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
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!
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
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.
|PREDICTED AMOUNT||ACTUAL AMOUNT||ORDER OF SOLUBILITY|
When analysing your data, consider some of the below questions and see if your pupils can answer them.
- Can you and your pupils decide if the data is reliable?
- Where there any anomalies?
- Where did the anomalies occur?
- Why do you think the anomalies occurred?
- Can you and your pupils explain why the data might not be valid?
- How could you repeat the experiment to ensure that the data was both reliable and valid?
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:
- Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- Are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.