‘Our Diverse Planet’ – British Science Week (6th-15th March) 2020

The British Science Week, run by the British Science Association, takes place between 6th – 15th March 2020 and is for everyone to get involved with. It is a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. Applications for British Science Week 2020 grants are now closed (but make a note in diary for next year to apply by November; they especially encourage those who don’t usually engage with science to apply).

Their website has activity packs for Early Years, primary and secondary students; designed to be a one-stop-shop for supporting teachers during the week. The theme for the packs is ‘Our Diverse Planet’ – celebrating the amazing diversity we see across the world. From biodiversity to cultural and societal diversity, from the diversity of knowledge to STEM careers and subjects. There are lots of ways to explore this theme – and they would love to hear some of your ideas too!

The poster competition encourages you to Investigate and imagine ‘Our diverse planet’ and everything that makes it special. Here are some topic ideas they suggest to get you started:

Why not think about biodiversity? From the diversity in your own garden, to the diversity at the very bottom of the ocean, research all the amazing creatures and organisms that live on our planet. 

The diversity of science and STEM subjects. Have a think about all the diverse ways that science affects our lives and who you know that uses science every day. Is there science in baking and cooking? What about making a film or taking a picture? Or how about operating planes and cars? Remember that science is everywhere, you just have to look for it! 

Think about the other kinds of diversity our planet contains – from the variety of the molecules that make up essential parts of life, to the different ways our towns and cities are built, and the variation of people’s tastes and interests. 

Our planet is unique, but why not investigate what makes it different from the other planets in our solar system?

Andy Warhol once said, “I never read, I just look at pictures.” A poster competition is exciting way to spark creativity with students, engage them with a specific topic and get started with your free Adobe licenses (available to all LGfL schools). Adobe Spark for Education offers tools that are very easy to use, even for primary aged pupils! Using Adobe Spark Post pupils can easily create beautiful and professional looking posters in very short amount of time. Have a look at these amazing examples for ideas (remember the competition states it needs to be the pupils’ own ideas) or go through a short 45 minute, free online course on “Creating Posters with Your Students” at Adobe Education Exchange.

If you want to unleash your and your pupils full creative powers, you might want to try Adobe InDesign. Precise colour control, thousands of font choices, effective selection and editing tools – Adobe InDesign has everything you need to create a solid design on a large canvas. Creative Cloud tutorials offer you quick an easy way to get started with basics of all the Creative Cloud applications.

Over 900 schools have claimed their Adobe Creative Cloud licenses with LGfL last year, but if have not already done so, you still can at: https://www.lgfl.net/services/adobe-creative-cloud. There is also an exclusive opportunity for any LGFL school/teacher to join LGfL and Adobe’s Creative Jam on 27th February. The jam is about storytelling and will be organised in partnership with the Ocean Agency (fitting nicely in with the theme Our Diverse Planet for BSW). The people attending will be presented with a challenge involving creation of a video aimed to save the world’s coral reefs. There are very few places left, so if you are interested register without delay!

Furthermore, you may want to inspire your pupils to consider producing clips relating to Our Diverse Planet. There are a brilliant series of science videos on COBIS Young Scientist Film Awards website which demonstrate how best to use video during science week. (N.B The site restricts views, so recommends visiting You Tube to view them at https://www.youtube.com/user/COBISScienceAwards/playlists).

There are many resources that LGfL schools can use during this time to help you further explore the theme of Our Diverse Planet:

In the British Science Week KS2 activity pack there is an activity called “Diverse Places – Journey to Antarctica”. It states, 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the first sighting of Antarctica. Since then it has been a destination for explorers and scientists whose voyages help inform us of the role this continent plays in our world. In their activity they suggest you will write a diary based on what you know about the explorer Bransfield’s journey to Antarctica. 

You could also use LGfL Polar Exploration resource to explore Shackleton’s adventure. LGfL worked with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University in creating this comprehensive resource, which provides a unique insight into the ‘Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery’.

 

The resource features exclusive access to the historic archive of the most famous polar expeditions of the 20th Century, including:

 

 

  • Video footage of equipment and artefacts from the most famous expeditions, complete with text transcripts of the expert explanations
  • High-resolution photographs of objects featured in the video footage
  • Journal extracts read by a descendant of a member of Captain Scott’s Discovery expeditio
  • Interactive map of the Polar Regions with plotted locations of the multimedia asset
  • The opportunity to meet a modern-day polar explorer and hear of his experiences living for extended periods of time in some of the world’s most extreme environments.
  • A wide range of learning materials to support KS2, KS3 and KS4.

If you are considering further investigation into what makes Earth different from the other planets in our solar system then you could explore LGfL’s Space Adventures – Mission to the Moon.

The resource is based around the intrepid astronaut Tazz Anderson and her on board computer (MIC) on her journey to the moon. Her mission is to bring the valuable, raw material ‘Dysprosium’ back to planet Earth for use in smart devices.

This unique and engaging cross-curricular resource is based around an original story, commissioned by LGfL, from the award-winning author Cath Howe. The resource features a comprehensive set of resources for maths, English and science and even a computing unit created by Max Wainewright. Watch the clip below about how you can take the resource even further, by experimenting with greenscreening with your pupils:

With Viral Contagion English and Viral Contagion Maths, students can use their maths and English skills to look at the journey and spread of a biological outbreak in South London.

Dramatised news reports describe the impact of the outbreak, challenging students to consider the use of language behind such scenarios and the need for effective communication to help save lives, alongside using their mathematical skills to understand the speed at which an outbreak can spread. This may be rather too close to current real events for some, with regards to current Coronavirus!

The entire primary ‘Switched on Science’ scheme, offers full coverage across both Key Stage 1 and 2 and is available with LGfL. It is a flexible and creative investigation-based programme with a clear focus on working scientifically. It is packed with best-practice CPD videos and supportive lessons to ensure every teacher can deliver the science curriculum with confidence. The package comes with all the additional resources teachers need to teach the entire science curriculum, ranging from a video for each unit, teacher guide, pupil workbooks, ideas for differentiation, and much more.

Virtual Experiments for Years 1-6, are soon to be retired on LGfL due to being flash-based. Please read the guidance related to this by clicking on the link and note that any resources labelled “legacy” on lgfl.net will be affected.

These resources (arranged for Years 1&2, 3&4 and 5&6) are ideal for demonstrating difficult scientific concepts – with the added benefit of:

  • Minimising the time, mess and fuss involved in experiments
  • Allowing you to repeat, slow down or vary the conditions of experiments
  • Being useful for revisiting key work pupils may have missed or forgotten

Busy Things have once again made things even simpler for you. They have a wide range of resources and games for use in Early Years, KS1 and KS2. There are over 100 activities that are linked to the science curriculum that could be used during your Science Week including writing projects, interactive worksheets, graph projects and printables. To begin your search, remember to click on the “Special Events” tab from the home page; this can then be used to look for resources relating to the British Science Week.

 

Remember also, that if you have created “new set ups” (ie your Year Groups or class names within Busy Things) you can pin their “Britsh Science Week” on to your class page; making it easier for you and your pupils to navigate to the suggested activities.

 

 

Widgit Symbols are simply drawn, colourful symbols designed to illustrate a single concept in a clear and concise way. They cover a range of topics (including science) wide enough to make them suitable for symbol users of all ages and abilities. Already used by many SEND departments and schools, the entire symbol database of over 15,000 images is available to you to search and download. The use of these symbols increases the accessibility of written text by giving readers of all literacy levels greater access to information. As they are designed specifically for written information, Widgit Symbol users can develop a real independence in reading and writing.

Look in WidgitActivities for visual, varied and differentiated worksheets which include Widgit symbols to help you making the curriculum accessible for all learners. The example below is from “Gases Around Us” in the Science section of Widgit Activities:

The ever-popular j2e Tool Suite can also be used during Science Week, for a range of activities. Why not get pupils to create a book in j2e about Shackleton’s journey to Antarctica, or make an animation of our diverse planet in JIT’s j2animate? Below is an example of a bean diary in j2animate:

You could also download our Significant People and Events resource for KS1 and KS2? This resource takes a handful of particularly important people and events to help pupils to investigate their impact on history. Using Augmented Reality you can simulate the spread of the Great Plague, or explore the first powered flight test and even touch down on the surface of the moon with a 3D animation of the Eagle landing. The resource is further explained by the creators below:

For the classroom why not download the collection of STEM role models posters celebrating women innovators illustrated by women artists? There are eight in the set and each poster is accompanied by a short biography of the women featured, not only raising awareness of their achievements but also hopefully inspiring a new generation of women to work in STEM.

Terrific Scientific from the the BBC is a set of curriculum-linked primary science resources for Key Stage 2 aimed at encouraging scientific enquiry. The resources focus on a series of practical classroom investigations linked to the curriculum, so teachers can use each one as a stand-alone science project, or as part of a bigger topic. For each investigation, there is an introductory film, fronted by well-known figures relevant to the age-group; a ‘how to…’ film which demonstrates the investigation, a downloadable teacher resource (including curriculum links) and student worksheets. Perfect for using in Science Week and beyond.

Explorify is another great site for free science resources. The Explorify activities are bitesize prompts for discussion and investigation, their high-quality image, video and hands-on activities are sure to spark curiosity and get your class thinking like scientists. Choose from a wide range of curriculum-linked, low-prep activities that will set young minds whizzing and whirring.

Reach out CPD is free science CPD for UK teachers, there are 30 courses for teaching 5-11 year olds covering everything from plants to planets. Each one provides teachers with concise topic knowledge and a whole raft of resources to use in class, including captivating short videos, practical activities and experiments, whiteboard visuals and more. Well worth checking out and sharing with colleagues.

The PSTT regional mentors’ role is to support primary schools with all aspects of science including curriculum development, teaching and assessment. They provide 1-2-1 mentoring for Science Leaders, deliver CPD to teachers and develop new science teaching resources. Tom Holloway and Kulvinder Johal have both said they are open to Science Leaders and teachers contacting them directly via email: Tom.Holloway@pstt.org.uk and kulvinder.johal@pstt.org.uk

Tom suggests the following activity for Science Week:

“A Science selfie competition where the children are challenged to bring in a photo of themselves doing something science related is another easy and engaging activity to run during science week. With this it’s nice to emphasise to children the ubiquity of science and how they can be really creative – science really is everywhere! Getting all teachers to do an Explorify activity at the start/end of every day is another easy way celebrating science week for busy teachers. Also showing their children the latest edition of reach out reporter, https://www.reachoutreporter.com/ is another great and easy way of celebrating science during science week.” 

Whatever you are doing for British Science Week we would love you to share your work using @LGfL resources on our Twitter or Facebook pages #BSW20.

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