Explorify and developing key skills
Supporting pupils' learning by reinforcing and developing their key skills is vital. How can Explorify help?
For all teachers, developing children’s key skills is really important. Being a good listener, being resilient and confident to share and challenge ideas are vital skills for pupils to develop and reach their potential. Outside the formal curriculum, Explorify activities are a great way to practise and refine these skills. But don’t just take our word for it - teachers, science leaders and (most importantly) pupils agree!
Independence/confidence: To make progress in their learning and build their self-esteem, pupils must feel comfortable in their learning environment. 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: Children are presented with new challenges every day (social, as well as academic), so 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: As they progress through the school, your pupils will meet 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 also be essential when moving beyond primary school to secondary education.
“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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Updated in September 2020 to reflect the return to school of all year groups