A whole year’s progress in one term!
Empiribox is not just about science – it has a positive effect on Numeracy and Literacy too.
Perhaps the only question of importance is not what does it cost, but what outcomes are the children achieving?
Nick Hutchings, Head, St John’s Primary School Colchester
Empiribox provides pupil assessment tools for both knowledge gained and skills development.
We have sampled results from schools using Empiribox and the following 2 sample charts, from just 2 of the 12 schemes, describe the progress made from an average sample set of 1000+ pupils from 5 schools in 1 term. The national targets were for 1 level + progress over 1 year, however, our pupils are showing 1 level of progress each term! – definitely ‘exceeding expectations’.
The shift to the right in red shows the dramatic improvement the children are achieving.
As for the teacher assessment of progress, the following representative sample shows equally powerful outcomes for pupils experiencing the Empiribox method.
If you would like to learn more about the amazing results being achieved by Empiribox, please contact us and ask to talk to our Primary Support staff. Jan Tanner, head of Empiribox Primary Support, is himself a former primary school head teacher and will be more than happy to show you statistics in detail and talk through how and where these results were obtained.
In addition to the pupil, teacher, head teacher and parent feedback we get, we think this is very compelling evidence for the efficacy and value of our system.
Enthusing young children about science by doing practical investigations every week isn’t just about science – the additional benefits in numeracy and literacy progression and general enthusiasm are also impressive.
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!
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.
- Set up equipment
- Ensure accuracy during the investigation
- Record the results
- 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:
- 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.
- Have a whole class discussion at the beginning and end of each lesson to clearly see improvement in knowledge.
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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
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!
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.
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.”