Top tips: Who is...? activities
Our Who is...? activities are designed to inspire children to consider STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) as potential career choices by showcasing important scientists past and present. Read our tips on how to get the most from this activity.
In this activity we are looking at important people who work within STEM subjects. Some of these people are from history and some are still alive; some are famous and others have made valuable contributions which might be less welll known or have even been forgotten about. We are celebrating the diversity of people making contributions to the world of science.
How to run Who is…? activities
1. Begin by introducing the scientist by name. Explain that there are (at least) two photographs in which to look for clues. One photograph is of the scientist themselves and the other is a clue to the type of work they are or were involved in.
2. Ask the children to work in pairs or small groups and discuss the details and the possible clues in the photographs.
3. Use these prompts to guide the discussion:
- Do you think they are alive today? What clues did you use to help you decide?
- Is there anything in the photographs which gives you an idea about the type of science they were or are involved in? Can you justify your answers?
4. Share ideas with the class. Did everyone agree?
5. Each activity then has a unique question (or two). The children are given some information about the scientist and are then asked a question which is designed to spark their interest and tap into their own knowledge and experience. For example:
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock loves star gazing. What helps us to see better when we look at the night sky?
6. In the background science section (you might read this to or with the children) find out more about the scientist’s life and work and how it relates to something the children are learning about in school.
7. There is at least one film featuring the scientist in the take it further section that we highly recommend watching.
8. The take it further has a range of activities to follow up your discussion. There is always a quick and simple task. For example, for younger children, you might simply ask them to discuss the question:
Who is Maggie Aderin-Pocock?
Whereas for older children the task might be:
Working with a partner, can children write an answer to the question, Who is Marie Curie? An extra challenge could be to use less than 25 words (and more than 10).
Linked practical ideas to get children working like a scientist are also included in the take it further section for when you have more time available.