Great Science Share for Schools 2023 and Explorify
The Great Science Share is a great way for pupils to engage in science, share their ideas, and work co-operatively with others. The theme for this year is Science Around Us, which is an exciting way for children to recognise and understand how science works in their everyday life. If you are yet to decide on your topic or if you are looking for an interesting activity to inspire children’s questions, Explorify can help.
Explorify is an engaging resource that you can use to stimulate discussion and inspire children to ask their own questions, carry out investigations and share their findings with their peers. There are different types of activity that appeal to all learners including high quality images, and video and audio clips that aim to get children talking about science, drawing on their knowledge and experiences.
Children are becoming increasingly aware of the impacts of human behaviour on the planet, Explorify supports teachers to include climate change education in their science lessons. The activities help to teach children the information needed to understand global problems but also give ideas for small positive actions that they can take to make a positive contribution to the planet. Why not discuss the Big Question, How much electricity do we use? Or find out about the scientist Kiara Nirgin in this Who Is? activity. Younger children may want to investigate paper use with the resource What if your school banned paper? You will find helpful reads on Explorify that give you all the information that you need to teach the Climate Challenge confidently, in a sensitive but empowering way.
Alternatively, you may want to focus on your current science topic. The changing seasons provide an opportunity for children to visit local habitats, such as a park or the school grounds, to make observations. You may want to visit local habitats making observations. The Odd One Out Tall Trunks could be a great starter activity to look at the similarities and differences between trees or even discuss the different animals that live there. If improving your school grounds is a focus, or if you are observing wildlife that visits the school, you could carry out a problem-solving activity where you create bird feeders. Your children may be inspired to record different insects with ‘Who is … Maria Sibylla Merian’, or by the ‘Who is ...Adam Hart?’ activity where they can investigate their local area on the hunt for different invertebrates.
The Great Science Share has some new guided enquiries and the following activities can be used alongside these to inspire children to ask and investigate their own scientific questions, whilst encouraging and developing good speaking and listening skills:
Great Guided Enquiry: Great Glider Share
Hovercrafts can fly just above the surface of land or water. They work by pushing air beneath them and behind them and use less fuel as there is less surface friction. Watch Explorify’s What’s Going On? Tabletop hovercraft and use the links in the Take it further section to inspire your class to make their own air powered vehicles. There are ideas for cars, boats and planes including questions that might generate investigations. Continue the discussion by thinking about how the machines move in the Odd One Out Moving Propellers.
Great Guided Enquiry: Great Glass Share
After watching the What’s Going On? Under glass children might wonder whether plants grow faster in greenhouses. The Plant Germination and Growth activity (page 21 of Bringing Back Glass) suggests inverting a glass jar over seedlings to create a mini greenhouse.
Great Guided Enquiry: Great Gather & Group
Give children the opportunity to learn about a scientist whose fungi discovery truly changed the world by discussing, Who is Alexander Fleming? His story will stimulate children’s curiosity about mould and developments in medical science. A great follow-up is the What’s Going On? Furry Fruit which includes time lapse footage of strawberries developing mould.
Ask children, Have you ever found mould growing on bread at home? to find out how much they already know, making them the science experts! Children can safely investigate mould (a member of the fungi kingdom) growing on bread by keeping it in sealed plastic bags. They will surely have lots of questions, such as: Which bread goes mouldy first? What conditions speed up mould growth? This is also a great investigation for observing over time.
There are more activities to explore on Explorify that you could use for the Great Science Share for Schools. There are also resources to help teachers, including planning support videos that will give you a subject knowledge refresher or inspire you to use Explorify activities creatively.