different stages of the pandemic.”

How to be prepared for an extended lockdown

Keeping children focused on their learning at home can’t be easy for parents, especially when there is no definitive back-to-school date, with extended lockdowns and local restrictions taking place. With little preparation time for the transition to remote learning in March, this also means that parents, guardians and carers will need ongoing support from schools to help them prevent significant learning gaps.

For schools

Here’s a checklist for schools to prepare for extended periods of remote teaching – for full school closures, blended learning or phased returns:
1. Check that students have non-tech resources they need, such as exercise books, revision guides, etc.
2. Ensure teachers and students have access to the relevant channels/ platform, including the right URLs and login details.
3. Keep staff aware and up-to-date with best practice for remote learning, including online safety.
4. Utilise your school’s existing website and/ or parent-teacher apps to post important information about COVID-19 safety precautions, remote learning advice, updates on schools reopening via blogs, virtual bulletin boards, digital newsletters and text messages.
5. Make sure teachers are ready and confident to record video lessons and teach live streaming lessons via Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts.
6. Set up, assign and mark homework using platforms like Google Classroom.
7. Monitor remote learning engagement through homework and video lessons.
8. Show support to help maintain the positive wellbeing of your students and co-teachers.
9. Carry out regular catch-ups with students and parents, while adhering to best practices.

For parents

Take a look at this home learning guide that schools can share with parents:
Routines and regimens → It’s important to set up a routine for children. They’re used to a scheduled school day to keep them focused, so it’s best to stick to a regimen at home too. This will help them to concentrate and adapt to a new setting.
Visual timetables → Create timetables for each day so children know what to expect. This will clearly set out activities and objectives, which is ideal for keeping track of childrens’ learning and keeping teachers up-to-date on progress.
Collaborate with schools → Communicate with teachers on a regular basis via email or school engagement apps for school updates, learning advice and resources.
Use educational tools → Consider education apps, games and resources, which can be recommended by teachers or researched online. These are perfect ways to engage and motivate young learners who respond better to interactive stimuli.
Encourage discussion → Keep the conversation going. Whether it’s teachers and parents, teachers and children or parents and children. Any questions or concerns should be discussed openly – keeping everyone in the loop.
Nurture a community → To improve mental health and wellbeing, it’s important to stay in touch with family and friends so children don’t feel alone or isolated. This can be achieved via text messages, video calls and social apps, while staying safe online too.

Close The Learning Gap With Empiribox @ Home

With Empiribox @ Home, schools can bridge the science learning gap while your students continue to learn remotely. How? You’ll get access to a vast library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for students – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, adapted hands-on experiments and more! – all while they learn from home… and when they’re back in the classroom too.
Discover more visit Empiribox @ Home here.
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope this helps teachers, students and parents to stay safe and engaged during these unique times.

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Empiribox @ Home receives funding to support schools during COVID-19

We are proud to be one of over 800 businesses to be awarded with funding as part of Innovate UK’s ‘Business-led innovation in response to global disruption’ competition!

About the competition

Back in April 2020, Innovate UK were tasked with investing £750 million in UK businesses by the government. The purpose: to support and drive innovation by fast-tracking projects that could boost the country’s economy in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The ‘Business-led innovation in response to global disruption’ competition attracted a record-breaking 20,000 applications to develop and make their products and services market-ready from a pool of £40 million. At Empiribox, we saw this fantastic and essential opportunity to enable digital access to primary science education for young learners through Empiribox @ Home.
With experiments that can be conducted at home, children can continue their education with a wide range of resources, including interactive demonstration videos with embedded questions and assessment workbooks that meet the National Curriculum. All of which are available online.
However, in order to cover the National Curriculum, allow teachers to assess pupils’ progress, and deliver lessons that can be supervised by parents, guardians and carers without any prior scientific knowledge – approximately 180 experiments, lessons and supporting resources needed to be developed. This was made possible by Innovate UK’s generous funding.

Empiribox and global disruption

While primary education aligned with the National Curriculum is currently interrupted during COVID-19, Empiribox @ Home enables primary science education to continue. Prior learning can also be reinforced during distance learning due to the pandemic, as well as other scenarios when children are unable to attend school. We firmly believe Empiribox @ Home addresses a key societal issue that the UK needs more science/ STEM graduates as current early science education is not adequate enough. With interruptions from school closures during the pandemic, the quality of science education risks adding learning gaps to the mix.
With the funding from Innovate UK, this allows Empiribox @ Home science lessons to be delivered to thousands of schools and millions of individual pupils. This has also helped schools to access the future potential to license the system and/or upgrade schools to the classroom based system – with all resources compliant with COVID-19 requirements.
After receiving this recognition, we have been able to research and develop simplified lessons for home delivery and develop the rest of the system with the intention to prevent learning gaps until it’s safe for all children to return to school – and to provide better, long-term resources for essential science and STEM education.
Discover more visit Empiribox @ Home here.
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope Empiribox @ Home helps teachers, students and parents to stay safe and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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The Effects of COVID-19 on Science Education

COVID-19 has changed the traditional education model with teachers, parents and children adapting to remote learning and limiting learning gaps as much as possible. It has also impacted the way we view science and its role in keeping us safe. With these points in mind, we take a look at the effects of COVID-19 on science education and how it has inspired a new way of understanding.

Science in a COVID-19 context

From donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals with supplies from school science labs (goggles, safety glasses, masks, disposable aprons, gloves and even 3D printers to make safety visors) to the clinical scientists working on a cure – the role of science has dramatically elevated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the crisis which launched families into lockdown and self-isolation, teachers and parents had to rely on news reports and social media to stay informed – and communicate with each other using apps, emails and video calls. We all wanted to know why COVID-19 was so contagious, the probability of infection, and how to protect ourselves – putting science in a fresh context. This sense of immediacy and urgency compelled us to know and understand more, which led families to seek further fundamental answers, like what a virus is and what antibodies are.
The COVID-19 virus has also put into context how science education is essential for everyday life, which may have been overlooked at school as a subject that seemed less appealing, harder to comprehend or pivotal as a career goal when compared to creative arts. According to TES.com, “In 1997/98 roughly one in seven youngsters didn’t even take maths or science GCSE and, of those that did, less than half gained a grade A-C, many mastering only half of the content. The majority would have emerged with little understanding of what was in any case an inappropriate curriculum. Little wonder today’s adult population is so poorly equipped in maths and science.”
The level of understanding science is reflected by the latest Google search trends that have been recorded during remote learning in lockdown, as outlined by FENews: “…the most enjoyable subjects for parents to teach are maths (49%), English (43%), history (27%), science (26%), and art (25%). Despite being deemed enjoyable, some of these subjects have also been challenging. Nearly a third of those surveyed said maths has been the most difficult to teach, followed by English (17%), science (15%), foreign languages (12%), history (7%) and I.T. (7%).”
However, the understanding that science exists outside of the classroom will inspire more people to make daily observations with a scientific eye: imagining how things function, hypothesizing, testing, and discussing the results and meanings. With information readily available from online resources with devices, like smartphones, tablets, laptops, the key focus is to motivate and stimulate children to continue learning about science until schools reopen. How? By promoting active discussions and engagement so that any learning gaps can be filled in at a later date – boosting a child’s confidence to get involved and not be afraid to ask about something they don’t know.
This not only puts the practical in science practical, it will inspire more of us to learn about science in a less rigid concept.

How we’re learning science from home

Since lockdown, learning science has been made more accessible. Ed tech companies and service providers have emerged with remote learning support. This has helped to bridge the virtual gap between school and home by providing teachers with innovative solutions to continue teaching science lessons… with what you can find in the kitchen cupboards. Plus, these fun, homemade experiments are ideal for supporting parents who have become interim science teachers at home.
There is a wide variety of fun and informative experiments that both teachers and parents can help children to set-up and learn from home. You can learn physics, such as the effects of air pressure on water with a bottle, straw, balloon and water. You can make your own chemistry creations, like an erupting volcano using baking soda, vinegar and food colouring. You can understand biology and how we breathe, by building a model of the human lungs using a plastic bottle, straws, a pair of balloons and some hot air!
You can also show students how to carry out COVID-19 themed tests and practicals, such as learning about viruses and what they look like. Children can even create their own soap and hand sanitizers from home – making science education a fun and engaging experience during a time when we’re relying on science to keep us safe.
“The most important thing for me is that these lessons teach young people how important science is in addressing global problems like COVID-19.” – Professor Sara Rankin, National Heart and Lung Institute
With COVID-19, science is connected to a global and personal life experience, which has given us new insights and inspiration to learn and ask more questions about what we don’t know with confidence.
To understand more, help bridge education gaps and to make remote learning as fun as possible, we want to support teachers (and parents too!) with Empiribox @ Home. This includes access to a vast library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for pupils – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, adapted hands-on experiments and more! – all while they learn from home or back in the classroom.
Discover more visit Empiribox @ Home here.
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope this helps teachers, students and parents to stay safe and engaged during these unique times.

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Shining a Light on Photosynthesis

We’ve got even more facts for you to share with your class, together with some fun experiments your young learners can try out at home – from testing for chlorophyll to witnessing how plants transform carbon dioxide and sunlight into food.

9 Photo Fast Facts

Whether you’re planning your next lesson or getting ready for a pop quiz – here are some facts all about photosynthesis to brighten up your class! You can blank out certain words or statistics and ask your students to go online, find out what they are and fill in the correct answers too…
1. Photosynthesis collects approximately 130 terawatts of energy from the sun’s rays.
2. When plants change light energy into chemical energy, the latter is stored as the sugary substance, glucose.
3. Photosynthesis mainly occurs in the leaves, with very little happening in the rest of the plant.
4. Chlorophyll is the chemical that gives plants their green colour and converts the sunlight they receive into chemical energy (it’s found in chloroplasts in leaf cells).
5. Plants can only convert up to 8% of sunlight into energy.
6. The word ‘photosynthesis’ originates from the Greek for “light” (photo) and “to put together” (synthesis), which refers to the sunlight, plus the combination of water and carbon dioxide that produce food (glucose and proteins).
7. Photosynthetic organisms are at the base or foundation of the food chain because they are ‘primary producers’, which means they can produce their own food.
8. The process of photosynthesis needs plenty of light, carbon dioxide and water – nitrogen and phosphorus are required too.
9. The chemical equation for photosynthesis is: 6CO2 + 12H2O + light = C6H12O6 + 6O2 + 6H2O. Therefore, 6 carbon dioxide molecules plus 12 water molecules plus light (from the sun) equals the production of glucose plus 6 oxygen molecules plus 6 water molecules.

3 Fun Photosynthesis Experiments

Here are 3 experiments your class can try out at home – with the help and supervision of their parents! Why not ask your students to map-out their experiments, complete with a hypothesis, method, results and conclusion?

1. Testing for Chlorophyll

This is to show your students how the light and temperature can affect the production of chlorophyll (especially in the autumn).
→ Get some leaves from outside (preferably different colours) and place the leaves into a pot of boiling water for approximately 5 minutes.
→ Fill small containers with rubbing alcohol or surgical spirit with the help of an adult while the leaves are being boiled. You’ll need one container for each leaf (these can be test tubes or glasses – remember to handle with care!).
→ After 5 minutes, carefully take out the leaves from the pot of boiling water (we recommend using tongs) and place each one in the individual small containers.
→ Leave the leaves to soak in the alcohol overnight – but keep checking throughout the day to see how the colour of the alcohol changes.
Record the colour changes and differences between the leaves and discuss your finding with the class.

2. Comparing Sunlight to Shade

Explain how the lack of light prevents photosynthesis from happening, which is displayed by the difference in plant growth.
→ Get your class (with the help of their parents) to get two small fast-growing plants (like a hydrangea or bamboo) with pots to grow inside.
→ Then, ask your students to keep one plant in the sunlight (on a windowsill, for example) and another in the shade (like a dark room or cupboard).
→ Students need to water both plants throughout the week.
→ After a week, ask your students to photograph and discuss their results by explaining why they think the plant left in the sunlight looks healthier than the plant kept in the shade.

3. Turning Gas and Water into Food

Show your young learners the chemical response of photosynthesis when CO2 and H2O are converted into food energy.
→ Gather some small plants from the garden (with your parent’s permission!) or purchase some from the garden centre.
→ Fill some test tubes or glass containers with water and place the small plants inside individual containers.
→ Don’t forget to close/ plug up the tops of the test tubes/ glass containers once the plants are inside.
→ Ask your students to keep watching their plant containers, as soon they will observe bubbles appearing on the inside walls of the test tubes.

Get more Science Experiments at Empiribox @ Home

We hope your class enjoyed experimenting with photosynthesis! Why not learn more from our KS1-KS2 activities exploring Plants & Light and Photosynthesis with Empiribox @ Home?
To help prevent education gaps during COVID-19 and to make remote learning as fun as possible, we want to support teachers (and parents too!) with Empiribox @ Home. This includes access to an extensive library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for their students – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, adapted hands-on experiments and more! – all while they learn from home or back in the classroom.
Click here to discover more about Empiribox @ Home here.

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There’s More to the Moon Than Meets the Eye!

How amazing is it to look up at the Moon through a telescope – or just gaze at it from your window when it’s full? The Moon has been a source of wonder for generations, from Galileo pointing out the craters and mountains on the surface to the first lunar landing in 1969… not to mention how it’s featured in classic and modern science fiction movies.
Here are some fascinating Moon facts for you to share with your class to show them there’s more to the Moon than meets the eye – plus a fun model for them to make at home!

7 Facts to Moon Over…

1. A lunar eclipse happens approximately 1.5 times a year…

During a full moon, the Earth, Sun and Moon will align, which is also referred to by its astronomical term ‘syzygy’ (Greek for ‘paired together’). At this time, when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, it results in a ‘lunar eclipse’. At the beginning and end of the eclipse, the shadow you see shows the curve of the Earth (or the ‘penumbra’) and when the Moon is entirely hidden as it travels through the Earth’s shadow, this is called the ‘umbra’. The eclipse happens because the Moon gets its light from the Sun. Therefore, when the Earth passes between them, the light is temporarily blocked out and shrouds the Moon in darkness as the Sun casts the Earth’s shadow on the Moon’s surface.

2. There are 8 different phases of the Moon…

Each lunar month (27.3 days) the Moon orbits the Earth from approximately 382,400 kilometers away as a natural satellite. During this time, we witness 8 different phases of the Moon. Just like the amount of sunlight that illuminated the Moon during the lunar eclipse, these phases of the Moon happen due to the angle of the Sun to the Moon from our perspective on Earth. The phases are: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter, Waning Crescent… then back to a New Moon and a new month.

3. The Moon is the result of a rock colliding with the Earth billions of years ago…

That’s the scientific theory. Approximately 4.5 billion years ago, a rock that resembled the size of Mars (just over ½ the size of the Earth) collided with our planet and the Moon is what is left over from the debris. After 100 million years, the molten state and magma oceans on the Moon’s surface cooled and crystallised – even with temperatures that range from 127°C to -153°C. Now, after even longer (billions of years) and after many collisions from asteroids and comets, the Moon’s surface has been covered in grounded rock and powder called the ‘lunar regolith’. However, inside the Moon’s mantle is a liquid iron core and the Moon’s magnetic field that once baffled scientists is thought to be the result of the motion caused by the mantle and the core rotating on different axes.

4. The Moon causes different types of tides depending on its phase…

There are two high-tides and two low-tides that happen each day and these change in size throughout the course of a lunar month. The Earth experiences two tides a day because the gravity from both the Sun and the Moon pull water across the Earth’s surface on the side that faces the Moon, while the second tide is due to the motion from the Earth spinning on its axis. When the Moon and the Sun are aligned, we see a New or Full Moon, which makes the Moon’s gravitational pull stronger.

5. You’d weigh a lot less on the Moon than you do on Earth…

The Earth and the Moon are noticeably different in size, with the Moon’s 2,159 mile diameter, which is approximately ¼ of Earth’s diameter. The Moon also weighs 80 times less and is 40% less dense than Earth. Due to the difference in size and mass, the Moon has a weaker gravitational pull compared to Earth. This is why you would weigh about ⅙ of your ‘Earth weight’ if you walked on the Moon… making you bounce up and down like the astronauts from Apollo 11.

6. There is no “dark side of the moon”…

This is a myth! While we only see 60% of the Moon’s surface from the Earth (also known as the ‘near side’) this doesn’t mean it’s dark. The Moon is illuminated by the Sun from both sides, however; we only see one side of the Moon from Earth. Why? The time it takes for the Moon to rotate on its axis is the same time it takes to orbit the Earth – so we never see the ‘far side’ of the Moon because the Earth and the Moon are so in-sync with each other’s movements! It can only be observed during space travel.

7. The Moon is moving further away from the Earth each year…

The Moon is moving about 3.8 cm away from the Earth every year… which means it will gradually take more time to orbit the Earth. At this rate, in 50 billion years, the lunar month will be extended to 47 days long! If the Moon were to move further away or completely disappear, this would affect the world’s ecosystems that rely on tides to provide their nutrients and darkness for predators to hunt their prey for survival. Without the Moon, the Earth’s axis will be destabilised too. Due to the Earth’s axis 23.5 degree tilt that is held in place by the Moon’s gravity, seasons would change that could lead to severe weather patterns… or even Ice Age conditions.

Project: Make-Your-Own Earth and Moon

What you’ll need:

2x different sized spheres (styrofoam, Papier-mâché, plastic or rubber balls!)
2x sticks (wooden rods or pencils will work)
Paint or marker pens (to make your spheres look more like the Earth and the Moon)
1x base (made from wood or cardboard that your spheres can stand on)
Glue, Blu Tack, plasticine (to secure the sticks/ rods to the base)
Ruler
Torch

How to make your model:

1. Firstly, make or choose your smaller sphere so that is ¼ the size of the larger sphere. This is so that your Earth and Moon models are to scale.
2. Decorate the spheres with the paint and marker pens. For the larger Earth sphere, look at a globe to trace the shapes of the continents and colour with greens and browns for the land, and blue for the oceans. For the Moon, use grey colours and you can add dents in the surface to replicate the craters.
3. Once your spheres have been left to dry, place each one on a stick.
4. Next, you’ll need to measure the distance on your base to find out how far you need to place the spheres apart. The Moon can be up to approximately 252,088 miles away from the Earth, which is nearly the diameter of 32 Earths put together. This means, to calculate the maximum distance to scale, you’ll need to measure the diameter of your Earth sphere and multiply the diameter by 32. E.g. If the diameter of the sphere is 10 cm, multiply this by 32 = 320 cm. Measure 320 cm from where you place your Earth sphere to position your Moon sphere.
5. Then, attach the sticks or rods to the base once you have marked the distance between your Earth and Moon sphere to scale with a ruler on the base.
Now your Earth and Moon model is finished, why not recreate a lunar eclipse? Simply shine the torch directly in front of the Earth sphere and you’ll see the Moon sphere is hidden in the Earth’s shadow.

Get more FREE Science Experiments at Empiribox @ Home

Register your school at Empiribox @ Home to share a lesson with your pupils about the Earth’s Moon and its phases.
To help prevent education gaps during COVID-19 and to make remote learning as fun as possible, we want to support teachers (and parents too!) with Empiribox @ Home. This includes access to a free library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for their students – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, adapted hands-on experiments and more! – all while they learn from home or back in the classroom.
Discover more get FREE access to Empiribox @ Home here.
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope this helps teachers, students and parents to stay safe and engaged during these unique times.

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The Differences Between Adaptation, Inheritance & Evolution

How did giraffes get their long necks? Why do polar bears have thick white fur? What makes a clownfish want to live in a coral reef? These are all great questions you may get asked in class from your curious mini scientists. But are these examples of how living things have adapted to suit their environment, passed on their genetic information to the next generation, or due to the stronger species changing over time?
Here are 3 fun facts and activities you can give your young Darwinites to work through to understand the differences between adaptation, inheritance and evolution in the animal kingdom…

1. Adaptation

What is it?

“Evolutionary adaptation, or simply adaptation, is the adjustment of organisms to their environment in order to improve their chances at survival in that environment”.
For example, a camel has a hump that stores water and nostrils they can close – both perfect adaptations for surviving in the dry desert and preventing sand inhalation. There’s also the African elephant and their enormous ears to consider – these act as a fan to cool them down when blood is pumped to the multiple large veins in their ears. Bumblebees have adapted too – with long tongues to reach the pollen in narrow, tube-shaped flowers, plus they have legs that are covered with sticky hairs so it’s easy to collect pollen.
These specialised features are also called ‘structural adaptations’, which include body colour, beak shape, claw length, etc. Whereas ‘Behavioural adaptations’, can be passed down through inheritance, such as predators (like hyenas) that hunt their prey in packs. Because animals have adapted to survive in their specific habitat, this means they may not be able to survive in another environment.

Activity #1!

Choose a habitat → This can be the depths of the jungle, an expansive desert, a lush forest, the treacherous mountains, under the sea or your favourite place in the world!
Create your imaginary animal → Think about how your animal is perfectly made to live in this habitat by drawing or painting and labelling important parts of their body, like talons to grip branches, fur to keep it warm, a tail to swim.
Write a story → Give your animal a name and a backstory so you can explain more about it to the rest of your class!
Teachers – why not help turning this into a Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slide presentation?

2. Inheritance

What is it?

“Genetic inheritance occurs due to genetic material in the form of DNA being passed from parents to their offspring”.
Scientist, monk and “Father of Modern Genetics”, Gregor Mendel, founded the ‘Laws of Inheritance’ for all living things in his published works in 1865. Here he observed that all living things produce offspring that look similar to their parents – but not identical. The variations are due to a combination of inherited characteristics – some from the mother and others from their father. This also applies to two different breeds of the same animal – when they mate, they pass down different traits from each breed.
But not every characteristic is passed down through genetic inheritance. When animals reproduce, all the genetic information (such as growth, survival instincts) are passed down in their DNA, which is made up of thousands of genes or DNA sequences. These DNA sequences determine which traits are inherited.
The cells that contain our DNA are made up of pairs of chromosomes (just like humans) with two separate copies of each gene or ‘allele’. If that allele is dominant, only a single copy is needed to pass down that character trait to the offspring. However, if the allele is recessive, both alleles must be identical for the trait to be inherited.

Activity #2!

Look at animal species → Examine images of different animal species, like breeds of dogs and cats), and discuss which similarities and differences you notice with a partner or in a group.
Find your own inherited characteristics → Next, look through your family photos or albums and write down which characteristics you recognise as being inherited from their parents.
Create an inheritance board → Show what you’ve found out by sticking either images of different animals or family photos (with your parent’s permission, of course!) to a poster board. Don’t forget to add some labels to point out the inherited characteristics you’ve identified, like eye colour, hair colour, face shape, etc.

3. Evolution (and Natural Selection)

What is it?

“If an environment changes, the traits that enhance survival in that environment will also gradually change, or evolve”.
Evolution is how living things change over time – an idea pioneered by Charles Darwin in his scientific theory of evolution and natural selection. This was outlined in his book: On the Origin of Species, published in 1859. His theory was that every living organism is connected to a ‘family tree’ and can be traced back to the beginning of life on Earth – billions of years ago.
Together with Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin explored evolution to explain why animals can adjust or change to new and current environments. He also drew attention to how individual animals in the same species could be told apart as they weren’t created as carbon copies of each other – all from discovering different types of sparrows on his trip to the Galapagos Islands in 1835.
In terms of natural selection, Darwin recognised that every living thing is competing with one another. For example: “organisms produce more offspring that are able to survive in their environment. Those that are better physically equipped to survive, grow to maturity, and reproduce”. The so-called winners that survive are the animals that were better adapted from their inherited characteristics. Therefore, stronger characteristics are passed onto their offspring, instead of the weaker ones, which makes these characteristics more common as a species of animal changes and evolves over time.

Activity #3!

Create one of the following:
A play → Show how Charles Darwin came up with his theories about evolution from what you’ve learned – maybe focusing on the sparrow?
A poem → Write a rhyming poem about natural selection – what it means and how species evolve to be stronger because of it.
A song → In a group, come up with a song about the differences between adaptation, inheritance and evolution – with a verse for each one and a chorus too! Ask your teacher about adding music or using instruments if you can…

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7 Fun Science Experiments For Each Day Of The Week

Did you know that there are lots of objects around the home that can be used for a fun science experiment? They can mostly be found in your kitchen cupboards (hint: you might need to stock up on baking soda, food colouring… and empty those vases too!). So, if you’re looking for fun, active and memorable ways to fill those remote learning hours – we’ve come up with an easy and exciting experiment that kids can carry out at home each day of the week (with parental supervision, of course!).

Show your children how to start their science week with a balloon…

Self-inflating balloon Monday

What? You’ll need a 1-litre plastic bottle, a balloon, a funnel, 1x teaspoon of baking soda, 3x tablespoons of vinegar, a steady hand… and maybe some sellotape.
How? Rinse out the plastic bottle and leave it to dry, then add the baking soda to the bottle (it’ll be less messy if you do this with a funnel). Next, you want to add the vinegar into the balloon (you’ll need that funnel again). Keep the balloon upside down as you pour the vinegar from the funnel into the opening of the balloon. Then carefully attach the balloon to the bottle by stretching the opening of the balloon over the top of the bottle. When the balloon is attached, simply raise the balloon so that the vinegar pours from inside the balloon and down into the bottle. Make sure the seal around the bottle top and balloon opening is secure (you may want to use your hand or some sellotape). What you should see is some bubbling action going on at the bottom of the bottle – this is the vinegar reacting with the baking soda to give you one self-inflating balloon!
Why? The reason that baking soda and vinegar react is because when they mix there is an exchange of atoms. The baking soda is a base which takes a proton from the vinegar (an acid). When the baking soda takes the proton, the chemical reaction releases a gas because it changes into CO2 (carbon dioxide) and H2O (water).

Homemade sundial Tuesday

What? Grab a stick, rod or pencil, some Playdough or Blu Tack, a paper plate, a large piece of cardboard or poster board, some paperweights or stones and a timer.
How? Firstly, place your stick, rod or pencil in the middle of your ball of Playdough or Blu Tack so that it stands upright, then place it in the middle of a paper plate. Take it outside to your garden and position it in the middle of your piece of cardboard or poster board on the ground. Remember to choose a great sunny location that won’t be disturbed or hidden by trees, plants or other shady things! We recommend weighing down the power plate with stones or paperweights in case it gets too windy and falls. Now you can start marking times on the hour from the time you begin (e.g. 10:00 or 11:00). This can be done by drawing a line to indicate the time of day at the point where the shadow from the stick, rod or pencil appears on the cardboard or poster board at the edge of your paper plate – just like a clock face. Now set the timer so you can mark the new shadow every hour for the rest of the day. It’s literally hours of fun!
Why? The Earth rotates on its axis which makes it seem like the sun is moving around us – but it’s actually us. This makes objects cast shadows at certain angles, just like the “gnomon” (your stick, rod or pencil) does across the surface of the sundial (the paper plate). As the Earth continues to rotate, the shadows move around the sundial to show different times of the day until dusk.

Float or sink Wednesday

What? You’ll need a sink, bath, container or paddling pool – plus a variety of objects around the home and garden (that are allowed to get wet!), such as pencils, crayons, buttons, balls, bottles, coins, apples, grapes, pears, flowers, leaves, sticks… and a rubber duck! Oh, and pen and paper to record your findings.
How? Simply fill up your containers with water and choose from your collection of objects. Test each object one at a time to see if they float or sink. This can be made into a game by guessing – or hypothesising – which objects you think will float or sink and record the results afterwards.
Why? An object will float or sink depending on how the position of its molecules affects its density. If an object is denser than water – it will sink. If it is less dense than water – it will float. If the object is hollow inside – it will float too (because water is denser than air).

Balloon-powered car Thursday

What? Collect a balloon, an empty carton of juice, a straw, 2x toothpicks, 4x bottle caps, coins, an elastic band and some sellotape.
How? Begin by making little holes in the middle of each bottle cap so you can attach one to each end of a toothpick. When these are in place, use the sellotape to stick the toothpicks to the bottom of the empty juice carton giving you four wheels. Don’t forget to make sure there is space for the bottle cap wheels to rotate on either side of the carton. Next, flip the carton over because it’s time to get the engine ready! To do this, attach the balloon to one end of the straw and keep it secure with the elastic band. Then, stick the straw lengthways to the top-side of the carton – with the balloon hanging over the front end of the carton. Now blow that balloon up! If the back end of the carton lifts when it moves, all you need to do is use the tape to stick some coins on the back end of the carton to balance out the weight.
Why? Once the balloon is inflated, the air escapes back out of the straw and pushes against the air behind the carton. The movement is caused by the air outside pushing against the air from the straw with the same force. Congratulations, you’ve created a fun toy and kinetic energy!

Shaving foam rain cloud Friday

What? Find a transparent container, preferably one that’s made from glass (like a vase), a bottle of shaving foam (not gel!), blue food colouring, water and a pipette.
How? The shaving cream represents nimbus clouds and the blue food colouring acts as the rain drops. To watch this fun effect, fill ¾ of the glass container with water and add the shaving foam so that it suspends in the space above. Remember to give the bottle a good shake to get those clouds looking fluffy! In a separate bowl, mix the blue food colouring with some water and use the pipette to start adding the colourful mixture to the shaving foam clouds from above. When the foam clouds get too heavy from holding the blue water, you’ll see it start to rain and pour into the water below!
Why? The water cycle or ‘hydrologic cycle’ begins when water evaporates from the Earth’s surface and rises into the atmosphere. Here, the water vapours cool and condense to become clouds. When the temperature lowers, the vapours turn back into liquid which is called ‘condensation’ – before falling back to the Earth’s surface as raindrops or ‘precipitation’. This is a continuous cycle that uses the energy from the sun.

Make-your-own slime Saturday

What? Slime requires ¼ cup of water, ¼ cup of white PVA glue and ½ cup of contact lens solution (containing sodium borate). Food colouring and glow-in-the-dark paint are optional (ask a parents permission first!).
How? Mix the water and PVA glue. To add a dash of colour – include a few drops of food colouring to the solution. Otherwise you might like to add glow-in-the-dark paint to the glue mixture – making it spooky slime! Then add the contact lens solution and stir everything together. It’s almost like dough or pancake batter – so keep kneading and stirring until you’re happy with the slimy consistency!
Why? When the glue and contact lens solution are mixed, the borate ions link the polymer molecules together to transform glue into a free-flowing slimy substance!

Volcanic eruption Sunday

What? All you need is another vase, 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda, ½ cup of vinegar, up to 7 drops of food colouring (typically red or orange to look like lava) and a pot, pan or container to collect the molten spill! If you want to add some glitter, 1-2 teaspoons is plenty.
How? This is a fast-paced experiment, so it’s best to place the vase on the container to prevent any mess immediately! Then add the baking soda to the bottom of the vase, followed by the food colouring and, if you’ve decided to go with the glitter, now’s the time to sprinkle it in. The last step is to pour the vinegar – then stand back, watch and video your volcano!
Why? Baking soda is a bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and vinegar is an acetic acid (HCH3COO). When they are mixed, the reaction creates carbon dioxide – just like the self-inflating balloon from Monday!

Get more FREE Curriculum-Aligned Science Experiments at Empiribox @ Home

For more fun ideas with all the whats, hows and whys in one box – turn your home into a science lab with Empiribox @ Home!
To help prevent education gaps during the COVID-19 situation and to make remote learning as fun as possible, we want to support teachers (and parents too!) with Empiribox @ Home. This includes access to a free library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for their students – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, adapted hands-on experiments and more! – all while they learn from home or back in the classroom.
Click here to enjoy more FREE contextualised investigations for primary pupils register at Empiribox @ Home today 👈
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope this helps teachers, students and parents to stay safe and engaged during these unique times.

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Do Humans Only Use 10% of Their Brains? 9 False Facts About Science Answered…

There are many theories you may think are true when they’re really not. This unanimous decision, also known as the ‘illusory truth effect’, occurs when people believe a false statement that’s masquerading as fact is true. How does this happen? When information is reiterated and an individual or group is repeatedly exposed to it – they will start believing it over time. Isn’t that fascinating?
For example, from 1860 to 1880, it was believed that if a sane person travelled at more than 30mph they would go mad. The ‘Madmen of the Railway’ theory was a result of the anxieties Victorians felt about the invention of railways. Did you also know that ‘germ theory’ was ridiculed by doctors in the 1800s? If you were a gentleman, you didn’t need to wash your hands before surgery if you scrubbed them earlier that day and they still looked clean. In 1865, Hungarian physician, Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, was committed to an asylum for his staunch beliefs about sanitation – yet it took 10 years for hospitals to understand the importance of sterilising hands and instruments too.
With this idea in mind, we’ve collected 9 myths about science that are common misconceptions to dispel them with their true meanings…

Top 9 False Facts

1. “Humans only use 10 percent of their brains” →

This may sound like it could be true (especially for people in the 1800s!) but it isn’t. “A simple action like clenching and unclenching your hand or saying a few words requires activity in far more than a tenth of the brain.” In a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scan, more than 10% of the brain would light up just by saying your name. The reason why the false fact sounds like it has 90% potential to be true is because the brain’s “white matter” (the Central Nervous System (CNS) that supports the nerve fibers) takes up 90% of the brain, while the “grey matter” (which manages neurons which enables us to think) is the remaining 10%. Except this calculation is 100% wrong.

2. “Chameleons change the colour of their skin to match their surroundings” →

It’s not entirely true. Chameleons have two layers of skin: the top layer has pigments with cells and crystals in the second layer underneath. “The iridophore cells contain nanocrystals of different sizes, shapes and organizations” which means “the chameleons can change the structural arrangement of the upper cell layer by relaxing or exciting the skin”. This leads to the colour change because the “structural arrangement” controls how the chameleon’s skin reflects the light. However, this is not camouflage that changes the chameleon’s skin to match their surroundings. The colour change is typically used for communication and to control their body temperature. Darker hues signal aggression and light hues reflect the heat.

3. “Water conducts electricity” →

There’s a bit more to this maxim. It just needs a bit more explanation. To clarify, pure water can’t conduct electricity because it’s an insulator. Whereas, tap water, rainwater and seawater are different. It’s all about the ions and the impurities, like sodium, calcium and magnesium. These ions are charged when they’re in water, which allows the flow of electricity through a liquid state. Pure water doesn’t contain these chemicals – but pure bodies of water are rare to find in nature. Even distilled water contains ions.

4. “Earth is the only planet with water” →

We may have vast oceans and water that covers 71% of the planet – but Earth is not unique for its water. “In 2015, NASA confirmed that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. Also in 2015, scientists used data from NASA’s Cassini mission to discover that a global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Scientists believe that Jupiter’s moon Europa has a subsurface ocean as well.” When water exists on a planet, the next question to ask is: can it sustain intelligent lifeforms? That’s an answer we can’t give a true or false answer to…

5. “Sugar makes kids hyper” →

Nope! The hyper state is hyperbole. “Sugar does not appear to affect behavior in children,” said Dr. Mark Wolraich, chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, who researched sugar’s effect on children in the 1990s.” Children are hyper because they’re excitable and inexcitable situations, like at birthday parties when there is an abundance of sweets and cake to hand. The presence of sugar is irrelevant – it is a hyper placebo. When we consume sugar, it is regulated by our bodies and converted into energy if needed. However, if someone is hypoglycemic, they can experience a sudden boost of energy to increase their low blood sugar levels if they drink something sweet or eat something sugary. Just remind kids to eat sugars in moderation!

6. “Lightning never strikes the same place twice” →

That’s another false strike! There is nothing that stops lightning from striking in the same place twice – even multiple times. “It is an incredibly quick process that takes only about 30 milliseconds. And right after lightning strikes, it reverberates in quick succession. So, essentially, multiple strikes can happen at the same place in this short period of time.” One famous example occurred when the Empire State Building was struck eight times within a 24-minute timeframe. Tall buildings (like famous American landmarks) and bodies of water can attract lightning strikes. Remember what we said about water conducting electricity? It’s best not to go swimming during a storm either. So, if you see lightning, don’t forget it does strike in the same place (at least 8 times) and the “spark can reach over five miles (eight kilometers) in length, raise the temperature of the air by as much as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,700 degrees Celsius), and contain a hundred million electrical volts.”

7. “Substances only exist in three states: solid, liquid and gas” →

What about plasma? “If you superheat a gas, then the electrons get stripped away from the nuclei to form plasma. Stars are made from plasma, so it is in fact the most common state of matter in the Universe.” Plasma is what happens when you heat ions and electrons at high temperatures – and we mean extremely high temperatures, like lightning or the sun. If you heat elements or chemical compounds, such as water, at a high enough temperature, you can break them down into plasma. In this example, the hydrogen and oxygen molecules will be broken down so they won’t resemble water – so don’t drink it!

8. “Humans only have five senses” →

Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. These are the top five – so what are the others? We know you’re thinking about that M. Night Shyamalan movie – but we’re talking about the extra four senses that often get ignored. These senses or abilities are: ‘proprioception’ (sensing force, pressure or space), ‘thermoception’ (sensing rise and fall of temperature), ‘equilibrioception’ (sensing changes in balance) and ‘interoception’ (sensing physiological changes). Therefore, humans only have nine senses. Is that all? Well, “sometimes, people don’t even perceive senses the same way. People with synesthesia can see sounds as colors or associate certain sights with smell.”

9. “If you swallow gum, It takes seven years for you to digest it” →

In reality, gum can’t be digested at all. Originally made from Sapodilla sap and chewed back in the Stone Age, the gum we chew today is a synthetic, rubbery material called polyisobutylene. It is made of elastomer polymers, glycerin and vegetable oil, which means not much can be extracted by the human body, plus stomach acids and enzymes can’t digest it. Gum is “designed to resist the digestive properties of the saliva in your mouth. But once it’s swallowed, even the gum base is subjected to the same treatment as regular food, and after it’s recognized as useless by your digestive system, it goes the same route as any waste product. so it is passed through waste.” That doesn’t mean it’s OK to swallow gum. If you accidentally ingest large amounts, this can lead to constipation and gastrointestinal blockage. So chew it then bin it!

Empiribox @ Home

Almost 60% of parents with primary school-aged children find it difficult to support remote learning. To help prevent education gaps during the COVID-19 situation, we want to support teachers (and parents too!) with Empiribox @ Home. This includes access to a free library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for their students – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, hands-on experiments and more! – all while they learn from home.
Discover more get FREE access to Empiribox @ Home here.
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope this helps teachers, students and parents to stay safe and engaged during these unique times.

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How to Make Learning in Lockdown More Exciting – with Video!

While your young learners are staying safe at home, it must be difficult to encourage them to continue to learn remotely with distractions like TV, smartphones and any other device you can think of. So, how can you avoid learning gaps and make lockdown lessons more exciting and impactful?
“The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.”
With these facts in mind – have you considered video lessons?

Tech and Online Resources for Remote Learning

Did you know? In a 2018 survey, it was revealed that 70% of teachers regularly use video in the classroom, with 90% of videos streamed directly from the internet.
Even if it’s something you wouldn’t have tried before – there’s more time for teachers to discover the benefits of Video-Assisted Learning (VAL). By using audio-visual aids in education, like video, this will facilitate creativity and encourage students to discuss their ideas, as well as collaborating in groups to improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Keeping children safe – health-wise and online – is important too. The Department for Education (DfE) has issued advice for UK educators to help safeguard their students while learning remotely during lockdown. With potential internet dangers, like ‘zoombombing’, cyberbullying and accessing inappropriate content, teachers can choose pre-recorded videos as a safer alternative to live-streaming sessions.
In a recent EdSource.org article, the success factor of remote learning is dependent on how well the culture of schools can be changed, with technology and online resources playing an essential in optimising the educational experience:
“We need to recognize that effective online learning involves more than just moving a course syllabus and lectures online, just as a successful movie involves more than just filming a live play. It involves changing the culture of the school, with new types of responsibilities for teachers, students and families, and new forms of interactions among them.”

7 Tips for Making Effective Video Lessons

Even if you’re not a natural in front of the camera – don’t let this put you off! There are plenty of ideas to help first-time moviemakers to produce a bank of ‘how to’ tutorials that can be shared with parents, guardians and caregivers remotely.
Here are some ideas:

1. Maintain a strong connection →

Use video conferencing, pre-recorded lessons, school engagement apps, and interactive platforms with collaborative tools to improve engagement and real-time communication.

2. Set clear expectations and guidance →

Giving clear instructions about learning activities and assignments can help students become more responsible. Don’t forget to ensure your students know how to get in touch if they need further support – and keep parents in the loop with their childrens’ progress.

3. Provide multiple learning resources →

Setting assignments and activities should be bite-size and manageable – students can’t be expected to sit down and learn 6 hours a day like in the classroom. A selection of online videos, presentations, reading material, and interactive content (for offline use too) will enrich the remote learning experience – think about variety.

4. Record screen tutorials →

Ideal for tutorials or instruction videos, teachers can record their screens to show students a step-by-step process of how to complete certain tasks online. This can be done using a wide range of free screen recorder software providers available, such as Loom, Screencast-O-Matic, ActivePresenter, ShareX, FlashBack Express, Debut Video Capture, OBS Studio and Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder. (Please check the features and security settings first)

5. Film fun practicals →

Filming a collection of science experiments that can be recreated from home is a fun and informative way to keep children learning. You can also record P.E. lessons to keep your virtual class fit and active – then upload to your school’s website or private YouTube channel. To share, simply send a link or file attachment via email, Google Drive, communication app – or whichever portal you’re using to contact the parenting community.

6. Prepare interactive presentations →

Teachers can add links and embed videos into Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to keep the subject matter visually engaging. Incorporating images, animations and text with video may be a simpler option to recording a full lesson. These can also be securely shared with limited access for viewing, commenting or editing using apps like Google Classroom and Google Drive – plus they can be updated at any time.

7. Share updates and shout-outs →

It is also important to keep students engaged and happy while they’re learning from home – so teachers can produce regular videos to encourage positivity. Teachers can also send special video announcements to highlight outstanding achievements that week to keep their spirits high.

Empiribox @ Home

More than 60% of teachers find searching for new educational videos frustrating.
To make the transition from classroom to home as smooth as possible, we want to support teachers during these uncertain times with Empiribox @ Home. This includes access to a free library of KS1 and KS2 curriculum-aligned science resources for their students – including interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes, hands-on experiments and more! – all while they learn from home.
Discover more get FREE access to Empiribox @ Home here.
From all of us at Empiribox, we hope this helps teachers and students to stay safe and engaged while remote learning – and when schools reopen too!

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Helping Where We Can: Supporting the NHS with PPE

It all began with an article in the Oxford Mail newspaper with the headline “Fears over safety gear as local coronavirus death toll hits 11”. After discovering that front-line nurses were ill-equipped with basic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – exposing them to the risk of contracting the Coronavirus – I was extremely concerned. I realised we had essential PPE stock, such as safety goggles and gloves, in our warehouse so I put a plan together to get these supplies out to the hospital in Oxford.
Read the inspiring article from the Oxford Mail here.
To get the ball rolling as quickly as possible, I arranged for Carousel to pick and pack the safety materials we had to spare. As soon as they learned how necessary it was for NHS workers to receive replenishments of PPE, Carousel immediately dispatched the items. While this was happening, I contacted Tim Hughes – the Features and Music Editor at Oxford Mail who wrote the news story – to find out the best person to reach out to at the hospital. I was put in touch with Gary Welch, Director of Procurement and Supply Chain at Oxford University Hospitals who arranged for me to drop off the PPE at their stores.
With more COVID-19 updates and casualties increasing every day, we wanted to help the NHS staff even more. As my colleagues at Empiribox had connections with the James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth and the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton, we discovered we could extend our support to these two hospitals when they really needed it.
Find out how you can help to donate to charity during the COVID-19 crisis now.
From all of us at Empiribox, we want to express our utmost appreciation for the NHS workers who are going above and beyond to save lives from the frontline. Stay safe and we’ll be clapping for you every Thursday at 8pm #clapforyourcarers!
By James Kilroy, Operations Director

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£2m Funding Raised to Support Primary Teachers to Deliver Science Lessons Online

The team at Empiribox are very excited to announce that this funding, from Social impact investor Nesta Impact Investments (NII), part of Nesta, and London-based investment manager, Downing LLP, have led a £2m growth funding round in Empiribox Ltd. The rapidly growing science education provider supplies resources for primary school teachers to teach practical science lessons.
Empiribox subscribers are sent science equipment, lesson and assessment resources and professional development plans for teachers. As teachers are forced to adapt quickly to teaching remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak, the investment has helped Empiribox to launch its new online platform to engage students with exciting and practical science lessons from afar.
The new digital ‘Empiribox @ Home’ service will provide interactive videos, worksheets, quizzes and hands-on experiments allowing impactful science education to take place from home. This new product will serve as an add-on to the existing subscription service and as a stand-alone service that will be free for use by registered users during the Summer Term.
Nesta and Downing’s investment will enable Empiribox Ltd to tackle the UK’s persistent STEM skills gap by capturing the imaginations of students at a time when science education is needed more than ever to address global challenges such as climate change, health pandemics and resource conservation.
Empiribox aligns to the national curriculum, inspires children of all age as well as saves time for primary school teachers. Our mission is to ensure young pupils experience the excitement of science, are equipped with the best building blocks for future science education and are ultimately encouraged to study science subjects past the age of compulsory education.
Manish Miglani, Education Lead at Nesta Impact Investments, who has joined the Empiribox Board, said,
“Nesta’s education investment activity focuses on innovative and scalable solutions that improve education outcomes, whilst reducing education inequalities through access to resources.”
“We are excited to have taken part in this significant growth round and look forward to seeing the expansion of Empiribox’s digital and classroom science offerings and its ongoing growth.”
Mike Kennedy, Portfolio Director at Downing LLP, who has also joined the Empiribox board added,
“We are thrilled to have participated in this funding round alongside Nesta Impact Investments to facilitate what we see as a critical investment in the future of STEM related business and research. Working with businesses everywhere, we recognise the lack of adequately experienced applicants for manufacturing, research and technology posts – so many of which will require an education or qualifications in science – so we are unreservedly passionate about assisting companies like Empiribox in their mission. We see the opportunity for Empiribox to grow its user base exponentially, break into new markets and really influence the education outcomes for pupils everywhere. We look forward to working with Empiribox in this exciting new phase.”
Richard McGrath, CEO of Empiribox Ltd said,
“I am delighted to have completed our funding round with Downing LLP and Nesta Impact Investments. At Empiribox, we have worked tirelessly to bring hands-on, exciting and impactful science education to primary pupils. We know what we do makes a real difference to our pupils in preparing them for future careers, and our teachers, in assisting them to deliver the very best practical science lessons possible.”
“We now have the opportunity to support science in primary schools through our in-school and our new Empiribox @ Home service. Having both available for use by schools and home learners is incredibly important during these difficult times. We are here to make a difference, and this funding round will make a massive impact on our ability to deliver these goals.”
Click here to find out more and get FREE access to Empiribox @ Home today!

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Health and Safety 2019

H&S is of primary importance at Empiribox. Every lesson we create, every investigation we recommend and every piece of equipment we supply is risk evaluated and tested. Promoting H&S is in our DNA.
It is therefore very gratifying to be able to report another year where our policies and procedures have passed a rigorous independent audit by one of the largest H&S auditors in the UK.
Mark Inder, Health and Safety Compliance Manager for Empiribox said: ‘We are proud that once again, our focus on Health and Safety, with vigorous procedures and comprehensive management systems, has contributed to a superb Health and Safety record in the past year. It is fantastic news that our external independent auditors are impressed with our Health and Safety policy and our oversight of it. Our scheme remains as engaging as ever for pupils and teachers alike, and the training and information we provide to teachers has been proven to promote high standards of classroom safety.’
Well done to our H&S team for its professionalism and well done to all at Empiribox for maintaining a strong, positive H&S culture.
 

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Teaching Kids to Love Science

Wickhambreaux CE Primary School, Canterbury, Kent
Imagine a primary school where STEM learning takes centre stage. Where the scientists and engineers of tomorrow are inspired by exciting, hands-on experiments. A school where science is infused throughout the curriculum, and described as every child’s favourite subject.
Welcome to Wickhambreaux CE Primary School in Kent.
Serving a small rural village on the outskirts of Canterbury, Wickhambreaux is a community primary school with a difference.  Four years ago, the school transformed its approach to science, recruiting a specialist teacher with expert knowledge. A Biochemistry graduate who is passionate about practical science, Harriet Barnes now leads imaginative science teaching across the school, creating exciting learning opportunities for pupils in every year group. Here’s how.
Exciting Experiments
Harriet believes that practical experiments are key to engaging young children with science. Joining Wickhambreaux as Science Subject Lead in 2015, she partnered with Empiribox to introduce specialist science teaching in every year group, giving pupils experiences that are not typically found in a primary setting.
“I think that children learn best by doing. I remember being inspired at school by practical biology lessons. At Wickhambreaux science is less paper based. We feel this is really important for young children”, explains Harriet.
Each term pupils take part in a new set of experiments exploring fundamental concepts in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These concepts are brought to life through hands-on experiences. From learning about static electricity using trampolines and a Van de Graaf Generator, to producing hydrogen in test tubes, science lessons at Wickhambreaux are always practical, and always fun.
“The Van de Graaf Generator is one of my favourite science lessons. The movement of electrons is a hard concept for children to grasp, but seeing the generator helps them to understand. It’s amazing – and something you don’t often see in primary schools”, says Harriet.
Exciting learning opportunities like these invite children to participate in lessons as more than just recipients of knowledge. Headteacher Ann Campling describes her pupils as “discoverers and explorers” who are truly engaged, and Harriet’s classrooms are super vibrant learning environments. When teaching about space recently there was a buzz of anticipation as her pupils eagerly awaited the arrival of real moon rock!
Extending learning beyond the classroom is a key feature of teaching at Wickhambreaux, and pupils can often be found having outdoor lessons around the village, as Harriet explains.
“We take our pupils outside to learn science whenever we can. We like to go down to the stream in our wellington boots. The children collect water samples and put them under a microscope to see what they can find. We sometimes go fishing and calculate the speed of the water. They really enjoy it!”
Harriet also broadens her pupils’ horizons with technology. In a recent Biology lesson, for example, she used virtual reality headsets to let children explore the human circulatory and digestive systems. The appeal of technology ignites children’s enthusiasm, helping them to grasp difficult scientific concepts.
Cross-Curricular Learning
Finding time for practical science can be a challenge for busy primary school teachers. Seeing the subject as part of a broader curriculum can help. At Wickhambreaux science is often taught through topic-based learning, building links with other subjects to inspire children’s creativity and make real-world STEM connections.
Here are some examples:

Minibeasts is a popular topic for Wickhambreaux’s KS1 pupils. Harriet introduces the theme by encouraging the children to use non-fiction books to find out about different insects. Pupils closely study the life cycle of a butterfly and take part in an investigation where they watch real caterpillars pupate. Putting their newly acquired knowledge to the test the children take part in a Minibeast walk and conclude the topic by building a bug hotel from recycled natural materials.

This seasonal topic provides plenty of opportunities for cross-curricular learning. Harriet threads science throughout, arranging experiments and activities which look at changing materials and explore the effects of heat. The children love roasting marshmallows, reading about polar bears and exploring subtraction in Maths linked to the idea of melting. They are also given topic-based homework, melting ice and chocolate at home with their parents and writing up the results.

The very earliest period of pre-history provides a perfect platform for cross-curricular learning. From taking part in flint knapping workshops, to studying archaeology and watching experiments with fire, Wickhambreaux’s Year 3 pupils enjoy lots of science activities as part of their Stone Age topic. They even perform their own Stone Age play, learning about pre-historic life through music and dance.
Enrichment Activities
Wickhambreaux’s commitment to science extends beyond the core curriculum and the school offers a whole host of science enrichment opportunities. These include an extra-curricular STEM club led by Harriet Barnes. The club gives pupils the opportunity to get hands-on with STEM activities matched to their interests. The children are currently building electric cars as part of the National Engineering Award.
“The STEM club is very popular. It’s held on a Friday after school and is still oversubscribed! It gives us a chance to try out activities and experiments which we don’t have time for in class”, explains Harriet.
Putting science at the centre of learning in ever-more creative ways, Harriet also likes to arrange special experiences for her pupils. Last year she organised a STEM day for Year 4 pupils in partnership with the Smallpiece Trust. The children took part in a codebreaking workshop and worked in teams to design and build rockets and vehicles which they tested in the playground. The children really enjoyed the day and came up with some creative and innovative designs.
Science Week is always a time for celebration at Wickhambreaux, and in 2018 Harriet created a school-wide programme of learning on the theme of ‘Exploration and Discovery’. Empiribox made a visit to the school, demonstrating lots of exciting experiments in a special assembly. These included explosive displacement reactions, powdered coffee fireballs and flammable ‘screaming’ jelly babies. After the assembly Dan and Harriet ran workshops with each class on the theme of serendipity, exploring the workings of fireworks such as snappers, party poppers and sparklers.
Continuing the theme of ‘Exploration and Discovery’ throughout Science Week, Harriet arranged for a planetarium dome to visit the school. Pupils enjoyed an immersive 360-degree journey through space and met with a real-life physicist.  Harriet’s Science Week programme even attracted media attention, and children were interviewed about their experiences for a local newspaper and radio station.
Engaging Parents
Parental engagement is very important at Wickhambreaux, and Harriet Barnes regularly creates opportunities for parents to connect with their children’s learning. During Science Week she invited parents to take part in lessons. Putting adults at the centre of a favourite biology experiment, her KS2 pupils sent parents out for a playground jog to test their lung capacity.
At the end of Science Week Harriet arranged a Science Fair in the playground, where children’s work was displayed for parents. There were some fantastic projects and posters displaying brilliant research and showcasing a range of interactive experiments.
“Parents are always telling me how much their children enjoy science. They are very supportive and engaged”, says Harriet.
Inspiring Future Scientists
At Wickhambreaux science is everywhere.  Infused throughout the curriculum, it has links with every subject. Hands-on lessons, exciting experiments and enrichment activities help pupils to make real-world connections, building a life-long love for the subject. Many of Harriet’s pupils aspire to be future scientists, with some already declaring ambitions in careers such as aeronautical engineering, as Harriet explains:
“Most of our pupils want to do something science related when they are older. I teach several budding engineers and biologists!”
Harriet Barnes’ commitment to primary science, and the learning opportunities she provides, inspires her pupils to dream of future STEM careers. By putting science at the centre of learning, Wickhambreaux Primary School is nurturing the next generation of UK scientists, one lesson at a time.

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World Oceans Day

We already know why the ocean is so important to our planet and all the different things it does that help support our ecosystems – did you know it produces over half the Oxygen we need to survive! If you don’t, read our blog on why the ocean is probably the coolest thing on Earth.
We also wrote a blog on how to reduce plastic pollution which we think is just as important now for World Oceans Day as any other day of the year. By reducing the amount of plastic you use, you could save marine life, protect the ecosystem for the oceans and prevent any chemical damage from degrading plastics.
World Oceans Day is a day dedicated to celebrating, protecting and raising awareness of our seas and oceans. All over the world people get together and host events – there are 96 in the UK alone! If you want to get involved and join an event near you (or even make your own!) then look them up here – World Ocean Day Events
We’d love to see the whole world protecting the oceans, but a change starts with just one person – so be that person! Be the teacher that inspired your class to make a difference.
Easy ways to start are;

  1. Make awareness videos with your class. Research the oceans and make a short presentation with them all and send it to parents and guardians. Accompany this with posters and leaflets to share around the local community
  2. Join local events
  3. Host your own event, like a cake sale where all cakes must have an ocean theme and give the money raised to a local ocean protection charity
  4. Pick up any litter you see lying around and put it in the bin – even if it isn’t yours!
  5. If you already live near the sea, volunteer for a beach clean-up

Good luck with doing your bit for the oceans!

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Conquering the Plastic Pollution Crisis; Living Plastic Free

As many now know, plastic is bad for the planet and it is very clear that we as a species need to use less of it. It is made from unsustainable materials, such as fossils fuels and minerals, and mined by fracking which is very bad for the environment. One of the biggest issues with plastic is that it does not biodegrade or break down. It may break apart, but this leaves even smaller pieces of plastic that can travel further and have a bigger impact on wildlife and our planet. Even this process can take up to 1,000 years; if they had plastic in William the Conquerors time (1051-1083), we would still be finding large bits now!
There is plastic waste all over the Earth to the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Marinas Trench, but eventually most plastic will find its way into our oceans where it causes the most damage. Scientist estimate that there is currently 150 metric tons of plastic waste in the ocean with this growing all the time. They think that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
50% of all plastic produced is single use and cannot be recycled. The effects this has on sea life is deadly, as many creatures get trapped in it or eat it. It negatively impacts up to 90% of all sea bird species, 100% of all turtle species and countless other marine life. But the impact isn’t just restricted to animals; it is estimated that Brits eat 11,000 microparticles of plastic from consuming fish every year and plastic debris clogs our drains causing flooding all over the world.
While we may not be able to turn back the clocks and clean up all the plastic we previously consumed, we can do something today to help stop it happening in our future.

 

How can you use less plastic?

There are 2 simple ways that we can help with the plastic crisis our planet is currently facing. Buy less plastic and recycle what we do use. Although these things are not always easy given the current way manufacturers spurt out plastic like it’s not harming the planet or killing innocent animals. You can also help by joining in on plastic clean-ups.
Here are our top 20 ways to reduce your plastic use

1. Reduce the amount you buy, especially one-time use plastics such as the films on blueberries or plastic knives and forks. Be conscious of how food is wrapped, especially ready meals or frozen goods and try to buy loose vegetables (you can wash them!) or bread wrapped in a paper bag and use canvas bags for shopping

2. Don’t use bottled water – buy a metal bottle and reuse it – and cut out fizzy drinks and other beverages that come in plastic bottles

3. Don’t buy take-outs or carry your own Tupperware for snacks – even better if you can get metal or glass ones. You could even use these in a supermarket by using a True Foods or similar

4. Use your own travel mug at coffee shops

5. Refuse straws or use paper ones

6. Get milk from the milk man as these come in glass bottles

7. Buy wine with a cork

8. Use baking soda, vinegar and water to clean with. They kill as many germs as bleach and are good for the environment. Baking soda can be used as a replacement washing up liquid

9. Buy washing powder in a cardboard box

10. Use natural cleaning cloths and scrubbers instead of plastic scrubbers and synthetic sponges. The rougher side of sponges is actually plastic

11. Use bars of soap and not liquid body wash gels

12. Buy a bamboo toothbrush and hairbrush

13. Make more food yourself with fresh ingredients

14. Take care of what you already own, repairing things when they break instead of just replacing them

15. Compost your food waste and use in your garden

16. Choose children and pet’s toys made from wood and cloth, not plastic

17. Buy things second hand or from charity shops

18. Make sure you check out the materials used on your new clothes – many have hidden plastic on them like in shoes or jackets

19. Avoid wrapping paper – use brown paper or newspapers

20. Refuse mailing lists and try to keep as much as possible online to reduce post

If you only do one thing, try to avoid the WORST plastics in your everyday life;
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – causes many environmental issues and dangers for humans
Polystyrene – styrene is toxic
Polycarbonate – can be toxic
Together we CAN make a difference.

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Women In Science

We celebrate women in science as much as possible, in fact, one of our main aims is to get girls in primary schools to be engaged with science from a young age.
We’ve been talking to some amazing women who work in science, like Kayla Leyden a Senior Aquarist from the USA. We’ve also made some awesome videos to show you how women work in science every day. Take 5 minutes to watch them and be inspired by the women they include.
Anna Maria Trofaier, a Cryosphere Scientist, explains how she monitors Global Warming, the impact rising temperatures have on the planet and how we can help slow down Climate Change.



Ella Gilbert, Meteorologist at the British Antarctic Survey, talks to us about what her job involves, how to prevent Global Warming and travelling to Antarctica.




Jane Younger, Physiotherapist talks to Empiribox about what she does day to day, why she loves her job and what made her choose to pursue a career using science.

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Recycling Batteries

We use batteries in many different things every day. Take a look around you right now and see if you can count how many things in the room use batteries; i.e. remotes, toys, Bluetooth devices, watches, laptops and phones.
On average, every UK adult uses 10 batteries a year – or 600 million if we add everyone’s altogether – and most people just throw them straight into the bin. Rubbish that goes into non-recycling bins ends up in landfill sites and batteries in here will begin to decay. When they start to break down, they release harmful chemicals, such as mercury, zinc and lithium into the ground which is not only harmful to the environment but wasteful as these precious elements can be reused in manufacturing.
 Problems caused by not recycling batteries

  1. Soil and water become toxic meaning animals can die and habitats are destroyed
  2. A rise in greenhouse gas emissions from having to transport waste and sources of new materials for batteries
  3. Increased in use of fossil fuels to create more batteries

 How can we recycle batteries?
In nearly all supermarkets or local recycling centres, there is a box that you can put used batteries in to recycle them. These are collected specifically so that the batteries can be destroyed responsibly, and the valuable elements are taken out of them and reused.
 To find your local recycling centre and what you can dispose of there, see this page – https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling?rlw-initial-path=places/all%3Fmaterials%3D28

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Renewable Energy Sources

Currently, we rely on fossil fuels to generate over 80% of the world’s energy uses. These are things like coal, oil, petroleum and natural gas. These are all things that are created naturally on Earth. Using fossil fuels is bad for 2 reasons;

  1. We are using the world’s resources and will eventually have none left also meaning that we have changed the makeup of the Earth
  2. Burning fossil fuels creates gases like methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide known as greenhouse gases because of the way that they let radiation into the ozone layer (from the sun) but don’t let it back out again resulting in the warming of the Earth. We call this Global Warming

We don’t have to use fossil fuels to generate energy, we can use renewable energy sources like the ones below;

  1. Solar
    1. Energy from the sun that is captured using a solar panel
  2. Wind
    1. Energy is taken from wind power using wind-turbines
  3. Hydroelectricity
    1. Energy is taken from flowing water, such as a river, and captured in a dam or watermills
  4. Geothermal
    1. Using the Earths own heat, energy is captured from the ground and used
  5. Ocean
    1. Motion energy can be gathered from the ocean waves that are caused by the moon cycles
  6. Bioenergy
    1. The energy created by the fermenting of plants or food waste
  7. Hydrogen
    1. Man-Made hydrogen can be used to fuel cars in the future as it emits little to no greenhouse gasses

Using these energy sources would be good because it would drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being produced into the atmosphere, stop the infrastructure needed to obtain these gases, like fracking, and prevent physical damage to our planet that mining brings.
Power stations across the world need to be built to use these energy sources instead of using more fossil fuels. We could do everything from power and heat our homes and schools to run our cars without having a negative impact on the Earth.
While we may not have much control over the government and getting energy companies to transfer to a renewable source, we can install solar panels on our homes, make the jump to an electric car and buy products that either uses rechargeable batteries or can be generated by a renewable energy source, such as outside lights.
 

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Impact of Empiribox

Julie Arkell, Assistant Head Teacher and Science Lead at Montgomery Primary School in Birminghampiribox talks about Empiribox and why her pupils love it.
I’ve got to say that I can hand on heart say that it is the best science that I have ever seen primary children do
Empiribox has created such a buzz around science in my classroom and around the school. Its inclusivity engages everyone and helps create a love of science in all pupils.
When my school began using Empiribox 4 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed that my pupils – or my colleagues – would become such confident scientists in such a short time – but that’s exactly what happened!
Fast-forward to today, science is now even woven into the wider curriculum. My pupils have become so confident that they are able to take the lead in their own learning – using the hands-on, exciting experiments – all thanks to the support, resource kits, and full year of lessons Empiribox provides.
Here are my favourite things about Empiribox…
The interactive, pupil-led lessons
…and open day workshops means families can have a much deeper involvement in their child’s learning
My pupils retain a higher percentage of what they learn
because they enjoy and actively participate in lessons more, and also have more opportunities for skill-building
There isn’t a child in the school disengaged in science lessons;
EAL pupils find lessons more accessible, which shows in their far greater progress
Their patience has increased
because the wow factor of the experiments gives them instant satisfaction for their hard work as they wait for long-term skill-building and results
Topics and learning styles are welcome in other subjects;
their enhanced love of science means history lessons about famous scientists and stories on states of matter in literacy are enjoyed by all
 
See more science at Montgomery School in Birmingham.
 

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Senior Aquarist, Kayla Leyden

Senior Aquarist at Shreveport Aquarium in Louisiana, USA, Kayla Leyden talks to us about being inspired by science, her job working to help prevent littering in the oceans and becoming a Marine Superhero!
What inspired you to study environmental biology?
Growing up on the Chesapeake Bay, I have always loved the ocean. The Chesapeake Bay watershed is vulnerable to climate change, pollution and invasive species. You protect what you love and that is what inspired me to study environmental biology.
What science subject did you enjoy most in school? Why?
Environmental science, marine biology, and ecology were my favorite science subjects. These classes typically have an outdoor component, I enjoyed getting out of the classroom and experiencing these subjects first hand.
  
Where you interested in marine science at a younger age?
Yes! I spent every weekend, birthday, and summer at the zoo, aquarium, or beach.
What and where did you study?
I studied Environmental Biology and Chemistry at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA.
What do you do as a senior aquarist? Can you give me examples of how an average day looks?
Working in an aquarium means every day is different. A typical day would start with animal health and life support checks, then cleaning and feeding, and then another round of animal health and life support checks.
What I love about this career field is that there isn’t really an average day. Just recently I was out of the office for a week to transport sharks 3,000 miles to my facility. I get to train sharks, rays, octopus, turtles. I get to dive with incredible animals every week.
Do you have a specialism?
I am a Jack of all trades. I have taken care of everything from cleaner shrimp to endangered species like the leafy seadragon.
Do aquarists look at any other part of marine life other than fish?
Aquarist look after all kinds of animals, reptiles, invertebrates, freshwater fish, and saltwater fish. Aquarists are also responsible for the environment in which their collection lives, making us responsible for molecules and bacteria as well as the critters you can see when you visit.

Does what you do affect the general public in ways they may not realise?
We are stewards of our environment and every guest that comes through our building leaves with a little bit more information a broader horizon.
Can you explain why plastic in the ocean is bad?
Plastic in the ocean is bad for everyone. All of the plastic that has ever been produced is still here in some form of another. Plastic doesn’t go away, it just breaks down. Microplastics are making their way into our food systems. We live on the ‘Blue Planet’ if our oceans are not healthy our planet is not healthy.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have seen plastic pollution negatively affect the environment?
A whale was washed to shore in my hometown in Virginia. It had hundreds of pieces of plastic in its stomach. When an animal ingests plastic there are a few things that can happen, it could cause a blockage and the animal will die as a result or the plastic will take up space in their stomach and make them feel full leading to starvation.
What can you suggest to people to help prevent plastic pollution?
REFUSE! Every choice you make you are voting for your future, refuse single-use plastics and vote for a better tomorrow.
Are there other things that we do that harm the oceans? (microbeads, sun cream etc.)
“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea No matter where on Earth you live” – Sylvia Earle. We live on the Blue Planet, almost everything we do impacts the ocean. Your everyday routine can have a big impact on the ocean.
Do you brush your teeth with a plastic toothbrush?
Do you drink your juice with a plastic straw?
Does your lunch come wrapped in a plastic bag?
Is your food sustainably sourced?
If you were a marine superhero with a mission to save our oceans, what would your name be?
The Fintastic Anti-Plastic
What special powers would you have that would help your cause?
The ability to remove even the tiniest of microplastic!
What kind of outfit do you think you’d like?
It would be made from placoid scales just like a shark to help me deliver awesome justice whenever and wherever the archenemy the Drastic Dr. Plastic may arise
If you could be any fish in the sea, what would you be?
I would be a spotted eagle ray. Eagle rays can swim as well as fly! They travel the world and visit warm coral reefs all over the world.
 
Make sure you look at Kayla’s Instagram page
https://www.instagram.com/shvaqua/

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Being healthy, what does it really mean?

These days everybody talks about “being healthy”. How do you define that? How do we tell children how to be healthy? The truth of the matter is we don’t really know where to start and frankly, it can mean totally different things to different people. For the physically fit members of our communities it can mean a good heart rate, a weekly fitness regime an improved 5k time. For others it can mean getting your minimum 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day, low sugar consumption, a low carb diet, or maybe restricted alcohol intake. For others, it can literally mean not suffering cold after cold or one viral infection after another or the hope that one day their illness will retreat. Yet underlying all of this is the most finely tuned part of our entire internal engine, our mind, our mental wellbeing. If we are not feeling good about ourselves or at least feel capable of mustering the strength to face and address our issues, we won’t change what we eat, the amount of exercise we do, our hygiene, our bad habits. Our individual mental health is the most fragile yet essential element of our entire existence. It colours everything. It can drive us on to improve our skills, to stick to a diet, to go to the gym and sometimes literally just to keep going. Yet we still don’t help our children build up resilience, an ability to cope with the stresses of being a teenager, a young adult or an ageing one for that matter! We need to rethink our approach as practitioners and arm our pupils with real-life skills as well as the academic. There is a tendency still to scoff at mindfulness without really knowing what it means and how, if instilled, it can empower an individual to take control of emotions, feelings and situations. If we had embraced the theory, undertaken to embed it into our primary curriculum, would we be facing a frighteningly increasing number of young adults with mental health issues of all kinds.
The Mindfulness in Schools project is holding a conference in April 2019. Isn’t this something we should attend? Take a look…
https://mindfulnessinschools.org/

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An easy way to get your pupils active – Marathon Kids

According to the NCMP and Child Obesity Profile: short statistical commentary, January 2019 published by the government

We all know that obesity can cause severe health difficulties for children, it can also impact their concentration, their self-esteem and progress in school. So how can we, as teachers and school leaders, think about increasing daily activity without compromising lesson time? How can we introduce something to our school day that does not require equipment from our depleting budgets? Most importantly how can we think of accessible initiatives that will help those schools in deprived areas and pupils from disadvantaged homes everywhere? Something that does not require parental contribution in any form other than enthusiasm and support?
Several schools have turned to a charity called Kids Run Free and their school programme ‘Marathon Kids’.  Marathon Kids gives primary school children the opportunity to run or walk the distance of up to four marathons throughout the school year. The programme, whose ambassador is Sir Mo Farah, emphasises personal achievement and aims to inspire children of all fitness levels and abilities to set and achieve their marathon kids goals. All schools have to do is to set up a circuit wherever they can in their own school and encourage children to complete as many circuits as possible at lunch or playtime or after school. Tracked by the MK Digital Tracking System, children can run, skip, jump their way round as many times or as few times as they choose. Rewarded with stickers and certificates along the way to mark their milestones, before they know it they’ve done a full marathon or more throughout the school year. Something every pupil, teacher and parent can be proud of
“My daughter, like any child used to run everywhere, but only when she started doing MK that she found her love for running. I now have discussed with her the possibility of registering her to a summer athletics club, as she loves running so much. I believe this wouldn’t have been possible without Marathon Kids.”
Teacher, Tudor Grange
It’s an ingenious way of getting pupils active! After all running is free, full of health benefits, and requires little to no equipment. It’s an easy way to keep the whole school, teachers included, fighting fit!
You can find out more at https://www.kidsrunfree.co.uk/mk/

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Progress v Pollution – Issues to consider before space travel becomes commonplace

There is no doubt that the amount of fuel required for a shuttle to be launched into space is astronomical. At lift-off, an orbiter and external tank carry 835,958 gallons of the principal liquid propellants – hydrogen, oxygen, hydrazine, monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide. – currently costing approximately £1,048,358. The impact on the environment has not, as yet, been adequately monitored but as the likelihood of space tourism looms larger then this is something that scientists know they need to start measuring.
When we think about the air pollution in cities today, we should bear in mind that every time a rocket launches, it produces a plume of exhaust in its wake that leaves a mark on the environment. These omissions are filled with materials that can collect in the air over time, potentially altering the atmosphere in dangerous ways. It’s not the gas in these plumes that’s most concerning. Some rockets do produce heat-trapping greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, but those emissions are negligible, according to experts. Instead, it’s tiny particles that are produced inside the trail that we need to watch out for. Small pieces of soot and a chemical called alumina are created in the wakes of rocket launches. They then get injected into the stratosphere, the layer of Earth’s atmosphere that begins six miles up and ends around 32 miles high. Research shows that this material may build up in the stratosphere over time and slowly lead to the depletion of a layer of oxygen known as the ozone. The ozone acts like a big shield, protecting Earth against the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.  The magnitude of this ozone depletion isn’t totally known.
Martin Ross, a senior project engineer at the Aerospace Corporation thinks we need
“more research in this area to know exactly what we’re putting into the upper atmosphere and in what quantities”
Other scientists agree affirming that it is especially important now since the private space industry is at the early stages of a launch revolution. Currently, the number of launches each year is relatively small, around 80 to 90, so the aerospace industry’s impact on the atmosphere is not much of a concern. Ross and his colleagues realise that as launches increase, policymakers will eventually want to know what kind of damage these vehicles are causing to the environment and if regulations are necessary. When that time comes, it will be better to have as much data as possible to make the best decisions.
Whilst thinking about pollution we should also consider another kind of space pollution – the debris left by man as we journey around space. According to NASA, as many as 170 million fragments of metal and astro debris surround the earth, including 20,000 pieces larger than a cricket ball, and 500,000 about the size of a marble.  Old satellites, like Tiangong-1, are the biggest and highest-profile lumps of rubbish, but most of it comes from rocket parts and even lost astronaut tools. Size doesn’t always matter a fleck of paint, orbiting at a high velocity can cause huge damage – one such object cracked the Space Shuttle’s windscreen.
Moving forward this debris will pose a navigation hazard for many centuries to come. At least 200 objects roar back into the atmosphere each year, including pieces of solar panels and antennas and fragments of metal. All of them pose dangers for future astronauts and travellers: One plum-sized piece of gnarled space trash traveling faster than a speeding bullet could rip a five-foot hole into a spacecraft. And that collision, then, would hatch its own spectacle of shrapnel, which would join the rushing river of junk already circling the planet.
This is not a call for calling a halt to space exploration but a plea to let us learn from our mistakes on earth and treat this new environment with respect and concern.

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Different Food Groups

Food is one of the most important parts of our day and we need it to survive, but did you know there are lots of different food groups and we need to eat food from all of them to stay healthy?
Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have got a bad rep., but actually, they are vitally important to staying healthy and found in a huge number of foods. They’re a macronutrient, meaning we need a large portion in our daily diets to sustain a healthy body.
Carbs provide the body with energy by making glucose; your number one source of energy. Glucose can be used right away or stored for when it is needed later (like when you’re sleeping). Ideally, you want to eat carbohydrates that release energy slowly, so you don’t get energy highs or lows.
Good sources of carbohydrates

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Brown rice
  3. Sweet potatoes
  4. Beans and lentils
  5. Butternut squash

Protein
Protein is responsible for building and repairing nearly all cells in your body from muscles to bones, skin to blood. We need it to make hormones, enzymes and other body chemicals important to maintaining mood and weight. It is present in every single cell in the body – our hair, teeth and nails are nearly 100% protein.
Protein is another macronutrient, but our bodies are unable to store it meaning that we have to eat it in large quantities every day.
Good sources of protein

  1. Nuts and seeds, especially almonds
  2. Eggs
  3. Soya
  4. Beans and pulses
  5. Broccoli

Lipids (fat)
Lipids, also known as fat, are much like protein and carbohydrates in that they help create hormones and create energy and they are an essential part of your diet, but having too much can cause you to store them as excess fat.
We need the energy from lipids as well as carbohydrates because it is a higher concentration and will enable our bodies to be more efficient. Most of the energy we use in our brains or muscles come from fats. Fat is also important as a layer of insulation helps to regulate our body temperatures and protect our organs. It essential in the absorption of nutrients in the digestive system and helps to keep the cell walls throughout your body strong and healthy.
Good sources of fat

  1. Avocados
  2. Eggs
  3. Dark chocolate
  4. Nuts
  5. Chia seeds

Fibre
Fibre is the indigestible part of plant foods that aid with digestion. Without fibre, we would be constipated and unable to digest or absorb any of the other food we eat. There are 3 main types;
Soluble fibre (SF) slows our stomachs down meaning we stay fuller for longer.
Insoluble fibre (IF) helps support regular bowel movements by absorbing water.
Resistant starch (RI) is not absorbed in the small intestines but instead goes to the larger bowl and helps promote good bacteria.
Good sources of fibre

  1. legumes (SF)
  2. Nuts (IF)
  3. Bananas (RS)
  4. Fruit
  5. Brown rice

Water
Water is used in the body in everything it does. In fact, we are mostly water and we know if we’re lacking in it very quickly. Dehydration is a serious condition and can be fatal. The brain is 85% water and a decrease by just 1% can lead to a decrease in mental performance.
Signs of dehydration

  1. A headache
  2. Dizziness
  3. Poor concentration
  4. Memory loss
  5. Organ failure

Adults need 2-3 litres of water a day to stay healthy.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are absolutely crucial to surviving. They support every part of our bodies from the tops of our heads to the tips of our toes and everything in between. We literally could not survive without them, even though we only need tiny amounts every day!
Why not take a look at our FREE resources to find out where to get all your vitamins and minerals?
DOWNLOAD FREE RESOURCES

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Climate Change – The Impact of Global Warming

Climate Change is something that is happening to the world right now. It means that the weather (climate) is changing across the world for a prolonged period of time. Some places will experience hotter, dry weather such as Australia, others will have more storms like the ones we are seeing in North America, and other places will experience very unusual or out of season weather, like snow in South East Asia or very hot weather in Iceland.
The change in climate that we are experiencing right now is called Global Warming. Overall, the global average temperature is increasing on our planet and this means that the world is heating up. While this may sound lovely, it is actually very dangerous and poses a huge threat to the planet.
Effects of Global Warming

  1. Rise in temperatures
  2. Increase in sea temperatures
  3. Ice caps melting
  4. Sea levels rise

These things happening mean that many pieces of low-lying land in the world will be covered in water. This means that we will have fewer places to live and millions of people will lose their homes. 
 It also means that animals such as polar bears will lose their homes as they need ice sheets to hunt for food. Eventually, they will become extinct – like dinosaurs!
 An increase in sea temperature around the world also means that coral will suffer and many of it may die. While you may think that coral is just a few sea-plants, it is actually vital to the ecosystem and in keeping sea life alive. If coral dies, many thousands of species of fish will die which in turn means that many land-creatures will lose their food sources and also perish.

  1.  More droughts and heat waves
  2. Increase in heavier rain and flash floods
  3. More hurricanes that are more dangerous and powerful
  4. More forest fires

Having more unpredictable weather means that farmers will not be able to tell when the best time will be to grow crops. If the weather is dry and hot, their produce will dry out and if they have flash floods or hurricanes, their crops will be washed away. They will, therefore, lose a huge amount of their produce which could mean a worldwidee shortage in food.

 Another reason why unpredictable weather is bad news is that it will destroy many people’s homes, just like the hurricanes in North America have in recent years. Flash floods in the UK, tornados in Europe and unseasonal cold weather in Asia have all destroyed homes and many people have died as a result.
 This weather change also means that animals homes are destroyed, and they too will lose their lives.
Causes of Global Warming
The number one cause of global warming is human activity and the increase in greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Below is a list of the top 3 things that are currently causing the release of these gases on a huge scale and increasing the amount of heat trapped in the ozone layer and other things contributing to the increase in global temperatures.

  1. Burning fossil fuels

Such as power stations to generate electricity or using petrol or diesel in your cars and trains.

  1. Deforestation

Trees and plants absorb CO2 – one of the bad gases causing global warming – and create oxygen. By cutting them down we are reducing the worlds ability to absorb the bad gases we are creating.

  1. Farming livestock

While the animals themselves don’t create much greenhouse gas, everything that goes around them has a huge impact. From cutting down trees to make space to grow their food, to transporting them in trucks and, after slaughter, transporting them in planes to different countries.
All of these factors have already caused a huge amount of damage to the planet. In the last 100 years, the ice caps have melted by up to 80%, the global temperatures have risen by 1 degree Celsius and more than 20% of the world’s rainforests have already gone.
While global warming is not reversible, it is stoppable, but time is running out! We have just over 10 years left to make serious changes to slow down global warming.
How can we help?
We can help in our daily lives to help reduce the causes of global warming, but there are many things that countries and governments can do to change this as well that would have a much bigger impact.
What can you do at home?

  1. Eat less meat or animal products such as dairy
  2. Drive cars less or switch to an electric car
  3. Turn off lights and find new ways to use less electricity like switching things off that the wall or only having one electrical item on at a time
  4. Install solar panels in your house
  5. Make sure your house is properly insulated so you use less power heating it
  6. Make sure your appliances in your house are energy efficient – purchase new ones if necessary but remember to recycle the old ones properly
  7. Use less water – take one shower a day and turn the tap off when you brush your teeth
  8. Try not to use aeroplanes – take the train if you’re going to Europe or holiday in the UK
  9. Plant more trees and have house plants
  10. Swap all the bulbs in your house for energy efficient ones
  11. Recycle as much as you can and try to buy products that recyclable materials or little to no packaging like loose fruit and vegetables

The benefit to changing many things in your life to be energy efficient is that it reduces your energy bills and saves you money as well as saving the planet.
Things governments could do to help stop climate change

  1. Stop fracking! This produces a huge about of methane gas which is 84 times more damaging than CO2
  2. Stop using fossil fuels and convert power stations to renewable energy sources
  3. Invest money in public transport by switching to electric trains and buses
  4. Invest in the research and development of sustainably sourced fuel
  5. Place limits on the amount of CO2 emissions corporations are allowed to make per year
  6. Reduce or stop deforestation

In conclusion, Global Warming is an incredibly serious issue that at best see’s the planet permanently changed and many people and animals’ lives changed forever and, at worst, the end of the planet.
However, if everyone makes small changes to their day to day lives, we can see a huge difference and together, we can slow down or stop the result of climate change. One person making a change is just one change, but 7 billion people making one change is 7 billion changes.
Don’t give up or think what you are doing is too small or insignificant, everything helps save our planet!

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The Lab 13 project: How to go from "requires improvement" to "GOOD" with science!

Irchester Primary School in Northamptonshire had a problem. In 2012 OfSTED judged them as “requiring improvement”, so headteacher Julia Alison – not one to shirk a challenge, decided something radical had to be done…

[Download full case study]
Hypothesis
The school was judged as requires improvement at its inspection in September 2012. The headteacher and her leadership team proposed that the areas for improvement could be addressed by developing an approach to teaching that enabled pupils to:

Science, by its nature, involves all of these elements through experimental enquiry. School leaders reasoned that by using science teaching and learning as a focus point overall pupil standards would rise. The challenge was to develop a suitably demanding academic science curriculum that was coupled to thoroughly challenging experimental work for pupils in a school with no specialist science teachers.
The headteacher proposed appointing a graduate scientist in residence who would provide science expertise and encourage high quality science learning across the school.
Her final hypothesis was that, as pupils developed their enquiry skills in science, these skills would help their learning of other subjects. She also expected that pupils’ cross-curricular literacy skills would increase as pupils started to talk about ‘science questions’ with their teachers and each other and then report their findings accurately both orally and in writing formal reports.

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How much is your science capital worth?

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23531410-100-how-much-is-your-science-capital-worth/

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Top Tips – Engaging Children in a Carousel Lesson

Teaching science in Primary School can be challenging, especially when faced with teaching the skills required under the new National Curriculum. We want to make your job easier by regularly sharing our Top Tips in teaching science, the scientific method and advice on how to engage your pupils in WOW science!

Top Tip

Engaging All Children in a Carousel Lesson
A Carousel Lesson refers to a type of classroom management strategy whereby several activities are set up at once in a class. One activity would be the main investigation, supported closely by the teacher, while the other activities are easy for children to do by themselves or in groups.
When you are delivering a carousel-style lesson, it is important that all children are focussed. This can be quite a challenge when faced with a room of 30 children by yourself!
To ensure that every child is engaged in meaningful and purposeful learning, first pair them up or put them into groups and number them (1-2, 1-4 etc.) This will make it easier for you to track working and keep on the track.
Write down each activity on the board as a reference point.
For example:

  1. Set up equipment
  2. Ensure accuracy during the investigation
  3. Record the results
  4. Discuss findings

Keep in mind, these are reference points only as you will have demonstrated how to do each activity at the start of class.
Throughout the class, encourage children to discuss with each other what they are doing and what they have learnt. It’s important to keep in mind that there are no wrong answers, just continuous learning and discovery. Having children verbalise what they are doing will also enable you to monitor what they already know, how much they have learnt and ensure they are thinking independently about the subject matter.
Some things keep in mind:

  1. Keep the pace brisk, but don’t rush. Depending on the activity, you want long enough to complete it, but not too long or else behaviour can become an issue.
  2. Have a whole class discussion at the beginning and end of each lesson to clearly see improvement in knowledge.
  3. Pre-plan how many children will be in each group and break the equipment down to suit this (Empiribox have already done this for you so you won’t have to think about this!)
  4. Have a clearly defined purpose to each activity and an overall aim for the lesson to keep things on track. With an Empiribox lesson plan, these points are mapped out for you.
  5. Make sure you’re confident on how you’re going to assess the pupils. Formative assessments and quick written assessments can work well, depending on age/ability of each class.

Above all, remember that science is FUN! A little noise and a touch of chaos can turn out some fantastic results

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World Oceans Day – Are We Taking Too Much For Granted?

Very few schools celebrate World Oceans day, but it should be one of those dates that’s in our diaries year on year. How many times have we seen pictures of oil spilt in our waters, or plastic bottles, cups and bags washed up in an expanse of debris across a beach? Oceans give us so much and yet we really don’t appreciate all that they do for us here on planet Earth.
As well as being a fabulous source of food for people and animals everywhere, here are 5 facts to make you really sit up and take note:
1. Oceans provide us with over half of the oxygen that we and all the other land animals need. Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton release oxygen through photosynthesis whilst the rest is produced by land plants.
2. Ocean waters have the capacity to absorb vast amounts of the greenhouse-warming gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Over a quarter of the CO2 produced by human activities in the last 200 years has dissolved into the ocean. This capacity to absorb has helped contain some of man-made global warming and climate change. So, imagine where we’d be without this ability!
3. The surface layer of the ocean absorbs over half the heat reaching the Earth from the sun. Through ocean currents that flow for thousands of miles, like the Gulf Stream, the oceans distribute this heat around the world. They are extremely important in shaping the world’s climate.
4. The oceans are also a central part of the water cycle. Huge amounts of water evaporate from the ocean surface, rising into the atmosphere as water vapour. When this vapor collides with colder air, it condenses to form clouds and rain.
5. Did you know that over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea? We use our oceans and seas to transport everything from food and fuel to building materials, chemicals, and household items. It is by far the cheapest way to move things around the world and without it things would either cost a lot more or be unavailable to large number of countries.

So put June 8th 2019 World Oceans Day in your classroom diary today! Get involved and let’s not take our waters for granted anymore.

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Top Tips – Evaluation: Spotting Anomalies


Teaching science in Primary School can be challenging, especially when faced with the skills required under the new National Curriculum. We want to make your job easier and share with you some of our Top Tips in teaching science, the scientific method and advice on how to engage your pupils in WOW science!
Top Tip
Evaluation: Spotting & Explaining Anomalies


Evaluation is the final stage of investigations and an important skill for pupils to develop. In this activity pupils must develop the ability to be completely honest about the findings of their investigation. A key part of the evaluation process is spotting anomalies and explaining where these occur and why they may have happened.
It is essential when teaching a lesson where developing evaluation as the science skill focus, all the planning is done, and data recorded quickly in order for a thorough evaluation to be undertaken.
Remember, it is only through continual practise in evaluating experiments using data obtained through actual investigations that will pupils develop this skill!
An investigation for Developing the Skill of Spotting Anomalies
Context: Dissolving
Discuss with the class what they understand about the word ‘dissolving’. After defining what a Solute (substance that dissolves) , Solvent (substance that is able to dissolve something) and Solution (a mixture of the two) is, introduce the different substances below and ask them to make a prediction first about which they think is most soluble. 
 
Provide pupils with access to the different solutes (see table below) and measuring cylinders and ask them to record how many spoonfuls of each solute it took to reach a saturated solution – i.e one where no more would dissolve.
RESULTS TABLE

 PREDICTED AMOUNT     ACTUAL AMOUNT ORDER OF SOLUBILITY
SALT
SUGAR
BAKING SODA
COFFEE
COCOA
CITRIC ACID

When analysing your data, consider some of the below questions and see if your pupils can answer them.

  1. Can you and your pupils decide if the data is reliable?
  2. Where there any anomalies?
  3. Where did the anomalies occur?
  4. Why do you think the anomalies occurred?
  5. Can you and your pupils explain why the data might not be valid?
  6. How could you repeat the experiment to ensure that the data was both reliable and valid?
National Curriculum Assessment Match
Skills:  Find ways of improving their investigations by evaluating what they have already done.
Knowledge: Properties and changes of materials. Dissolving and showing that not all changes are reversible.

From the National Curriculum 

The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

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Deeper Learning in Primary Classrooms


Differentiation is common place in classrooms in the UK and across the world, most often demonstrated by separating children by their abilities or academic level. However, modern day learning has seen a new methodology come into teaching styles and the current buzz is around deeper learning for students.
But what is this?
Deeper learning refers to a set of learning outcomes born from the Hewlett Foundation ideology on getting the most from education.

  1. Mastery of rigorous academic content
  2. Development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  3. The ability to work collaboratively
  4. Effective oral and written communication
  5. Learning how to learn
  6. Developing and maintaining an academic mindset

The motivation behind this style of teaching/learning, is to give children the skills they need to be able to apply knowledge they learn in class to real-world circumstances and effectively solve problems that they encounter.
How do you teach this in a classroom?
There is no clear-cut answer on how to teach deeper learning to classes; there are many methods that achieve the same result. One tried and tested technique which see’s a great deal of success, is for teachers to inspire children with mastery of the skills, which in turn motivates children to want to master it themselves.
Letting them work out the solution, method or answer with minimal help encourages the more abled children to ‘think deeper’ and others to explore their own capabilities, building confidence in their competence in problem solving. With Empiribox, teachers are encouraged to start a lesson with a wow! demonstration, sparking interest in all students, followed by child led investigations.
Empiribox lessons are designed to promote deeper learning and mastery of science skills, regardless of age or ability. Our scheme teaches all children in KS2 the same thing at the same time, allowing schools to submerge in the subject and promote a deeper learning experience for students.
Using hands-on investigations to practically teach the scientific skills enables children to try different ways to solve a problem. They learn that getting something wrong does not mean it has failed, just that they need to approach the issue from a different start point and learn from their findings to build on their knowledge.
Empiribox lessons inspire children to science and motivate them to learn more about the subject, continuing their studies as they get older. Giving children the skill set to solve problems, think outside the box and overcome challenges in new ways helps them to grow into confident adults and fulfil their dreams, opening many doors for them professionally.

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World Turtle Day

The 23rd May is World Turtle Day!

Did you know, turtles are as old as dinosaurs! They can be dated back over to 100 million years ago; about the same time as the tyrannosaurus rex walked our land. They’re very unique in their anatomy by having exoskeletons, meaning that their shell is actually part of their skeleton and helps to protect their organs. A turtle cannot be separated from its shell, but it can retract its head inside as a form of protection. They also live for hundreds of years; the oldest is a turtle names Tu’i Malila who lived to be 188 years old on Tonga Island in the Pacific.
They live all over the planet by the sea, so long as it is warm and there is marine life for them to eat. Females lay their eggs in a nest buried in the sand and will return to the same beach they were born on. When hatched, baby turtles will make their way to the sea and begin their lives in the ocean. Males will never leave the water, but females will come back on land to lay eggs.
Currently, there are 7 species of marine turtle, nearly all of which are either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. This is down to illegal poaching for their skin, shells, eggs and meat as well as human’s encroaching on their habitats, meaning they can lay eggs, and being captured in fishing nets. Rising temperatures, due to Global Warming, also affects them as sand temperatures are higher and this affects the sex of hatchlings (meaning there is an imbalance in gender and they cannot reproduce).
Another thing threatening the lifespan of marine turtles is the amount of plastic in the oceans. Single use plastic, such as straws, can have a hugely detrimental effect on survival rates. Straws get lodged in turtles noses, restricting their breathing and limiting their ability to feed. Plastic from packaging can suffocate turtles as it can look like a jelly fish, which they love to eat. They will mistake it for food and try to eat it, but not be able to digest the plastic and eventually die as a result.
Plastic is not biodegradable; it can take up to 1,000 years for it to break down and less than 5% of all plastic used is recycled.
How can you help save turtles and other marine life?
There are two things you could do to drastically improve the quality of life for turtles and other marine life both now and for the future;

  1. Try not to use single use plastic (straws, plastic bags, food packaging) and recycle where possible. Many companies are stopping the manufacturing and use of single use plastics.
  2. Not encroaching on their natural habitats or purchasing things that have turtle in them, such as sunglasses or instruments. Always check the materials things are made from if you are not sure.

By doing these two things, you will be preventing the creatures from harming themselves, or dying as a result of ingesting plastics. If you become more aware of the materials used in your everyday objects, you are not sustaining the trade in which the turtles are poached for and therefore stopping the need for them to be poached.
If everybody does one thing to help, then that equals about 7 billion changes and no one can argue that that isn’t a lot!

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9 Benefits of Outside Learning

With summer just around the corner, we know energy levels will be rising in the classroom along with the temperature outside! Children are desperate to be outside and taking a class out into the playground might be more beneficial to their education than you may first think.
Benefits to taking a class outside this summer!
Boosts creativity and imagination, meaning children can solve problems easier and are able to overcome challenges that they may have been struggling with.
Creates a deeper learning experience through play and experimentation. Children will be more engaged and involved with what they are learning and therefore, their retention will be better.
Reduces behaviour issues due to more stimulating environment and the fact that the lesson is a novelty.
Nurtures interest and understanding of the environment and how it works. Children can interact with their surroundings and see real life examples of how nature works.
Places children in a healthier environment by being outside in the fresh air. It tops up vitamin D levels (remember to stay protected from the sun!) and natural light is proven to boost people’s mood.
Provides tangible context to learning. If children are learning about plants, there is no better way to teach them than to go and find some real-life plants in their playground! It also enables a hands-on approach to be taken, letting children physically interact with their surroundings.
Builds relationships between peers as children work together and subsequently, builds confidence with their own abilities. It can improve social skills and help children to work collaboratively.
Decreases the stress levels of children by being in a less restrictive space and a healthier environment.
It’s fun! Learning can be done anywhere and sometimes giving children a more stimulating environment can make all the difference to their retention and understanding.
So why not take your class out this summer and see what benefits you see with your pupils!

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World Migratory Bird Day

Today is World Migratory Bird Day!
5 facts we should probably know

  1. Did you know that 40% of all species of birds are migratory? In the United Kingdom about half of our bird species migrate especially those insect eaters, who can’t find enough food in the winter. Not surprisingly, in Scandinavia and Canada, almost all birds migrate south for warmer winters and conversely in the rain-forest very few birds migrate, choosing to stay where there is far more reliable weather and food supply

Examples of migratory birds in the UK are
The swallow https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/swallow/
The Brent Goose https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/brent-goose/

  1. Some of the migrant birds in the UK may come for the summer and some for the winter but other species are what’s known as partial migrants. That means that in some countries a species of bird might stay in the same place, whilst in other countries the same species might migrate to somewhere else for the winter. Starlings are partial migrants – the ones that breed in the UK, stay in the UK but those that breed in Eastern Europe migrate to the UK in winter. The same is true for chaffinches, robins, lapwings, coots and many other common birds#

 

  1. Some species are what’s known as altitudinal migrants. That means that these live in high terrain in summer but lowland in winter. Although the journey may not be long, it often involves quite a change in lifestyle. Altitudinal migrants in the UK include skylarks, meadow pipits and snow buntings. Find out more about the Snow Bunting here:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/snow-bunting/

  1. One strange type of migrant bird is a group known as moult migrants. These migrate to a ‘safe’ territory to specifically allow them to shed their feathers. After their breeding season is over they fly to their designated place, shed their feathers including their flying feathers, then fly home when their feathers are grown back. Example of moult migrants are Shelducks who fly to the island of Heligoland to moult.

 

  1. There is one other type of migratory bird and these are known as passage migrants. These birds stop off in the UK during their long journey north or south and examples of such birds are green sandpipers and black terns. They use the UK like a service station for a few weeks.

If you think your pupils might be interested in celebrating our birds and specifically our migratory birds why not join in the activities on Migratory Bird Day 2018. You might want to start a School Garden log for children to note down t he birds they see.
Here are some websites with lots of ideas and resources to help you:
http://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/
https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/

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Sun Awareness Week

Did you know it is Sun Awareness Week from the 14th – 20th May in the UK?
It’s a chance for an important reminder on the dangers of too much exposure to the sun and how you can protect yourself from its harmful rays.

Facts about skin and sun-damage

  1. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, but it is also the most preventable. Most skin cancer is caused by sunburn before the age of 18 or continued exposure to the sun without protection – more than 80% of adults don’t apply sun-cream in the UK!
  2. A suntan is really sun damage. By the time your skin changes colour, it is already damaged, and the colour change is the bodies response to the melanin being destroyed.
  3. Humans need the sun for vitamin D and to help us absorb calcium. Vitamin D helps us to build and maintain healthy teeth and bones and is a vital nutrient for our bodies. 30 minutes of early morning sun, before it’s rays are at full strength, can be very healthy. But be careful not to burn!
  4. When the skin bubbles, peels or blisters after a sunburn, it is actually a 2nd degree burn.
  5. There are 2 types of harmful rays from the sun – UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause premature aging, whereas UVB will cause damage to the surface layers to the skin.

How to protect yourself from the Sun 

  1. Cover up in clothes that are tightly woven. The more transparent the item, the less protection it offers.
  2. Wear sun-cream with SPF30+ and check for UVA and UVB protection. In the UK, this is a star rating, so look for the 5* rating on your bottle.
  3. Avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm as this is when it is at is most harmful.
  4. Wear a hat and use sunglasses that protect from UVA and UVB rays.

The sun can be very dangerous for our delicate skin, even though it many benefits are vital to sustain life on Earth. While the ozone layer around Earth helps to protect us from a lot of the dangers, it is important to stay protected when you’re out and about in the sunlight.
The benefits of the sun help to keep all life on Earth alive. Coupled with water and oxygen, sunlight is imperative. Heat generated from the suns rays help to stop our planet from freezing and makes it hospitable from us, the sunlight helps plants to turn carbon-dioxide into oxygen and, due to the Earth changing its tilt throughout the year, the amount of sunlight changes the seasons.
Some things you may not know about the Sun

  1. The sun is actually a star we have named “The Sun” – the philosopher Anaxagoras was the first to suggest that the sun is a stararound 450 BC. It is thought to be about 4.6 billion years old and estimated to be half way through its lifetime.
  2. It takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for light from the sun to reach Earth due to how far away the sun is; just under 93million miles away – and it’s our closest star!
  3. The suns gravity is 28x stronger than gravity on Earth and it is the reason why everything in our galaxy revolves around the sun, including all the planets.
  4. The sun has no solid surface and is just gas, mostly hydrogen, but helium, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen are part of the mix.
  5. Photosynthesis is one of the most important things to happen on our planet. It is when plants use sunlight to change carbon dioxide to oxygen and synthesise nutrients from water. Without this process, there would not be life on Earth as we know it.

 

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Annual Health and Safety Report Results

Ensuring that the Health and Safety guidance we give to schools is comprehensive, compliant with all statutory regulations and easily implemented in the primary classroom is of paramount importance to us. Our extensive Health and Safety policy include risk assessments, chemical safety data sheets, equipment safety sheets as well as a thorough Health and Safety document. This gives teachers the confidence that all practical activities in our system can be taught in a safe, controlled manner in class without compromising the quality of teaching and the progress of pupils.
Two years ago, Empiribox engaged the services of one of the biggest health and safety consultants in the country, Peninsula Business Services Ltd. They conduct annual root and branch reviews of our policy to ensure that all documentation matches the lesson activities and is compliant with current Health and Safety regulations. Peninsula also meets with our Health and Safety Compliance Officer, who demonstrates each practical activity in the Empiribox system.
We are pleased to report that our latest audit, which took place between February 22nd and March 13th of this year, confirmed all the guidance and documentation we give to schools is of the highest quality.
Peninsula reported to us that:
‘The Empiribox Health and Safety Policy including risk assessments have been independently audited and verified by Peninsula Business Services, who have certified that they comply with and conform to legislative requirements.‘ – Jane Ball, Health and Safety Field Operations Manager, Peninsula Group Limited
Mark Inder, Health and Safety Compliance Officer for Empiribox said, ‘The results of this audit demonstrate our ongoing commitment to promoting Health and Safety in primary science lessons, and it is especially pleasing to us that the teacher training we provide, as well as the systems we have in place to promote safe, effective practical science, are of the appropriate high standard. Teachers and schools, in general, can be confident that the activities we provide are safe and age-appropriate
David Saul, Managing Director at Empiribox Ltd ‘Peninsula are a leading Health and Safety consultancy in the UK and we are very pleased with their confirmation that our entire H&S policy and procedures are appropriate for delivering practical science within primary schools. H&S is paramount when doing science in school and following this annual audit, we know that we are offering our clients not only engaging lessons but safe ones too.’

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Sats: Under one in four pupils reach expected standard in science

The Standards and Testing agency published their “Key stage 2 science – sampling 2016” in July 17.
In this they reveal that only an estimated 23%, fewer than a quarter, of 10 and 11 year olds’ reached the expected standard in science during 2016.  The sample was statistically significant with over 9,500 pupils represented across 1,900 schools.
Other points the report highlights are:

The report also say: “As there was a large overlap of questions between the 2014 and 2016 administrations, outcomes can be reported on the same scale. However, any differences in performance between 2014 and 2016 must be considered in the context of the changing primary curriculum.”
Empiribox opinion
In 2009 the government scrapped the science Sats on the basis that they were a poor predictor of children’s later science results.  After a lengthy consultation period a new curriculum was then introduced in September 2014 and at the same time the sampling methodology was changed, sampling fewer children but across a greater number of schools.
Given the appalling decline in science outcomes – graduate scientists – for the last generation and the exponential growth in demand for a STEM qualified workforce worldwide, we believe the new curriculum is a fundamentally important step in helping the UK to stop haemorrhaging its science heritage and to start  encouraging more young people to take up the challenge of a STEM career.
The reason we believe this is because the curriculum, instead of focusing purely on knowledge, actually challenges children to understand the scientific method and develop scientific skills.
This is a significant challenge to the status quo and in our opinion essential if we are to take children from year 6 into secondary school and expect them to be enthralled by and engaged with science.  We know this is important because Empiribox was founded by, and employs, experienced secondary school science teachers who struggle from the moment they face a new year 7 with building on the raw talent so inherent in people that age.
We are proud of the results our pupils achieve with their science – see our results.  Importantly, we see no gender barriers and we see both free-school-meals and special needs pupils as engaged, and therefore progressing, as any other children.
Most important though, we believe with all our hearts that young children are naturally curious and naturally engaged if exposed to real and practical science; it helps across the curriculum, across the school and most of all enhances their life chances.

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How Can Empiribox Help Your School Fulfill the National Curriculum for Science?

Written by Jenny Smitherman who is a qualified teacher and has first class honours in primary education with 12 years of teaching experience in primary schools. 
The national curriculum clearly states that all children should be taught full and enriching science at primary schools, complete with practical lessons and inspiring ideas. This sounds fairly straight forward, but when there are 12 different programmes of study for KS2 alone, it can become quite overwhelming for a non-science specialist.
Throughout the national curriculum, reference is made to the use of practical investigations to deepen children’s understanding and to promote experience in the use of basic equipment as well as increasing their knowledge year on year. Emphasis is also made on deepening a child’s understanding of the world in which they live and inspiring them with the wonders of science.
“Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.” Taken from the Science Programmes of Study, September 2013.
But what does the national curriculum for science actually mean?
The first step is to break it down and understand what the requirements for children are. The second is to make sure it is understood how each of these areas can be fulfilled whilst teaching. Below is a chart to show the areas of the national curriculum at KS2 and how you can fulfill these with Empiribox.

By the end of KS2, it is expected that children have a basic understanding of the scientific methods, how science can be applied to everyday life and have an innate curiosity to the world around them. Using Empiribox, all of this becomes second nature for students as our lessons encourage their natural scientist to bloom.
Teaching the science curriculum can seem overwhelming when first reading through the requirements, but breaking it down into bitesize chunks makes it a lot easier to understand and it becomes achievable.
Empiribox has gone to great lengths to ensure that children meet the national curriculum requirements with our service, whilst also building on the basic principles of science and correcting any misconceptions that they may have. This solid foundation gives them the opportunity to start the next phase of their education already bursting with ideas and enthusiasm for the wonders of science.

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Gabriel Foundation Teaches Empiribox in Mumbai

Beverley Crowne, her husband Nicholas and best friend Anne Marie Cooklin from Mill Hill in north London will be delivering jaw dropping, practical science lessons to children in the poorest areas of Mumbai for six weeks in the new year, thanks to Empiribox. Their science package comes complete with equipment, training, lesson plans, schemes of work and assessment tools so that teachers with no specialist science knowledge can deliver inspiring lessons with experiments that children will remember for the rest of their lives.
Empiribox has given Beverley, Nicholas and Anne Marie free places on continual professional development sessions for primary teachers in south London schools and is donating all the science equipment that the group will take to India.
The team at Empiribox is keen to help because the challenge fits well with their company’s mission to create strong, sustainable and socially inclusive primary school science education across the UK and internationally.
Beverley, Nicholas and Anne Marie are going to India as part of the Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM), a Jewish volunteer-based initiative which provides hunger relief, literacy, numeracy and health services to vulnerable children. The group will spend some weeks working in Mumbai’s Kalwa slum before moving on to the Palghar district, a rural area, delivering exciting sessions from the Empiribox science curriculum to children in around 20 local villages.
“We were daunted at first,” said Beverley, “Especially when we realised that we had so little science knowledge and would be working in classrooms with no electricity or water, teaching children who had never had a science lesson in their lives.”  But they have all been delighted by the support they have received. Gailarde, an Elstree company providing household textiles for industry, hotels and ships, has offered to make sure that the Empiribox science equipment reaches Mumbai in one piece.
The trio spent an afternoon at Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School on December 7 putting their new-found knowledge and skills to the test with children from years 4, 5 and 6 as they taught them about potential and kinetic energy through a series of exciting activities. The children spent the lesson devising trials for springy toys, rolling ball bearings down a runway and experimenting with different lengths and weights to see how they affected the swing of a pendulum. Teachers at Etz Chaim commented that children were enthusiastic and engaged and the new teachers enjoyed it too.
“Empiribox is fun and exciting for children,” said Anne Marie. “I remember finding science dull at school, but all the interaction and practical sessions spark an enthusiasm for science and scientific thinking. It’s like a magic show that enthrals the pupils.”

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Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, comments on the study of science in primary schools.

 

Introduction

Sir Michael WilshawIn his latest commentary [May 2016] , Sir Michael Wilshaw says that the emphasis in recent years on English and mathematics at key stage 2, while absolutely essential, should not be at the expense of other important subjects. He believes that compulsory subjects like science and modern languages have become the ‘poor relations’ of the primary school curriculum. However, these subjects, when taught well, can boost literacy and numeracy skills and raise standards in English and mathematics. Evidence from recent Ofsted inspections and feedback from teachers, parents and pupils have highlighted a number of common concerns surrounding the provision of both science and foreign languages at key stage 2. Sir Michael says that a sharper focus needs to be placed on these subjects to make sure that children leaving primary school are better prepared to meet the more rigorous academic challenges they will face at secondary school.
Read about the methodology and findings that informed this commentary.

Commentary

Last autumn, in the first of my series of monthly commentaries, I reflected on the strong performance of England’s primary schools and the steady rise in the number of pupils achieving well in their national curriculum tests at the end of key stage 2. I remarked that over 60,000 more 11-year-olds left primary school in 2015 with a good command of English and mathematics than just 3 years earlier. I also said that these improved test outcomes were supported by Ofsted’s own inspection findings. Our latest statistics show that 87% of primary schools were judged as good or outstanding at their most recent inspection.
There is little doubt that the main factor driving this success has been the strong emphasis on improving the basic knowledge and skills of primary school pupils in reading, writing and numeracy. However, a number of recent studies have suggested that this focus on the so-called ‘3 Rs’ has pushed other compulsory subjects, notably modern foreign languages and science, to the margins of the curriculum in many primary schools. (See Primary science: is it missing out? – recommendations for reviving primary science and Language trends 2015/16: the state of language learning in primary and secondary schools in England.)
This is a concern because the government has said that it wants the vast majority of pupils who started secondary school last September to take the full suite of English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects, including science and a foreign language, when they come to sit their GCSE examinations in 2020. This drive to raise the academic achievement of our young people is a laudable ambition but undoubtedly a very challenging one.
In 2015, less than half of all pupils studied a foreign language at GCSE and, although science is a core subject that should be studied by all pupils to age 16, only 74% of pupils took it to GCSE level to qualify for the EBacc. It seems clear that if the government’s ambition is to be met, primary schools will need to lay the foundations in these subjects before their pupils move on to study them at secondary school.
With this in mind, Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) reviewed the quality and breadth of provision in science and foreign languages in the primary schools inspected in the last two terms. Evidence was drawn from 340 routine inspections (234 with a focus on science and 106 with a focus on foreign languages). In addition, we took into account the views of hundreds of parents, teachers and pupils.
HMI found that the majority of primary-age pupils enjoy studying science and having the chance to learn a foreign language. However, inspectors also found weaknesses in the provision of both subjects. In particular, in too many schools they found:

Lack of time allocated to the study of science and foreign languages

In around two thirds of the primary schools visited by HMI, pupils spent less than 1 hour per week learning a foreign language. Many school leaders and classroom teachers told inspectors that the time available to devote to this subject was often seriously constrained and their school was struggling to squeeze foreign language lessons into an already tight curriculum.
Some of the parents we surveyed echoed this view. One commented that: “Due to lessons being sporadic, there doesn’t seem to be much content and my son never feels like he is progressing.” Another remarked that the study of foreign languages at their child’s primary school “is only given token attention”.
While the vast majority of schools were spending 4 hours or more each week teaching English and mathematics, none devoted a similar time to teaching science, the third core subject on the primary curriculum. Around two thirds indicated that they spent between 1 and 2 hours a week on science teaching. However, for around a fifth of the schools, less than an hour was given to learning the subject. In one case, pupils said that they couldn’t remember the last time they had had a science lesson.

Lack of teaching expertise, particularly in respect of foreign languages

The generation of teachers entering the profession in recent years was not, in the main, required to study a foreign language to GCSE. This has resulted in a shortage of language specialists at primary school level that can only be addressed through significant investment in the professional development of staff. Just under half the teachers who responded to the HMIquestionnaire said that they lacked confidence in their ability to teach a foreign language to their pupils.
Some of the schools we inspected employed a peripatetic language teacher to make up for the lack of specialist subject knowledge within the staff room, although this type of support was not always available.
Inspectors found that teachers’ lack of confidence and subject knowledge tended to be less of a problem when it came to science than for foreign languages, with the majority of primary teachers having studied the subject at least up to GCSE. Nonetheless, HMI found that the quality of science teaching was variable and that there was a link between teachers’ subject knowledge and how well pupils were developing their scientific skills.

Poor working arrangements with partner secondary schools failed to ensure effective transition and progression

As our report Key Stage 3: the wasted years? highlighted last year, transition between key stages 2 and 3 is too often poorly managed. It found that teaching in the first 3 years of secondary school often fails to build on the skills and knowledge pupils have gained at primary level.
HMI found that this absence of effective cross-phase working was a concern in around half the schools inspected in relation to foreign language learning. As a consequence, inspectors were told that when children started secondary school, many either repeated what they had learnt at primary school or found themselves studying a new language altogether.
One parent commented:

My son was taught French at primary age, but changed to Spanish at high school, making the French almost a waste of time. The schools are within a mile of one another! I would like local schools to communicate better so that the language they have been learning at primary can be continued through to high school.

For science, inspectors found that in just over half the primary schools inspected, pupils were not well prepared for the rigours of key stage 3. Schools must work more effectively together across the phases to ensure that pupils move seamlessly from primary to secondary, building on and quickly extending the knowledge and understanding of the scientific method necessary to study science successfully.

Not an ‘either/or’ situation

Inspectors found that the best primary schools are capable of providing effective teaching in science, foreign languages and all other subjects, without undermining pupils’ progress in literacy and numeracy. It should not be an ‘either/or’ situation. The best primary schools recognise that providing excellent teaching in subjects like foreign languages and science promotes good literacy and numeracy skills. This complements, rather than detracts from, the focus on English and mathematics.
In my years of experience as a headteacher, I often found that good language and science teachers were among the best at engaging with children and instilling in them an abiding interest and curiosity in the subject. If children are ‘switched off’ by poor, unchallenging lessons, this is likely to have an impact on the future take-up of these subjects. We must therefore ensure that primary-age pupils are inspired by effective teaching of science and foreign languages, from properly trained and qualified staff, and that the pupils’ enquiring minds and natural curiosity are nurtured.
It is fair to say that in recent years, Ofsted’s inspections of primary schools have prioritised the quality of provision in English and mathematics. In my view, this has helped to bring about the improved performance and standards I referred to at the start of this commentary.
However, the evidence from this recent investigation has convinced me that we need to put as sharp a focus on the other subjects as we do on English and mathematics. As a result, I have reminded inspectors that they should always be looking closely at the subjects of the wider primary curriculum, including science and foreign languages, as set out in the inspection handbook.
We need to ensure that primary schools are preparing pupils effectively for the more rigorous academic challenges that they will now face when they reach secondary school.

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Over half of primary school teachers say science is getting squeezed out

The CBI has revealed the obstacles that primary schools and teachers have to overcome if they are to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers.

[Download the full report, © Copyright CBI 2015]
The UK’s leading business organisation has published new research showing that the majority of primary teachers believe science has become less of a curriculum priority, with over a third of schools now providing less than the recommended two hours of science education a week.
The report co-authored by Brunel University London, the CBI reveals:

  • 53% of the 260 primary school teachers surveyed by the CBI believe teaching science has become less of a priority over the past 5 years (32.5% say it has not changed, 14.5% say it is now more of a priority)
  • A third of teachers (33%) lack confidence when teaching science (13% felt very confident, 54% were confident)
  • 62% want more professional development to build their confidence while 39% called for a science subject specialist within their primary school
  • Over a third (36%) of schools teaching science at Key Stage 2 in the survey do not provide the minimum recommended 2 hours of science education each week. Only 20% are able to commit over three hours, while 7.5% of primary schools teach under one hour each week.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:
“Science education in primary schools is being squeezed out, with over half of teachers believing it has become less of a priority with too many schools struggling to teach the recommended two hours every week.
“How can we expect to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers if we don’t deliver high-quality and inspiring science lessons at primary school age? If we are not careful, too many children will have lost interest in science before they hit their teens.
“A lack of science, technology, engineering and maths skills are already holding back economic growth and this will only get worse if we don’t energise the next generation. Pupils need innovative, fun lessons with access to the latest science kit and need to break free of the classroom more to visit cutting-edge companies and universities.
“We must also seriously tackle the persistent cultural problem of pigeon-holing boys and girls into certain subjects and career paths. Schools can have a big impact here, influencing not just pupils but also parents.
“The idea that the education system is successfully inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers is fantasy.”
The CBI argues that the situation has been mainly driven by the abolition of testing at Key Stage Two and the upshot of a system obsessed with exam results, not the real world skills future scientists, technicians and engineers need to master. Importantly, testing has been maintained for English and maths, and though we do not want a return to SATs for science, we must ensure that science teaching in primary schools is highly valued.
The report also finds that over 70% of primary school teachers want more support from business. Of those, three-quarters would find it helpful for businesses to offer use of their equipment and facilities. Over 60% would like support from companies in lesson delivery and arranged class visits.
The Report outlines a series of recommendations to overcome the challenges of boosting science in primary schools:

  • The UK and devolved Governments must set targets to have the best performing schools for science in Europe – and in the top five worldwide – by 2020.  This should be underpinned by a new science education strategy – covering primary, secondary and tertiary education
  • Primary schools should ensure professional development for science is of a high standard and carried out regularly to build the confidence of primary teachers to deliver high-quality science lessons
  • Teachers should be encouraged to spend more time with businesses and universities to enhance their understanding of scientific theory and its practical applications
  • All primary schools should have a subject leader for science in place to drive forward the subject as a priority in each school
  • Businesses and universities must divert more of their outreach resources to primary schools and not focus purely on secondary. The new Careers and Enterprise Company in England should include primary in its remit and should be funded for the term of the next Parliament.

Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice Chancellor and President of Brunel University London, says:
“We are pleased to produce this important report with the CBI.  The report’s findings – indicating that STEM subjects have become less of a priority in Primary Schools in recent years – should be a wake-up call for everyone in government, business and education.  None of us should be in any doubt of the critical importance of ensuring that the education system inspires interest and enthusiasm for the sciences and provides careers advice and guidance as early as possible for school students. Not only does the nation’s prosperity depend on this, it is also vital to ensure that educational and careers opportunities are not prematurely closed-off for young people.
“The work we are doing at Brunel University London to address the shortage of highly qualified STEM teachers, develop innovative approaches for the teaching of mathematics and launch the national STEM Outreach Centre for school students, demonstrates our commitment to playing an active part in promoting the teaching of STEM in Primary Schools. We are clear that it is our responsibility to work with schools in advancing this agenda and that business has a vital role to play as well.  The scale of the challenge requires that we must all work together.”
Russell Hobby, General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers:
“An understanding of science is needed to understand and thrive in the modern world. As the CBI’s report makes clear, this learning is best begun early. Yet primary schools are constrained – by narrow accountability targets and the need for their teachers to be masters of all trades, teaching science with the same confidence they teach English, maths, history and sport.
“We should, as the report recommends, offer maximum support to primary schools and make sure we judge them fairly on a broad and balanced curriculum.”
[Download the full report, © Copyright CBI 2015]

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Eight Hertfordshire Primary Schools ‘Hands-On’ with Empiribox!

Science at Primary Schools in Hertfordshire has become a firm favourite among pupils and teachers following the introduction of Empiribox.
Woodlands Primary School in Borehamwood has been using Empiribox for all 120 of its Key Stage 2 pupils in Years Three to Six for the last twelve months. It was one of the first primary schools in the country to trial the practical Science teaching and learning system two years ago.
The school is also planning to use Empiribox with Key Stage 1 pupils in the very near future.
“We wanted the children to love Science – and now they do! The children always ask me when Science is and are enthusiastic when being taught as all the lessons are interactive and extremely fun,” said Keely Haffner, Science Teacher at Woodlands Primary School. “The children love the demonstrations at the start of each lesson and can’t wait to get involved in their own experiments during the lessons – the learning is limitless and allows the children time to explore, question and evaluate. The training provided also gives me more confidence when delivering the lessons to the children.”
The other schools in the county using Empiribox include:
Borehamwood
Parkside Community Primary School, Meryfield Primary School, Monksmead School, Kenilworth Primary School, Summerswood Primary School, Saffron Green Primary School
Radlett
Shenley Primary School

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Not Just a History Lesson

A CBI report suggests that science is being squeezed out at primary school level. We look at how that trend can be reversed

As a head of science in a London secondary school I was always keen to instil and maintain my pupils’ interest in science, especially those students I knew would enjoy a career in physics, chemistry, geology, biology or other STEM subjects.
However, it is rare to hear a pupil in the secondary phase saying how wonderful their science lessons are or talking excitedly about developments in science. This is a major challenge for industry and education in the UK because the effects are far reaching.
Although I recognise that some great work has already been done in tackling this challenge, is it enough? Does encouraging young people to choose sciences at 16 and then perhaps a relevant apprenticeship only go so far in addressing the problem?
Children have formed a view long before 16. They’re forming their view of science as they sit in primary classes. It’s not the fault of teachers that a child was turned off science or simply didn’t even think they might have a career in science today. The ‘fault’ is complex and has been a long time in the making.
As the CBI and Royal Society of Engineers (amongst others) have identified, by the time a child moves up to secondary
level a potential talent may well have been wasted. They’ve already lost interest because science hasn’t been presented to them with sufficient ‘wow’ factor to keep their attention and nurture them for tomorrow.
The CBI’s report (`Tomorrow’s World — Inspiring Primary Scientists’) was researched in conjunction with Brunel University. It looked at how to address this issue — of disinterested young people — earlier in the school system. Here are a few of the findings:
• 53% (of 260 primary school teachers) believe teaching science has become less of a priority over the past five years
• A third of teachers lack confidence when teaching science — only 13% felt very confident, while 54% were confident
• 62% want more professional development
• 39% called for a science subject specialist within their primary school
• Over a third (36%) of schools teaching science at key stage two did not provide the minimum recommended two hours of science education each week
• Only 20% are able to commit over three hours, while 7.5% of primary schools teach under one hour each week.
OK, it makes depressing reading, but it’s easy to see how all the other pressures might squeeze out science. After all, few primary teachers are from science backgrounds; teaching science is probably something that fills them with dread. They don’t have the knowledge and they don’t have much kit. It’s easier to teach the history — that science, technology and engineering skills created the industrial revolution — and then leave it at that. But inertia will hold us all back because economic growth is already under threat; the skills we need have declined.
It was the need to create innovative, fun-packed, interesting and rewarding classroom environments for science teaching that led me to create the company I now run. If we can make it ‘cool’ to learn science we can’t consign the excellent CBI report to the past. (It’s a good report, I just don’t want it to win the day.)
Science teaching must become more inspired if we’re to create young scientists, technicians and engineers. Primary schools need to ensure teachers’ professional development for science is regular, of a good quality and reaches a high standard. It’s critical — for both teachers and pupils —that the education system inspires interest and enthusiasm for science in particular.
It seems to me — and many others — that primary schools might be constrained by narrow targets and the need for their teachers to be ‘all-rounders’, but it shouldn’t preclude them from being supported and inspired to the same levels of confidence they need for all the other subjects they teach.
www.empiribox.org

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Making science pay its way in schools and beyond

This article was first published in the Times Education Supplement in November 2015
Reports such as those from the Royal Society, CBI and Ofsted say UK science education isn’t as good as it should be. In fact it’s a long way off the mark. Many schools are struggling to recruit, and critically, retain excellent science teachers.
Why? After all there’s considerable money invested in our science education, both in terms of its provision in primary and secondary schools and by government trying to stem the shortage of good quality science teachers leaving the profession and encouraging good potential teachers to enter it.
Teaching science effectively to guarantee proper comprehension of the subject requires routine and regular practical work. This means having knowledge, a huge range of experimental procedures and apparatus, not to mention the teaching experience and confidence to deliver it meaningfully in the classroom. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, not all of these essential elements are available all of the time which leads to disengaged students and teachers. It’s a vicious circle and one that’s proving hard to break.
However, there is a viable solution to hand but it’s been widely overlooked. By embedding proper science teaching support and practical lessons in primary schools, the major pain points for teachers and students – at primary and secondary – will be eased considerably.
But to make it work, with the vast majority being non-science specialists, primary teachers need much more practical support to give them the confidence and resources necessary. This calls for stimulating routine science teaching CPD throughout the year; fun and inspiring schemes of work and lesson plans; all of the science equipment they need for their classes to work in pairs; easy access to experienced colleagues and online resources to seek advice and supplement their lessons.
A tall order, but such an approach is affordable. By using science to develop cross curricular links across the whole school, the budget can be allocated from several components of a primary school’s budget, including training, learning resources across several subjects and use of pupil premium (and sometimes PTA funding). Maths and English lessons can draw upon rich science activities, helping develop creative writing, robust debating and reasoning skills from evidence students have generated from their experiments. There are also opportunities to create further links to DT, art, music, history and geography lessons.
To achieve high quality results and deliver an effective science curriculum, a realistic budget for an average single form entry, based upon the observations above, should be at least £6K per year. This would provide for a minimum of one staff science teaching CPD day per annum for all teachers and associated TAs in KS2; a wide range of science equipment sufficient for all pupils to work in pairs; ICT science teaching support licenses, science teaching support literature and assessment software / licenses.
Benefits
After four years, more pupils will enter the secondary phase fully equipped to talk the language of science and undertake independent scientific investigations with minimal help. This means that secondary science teachers have to spend less time teaching the basics, which allows them to teach more exciting and engaging science lessons.
Disruptive behaviour becomes a relatively ‘non issue’ because students are engaged in their lessons, allowing girls, particularly in mixed schools, not to be put off science because of poor class behaviour. And ultimately teachers become far less stressed about delivering science lessons, actually enjoying planning ‘wow’ memorable science lessons. They then become effective at ensuring pupils learn more and properly develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
A systematic approach to supporting practical science teaching at primary level will ultimately mean more pupils excelling at GCSE, electing to study science at A Level and degree level. In turn, the country gains more scientists, some of the best returning to education. This is when investment in science really starts to pay for itself!
Alternatively, we can continue spending more time and money improving the quality of advertising campaigns for attracting our best and brightest science graduates into teaching, spending more money on higher salaries for science teachers, enhancing the quality of science teacher training and mentoring for would be science teachers. But in isolation these just won’t break that vicious circle.

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Reading + writing + arithmetic = great science

When Empiribox was launched last year, the founders made a big claim. Their product would revolutionise teaching in primary schools.
The company introduced specific, topic-based sets of science training (four each for physics, chemistry and biology) that not only covers the new National Primary Curriculum but, the company says, significantly enriches it; across all teaching areas.
The system includes suites of equipment, with accompanying schemes of work and lesson plans, and while teachers using Empiribox are quick to praise its benefits for science teaching, there are also plaudits for the benefits it brings to English teaching. It’s even ‘wowed’ an OFSTED inspector or two.
Freethorpe School in Norfolk used Empiribox resources as a core part of a school-wide cross curricular two-week project based on the book Itch by Simon Mayo.
Robbie Houghton, the school’s deputy head teacher, said: “This provided an amazing start to the year – the school was able to link literacy, maths, art, design technology and drama in order to immerse the children into the exciting world of elements. The cross-curricular writing produced throughout the week was of a very good standard, as the children were exposed to a high level of practical activities prior to completing their own work,” continued Houghton.
“Enthusiasm was harnessed from the start, producing a wide range of writing, including poetry, diary extracts and reports. Children used extensive scientific language in their everyday conversations. The immediate impact was to boost the confidence of all children in the class.
“This work has taken them beyond National Curriculum expectations. Several parents have been in to class, excited to hear directly from their children, what they had learned that day. Some were also impressed by the depth of knowledge and understanding their children had; I think the parents have learnt a lot too.”
Jennifer Iwantschak, a Year 6 teacher at Globe Primary in London, also says her pupils are applying the science skills they’ve developed to learning across other subjects.
“It’s been fantastic. We do some big writes for literacy and before, when we did science writing, they didn’t have enough knowledge to really elaborate on it in a big piece of writing. Now they do – they are really enthused about it.”
This effect is mirrored at other subscribing schools as well. “On literacy, they are now writing reams of work about their results, which is amazing. So I can see a huge difference in their work as a result (of their science lessons),” says Lucy Penn of Franklin Primary.
Empiribox Primary Science Trust C.I.C. is a social business; surpluses will be reinvested for the benefit of the primary education in England and Wales. And as a social enterprise it has a valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive primary school education system.
Teachers using the Empiribox suites get full training and access to topic-based class sets of training. The depth and breadth of the topics not only covers the new National Primary Curriculum but significantly enriches it.
Youngsters are encouraged to record their own data and make judgments as to outcomes of experiments and demonstrations. It’s a written (and spoken) evidenced-based experience. It gives them confidence: not only are children encouraged to ask ‘why’ in every lesson, they’re encouraged to write about what they see and record it.”
Jen Iwantschak’s pupils’ results speak for themselves. “I was observed in a science lesson when OFSTED came in, and they were really excited about it – they hadn’t seen a primary lesson before where the kids had so much knowledge. Not only was it clear they had knowledge, but they were also able to explain what they were doing to the OFSTED inspectors, and they were amazed by the experimental and investigative skills that the children had.”

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Hands-on science lessons bring classrooms to life in Blundeston

Pupils finding out if the temperature effects the light from a glow stick by using ice cubes and hot water in a darkened room.
Experiments, investigations and demonstrations are helping to bring fun to the classroom as practical science lessons transform learning for primary school children.
Blundeston Primary School science teacher Ed Davey taking a hands on science lesson with pupils. Pictures: James Bass
Two Lowestoft area primary schools are among several in Suffolk and Norfolk that are piloting a new approach, which embraces a ‘hands-on’ science teaching and learning system.
Teachers and pupils at Blundeston Primary and Corton Primary schools in Lowestoft are some of the first in the country to be trying out the new formula for teaching and learning about science.
They are working with the Empiribox Primary Science Trust (CIC), a not for profit social enterprise, as part of Empiribox’s initial field trial and early adopters program.
Blundeston Primary has been using the system for four terms, and among the staff comments about the system were “a fab session, making chemistry really fun and interactive” and “excellent that the experiments are demonstrated and then allow participation for trial”.
Ed Davey, science coordinator at the school in Church Road, Blundeston, said: “Our 100 Key Stage 2 pupils are already learning much more than before as the system is increasing their knowledge and skills through more practical experimentation and investigative work, with enough equipment to work in pairs or small groups every week.
“It will be a tremendous help to our pupils as they approach secondary school as they are developing a richer vocabulary, greater reasoning, and improved numeracy.”
Mr Davey, who has spent more than 10 years teaching science at primary level and has a formal science background, added: “In my previous teaching experience it had always been a struggle due to a lack of appropriate science resources but Empiribox provides all the equipment and materials in one place and the training provided gives teachers added confidence, even if they don’t have a science background.
“Parents too are able to be involved at home with some of the experiments and I have already received positive feedback from several at our parent teacher meetings.”
The success of the Empiribox field trials, which has involved more than 50 primary schools nationwide – including academy chains and Academy Enterprise Trust organisations – means the enterprise behind the system will now be making it available to all primary schools in England and Wales.
Speaking about the practical investigation that the pupils were conducting while posing for these photographs, Mr Davey said: “Pupils have been learning about different types of energy and the focus has been on light energy.
“For the investigation, using equipment provided with the Empiribox system, they had to decide whether temperature affected the glow emitted from light sticks by comparing the results of placing them in iced and hot water.
“They then had to decide on how they were going to record their data. Some used a light meter, others took photos and others just used visual observations with their own scale of recording.”
Empiribox Primary Science Trust (CIC) is a not for profit social enterprise. As a Community Interest Company (CIC) it is committed to helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive primary school education in England and Wales.
http://www.lowestoftjournal.co.uk/news/hands_on_science_lessons_bring_classrooms_to_life_in_blundeston_1_4116382

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New science formula helps Wickhambreaux pupils excel

Year Five and Six pupils at Wickhambreaux C.E. Primary School in Kent are some of the first in the country to be trying a new ‘hands-on’ approach to learning about science.
Pupils at the OFSTED ‘Outstanding’ school have been quick to catch the bug for science by using the system for the last three terms which enables regular and varied practical scientific experimentation in the classroom, even at home.
“Imagine attempting to investigate and learn about Sound if there is only one tuning fork to share among a whole class? Now we have sufficient materials to allow pupils to work in pairs every week of the school year and conduct a whole range of exciting experiments to help us explore the wonders of chemistry, biology and physics,” said Linda Lodge, Science Coordinator at Wickhambreaux Primary.
Added Linda Lodge, “Our new ‘Do It’ approach to science fits well with the culture of Wickhambreaux but is only made possible by it being affordable in the first place, even by a small school like ours, and ensuring there is sufficient equipment and materials to go around. We have already seen how Empiribox helps better prepare our pupils for moving on to KS3 science at secondary school as well as aid numeracy and literacy.”

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Suffolk Science Head sees benefits beyond the science

Blundeston and Corton Primary schools in Lowestoft have been using the Empiribox practical science teaching and learning system for four terms.
Ed Davey, Science Coordinator at Blundeston, has already identified a number of important benefits: “Our 100 KS2 pupils are learning much more than before as the system is increasing their knowledge and skills through more practical experimentation and investigative work, with enough equipment to work in pairs or small groups every week. It will be a tremendous help to our pupils as they approach secondary school as they are developing a richer vocabulary, greater reasoning, and improved numeracy.”
Added Ed Davey, who has spent over 10 years in teaching science at primary level and has a formal science background, “In my previous teaching experience it had always been a struggle due to a lack of appropriate science resources but Empiribox provides all the equipment and materials in one place and the training provided gives teachers added confidence, even if they don’t have a science background.
“Parents too are able to be involved at home with some of the experiments and I have already received positive feedback from several at our parent teacher meetings.”

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Primary science scheme released

A “hands-on” system for teaching science is being rolled out to primary schools across the country.
The Empiribox Primary Science Trust package says that it provides all the “essential” science teaching components for key stage 2 pupils.
It includes equipment and materials for conducting 280 experiments over four years, regular face-to-face teacher training and mentoring, lesson planning and documentation.
This month’s national launch follows trials in more than 50 schools, including academy chains such as Ark and Academies Enterprise Trust.
Jennifer Iwantschak, a year 6 teacher at Ark Globe Academy in London, was observed in a science lesson during an Ofsted visit while using the Empiribox system.
“Not only was it clear that the students had knowledge, but they were also able to explain what they were doing to the inspectors who were amazed by the experimental and investigative skills the children had.”
The system costs less than £40 per pupil, per year.
Visit empiribox.org to register your school.
Pic: An Ark Tindall Primary pupil using a balloon car from Empiribox in a science lesson
 
http://schoolsweek.co.uk/primary-science-scheme-released/

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Leicester primary school tests new science formula

Dovelands, one of Leicester’s largest primary schools, has awarded Empiribox a glowing first year report since joining the hands-on science teaching and learning revolution.
“We have been using the Empiribox science resources this last year and we have loved using them,” said Sara McAdam, Head Teacher of Dovelands Primary, one of the city’s largest primary schools. “The children have had some great opportunities to use practical resources and carry out experiments such as making rockets. I think that the access to the resources and the expertise is something that other primary schools would really benefit from.”
“Delivering experiments is really easy because everything is so well organised,” added Tom Houlton, Science Coordinator at Dovelands Primary. “It is quite literally going to the trolley, taking off the tray for the relevant lesson and bringing it to the classroom.  Everything is there that you need – you don’t even have to scratch around for Sellotape or Blu-Tack! We are able to deal with a range of experiments that would normally be outside the scope of a primary school, because some of the equipment is quite specialist.”

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Merseyside Primary

Merseyside primary thinks ‘out of the box’ for better science    
Thanks to Empiribox, pupils and teachers at the OFSTED ‘Outstanding’ St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School in Liverpool school are now enjoying regular and varied practical scientific experimentation.
“With Empiribox everything is ready for teachers to use right out of the box,” said Phil Stewart, Head Teacher at St Vincent de Paul. “By having sufficient materials and equipment to allow working in pairs every week of the school year to conduct a whole range of exciting experiments, we will be more able to nurture a keen interest in the wonders of science which will help our pupils excel as they head for secondary school.”
Empiribox Primary Science Trust C.I.C. is a ‘not for profit’ social enterprise. As a Community Interest Company (CIC) it is committed to helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive primary school education throughout the UK.

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Essex pupils discover ‘wow’ factor science formula

Ahead of more stringent nationwide testing in primary schools next year, pupils at St John’s C.E. Primary School in Colchester are working in pairs or small groups.
Having subscribed to Empiribox, St John’s 120 Key Stage 2 pupils (7 – 11 year olds) can now conduct a different practical scientific experiment in the classroom every week of the school year.
“It’s a brilliant system that has been developed by teachers who know how children learn, giving us all the resources we need as well as the teacher training to provide the ‘wow’ factor in lessons,” said Nick Hutchings, Head Teacher at St John’s Primary. “Our children are really enjoying it and talking to parents about the experiments they are doing. The staff enjoyed the initial training and the lesson planning and like having all the equipment to hand so children can easily carry out experiments a number of times.”
Added Nick Hutchings, “By allowing us to effectively resource all the practical elements of science, it has helped improve the quality of provision for science in Key Stage 2, providing a clear progression through the subject with the ability for pupils to record science experiments in a meaningful way.”
A further school in Essex now enjoying the benefits of the Empiribox system is Broadford Primary School in Romford. This OFSTED ‘Outstanding’ school and recent TES Finalist is yet another fine example of how the Empiribox science revolution is taking hold across the country!

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West Midlands Primaries

Empiribox gets the vote in West Midlands ‘Primaries’
Today may be Election Day but teachers and pupils at a string of primary schools in the Birmingham area have already voted for the Empiribox practical science teaching and learning system!
Among those giving the thumbs up are Ark Tindal Primary Academy, Ark Rose Primary Academy, Lea Forest Primary, Montgomery Primary, Percy Shurmer Primary and Shirestone Primary.
With more rigorous primary school pupil testing from 2016 and at a time when many primary schools are finding it a challenge to provide adequate Key Stage 2 science teaching due to lack of equipment and expertise, the system’s affordable and practical ‘out-of-the-box’ approach is proving popular with both KS2 pupils and teachers.
“Our termly Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP) evaluation of 280 KS2 pupils has shown their level of engagement and understanding of fundamental science concepts to have measurably improved in just three terms of using the Empiribox system,” said Matthew Jones, Science Coordinator at Ark Tindal.
“The provision of all the equipment and documentation necessary, plus the growing confidence of our teaching staff in delivery from the regular training included, has changed for the better the way our pupils and teachers see and think about science. We recently did a survey and over 60 % of pupils said science was their favourite subject compared to a year ago when hardly any voted for it at all!”
Added Matthew, who does not have a formal science background and professes to have found science unenjoyable at school due to little practical content, “Increased hands-on learning through regular experiments and investigation, done in pairs or small groups, definitely is making science a much more interesting proposition. The Empiribox system also demands time spent reporting on the findings, including chart and graph making, contributing directly to numeracy and literacy which complements other core subjects.”
The success of the Empiribox field trials which has involved more than 50 primary schools nationwide including academy chains and Academy Enterprise Trust organisations means the Empiribox Primary Science Trust C.I.C. will now be making it available to all primary schools.
Empiribox Primary Science Trust C.I.C. is a ‘not for profit’ social enterprise. As a Community Interest Company (CIC) it is committed to helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive primary school education throughout the UK.

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Portsmouth School Trials New Science Program

A school in Portsmouth has become one of the first in the country to use a new ‘hands-on’ system for teaching science.
The new Empiribox system has been trialed by pupils and staff at Ark Ayrton Primary Academy in Southsea, The Portsmouth News reports.
Empiribox provides practical science lessons every week of the year over a four-year cycle for Key Stage 2 pupils in Years 3 to 6.
Science teaching components are provided in 12-week cycles. After each cycle, the equipment is collected from the school and the next consignment delivered.
One of the main benefits of the system is that schools using it do not have to invest in expensive equipment or worry about the storage of items that will only be used again in several years’ time.
Pupils cover 12 topics during the 12 weeks, giving them a solid skill set and grounding in practical science. Empiribox hopes this will spark their enthusiasm, inspiring them to continue studying the subject further down the line.
The program is aimed at boosting the confidence of those in teaching jobs as well as improving learner outcomes.
According to the Royal Society, over 96 per cent of primary school teachers have no science qualifications, meaning they can feel uncomfortable teaching a highly technical subject.
Tracey Woods, Ark Ayrton’s science coordinator, said: “The provision of all the equipment and documentation necessary, plus the growing confidence of our teaching staff in delivery thanks to the regular training included, has directly resulted in the increased enthusiasm and excitement our pupils are now displaying for the whole subject.”
She added that the system has boosted the progress of key stage 2 pupils, making them more engaged and receptive to learning about science, while their numeracy and literacy have also improved.
Due to the success of the Empiribox trials, which have involved more than 50 schools, the system will now be made available to all primary schools throughout England and Wales.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels
http://www.teachingpersonnel.com/news/2015/5/7/portsmouth-school-trials-new-science-programme/

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ARK Ayrton Primary

Ayrton Primary finds success with Empiribox ‘hands-on’ science teaching and learning system. 
Teachers and pupils at Ark Ayrton and Ark Charles Dickens Primary Academies in Hampshire are finding success with their new ‘hands-on’ formula for teaching and learning about science.
“Approximately 180 of our KS2 pupils have been using the Empiribox system for three terms,” said Tracey Woods, Ark Ayrton’s Science Coordinator. “The provision of all the equipment and documentation necessary, plus the growing confidence of our teaching staff in delivery thanks to the regular training included, has directly resulted in the increased enthusiasm and excitement our pupils are now displaying for the whole subject.”
“The opportunities we now have for doing more hands-on learning through regular experiments, combined with the reporting of results, has accelerated our KS2 pupils’ progress,” added Tracey. “They are more engaged and receptive to learning about science while also improving numeracy and literacy – even when dealing with quite difficult concepts such as particle theory!”
The success of the Empiribox field trials held at Ark Ayrton and approximately 50 other primary schools has led to the system going on general release from May through Empiribox Primary Science Trust C.I.C. This is a ‘not for profit’ social enterprise and as a Community Interest Company (CIC) it is committed to helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive primary school education throughout the UK.

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It’s the time of the year for generosity

How would you like your school to benefit from free science equipment, training and planning…for a whole term?
You’ll receive

Why such a generous offer? Well, we want to inspire young children about science, making sure the passion lasts. Every child should enjoy hands-on practical science investigations because the only way to learn science is to do it. Equally, teachers need the best training and support, and the confidence to use equipment correctly to deliver engaging lessons.
Our program covers four years of Key Stage 2 National Curriculum and beyond. We offer an easy subscription scheme at an affordable cost – between £20-29 per pupil per year, depending on the number of form entries in KS2 in your school.
So if, at the end of the spring term, we’ve demonstrated how practical science can inspire pupils (and teachers), your payment becomes due and your subscription continues for another 12 months. But if the system doesn’t meet your needs, take advantage of our 100% no quibble, no obligation guarantee and cancel the subscription, returning the first term’s equipment. The only thing we’ll ask in return is your feedback on how Empiribox impacted on pupils and teachers.
To take advantage of this offer, you must subscribe by the end of December 2014 and accept an invoice for the annual subscription. Payment will be due by 27 March 2015 and cover the period to the end of March 2016.
Contact us on 020 8226 6130 to activate your subscription or arrange a demonstration before making a final decision.

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Developing ‘scientists of the future’ is launched

An innovative and inspiring new approach to teaching and learning science in primary schools has been launched in the UK.
Empiribox provides teachers with access to all the equipment they need. The Primary Science Equipment Suites, with accompanying exciting Schemes of Work and Lesson Plans, is a unique concept which, the team that developed it says, will enhance the teaching and learning of science in primary schools.
“In a nutshell,” says Empiribox, “it provides the platform for the delivery of affordable and practical science lessons throughout the year for KS2 pupils in years three to six.
“The vast majority of class teachers in K1 and KS2 have no graduate science qualifications and often no science A level qualification either,” he explains, “so they are often uncomfortable and ill-equipped to deliver high quality lessons, effectively planned and structured, and with appropriate equipment.
“Science teaching at primary school needs to be exciting and interactive. That can only happen if teachers feel confident in the science role and Empiribox makes learning fun and relevant for pupils – that’s probably its greatest benefit.”
The best science teaching and learning support currently available to primary schools is that provided through the STEM centres.
However, he feels there are a number of limitations to this provision, including awareness, cost, time and training.
“Empiribox provides imaginative, engaging and fun schemes of work for every teaching week over four years. Training and support for teachers is provided by trained and experienced science teacher-trainers, and there’s access to full class sets of all the latest and traditional teaching resources.”
And in addition to ongoing Continuous Professional Development in science for primary teachers, the newly-launched scheme has a number of significant advantages for pupils.
Empiribox summarises these as –
• Teaching and encouraging children to ask and test scientific questions
• Developing ‘Investigative skills’
• Stimulating enthusiasm for science
• Enhancing understanding of the ‘scientific process’ particularly the limitations of experimental design
• Enhancing literacy and numeracy through real data and experiments which they own!
“For the schools the removal of stress, time and anxiety around planning the annual science curriculum and lessons for KS2 is removed; this is very important for non-science qualified teachers.
“Empiribox improves the confidence of non-specialists in delivering effective lessons; that in turn boosts the school’s results in the core science skills they need, leading to improved league table results and greater popularity and funding,” they points out.
The Empiribox system has already been trialed in 21 schools in Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent and London.
“Enthusiasm for science is generated in children from an early age” says a qualified scientist and former head of secondary school science departments.
“Empiribox is designed to inspire children to continue science learning into secondary schools and beyond. It’s an excellent grounding in science for participating primary school children.
“I also believe it’s a crucial first step towards creating first-rate scientists of the future, which will help the UK to maintain a technological advantage in an increasingly competitive global market.
“Improved awareness, knowledge and teaching of science at primary level significantly enhance transition skills, knowledge and understanding for primary pupils entering secondary school.
“We have found that the most cost effective method of participation is in clusters of three schools, working together to share one trolley each per term per subject; biology, chemistry and physics.”
For further information about this release, product details, interviews and photographs, please contact Simon Brian at Epic Communications on 0116 261 6898 or 07507 554612

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