Remote learning: science
Hang on a minute – we’re not in lockdown again yet, are we? No, not as far as we know. We’re talking about the DfE guidance and Remote Education Temporary Continuity Direction: explanatory note that require schools to be well planned and equipped for national, local or bubble lockdowns, if and when they occur.
OK, phew! Remind me of the key points. Schools must have a remote strategy in place, ready to be rolled out immediately to pupils who are required to self-isolate, be it on an individual, small group, year group or whole school basis. It must provide children with a broad curriculum, offering “meaningful and ambitious work each day in a number of different subjects”.
Right, I better get planning then. Indeed. When doing so, do remember to keep in mind the key issues in delivering a science curriculum remotely, namely resourcing, equipment and professional guidance. For example, focusing on easily resourced practical investigations, simple ways of working scientifically or exploring accessible scientific content might be sensible choices. Investigations requiring specialist equipment should probably be avoided.
Agreed. And I need to have everything ready to go at a moment’s notice? Absolutely. You’ll never know when pupils will need to isolate, or lockdowns will strike, so making sure you have at least something ready to go for each year group is essential. This could take a couple of forms, including:
- Science ‘packs’ that are ready to go – as long as you’ve carefully planned what will be included in these, you should be able to put them together relatively quickly
- Pre-prepared guidance sheets that focus on, for example, working scientifically within a specified science strand – children can take hard copies home with them or access them online
- An online area, ready to go, in your school’s remote learning platform of choice, that allows children to access guidance, ideas and videos at the touch of a button
There are also plenty of online resources that were developed during the initial lockdown that may usefully be incorporated into your curriculum planning for science at home.
Any recommendations on this front? Of course. There are so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming, but the ones listed below have all been created and developed by experts in their fields. We’d suggest looking at:
- ASE has a home learning hub which includes a range of lessons across year groups and topics
- The STEM site has a range of remote lessons for KS1 and KS2 and links to EYFS home working activities
- BBC Bitesize has a range of videos and activities for primary science including daily lessons which can be accessed here by selecting the year group and science
- Terrific Science on BBC Teach has a range of fun investigations
- The National Oak Academy has online lessons for KS1 and KS2 science
- Wow Science has lots of links to activities, experiments, games and videos, organised by topic
- That Science Lady has put together some Home Discussion Questions
- Tinkercad is a free 3D design, electronics and coding app
- The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has an array of learning resources from EYFS to KS2 in its Zoo School
- SSERC has a library of videos that set out a range of learning activities across a range of science topics and themes
- Top Marks has links to a range of online games and activities for science
That’s great! I might even send this list out to parents now – some have asked for suggestions for home activities anyway. We have encountered this too – parents inspired by lockdown who wish to continue working with their children at home. These resources would be perfect suggestions.
In a nutshell… Plan carefully, and in advance, to make sure that your science curriculum is easily transported to the home-learning environment, without losing any of its quality, direction or breadth.
ADDED FEB 2021
We summarise some of the potential silver-linings from lockdown, highlighted in Ofsted’s research on remote learning.
ADDED FEB 2021
We explore possible approaches to science week – both in school and remotely.
ADDED JAN 2021
We explore Ofsted’s subject deep dive and include sample questions for subject leaders.
ADDED DEC 2020
We enter the world of floorbooks, exploring the pros and pitfalls of using them in science.
ADDED OCT 2020
We explore possible options for remote science learning where bubbles and individuals are self-isolating.
UPDATED OCT 2020
While calls for a more diverse curriculum are not new, events this year have brought the issue back sharply into focus. We explore ways to make a meaningful, lasting change to our science curricula, embedding diversity, and actively decolonising the curriculum.
ADDED AUG 2020
With a new academic year on the horizon, we explore ways to keep D&T firmly on the timetable, alongside the practicalities of running a full D&T curriculum in a COVID-safe fashion.
ADDED MARCH 2020
We explore the pros and pitfalls of creating progression documents for science, including examples from both organisations and schools.
ADDED JAN 2020
We explore the direct instruction vs discovery learning debate, looking to recent research on the knowledge-rich approach primary science.
ADDED NOV 2019
We explore ways to embrace climate change within the science curriculum.