May the force be with you

27 September 2019

This year, the Ogden primary team will be delivering Phizzi Forces CPD across our primary partnership schools. The final ‘train the trainer’ event has taken place and the first Phizzi CPD session will be happening at the start of October.

“The trainers are excited by the programme and we are really happy with the work that we have done in developing the enquiries and resources,” says Jackie Flaherty, Teaching and Learning Lead for the Trust.

“The Phizzi Forces programme was first delivered to partnership schools four years ago,” continues Jackie. “This time around, we have included more focus on the progression of children’s scientific ideas and considered more closely how the topic of forces can be used to develop working scientifically skills across the year groups. We are looking forward to hearing about the impact that this programme has on teaching and learning in the classroom.”

If you are not part of a primary partnership, applications are currently open for new partnerships starting in 2020. We also have lots of forces resources freely available right now on our website.

Forces resources for primary science

Forces in EYFS

At this age, children are very aware of the effects of forces around them and are beginning to make their own sense of the world. Enquiries that explore how things move and change shape encourage children to be curious, observe the world, ask questions and begin to develop their own scientific ideas.

Partnership schools can access Science Talk – our Ogden EYFS CPD, which includes 39 activity cards to support science enquiry with the youngest learners in the school. The cards include a step-by-step activity guide, list of resources, key questions and relevant early learning goals. A taster from our EYFS programme can be downloaded from our website.

Forces in KS1

Forces are often overlooked in KS1 because they are not explicitly mentioned; however, push and pull are both included in the common exception words for Year 1 in the National Curriculum and the Year 2 science curriculum states that children should be taught to find out how the shapes of some solid objects can be changed by squashing, bending, twisting and stretching.

There are some great enquiries that enable children to make simple measurements to answer scientific questions, such as: pulling stretchy toys, plastic bags and fabrics to see which is the stretchiest; and putting masses on marshmallows, sponges and modelling clay to see which is the easiest to squash.

Why not encourage young investigators to explore how changing the shape of materials affects how they move with our Phizzi practical – forces and flight or ask them to apply their mathematical skills while exploring the magnetic properties of materials to help them make a magnetic fishing game or fridge magnet with our Phizzi problem solving activities?

Exploring forces and materials provides an ideal opportunity to encourage children to apply their knowledge to some simple problem solving: why not set some team challenges such as building the tallest tower or the longest/strongest bridge? To develop these activities into deeper thematic learning experiences, take a look at our Scientific ideas over time card games that investigate the history of the tallest buildings and the longest bridges ever built.

Forces in lower KS2

As children move into KS2 they need to be provided with opportunities to identify and name the different types of forces that they see acting around them. In doing this, they will begin to group and classify forces in those that are contact forces and those that are non-contact forces. Our Research cards on friction can be used to add depth to children’s understanding of friction and to support research enquiries exploring how our ideas about friction have changed over time.

You could also try to tackle the friction challenge set by Dr Melanie Windridge with our Slippy Shoes resource.

You could also ask children to make a magnetic racing game with our Phizzi problem solving resource. This forces-themed practical activity encourages children to be creative and also identifies some of the mathematical reasoning that children can apply to further develop their science learning.

Forces in upper KS2

As children in upper KS2 prepare for the transition to secondary school they will be securing and adding depth to their understanding of forces by carrying out more analytical enquiries in the form of comparative tests and fair tests. Children will plan and carry out enquiries to develop a better understanding of friction, air resistance and water resistance and how these forces affect how things move. They will also be developing their understanding of the effects of the force due to gravity.

You can support children’s learning about gravity with our research cards or explore how the force of gravity varies around the solar system with our Phizzi practical: planetary picnic. Other resources linking the topics of Earth & space and forces include our Phizzi practical: making a magnetometer and Phizzi problem solving: magnetometer. Using these activities children can construct their own magnetometer and use it to observe changes in the Earth’s magnetic field over time.

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