The Association for Science Education

SnapScience

Title: Snap Science - Teaching Framework Year 3 
Resource type: Complete and detailed sequences of lessons to support children to Work Scientifically for Year 3 teachers in England
Authors: Nicola Beverley, James De Winter, Naomi Hiscock, Liz Lawrence
Series Editor: Jane Turner
Publisher: Collins 
ISBN: 978-0-00-755143-9
Publication Date: 2014
Format: Paperback (321pp) and online subsciption
RRP: £100
Link: http://www.collins.co.uk/page/Snap+Science

ASE Expert Evaluation:

Changes in the English National Curriculum provide many opportunities and challenges.  There is the opportunity to widen primary science beyond the fair test and beyond the classroom (use naming plants as the excuse to get outside!) The challenge of any change is always finding the time to consider what you will keep and what you will adapt. It is here that publishers are keen to support us with a wide array of publications designed to support implementation of the new curriculum, one such publication is discussed here.

The Collins Snap Science programme describes itself as a: ‘Dynamic toolkit’.  This means that there are a number of parts, many of which can be adapted online to suit your class.  There is a paper book called a Teaching Framework containing sequenced lesson plans for one year group.  There is also a subscription based online resource kit on the Collins Connect Platform which contains the lesson plans in editable ‘drag-and-drop’ format, so that the activities can be selected and used in your preferred order. There is online supporting material for the lessons in the form of images, videos, animations and slideshows.  Online assessment and tracking are also mentioned but at the time of writing this was still under construction, so the review can only make comment on the Teaching Framework book.

The series states that it is written by a team of curriculum experts, and the list of names does bode well, including ASTs, consultants and ‘big names’ in primary science, all of whom started in the classroom. It is not surprising then that there are great principles at the start of the book: progression leading to big ideas in science, developing understanding through Working Scientifically, active involvement of children in their own learning and the prominence of Assessment for Learning strategies.  These high aims are embedded in the lessons, for example, each has a clear enquiry focus and in support of AfL, learning intentions are exemplified by ‘I can’ success criteria to support the teacher and children.

aims are embedded in the lessons, for example, each has a clear enquiry focus and in support of AfL

Each module begins with some background science for the teacher and common misconceptions to look out for.  The lesson plans are clear, with all the usual sections for resources of vocabulary etc.  I particularly liked the way every lesson is based around a question and starts with Explore Activities, designed to catch attention, place the science in context, stimulate children’s questions and provide an opportunity for the teacher to find out what the children already know about the topic.  The main Enquire Challenge is described in 3 levels of differentiated challenge and provides opportunities for practical exploration, data collection and analysis.  For example, exploring leaves leads onto comparing, sorting and classifying leaves.  Or when comparing rocks, Challenge 1 gives clear instructions to test absorbency, Challenge 2 asks children to time how long it takes for water to be absorbed, and Challenge 3 gives children the opportunity to design and carry out their own investigation into the permeability of rocks.

Self and peer assessment is highlighted in many of the plenary sections, reinforcing the principle of supporting the children to be active in their own learning.  The sequences of lessons include core lessons which are needed to cover all the objectives from the new English Programme of Study, and enrichment lessons which provide extra breadth and depth.

the clear, complete and principled way this resource is presented brings enquiry, context and children’s questions to the fore so that we can be confident we are supporting children to be active in their learning.

The lessons do contain many references to the supporting online materials, so it may be a little frustrating to only have the book, although the lesson plans are complete if you are willing to spend a little time finding images etc.  The Snap Science toolkit represents a significant financial commitment, thus it is likely the decision over whether to purchase will need to be made at a whole school level. 

Whilst many of the activities are not new ideas (which is quite comforting too!), the clear, complete and principled way this resource is presented brings enquiry, context and children’s questions to the fore so that we can be confident we are supporting children to be active in their learning.