Planning science week 2024
This is the time of year to start making plans for British Science Week (BSW) which takes place from 8 to 17 March.
The theme is Time and the British Science Association have published two free activity packs (Early Years and Primary) that include a wide range of fun, hands-on-activities, including Explorify activities.
Early Years teachers could use the What Just Happened? activities as starting points for Science Week. Each focus on a change over time - long or short. Apple Orchard, featured in the BSW booklet, shows the changes to apple trees over the course of a year. The Take it further activities get the children looking for blossom, comparing apples, and then leaving apple cores to decay over time. Other What Just Happened? activities you could use are Egg, chick, chicken, An icy treat or What’s in the Pond?.
Older children could consider What if there were no clocks? and investigate using the Sun to tell the time by making a gnomon with our What’s Going On? Light and time. You could also discuss why the time is different around the world with Have you ever spoken to a friend or relative somewhere else in the world and the time was different? You could think about why shadows change their length and direction during the day with Have you ever had to move position because of a shadow? Our activity What if there were two suns? gets children thinking about the effects on a planet of having more than one sun. For example, what might shadows look like? Have you ever looked up at the Moon and noticed how it appears to be different shapes at different times? gets children recording how the Moon appears to change shape over a month.
Getting more from your science week
There is more about shadows in our Planning Support session on light. Our Light...tackle the tricky bits will help with the science behind shadows.
Have a look at Start With Art Clockwork gears, the artist Sue Beatrice works with the tiny component parts of old pocket watches and other timepieces. Can the children make their own piece of art linked to time and enter it in Explorify’s art competition?
Observing over time, is an essential element of science enquiry, so the theme gives schools plenty of choices when planning their week. Shooting sprouts and Spring flowers get children thinking about how plants change over time as they grow? Children could investigate how the average temperature of the pond changes over the year with Wildlife in the pond. Coming out to play and Who is Maria Sibylla Merian? get children observing the life cycles of caterpillars and other insects.
Disappearing egg shells asks what happens when you leave eggs shells in acid for a day and helps children understand tooth decay. While Have you ever had your heart rate measured? asks whether your heart rate changes at different times of the day? Have you ever found mould growing on bread at home? gets children investigating what happens to a piece of bread if you leave it on the windowsill for two weeks or Furry fruits looks at what happens if you leave some fruit to decay for several weeks.
Theme your own week
If you don’t want to have time as your school theme, last year’s Explorify British Science Week blog signposted lots of other resources you could use which you might find useful. You could also watch a recording of Explorify’s planning support session about how to use Explorify to enhance whole school events.
Remember, planning early will make your week more successful and less of a challenge, as teachers will have plenty of time to plan and collect resources and visitors can be arranged. Don’t forget to involve the whole school community: parents will really enjoy being involved and the children (and teachers) will love sharing what they have done with other classes and their families.