There’s nothing more exciting in school than a themed curriculum week. It’s an opportunity to unleash teachers’ and pupils’ imaginations alike and run wild through some of the lesser-explored areas of a subject. One of my happiest weeks of my teaching career came when I organised a science themed week.
So, I was delighted to see that British Science Week was coming up on 8 March and to delve into the resources that had been shared online. Below are some favourites from the marvellous range I discovered. Most of these resources came from posts tagged #BSW19 on social media – there are lots of superb ideas out there.
The British Science Week website offers some comprehensive packs of activities online; usefully, the packs contain detailed lesson plans. Here are my picks of these packs:
This pack looks at a practical range of activities developed around the themes of engineering and science. There’s lots to do for the children, with some well-selected talking points and some good opportunities for assessment. In particular, both The ‘Dinosaur Adaptation’ task and ‘Brain Caps’ looked fun yet powerful experiences.
What caught my eye, though, was the ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ task. This activity involves customising a dark coloured t-shirt template with different coloured accessories. The scope for prediction and the idea of a grand reveal session with torches really appealed to me, making this activity my top pick from the EYFS pack.
This set of activities was more formally arranged around a whole school response. The fully-prepared assemblies that have been included will be useful for building up awareness of the theme for the week.
When I read the activities, the static electricity themed ‘Matilda’s Floating Feat’ (starring levitating newts!) promises one of those awe-inspiring moments which Science excels in providing. The sound safari which culminates in pupils making a ‘Journey Stick’ was a great idea too.
My top pick was ‘What do Bees Do’, which demonstrated the impact of smaller creatures on the environment. It’s a practical activity, with pupils taking on the roles of bees and flowers. I found myself mentally enriching the activity as I read through the plan. Older pupils could try hypothesising about reducing the number of bees, for example. Overall, it’s a simple to organise yet learning-rich activity.
In this pack, the activity ‘Desert Journey’ really stood out for me. It provided the starting point of building a tower for a radio antenna. However, the tower has to be built on sand and by using spaghetti as a building material. It was easy for me to find schools sharing the results online, which is a great way to feel part of the week. Also, it would create a solutions-based introduction into engineering.
Elsewhere, STEM has a rich set of activities, some of which can be used to support British Science Week 2019. Of these, a task which starts with a video about a child with Treacher Collins Syndrome is thought-provoking and immersive. The task explores how noise in school would affect pupils with different needs. It leads onto problem solving and provides a great lesson in how science and engineering are all about making the world a better place to live in. Find out more.
3M have a Slo-Mo Marble Challenge.
This is a great activity for upper Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. I liked the original take on a marble run; it is the slowest marble that wins. There are lots of opportunities for students to explore gradient, friction and the best use of limited materials. The results from a range of schools have also been uploaded on social media, so you can take a peek on how other schools are doing or just pick up some inspiration!
Lastly, if your school is helping students to be more active, there is the Run with the Ancestors app. It sets students either a 5K or a 10K challenge. The more running that gets done, the more information is revealed by the app. It’s an innovative way of gaining knowledge and the app offers an incentive to get one more fact by running that extra distance! Find our more and sign up here.
If your school is doing one of the activities listed above, or you have your own event, do tweet us at @Juniper EducationforSchools. We would love to share how your school is engaging in British Science Week 2019.