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Mathemagical physics

Published: 9 March 2020

Research argues strongly for links between primary school mathematics and science.* This connection makes sense because the skills associated with the two curriculum areas are very much interwoven, particularly the skills of reasoning.

The Ogden Trust has looked at this research and the learning opportunities that can be introduced into the classroom and has developed a set of Phizzi Problem Solving resources which can be found on our resources page. These resources take a physics-themed practical activity and identify some of the mathematical reasoning that children can apply to further develop their science learning.

This collection of Phizzi Problem Solving activities are all connected to magnetism. There are two KS1 resources that link to the magnetic properties of materials and two KS2 resources that link to forces and magnets, as well as Earth and space.

“These resources include problem solving activities linked to a magnetic fishing game, a design technology project to design and make a fridge magnet, a magnetic racing game and using a homemade magnetometer to investigate solar storms,” explains Amanda Poole, Resource Development Lead for the Trust. “The resources have been designed to inspire teachers to regularly seek out creative ways to strengthen the links between science and maths, providing extended time for children to embed new learning in science as well as increased opportunities to see the relevance of their mathematical learning in real-world contexts.”

The resources were developed as part of the current Ogden Primary Physics Professional Learning programme; there is a P3L workshop that explores the many inspiring ways that the science and maths curriculum can be linked when teaching the topic of forces. Delegates consider how to identify cross-curricular opportunities back in their own schools and explore how forces can be used as a relevant context for maths problem solving from Year 1 to Year 6.

The resources are now freely available on the Trust website; each includes: a student worksheet; teacher notes and answers; and a PowerPoint to be used in the classroom.

“Take a look at Phizzi Problem Solving and try the activities out in your classroom,” continues Amanda. “They could be used in maths or science lessons, for homework activities or to support a thematic maths and science event at your school. Don’t forget to get in touch and let us know how you get on.”

an image of our magnetic racing game resource

“If you find these resources helpful, please let us know! We want to ensure they are working for the teachers and the pupils,” concludes Amanda.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please get in touch with our Resource Development Lead, Amanda..

Other resources are also available on our resources page including:

  • research cards on friction and gravity. Each set of cards look at six individuals and projects that have made contributions to how our ideas about these areas have changed over time.
  • Phizzi practicals – including a guide to making your own magnetometer.

*Research reference: Cross, A. and Borthwick, A. (2016) Connecting Primary Maths and Science: A Practical Approach. OPEN UNIVERSITY PRESS; UK ED. 1

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