Jennifer Iwantschak Science co-ordinator GLOBE PRIMARY
It’s been absolutely fantastic – the first part was showing the other teachers all the experiments and it was noticeable how instantly enthusiastic they were about teaching science. Before we started the Empiribox system, teaching science was always a bit of a drag – everyone wants to do it well but didn’t know how to. Now, having all the resources there and seeing it for ourselves, we are learning so much about it as well. As we have been teaching it throughout the school, the kids are so excited about it; I get so much positive feedback. It’s fascinating to go out to the playground and listen to a Y3 child talk to a Y6 one about the experiment they just did! It’s evident how excited they are and it has created this really enthusiastic culture.
We did quite a lot of recording data in our previous science curriculum, but one of the things I have been amazed by is that in the first term (of using Empiribox), one of the key things was finding out if they could ask a question. In our first lesson, it was terrifying because none of them could. By the end of the first term, they were just doing it – I didn’t even have to prompt anymore, they could just look at some equipment and say “This is my question, this is how I am going to test it, and I am going to get going”. They are so much more confident now.
Pupil progression in scientific skills
Pupils have developed quite a lot. We did a lot of recording data in our previous science curriculum, but one of the things I have been amazed by is that in the first term (of using Empiribox), one of the key things was finding out if they could ask a question, and in our first lesson, it was terrifying because none of them could. There was so much work that had to go into changing that, and by the end of the first term, they were just doing it – I didn’t even have to prompt anymore, they could just look at some equipment and say “This is my question, this is how I am going to test it, and I am going to get going”. They are so much more confident now.
Approach to doing science and developing the skills set
I work in quite a challenging school with quite challenging behaviours. We did an experiment recently, testing chemical reactions with metals and acid – we were testing for Hydrogen and hearing the pop, and lighting a splint. I was really nervous about it beforehand, but the pupils’ behaviour in science is incredible – they are aware they have been given this huge responsibility, and because we are teaching them so well, they are able to do it. They are so calm, despite the fact that they are really excited about what they are doing.
Use of the system to support literacy
It’s been fantastic. We do some big writes for literacy and before, when we did science writing, they didn’t have enough knowledge to really elaborate on it in a big piece of writing, and now they do – they are really enthused about it.
Lucy Penn Y3/4 Teacher FRANKLIN PRIMARY
It’s been really exciting, really practical for the children, The children have really loved all the lessons and I have enjoyed teaching it.
Skills progression Amazing improvement.
When we started off, they didn’t really write anything, and now (after 5 weeks of lessons) they are doing pictures, labels, graphs, tables, predicting and explaining their work, so it has been fantastic. We can see a huge progression in just a few weeks, which is very positive.
Progession in numeracy and literacy
Definite improvements. As far as mathematics is concerned, we are establishing a number of mathematical skills (they didn’t have before). On literacy, they are now writing reams of work about their results, which is amazing, so I can see a huge difference in their work as a result (of their science lessons).
Kate Donaghy Science Co-ordinator BRUNEL PRIMARY
Teaching the system
I love going into the KS2 classes and seeing the children being inspired. We have had so many good quotes from the children, and one boy in particular goes around telling everyone he wants to be a scientist, thanks to all the demonstrations and experiments he gets to do. (I don’t teach KS2, but) I got jealous of the KS2 teachers so I have established an after-school science club so I can do my own demonstrations and experiments as well!
Progression on science skills
Last term, the focus was on planning and (by the end of the term) it was much clearer that all the children knew what that meant, to plan an investigation, what it should look like and they knew the terminology involved, like variables, predictions, all those words that may have been a bit airy fairy to start but are now very specific. Now (this term) we are using those investigations and using the numbers, they are very clear what that should look like, that they should have a table, how to use the numbers much better, and it has made everything much clearer for them, which was not the case when we started (teaching the Empiribox system).
Progression in literacy and numeracy
In this term, progress in numeracy is much clearer as well, because they have been using the numbers they have generated in their investigations to create tables in their maths, as well as to create bar charts, scatter graphs, finding averages, and using these skills (in other lessons). It also lends itself easily to English, enhancing their writing about the scientists (identified in the lessons) because they have to think clearly about their use of words.