Green Tick: 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Science

Overview

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers is a succinctly written, yet comprehensive collection of engaging activities and suggestions for teaching and learning science. The book is well organised into nine concisely written sections, each offering very accessible ideas to make science exciting to learn. In addition, many sections also include a selection of ‘Teaching Tips’, ideas for further challenge and Bonus ideas to enrich learning.

This book covers several of the most challenging concepts in primary science, and offers a range of simple yet effective activities and strategies to help teachers plan engaging lessons that enhance children’s understanding of science.

About the authors

Paul Tyler is an experienced primary school teacher and a science lead. Bryony Turford has over 20 years of teaching experience and is a primary science consultant and a Senior PSQM Hub leader.

The chapters

The content of each section is summarised below:

Part 1 Fundamentals of primary science

The section introduces the reader to Harlen’s 10 Big Ideas in Science and then explores what ‘Working Scientifically’ might look like, with commentary on the main types of science enquiry and ideas for developing children’s scientific vocabulary.

Part 2 Biology

This section offers a range of engaging activities, from exploring the structures of the skeleton and heart to classifying plants and constructing food webs.

Part 3 Physics

These activities do well to help demystify some of the most challenging concepts in physics by using simple yet effective activities. Topics such as light, electricity, energy and forces are explained using highly visual activities such as density columns, foil circuits and rocket mice.

Part 4 Chemistry

This section brings chemistry to life through a range of well-focused fun activities such as investigating which biscuit is the best for dunking in tea, growing sugar crystals, making a CO2 fire extinguisher and exploring hydrogels.

Part 5 Teaching strategies

This section covers many of the most effective ways to support children’s learning in science. It explains how to model ideas, use effective questioning and engage children in exploration through play. Recording strategies, the use of floor books and assessment strategies are also included in this very useful section.

Part 6 Resources

Important and very useful organisations are introduced to the reader in this section. For example, CLEAPSS is recommended for information concerning safety in lessons and the Association for Science Education (ASE) and Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) for high quality teaching ideas and resources.

Part 7 Science and maths

The importance of applying mathematics in science to support children’s understanding is developed through several activities. These include measuring, collecting data using a range of instruments, conducting surveys and presenting data using graphs.

Part 8 Science and English

The importance of helping children to become scientifically literate provides a strong introduction to this section. Activities range from using splat mats to autograph hunts, and using drama in science to applying scientific diagrams to deepen children’s understanding.

Part 9 Science capital

The last section deals with ways to increase the profile of science in the community and also suggests strategies to improve the science capital of children. The activities suggested are creative and community-based. They include training children to be science technicians, inviting adults into school to talk about their science-related jobs, exploring the types of jobs that involve STEM and forming science clubs.

Finding information

The clear indexing in the front of the book makes navigation to topics or ideas very easy. Each section is very succinct and written over no more than 2 pages, yet still manages to define the topic well and provide strategies and activities that are very effective.

The activities are not age-related and so they can be adapted and used by primary teachers with any year group.

Conclusion

As the title states, there are 100 activities/strategies offered, with some of the activities being suitable for STEM learning.

Activities thoughtfully link learning and problem-solving in science and consider how the application of numeracy, literacy and STEM careers can be embedded into learning episodes. This pocket-sized book is a little like a teaching Tardis. There is a lot more inside than you would ever imagine!