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Creativity and Excitement in Primary Science

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1 Creativity and Excitement in Primary Science
Helen Wilson, Jo Thompson Oxford Brookes University

2 My test results must improve
The tension in the current English education system? My test results must improve Creativity Process driven Content driven

3 ‘The stress on results means that there is a tendency towards extreme instrumentalism in learning: if it is not assessed then it is not important.’ Wilde et al (2006) Nuffield Review Higher Education Focus Groups Preliminary Report The Nuffield Review of 14 – 19 Education and Training

4 Lessons from Gifted & Talented
My test results must improve Creativity Process driven Content driven

5 My test results will improve
Creativity My test results will improve Process driven Content driven

6 If you are willing to deal effectively with the needs of able pupils you will raise the achievement of all pupils. Renzulli

7 A rising tide…

8 Evidence?

9 Structure of the Project Originally funded by: the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust

10 16 Oxfordshire primary schools Oxfordshire AZ Project Year 6 teacher Science co-ordinator CPD: 8 days INSET

11 London York London here we come! £41,000

12 Key Outcomes of Projects
More emphasis on pupils’ independent scientific thinking Increased time within lessons spent in discussion of scientific ideas More focused recording by the pupils, less time spent writing More time for hands on, practical investigations

13 Or, more simply: More practical activity Deeper thinking More discussion Less writing More questioning

14 Threads Think The Bright Ideas Time Talk Focused recording Do
Practical science

15 Focused recording Questions Investigations Pupils as researchers Infusion: Higher order thinking Dialogue Creativity ICT Bright ideas time Problem solving Coates, D. & Wilson, H. (2003). Challenges in Primary Science. London: Fulton

16 Bloom’s Taxonomy High:
synthesis - hypothesising, showing originality by creating, inventing and composing evaluation - judging, rating and giving opinions analysis - categorising and comparing; distinguishing between fact and opinion or relevant and irrelevant information Middle: application/use - transferring knowledge from one situation to another similar one Low: comprehension - summarising and putting ideas or information into other words knowledge - remembering, reciting or listing facts

17 Another definition of Higher Order Thinking:
‘Higher order thinking occurs when a person takes new information and information stored in memory and interrelates and/or rearranges and extends this information to achieve a purpose or find possible answers in perplexing situations.’ Information Relates, rearranges Possible answers This would be great as an animation – the information moves into the mind, is stirred around and then merges as possible answers to perplexing situations. Lewis and Smith (1993, p.136)

18 Too busy working to have time to think?
True for children and us!

19 Content of the Curriculum Use/Apply Reflection
HOT Infusion

20 Bright Ideas Time The Bright Ideas slot has taken off throughout the school. It really encourages the pupils to think & it is rather like a science mental starter All the project schools developed this discussion slot

21 Thinking time Think Pair Share


23 Discussing big ideas is more important than finding the right answer
The Bright Ideas Time Game shows: Odd One Out PMI A big question Concept cartoons Discussing big ideas is more important than finding the right answer

24 The Odd One Out

25 Which is the odd one out & why?
Chocolate, paper, water Which is the odd one out & why?

26 Which is the Odd One Out and why?
Salt Sand Iron filings

27 Which is the odd one out & why?

28 Which is the odd one out & why?

29 http://www. azteachscience. co
Video clip: Odd One Out

30 Sheets of examples of the Bright Ideas Time

31 PMI Chocolate door handles

32 PMI: A world without electricity

33 Positive Statements: You won`t waste so much energy Instead of electrical toys you would have wind up radios – that would be fun!! The world would be equal

34 Minus Statements: It would be very scary walking home at night. There wouldn't`t be a London underground. You wouldn't`t be able to watch T.V!

35 Interesting Statements:
You would have to be inventive in your spare time. Torches might become really fashionable. People might be fitter – less T.V = more exercise.

36 An eye in the middle of your hand
The chocolate teapot Living on the Moon An eye in the middle of your hand A world without friction A flexible skeleton

37 Incorporating Bright Ideas time into every session
The Bright Ideas have been an excellent way of stimulating discussion and questioning. They have also come up with some far more interesting ideas than I have thought of. I have noticed that the more we do, the more scientific their ideas have become.  There is more of a buzz and children are a lot more confident when sharing their ideas - risk-taking has increased/improved greatly and this has a positive knock-on effect Incorporating Bright Ideas time into every session

38 Practical Investigations:
Do people with the strongest legs jump the furthest? I think… because…

39 Do people with the strongest legs jump the furthest?
Example: Do people with the strongest legs jump the furthest? Responses from Year 2 pupils

40 Rate these responses, according to the depth of thinking involved:
Most of the time people jump further when they are stronger Muscles has got nothing to do with how far because muscles are if you carry heavy things not how far you go I think the people with the lightest legs will jump the highest because they don’t have to lift as much There is no reason The people with the stronger legs are strong so they can jump higher I think the strongest legs will push the most and go the furthest. The people with the strongest legs will jump the furthest because they have the strongest legs.

41 Year 2 Patterns in Data & Evaluations
Lillie had the biggest bit round the thigh but she did not jump the furthest I think its about how high you go because it takes longer to land

42 How to focus the LO in Sc1 Concentrate on one particular aspect of an investigation, e.g. prediction planning results conclusion.

43 Focus Recording – on the learning objectives

44 ‘But then when you do an investigation, you understand what you are actually writing about and you can write a lot clearer.’   ‘If you’re just told to write something, but if you find out something first and then report it, then you learn.’

45 How do we know that the Earth is a sphere?

46 ‘If it’s flat, when you make the foundations for a temple why doesn’t it go through?’
‘Why doesn’t water fall off the edge if the Earth is flat?’

47 ‘Because gravity comes from the centre of the earth, because a sphere is the smallest shape you can make from the centre, it would most likely be pulled up into a sphere.’

48 Why don’t we sense the motion?

49 ‘Because we’re not going around fast’

50 “But if everything is moving all the time, like all the trees and houses, then you don’t feel any different from anything else.”

51 Label the parts of the flower
Which is a stamen? Where is pollen found?

52 Cut up a flower & see if you can find the parts below.
Do some research and find out what is the yellow stuff on the anthers.

53 What do you think the bee is covered in?
What will happen when the bee visits another flower? Which came first, bees or flowers?

54 Questioning contd. In pairs: Look at the picture on the screen.
What does it make you think about? What do you think it is? What would you like to know about this picture?


56 Single pollen grain of chamomile

57 Which frog has a bigger mouth?
Are you sure?  Measure to find out.

58 What do you see?

59 Man Playing Horn... Or Woman Silhouette?
Rabbit or duck? A Face Of A Native American... Or An Eskimo?




63 In science, posing closed questions is a necessary skill too!

64 Guess who?

65 What’s my material?

66 When questions arise in the classroom that no-one can answer, put them in the poster of the light bulb Questions Challenge: who can find the answer?

67 The Light Bulb Award I asked the best question this week
My question was …

68 Recurring themes from pupil interviews:
Thinking about ideas Talking, discussing ideas with each other More doing for themselves (hands on) – investigations, experiments Less writing  Fun, enjoyment, interesting Deciding for themselves what to do Understand and remember more by doing

69 ‘I really like the Bright Ideas bit, especially the PMI, because it gets you thinking. … they are fun and get you thinking, which is what scientists have to do.’ ‘We used to have to write more in science, but this year I have had to do a lot more thinking and talking’

70 Sports Model (Freeman)
Provide Identify

71 Pell and Jarvis (2001) in UK and Piburn and Baker (1993) have found that children’s enthusiasm for science decreases with age in primary schools.

72 Oxfordshire AZ Project
I have enjoyed science more & think this has rubbed off on the class They love science! They are very enthusiastic & feel that they are learning in a more interesting way They are far more interested in science & always want to do more That was good, you had to think a lot more…it makes science much more fun Oxfordshire AZ Project

73 I have give my children more opportunities to discuss their ideas about science topics and have found that they are more willing to share their ideas with me and others. It has been a great opportunity and the ideas learnt will definitely continue to be used and developed.. London G&T Project They have become more abstract in their thinking and have found activities more fun

74 % of pupils in project attaining level 5 = 53%
% of pupils nationally attaining level 5 = 41% Number of pupils in project = 412 A significantly higher proportion of children achieved the highest level in the project schools than was the case nationally.

75 Conclusion The findings of this project suggest that the making of time for thinking through discussion and practical science is a priority in the primary classroom which should not be squeezed out by a content driven approach.

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