Published: 30 March 2020
With many people now spending more time at home, it can be challenging to keep even the youngest minds occupied and engaged with learning. Younger children (Early Years Foundation Stage) are beginning to make their own sense of the world. Activities that explore how things move, change shape and behave encourage children to be curious, observe the world, ask questions and begin to develop their own scientific ideas.
A few years ago, former teacher Kirstin Greygoose developed Science Talk. This series of Early Year Foundation Stage activities, designed to develop pupil questioning, improves scientific literacy and builds pupil confidence in using scientific enquiry skills. Kirstin is now a Programme Manager for the Trust, and Science Talk is part of the Ogden partnership CPD programme.
“As a science subject leader, I wanted to explore pupil questioning in the early years,” explains Kirstin. “I wanted to find a strategy to develop pupil’s confidence in problem solving, explanations and resilience – skills needed to work as a scientist and throughout their schooling experience. The aim of Science Talk is to engage all pupils in regular short discussions focusing on science enquiry.
“The activities in Science Talk have been designed to suit short bursts of questioning, enquiry and evaluation of the children’s responses as they develop greater scientific understanding and reflection. Although they have been designed for the classroom, they can just as easily be done at home.”
A selection of Science Talk activities are now freely available on the Ogden website together with a support pack that includes an overview of the key concepts and how to use the cards.
“Doing the activities at home, the most important thing is to keep the children curious and engaged in learning!” says Kirstin, “Developing the children’s confidence to ‘have a go’ and try different ways to solve a problem is a critical life skill, and good grounding for working as a scientist.”
Science Talk follows a simple model that can be adapted to suit all ages, as it focuses on the quality of scientific questioning and enquiry rather than levels of scientific knowledge and understanding.
There are lots of ways to build up to these Science Talk activities, particularly if you haven’t done in depth questioning or challenging problem-solving before:
- Jigsaws (developing problem solving)
- ‘I spy’ or ‘Animal, vegetable, mineral’ (developing understanding of physical properties)
- Kim’s game (developing observation skills)
Most importantly, these activities should be free (or cheaply resourced) and develop the language skills children need to explain their ideas and discuss the world around them.