Farzana Iqbal, Assistant Vice Principal at Trinity Primary Academy and partnership co-ordinator for the Haringey & Enfield Partnership, found that her students were really missing their school science clubs; she introduced a weekly science at home challenge to keep children inspired and motivated.
"During the school closures last academic year, our school science clubs obviously all had to stop," explains Farzana. "Even with the return to school, it has not been possible to reopen the clubs under the current restrictions.
"Instead, each week we now share a science activity for the children to complete at home, forming their own online family science club!"
Every Friday the school adds a new activity to their science club using their online learning platform (Seesaw) which can be accessed by pupils and parents. The science club is open to all pupils from across the school: their youngest scientist is in their nursery class - he won a ‘Principal's Award’ for getting involved in growing his own crystals at home.
“We are currently using the Whizz Pop Bang magazine science activities as they are easy to manage and only involve resources that children most likely already have at home in their kitchen cupboards,” explains Farzana. “It's easy for me to manage and is a low-stakes fun activity for families!”
“I'm also now doing 'Dr Jo's 12 days of Christmas science experiments' – the aim is to keep children engaged with science over the holidays, during a pandemic, where they are going to be spending a lot of time indoors unfortunately,” continues Farzana. “Having a bank of resources for children and families is great. Many parents have said that they are stuck for ideas to keep their children entertained and reaching for the remote/iPad is becoming the convenient option, so these experiments help to keep them busy!”
“The children post videos or photos of themselves on Seesaw once they have completed their activities. Activities stay 'live' for a week before the next one goes up,” explains Farzana. “It's lovely to see parents get involved too, asking their children questions about ‘what is happening?’ ‘can you explain the magic?’
“It is also a great way for children to work scientifically without realising it, as their adults at home are supporting them with measuring and predicting and making observations,” concludes Farzana.
The online science club is growing in popularity at her school. Farzana has also shared the idea with the other schools in the Haringey & Enfield Partnership, who are all trying to raise the profile of science outside of the timetable.