Literacy? Thinking skills? Explorify has got you covered!
Written by Explorify on Mon 19th Jun 2017
How Explorify's science activities are flexible enough to support writing, speaking, listening and more.
You'd like to teach more science – but literacy and numeracy are the priority. And it can be tough subject to teach through topics or find enough time in a busy timetable to teach it really well.
But it doesn't have to be like that. We know literacy is one of your big priorities, so Explorify's science activities are flexible enough to support writing, speaking, listening and more. Every activity will get your children thinking, observing, discussing and reasoning, in brilliant sessions which children love and which can be slotted into to all sorts of topics and times of the day.
For instance – what’s the Odd One Out of three Roald Dahl books George's Marvellous Medicine, Matilda, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? There are so many possible answers – the plots, characters, problems that are overcome – that every child will be desperate to contribute, sharing what they see and their reasoning. Along the way, they're developing both their scientific and literacy skills – and having fun. "The language as the children discussed the images was great…superb for observational skills and extending language choices," says a happy teacher.
What If? activities are also brilliant for literacy. Asked what would happen if plants could talk, "one child wondered whether they would have their own language or whether they would pick up language from their surroundings which would mean forest trees might talk 'bird' and school playground trees might talk like children."
The Big Questions – such as "does colour affect how we taste things?" are a perfect literacy activity, too. What do pupils already know? How could the class approach the question? Work together to create a plan of action, and then decide how this could be shared with the rest of the school. It’s definitely science – but think of all the fantastic vocabulary around taste and colour which the children can share and use.
You can tweak Explorify sessions to meet your specific needs as many of the activities push children to observe and describe – the essential base for good writing. You might get the children to write down and cut out words describing odd ones out, or flavour and taste, or practise writing succinct explanations. All activities include open-ended discussion and questioning, with children considering the evidence, drawing on existing knowledge and making a hypothesis. This is speaking and listening that children love to do: teachers say even the quietest are joining in confidently.
Explorify's structured class discussions not only support children to plan and structure their writing, but develop their critical thinking. This is increasingly used in many primaries as part of strategies to help children progress, master different subjects and reflect on their own learning. Wiltshire teacher Craig says Explorify is "one of the best things I ever introduced for thinking skills in KS2."
The activities use critical thinking techniques of encouraging children to consider the evidence, using existing knowledge, to reason, be open-minded, to challenge and be challenged, and to test out ideas.
One teacher, delighted with the amount of open-ended discussion her class had done during three activities in one week, said: "Next week I'm going to prep a bit more, planning in some higher order thinking questions, perhaps even with an activity, to see what response I get. I told the children I was trialling some new science software, and they've asked me every day if we can do more."