Green Tick : Sciencebug from Pearson
Series Editor: Anne Goldsworthy
Authors: Debbie Eccles, Deborah Herridge, Tanya Shields
Resource type: A full digital and printed programme for the primary science programme of study for the national curriculum
ISBN: Various according to subscription and printed packages taken
Publication Date: 2015
Format: A web-based digital subscription with printed pupil books and assessment guides and a face-to-face CPD course
RRP: Various according to size of school subscription and printed items taken. See website link.
Ages: 5-11 (KS1, KS2)
This easy-to-navigate material is concise and straightforward to understand through Pearson’s Activelearn online platform. Each year group’s curriculum is divided into six topics, each to be delivered over a half term, with the exception of the Changing Seasons unit in Y1 (P2), which runs over the course of the year. Each topic has an overview of what is covered (knowledge and working scientifically). It then gives a summary of the unit and breaks down the learning expectations into ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’. Expectations are written in very clear language and state what children will be able to do in relation to the national standard. There is also a section that describes children who are ‘emerging’, giving a clear indication of what pupils who have made less progress might be able to achieve. Each unit is then subdivided into six ‘lessons’, with a plan for each. Some units include a ‘Quest’, which is completed over the course of the half term, and often has links to other curriculum areas, e.g. art/design technology in Y1/P2 Comparing Materials. The topic overviews, summaries, learning expectations and lesson plans are all easy to export to Word, so a subject leader or teacher can add their own notes or alter them to meet the needs of their pupils. All materials are iPad-friendly and work on Android tablets too.
Most of the lesson plans are helpfully divided into two or more discrete sections, making it easy for teachers to plan for classes who do science once a week, or for them to be split into two shorter blocks of time if this is more appropriate. Each lesson plan outlines learning outcomes, activities and differentiation to meet the National Curriculum learning objective. The plans go on to list the other resources available within Science Bug (pupil book pages, video clips, mini presentations, animations, quizzes and photocopy masters, for example) and the materials and equipment that the teacher will need to provide. There is a handy section called ‘Watch Out For…’, which identifies common pupil misconceptions, as well as some tips for teaching. There is health and safety advice in some units, but teachers would be advised to consider any risks posed to their particular children by any of the activities, e.g. are any of the children in the Y2/P3 class likely to try to eat instant snow? What do the manufacturer’s instructions say about any potential hazards? Assessment of children’s prior knowledge is built into the first lesson plan for each unit and their learning is assessed in the last. Activities through the units provide clear opportunities for checking children’s understanding and skills development as the weeks progress. At the end of each unit, a teacher record sheet is provided to record the children’s achievements against the learning expectations. It is worth noting that the lessons rely very little on printed worksheet-type material, so the printing costs associated with the scheme should be low.
Online pupil resources
Unsurprisingly from this scheme’s authors, the resources to support working scientifically are strong, with good emphasis on the skills that are often the most tricky to teach.
These are many and varied. Most lesson plans come with a link to one or more further resources. Suitably engaging material is a feature. Examples include the full colour photos of the inside of the mouths of a child and a hippopotamus (Y1/P2), guaranteed to produce the ‘yuk’ factor; a game called ‘Guess’ for plant identification; the Diets Through History resource for Y3/P4 Movement and Feeding, which tells us that Henry VIII ate up to 13 meals a day; the fossil-making activity in Y3/P4 or the highly creative demonstration of the digestion of a banana sandwich (Y4/P5). Unsurprisingly from this scheme’s authors, the resources to support working scientifically are strong, with good emphasis on the skills that are often the most tricky to teach. Some difficult science concepts are explained well through the resources. This is particularly the case in the Y5/P6 Earth and Space unit where eclipses, the phases of the moon and the scale of the solar system are modelled well in the video material. The beauty of an online resource is that it can be updated by the publisher, and Pearson welcome customer feedback to help them with this. The video about eclipses uses film clips from 1999, so this is an example where 2015 footage could be added. Occasionally, the photocopy masters may not be worth printing; for example, the true/false labels (one of each on an A4 sheet) or a blank frame for a child to draw a picture with a space for their name and a brief instruction of what to draw. There are hyperlinks in the teacher plans to PDF versions of the pupil book pages. These are clear and would display well on a whiteboard although, as they are for the teacher’s reference when planning, they are watermarked and would certainly not be suitable to print.
There is a pupil book for each year group. They are very clearly printed, and contain appropriate material that complements the online resources but, as each book contains only a few pages per topic, doing without these may provide a way of saving on costs. The illustrations include pictures of children from different backgrounds and the representation of people with disabilities is very positive.
This optional three-hour session is provided by one of Pearson’s education consultants and can be booked online. It is aimed at teachers, but is also suitable for teaching assistants. It covers the following:
- What is Science?
- Working Scientifically and the Primary Science National Curriculum 2014
- Working Scientifically and Science Bug
- Knowledge Content and Primary Science National Curriculum 2014
- Knowledge content and Science Bug
- Making good use of Active Learn
Materials from the scheme can be exported to the pupil area for homework. The Pupil World is child-friendly, and includes a rewards area and access to a number of games.