February 19, 2022
Last year we put together this blog post and freebie to help you all take Science Week outdoors, it’s so good that we’ve decided to share it again! Read on for our top tips and don’t forget to download your free mini idea pack!
This year, British Science Week takes place between 5th – 14th March. With schools across the UK currently all running at different capacities on site, we want to help educators plan a Science Week that’s suitable for remote learning and in-school provision. Whether children are at home or in school, it’s important for them to have opportunities to discover the science that surrounds them in daily life!
The natural world and Science go hand in hand, and with more and more of us now knowing the benefits of outdoor education for our children, it makes sense to combine the two and have Science Week outside!
Put your doubts about delivering a fun, hands-on science week to home learners and those in school to one side, because we’re here to help you achieve it all and of course take it outdoors! We’re going to awaken you to an abundance of the different outdoor science opportunities, all which will help you get your children inspired by science, connected to nature and engaged in their learning. How, we hear you ask? With our FREE guide of ideas, which can be found at the end of this blog post!
But first let us share some advice for planning a successful outdoor Science Week that can cater to pupils both at home and in school.
Top Tips for taking British Science Week 2021 outdoors!
1. Keep your plans simple!
Okay, so at this point you’re probably thinking that we say this a lot at Alfresco Learning, but honestly, if you want your Science Week to be successful, stick to investigations and concepts that are easy for children to take part in with minimal resources. Make sure to allow the children plenty of time to complete their activities in our unpredictable UK weather. With home learners in particular you need to anticipate that not everyone will be up for taking their children outside in the cold and wet for some science outdoors.
2. Pick a focus.
You might decide that your focus will be one of the five enquiry types (observation over time, pattern seeking, comparative and fair testing, identifying and classifying or research). Or you might choose instead to have a core theme that links your chosen activities together (we have some ideas in our free guide for you). Whichever you choose, having a focus will give more meaning to your Science Week and will mean that children can get stuck in to an area of science you are looking at and take it further if they wish.
3. Tailor your activities to the type of outdoor areas you know your children have access to.
So this one is pretty important when thinking about your home learners in particular. If you are asking children to go on a wildlife and plant ID hunt, but they all live in very urban, concrete areas, then it might not work so well. Instead, think about the type of nature they will all have access to e.g the sky and build a theme around that.
4. Give children the chance to be curious about the natural world.
Science Week is a great way to build children’s science capital; allow them to experience the natural world in a new way, ask questions and follow their own lines of inquiry. They can then, in turn, research more about what they notice outdoors, follow their interests and think about how it links into their everyday lives or even potential career choices. Children are naturally fascinated by nature, so provide opportunities to share their findings with the class too and watch as they inspire each other with their ‘awe and wonder’ discoveries!
There we have our practical advice, now for the inspiration!
You can download your free mini idea pack below! Inside you’ll find inspiration for the themes Space & Weather, which will be suitable for you to adapt across the Primary age range and can also be used for separate class themes.
The full version of the guide also includes outdoor science activities for the themes Transport, Colours and Weather. Plus ideas for a whole school approach, using Science Week as a way to redesign your outdoor space, linked to the full range of scientific enquiry types. This full version is available to members inside our Outdoor Planning Hub.
We hope this blog post inspires you to not only take your Science Week outdoors but will support you in taking more of your everyday curriculum science outside too! If you’re looking for even more, we have plenty to offer through our lesson plans in the Outdoor Planning Hub. Inside you will find high quality outdoor science lesson plans for Years 1, 2, 3 & 4 covering National Curriculum objectives which also outline the working scientifically skills and types of enquiry covered.