Pupils finding out if the temperature effects the light from a glow stick by using ice cubes and hot water in a darkened room.
Experiments, investigations and demonstrations are helping to bring fun to the classroom as practical science lessons transform learning for primary school children.
Blundeston Primary School science teacher Ed Davey taking a hands on science lesson with pupils. Pictures: James Bass
Two Lowestoft area primary schools are among several in Suffolk and Norfolk that are piloting a new approach, which embraces a ‘hands-on’ science teaching and learning system.
Teachers and pupils at Blundeston Primary and Corton Primary schools in Lowestoft are some of the first in the country to be trying out the new formula for teaching and learning about science.
They are working with the Empiribox Primary Science Trust (CIC), a not for profit social enterprise, as part of Empiribox’s initial field trial and early adopters program.
Blundeston Primary has been using the system for four terms, and among the staff comments about the system were “a fab session, making chemistry really fun and interactive” and “excellent that the experiments are demonstrated and then allow participation for trial”.
Ed Davey, science coordinator at the school in Church Road, Blundeston, said: “Our 100 Key Stage 2 pupils are already learning much more than before as the system is increasing their knowledge and skills through more practical experimentation and investigative work, with enough equipment to work in pairs or small groups every week.
“It will be a tremendous help to our pupils as they approach secondary school as they are developing a richer vocabulary, greater reasoning, and improved numeracy.”
Mr Davey, who has spent more than 10 years teaching science at primary level and has a formal science background, added: “In my previous teaching experience it had always been a struggle due to a lack of appropriate science resources but Empiribox provides all the equipment and materials in one place and the training provided gives teachers added confidence, even if they don’t have a science background.
“Parents too are able to be involved at home with some of the experiments and I have already received positive feedback from several at our parent teacher meetings.”
The success of the Empiribox field trials, which has involved more than 50 primary schools nationwide – including academy chains and Academy Enterprise Trust organisations – means the enterprise behind the system will now be making it available to all primary schools in England and Wales.
Speaking about the practical investigation that the pupils were conducting while posing for these photographs, Mr Davey said: “Pupils have been learning about different types of energy and the focus has been on light energy.
“For the investigation, using equipment provided with the Empiribox system, they had to decide whether temperature affected the glow emitted from light sticks by comparing the results of placing them in iced and hot water.
“They then had to decide on how they were going to record their data. Some used a light meter, others took photos and others just used visual observations with their own scale of recording.”
Empiribox Primary Science Trust (CIC) is a not for profit social enterprise. As a Community Interest Company (CIC) it is committed to helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive primary school education in England and Wales.
Former secondary school science head Dan Sullivan, founder and creator of Empiribox, said: “Primary school children respond much more positively to doing science rather than just being told how to do it. Our Empiribox system helps ensure all pupils move on to secondary school with a solid skills-set and grounding in practical science, while also improving their numeracy and literacy.”