Explorify and developing key skills in Year 6
If you are returning to school before the summer holidays, you are no doubt wondering how to best support your pupils’ learning in the short space of time that is left.
This is nowhere more important than in Year 6, where children will very soon be moving on to secondary school and a very new set of challenges. Outside of the formal curriculum, reinforcing and developing certain key skills is going to be vital to best prepare your pupils for their next steps. Explorify activities are a great way to do this. But don’t just take our word for it - teachers, science leaders and (most importantly) pupils agree!
Independence/confidence: Re-engaging your pupils quickly with their learning and being part of a learning environment will be crucial to getting them back up to speed and then giving them that skills-based boost for secondary education. Explorify’s fun and open-ended activities are great for allowing children to participate without a fear of failure and increasing their independence.
“Sometimes it gets the ones who you don’t expect to talk, talk, which is a great result. It certainly can generate a little bit of excitement and interest…It starts off with laughter [where funny videos are used], and then you put in a question and it starts to get interesting. And the kids know way more than you think they will.” - Science Leader
‘To encourage the children to participate in class discussions you have to develop the sort of environment that gives a platform for everyone's voice to be heard and to do that you need an atmosphere in which people feel confident enough to share their opinions.’ - Teacher
Resilience: With the new challenges they will face at secondary school (social, as well as academic), you will want to engender resilience in your pupils. Explorify activities, such as Zoom In Zoom Out and Odd One Out, support children to continuously reconsider and revise their thinking in response to other peoples’ opinions, which builds resilience. When they finally reach a consensus, it is a fantastic feeling!
“People guess things totally far, as [classmate] said they guess a door and then it turns out it’s a fox. Then, like, somebody finally gets it…people just keep on guessing, getting it wrong, until it’s actually there, and then somebody gets it right.” - Pupil
“When you’re trying an experiment, you need to have the skills and resilience to have a go then adapt and try again to achieve a better outcome. In a world of instant gratification, it is common to see some students switch off straight away after not quite getting something right the first time and can become frustrated. We know, however, that life doesn’t work in that way, we very often do need to do things a few times to get them right.” - Teacher
Being able to listen: Listening is, of course, such a critical skill for all learners. Explorify is designed to generate discussion amongst the class, so pupils must listen carefully to what everyone says to be able to participate.
“I think when you’re with your friends it’s more fun because you can talk to your friends a bit, but when you need to listen you will listen more, because then you know that after that you can go back to your friends and go back to the cool science work you’re doing.” - Pupil
Debate and comment on others’ ideas: Your Year 6 pupils will soon be meeting lots of new people and they will need to be able to respect others’ opinions and share what they think – whether they agree or disagree – in an appropriate way. Explorify encourages children to ask questions, challenge ideas and engage in discussion about a topic.
“It’s good for [pupils’] metacognitive skills and their communication. They’re sharing their ideas about things and respecting each other’s opinions and just growing up and developing.” - Science Leader
“Using Explorify is an excellent way of getting children to work collaboratively and develop their questioning and answering skills… when we’re using it in class it’s not ability-specific so the whole class can join in.” - Science Leader
“It’s good because they get to question each other and… go against each other but in a controlled and a polite way." - Teacher
Language development: Explorify encourages lots and lots of talking about science. The more opportunities children have to talk, the greater their vocabulary will become, as well as their ability to articulate what they think. This skill is, of course, important at any age whether Year 6 or Reception and Year 1 and will be essential when moving on to secondary school.
“I think for children of lower ability, having that opportunity to vocalise what they have thought, is quite empowering for them, and develops their language skills as well… Everybody who uses [Explorify] thinks it's made an impact on the children’s language, which I think, for us, is really, really important.” - Teacher
“I think it’s probably also improved their scientific vocabulary, and the language that they’re using, because I think when they’re explaining concepts and describing observations they tend to use the scientific terms more accurately.”- Science Leader
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