Case study: Simmple Science

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Scientific investigations with meaningful, memorable, practical learning experiences

The big idea

To inspire a love for science in primary school by carrying out exciting practical science investigations.

Why it’s needed

Lucy and Sara see first-hand the barriers which teachers can face when trying to deliver engaging and effective science lessons. With the focus in schools on maths and English catch up, science in primary school isn’t the main priority.

A lack of confidence in teaching science means that a lot of teachers rely on worksheet-based lessons. This can cause children to perceive science lessons as boring, and as a result have less interest in pursuing a future career in science.

Lucy and Sara believe that by incorporating practical investigations, teachers can make science lessons a memorable and exciting experience.

How it works

Together they came up with Simmple Science, a toolkit of practical resources which includes lessons plans and question prompts for teachers, as well as the equipment needed for the investigations. The project involves each year group and covers the full teaching content of the Animals, Including Humans topic. There are 10-12 investigations per year group, with some investigations, like the one below, progressing across year groups.

You can view in full-screen mode by clicking the image.

The children are encouraged to share their thoughts, opinions, and make predictions for the experiments. The investigative learning prepares the children for similar types of learning in secondary school.

Each year group has a Floor Book that the children can use to record their learning and observations during investigations. These booklets move up the school with the children and help their new teachers to track their learning journey.

They recognised that their students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) found this recording element of learning to be difficult. Lucy felt that “it’s not fair that these children will miss out on this amazing science learning, when it’s just the recording strategy that they can’t do.” Their project gives extra support to SEND pupils through the help of a teaching assistant to note the pupils’ learning development.

The impact

  • A pupil voice session revealed that SEND students could describe what they had learnt in lessons, recalling correct facts and terminology
  • In the pupil voice, they found that it was the children with SEND who were more vocal about what they had learnt
  • They observed that challenging behaviour was reduced, noticing how calm and engaged the children were
  • The children were now making real-life links to topics they learnt in class