Playground science

5 May 2021

In 2019, St Peter in Thanet CE Junior School, part of the Ogden Kent North Coast Partnership, launched its school science ambassador scheme. Now, every year, a team of Year 6 and Year 4 ambassadors helps to deliver science themed assemblies, monitor science resources and attend science events on behalf of the school. They also run playground science activities at lunch and break time.

The school invested in the PSTT Playground Science resources. They now have ten bags of fun and informal science activities that children can carry out in their playtimes. Playground Science features lots of questions and open ended ideas for the children to think about, it encourages curiosity and helps the children to develop scientific skills. Nathan Williams, science lead at the school, made sure that his team of ambassadors understood all the resources and activities and they were away!

“Before COVID restrictions and class bubbles, our playground science activities were incredibly popular,” says Nathan. “All the bags would be out, and the children were developing their own questions and ideas and even photographing their investigations. Our pupils loved working with our ambassadors; they really enjoyed having the freedom to explore their questions and develop their ideas. We are really looking forward to being able to do that again!”

“I am in control of my learning.”
“It makes me feel like a teacher.”
Year 3 pupils taking part in Playground Science
children taking part in playground science
“I like the responsibility of helping younger children.”
“It was hard work but great fun.”
Year 4 ambassadors

In the meantime, the ambassadors will be helping to develop their own school science lab! The school has successfully applied for Ogden funding to open a Phiz Lab, which the student ambassadors will help to design and run. The lab (due to open in September 2021) will become a hub for the school’s Playground Science – the new lab will open up directly onto the playground and the ambassadors will have easy access to the resources they need for their super science.

“Plans are being put in place for some fantastic science displays in the lab, showcasing scientific achievements and the work of scientists, and celebrating the science of the children at the school,” says Nathan. “An interactive wall will allow the children to ask and answer their own questions, encouraging curiosity and enquiry. The school science ambassadors will be crucial in helping to maintain and develop this space.”

Playground Science resources are currently out of stock but should soon be available again from PSTT.

Thinking about setting up an ambassador scheme?

St Peter in Thanet CE Junior School launched their scheme at a school assembly – Nathan explained the role, set expectations and invited children in Year 4 and Year 6 to apply. The prospective ambassadors then had to explain to their classmates why they would make a good ambassador, with some pupils even completing science projects to demonstrate their dedication. A class vote decided the outcome. Each year, there is now a team of up to 18 ambassadors in the scheme, each receiving a badge to identify their important role. The Year 6 ambassadors support pupils in Year 5 and the Year 4 ambassadors work most closely with Year 3.

For more ideas and information, you can read the Ogden How to guide to setting up a primary ambassador programme.

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