I got the chance to get involved with British Science Week this week, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to demonstrate the positive way that science is introduced to children at an early age.
At Blueberry our work involves a lot of engaging with educational establishments, especially with primary and secondary schools. The interesting thing about having children myself, is that I get to see first-hand the activities that take place there. Last week I had the pleasure of taking part in British Science Week at my daughter’s school. A couple of weeks prior I was sent a letter explaining the events being held and decided along with many of the other parents to pop along.
At a primary level, children are expected to investigate the differences between objects, people and places with an end goal to further understanding the world around them. In addition, this activity morning was the first time that many of the kids were being introduced to the scientific field. Primary education is often criticised for leaving STEM subjects behind, with research sponsored by Brunel University London suggesting that primary teachers believe that science is becoming less important on the curriculum agenda (CBI, 2015). Therefore, it was great to see how much effort the teachers put in to make it fun, presenting informative and instructional activities like those shown on Blue Peter. I was really impressed with the high level of engagement the 5-year olds were given, and it gave a great platform to really get them interested in science for the very first time.
There were six or seven stations in the assembly hall including, planting sunflower seeds, making lava lamps, slime, and playdough from scratch. Not only are these things quick, easy and cheap to organise, the kids thoroughly loved it - and I learnt a couple of things myself! These simple tasks not only involved creativity, but also applied scientific concepts like understanding how oil and water separate, how things grow and evolve, and how to put compounds together to make something even better.
I have to give the teachers and the other members of staff at the school credit, because they took simple activities and made them into something really engaging. I really think that schools should continue to get parents involved in their children’s education, and the ideas and concepts from the morning can all be carried on at home long after the morning is over. This is worlds apart from how science was taught back in my day!
It gave the parents an insight as to how easy it is to be resourceful and fun when entertaining our kids. We all know how easy it is to stick them in front of the TV playing the newest XBOX game that they got for Christmas. Experiences like this remind us that it’s more fun and of more value when they get stuck in to making something themselves.
However, all I can say is I hope that their Grandma and Grandad like their lava lamps…because that’s what they’ll be getting for Christmas this year!