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5 Ways to get Pupils engaged in Science

Students at Brine Leas School

To help schools make the most of this year’s event, we have put together five creative ways that you can get your pupils to develop a passion for all things scientific in the classroom: Make links with real-life

Whatever you’re doing, science is happening – and this important message can really help inspire your pupils to take more of an interest in STEM subjects. Scientific principles taught in the classroom can sometimes feel very remote from day-to-day life but by focusing on cutting edge technology and how it is helping to solve real life problems, you can put science into context for your pupils.

For example, pupils could investigate energy efficiency in their own homes or the school building and how this could be improved. They could also look at how science and technology is helping to create more sustainable homes in the communities around them.

This might involve considering how technology has impacted a number of different aspects of sustainable home design such as energy usage, water efficiency and waste management.  Teachers may find the Code for Sustainable Homes case studies helpful in providing examples of eco-friendly home design.

Denstone College - Science lab

1. Promote practical

There’s no better way to bring science to life than with practical experiments. Practical work is motivational and fun, and it helps your pupils to extend and apply their understanding and knowledge of science in novel investigative situations.

Aside from planning practical activities in the classroom, National Science Week is the perfect time to host a practical science club that allows pupils more opportunities to complete fun experiments in addition to their regular lessons. There are a wide range of suggestions for entertaining experiments on the Science Bob website, and the Nuffield Foundation website also offers a brilliant range of free resources that you may find useful.

Southlands high School Science Lesson

2. Offer enrichment activities

Although your pupils will encounter science as part of their weekly timetable, you can help further spark their interest by organising workshops and visits, outside of the regular timetable. National Science Week is the perfect time to try out some of these enrichment activities and see how effective they are in sparking your pupils’ interest.

Great venues for a science themed day out include:

  • The London Science Museum
  • The Oxford Live Science Centre
  • Eureka! In Yorkshire
  • The Newcastle Life Science Centre

It’s also worth checking out the STEM directories for activities and schemes on offer nearby that are designed to enhance the science curriculum.

Southam College_4

3. Make science real

Getting a real scientist to come to your school and present something interesting to the pupils is a fantastic way to bring science to life. According to Professor Brian Cox, “Students are very bright and they’re very quick. A 10-minute talk is all that it takes for one person to think ‘I can be like you’ and ‘I’d like to do that’, and the link is made then”.

If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with the ScienceLive team who can arrange for an exciting and stimulating demonstration, presentation or workshop – just email sciencelive@britishscienceassociation.org for more information.

Commercial Laboratory

4. Promote careers in science

Ask a child to draw a scientist and you might just get a male in a lab coat wearing spectacles or goggles with mad hair, crooked teeth and a bubbling test tube in one hand. In recent years there have been a good number of TV shows that have helped dispel this stereotypical image, but women, ethnic minorities and those with a disability are still underrepresented in science. Finding role models that challenge stereotypes can be eye opening for your pupils and can help them visualise themselves in a science-related career, whatever their gender or background.

Having real scientists visit the school is one way to introduce pupils to the range of science careers available. There are also a broad range of good resources on the web that can be used for careers themed activities. These include:

  • Physics.org: this has a range of profiles for real people working in different, exciting roles with a photo, written overview and YouTube clip for each. There is a good mix of different backgrounds, genders and ethnicities.
  • Real Cool Futures: this features different roles relating to environment and climate change. It has been developed by the Eden Project and the clips feature young, enthusiastic people, again with a mix of genders and ethnicities.
  • Big Bang Blogs: this features profiles from those working in physics, chemistry and biology, with a mini interview for each person. Questions include ‘What is the best thing about your job?’ and ‘Can you describe a typical working day?’.

UTC Warrington Science Laboratory

5. Create an inspiring environment

The room in which you teach science has the power to inspire or demotivate your pupils. Choosing the right layout, aesthetics, storage, display areas and even colours can all help bring out the best in each student.  The right environment will nurture your pupils’ curiosity without distracting them, and help them to relax and become engaged with the subject material. The Innova team can help give your science lab the wow factor – our exciting themes and colour schemes, cutting-edge furniture and brilliant designs will spark your pupils’ imagination, arouse their interest and ensure greater concentration levels.

 

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If your school’s science laboratories are in need of a re-design, take a look at our dedicated section for inspiration and advice.