Top tips for teaching primary science, from Dr Leigh Hoath

Dr Leigh Hoath is Editor of the Association for Science Education’s Primary Science journal. Her work reaches out to teachers across the whole age phase of primary schools in order to try to support engagement and interest in science. Her interests lie predominantly in improving learning and teaching in Primary Science, pedagogy and working in the outdoor setting.

Dr Leigh Hoath’s top tips for teaching primary science:

  1. Be Bold
  2. Make it relevant
  3. Talk to people in the science industry, in business and make use of the educational outreach science museums offer for schools

One of the easiest ways to make science relevant for kids, whilst keeping to the curriculum, is to subscribe to a magazine like Whizz Pop Bang. Our subscriptions for schools allow children to independently read up-to-date news articles every month about things that are happening in their world, as well as the big news stories written in a way to inform children, without worrying them.

To accompany each issue of Whizz Pop Bang magazine, there’s a library of online resources for schools, all planned and ready to download and teach – with a handy kit list of inexpensive household items to carry out the investigations.

Teachers can deliver hands-on science lessons that are both fun and hands-on for children, getting a ‘deep dive’ experience they’ll remember.

“Using Whizz Pop Bang has revitalized our science teaching. The quality of the resources are first class and particularly support cross curricular links through the reading comprehension activities. We have found these to be particularly useful at the upper end of KS2 where science can be used as a vehicle to support SATs, making use of skills of inference and deduction based on relevant scientific topics. In addition the planning offers exciting practical ideas, particularly useful to teachers who are not scientific specialists. The children absolutely love carrying out the real-life experiments.”

Sally Cowell, Head teacher at Shaw Ridge Primary school, Swindon

How can your primary school embrace the new Ofsted framework?

The new Ofsted framework comes into place from September 2019. Its focus is on ensuring that primary schools are delivering a well-rounded education across the whole of the primary curriculum. This is an exciting time for science and all other non-assessed primary subjects as it shifts some of the focus away from maths and literacy.

To help schools prepare for the changes, we’ve got some top tips on how Whizz Pop Bang’s new primary science and reading resources can help deliver a cross-curricular approach in your school.

Below are some of the key requirements from the new Ofsted framework…

  1. “Learners study the full curriculum. Providers ensure this by teaching a full range of subjects for as long as possible, ‘specialising’ only when necessary.”
    During their top-level view, headteachers will be asked to explain how their curriculum is implemented and inspectors will explore what is on offer to students.  As they start to deep dive into science, they will want to see a sequence of lessons, scrutinize books and talk to pupils. They will be checking for coverage but more importantly that pupils learn and remember.

  2. “Coverage is a prerequisite for learning, but simply having covered a part of the curriculum does not in itself indicate that pupils know or remember more.”
    Here at Whizz Pop Bang our aim is to put the Whizz, Pop and Bang into science and topic lessons in primary schools. We create lessons that are fun, easy to teach and therefore memorable for pupils and teachers alike (in a good way!).
    Kids love our hands-on experiments; making exploding rockets, growing mould and testing out cool paper planes, making recycling machines and finding out why things float… trying out experiments that fail and learning from trying again. Subscribe to Whizz Pop Bang for your school to access over 100 tried and tested science resources, with more added every month to keep science teaching fresh and topical.

  3. The resources and materials that teachers select – in a way that does not create unnecessary workload for staff – reflect the provider’s ambitious intentions for the course of study and clearly support the intent of a coherently planned curriculum…” The Whizz Pop Bang ten-minute spectacular science PowerPoints are designed to get a scientific discussion going in the classroom. These enable teachers to share deeper science topics into their lessons, with questions and answers included in the PowerPoint so teachers don’t have to spend time researching them. Our primary school resources have clear links to the science and reading curricula, they are of high quality and require minimal resources, helping to reduce teacher workload without skimping on the quality of the lesson and pupil’s learning.

  4. Teachers have good knowledge of the subject(s) and courses they teach. Leaders provide effective support for those teaching outside their main areas of expertise…” We know that not all teachers are science specialists, so with this in mind we include an age-appropriate scientific explanation on every lesson plan, with scientific terminology to expand children’s vocabulary. This increases teacher’s confidence and adds extra support for primary school teachers.

  5. “Teachers present subject matter clearly, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter they are teaching.”
    Our reading resources are taken from all issues of Whizz Pop Bang magazine and cover many different non-fiction genres (interviews, non-chronological reports, historical biographies, explanation texts and instructions), helping teachers to make cross-curricular links and promote relevant and thought-provoking discussions with pupils.

  6. “In primary schools, inspectors will always carry out a deep dive in reading…”
    Teachers love our reading resources as the content is current, inspiring and relevant, and linked to the reading curriculum. Teachers can download and print as many texts as required, allowing whole class reading or group reading. Our questions sheets relate to the reading curriculum and are differentiated. In all texts we help pupils to pronounce scientific words by breaking them down phonetically.

  7. “A rigorous approach to the teaching of reading develops learners’ confidence and enjoyment in reading. At the early stages of learning to read, reading materials are closely matched to learners’ phonics knowledge.”
    We offer a unique resource for schools, with new science and reading resources available every month to accompany each new issue of Whizz Pop Bang magazine. Each issue is themed, which links well with topic-based learning in schools, as well as seasons and events.

Read the full Ofsted framework report here.

A subscription to Whizz Pop Bang magazine and resources is the perfect way to enhance your school’s curriculum, and meet key elements of Ofsted’s new guidelines.

Subscribe to Whizz Pop Bang for your school for:

  • Inspirational and topical science magazines delivered each month
  • Unlimited teacher log-ins to access downloadable science and reading resources
  • Prices from just £190 for the entire year

Visit our dedicated schools page, call us on 0330 2233 790 or email schools@whizzpopbang.com. Together we can inspire the scientists of the future!

EASY SCIENCE FOR KIDS: Decomposing experiment + competition to win PATCH bamboo plasters!

Are you looking for free experiments for kids? Here’s an easy science experiment that doesn’t need any special materials or skills, just bags of curiosity…

This decomposing experiment is a great way to show composting in action. If you’re looking for STEM activities for primary school or home school science lessons about living things and habitats, this investigation is a winner!

Keep scrolling to be in with a chance of winning some awesome, earth-friendly prizes, too!

Decomposing experiment for kids

Rotting Rubbish decomposing experiment from Whizz Pop Bang science magazine for kids

For this experiment you will need:

  • Two jam jars of the same size
  • Two pieces of old fabric
  • Two elastic bands
  • Compost or soil
  • Finely chopped banana or other fruit
  • Small pieces of plastic or polystyrene

The decomposing experiment

  1. Set up the experiment as shown. Each jar should contain the same depth of compost.
  2. Sprinkle a few drops of water over the fruit and plastic.
  3. Leave the experiment for at least five days, noting any changes in the jars.

You should find the fruit will have started to rot but the plastic will be unaltered. Bacteria and fungi eat food waste, helping it to rot, but they don’t usually eat plastic. The plastic won’t start to rot for another 450 years, so don’t wait around! After the experiment, you can reuse the jars and recycle the plastic.

If you’re a teacher or home educator looking for more teaching ideas and STEM activities covering the topic living things and habitats, check out the Rotting Rubbish investigation and an Investigation into Bacteria from the Whizz Pop Bang science and reading learning lab whizzpopbang.com/teaching-resources

COMPETITION TIME! WIN A SET OF PATCH BAMBOO PLASTERS FOR YOUR FAMILY…

PATCH plasters are made from 100% organic bamboo

PATCH adhesive bandages are crafted with 100% organic bamboo fibre with the added natural goodness of activated charcoal, aloe vera and coconut oil.

Did you know that most plasters contain plastic and so take a very long time to degrade? PATCH adhesive strips are wound coverings made from organic bamboo which break down in just a few weeks after they’ve been used.

Watch how PATCH plasters biodegrade…

Independently tested, PATCH Bamboo Plasters will break down naturally into the soil in a matter of weeks, making it the world’s first natural, organic bamboo plaster that is 100% compostable

We’ve got two sets of PATCH Bamboo Plasters to give away to two lucky Whizz Pop Bang readers! Each winner will get 25 Light Bamboo Patches (to help repair minor cuts), 25 Coconut Oil Patches (to soothe grazes), 25 Aloe Vera Patches (ideal for minor burns and blisters) and 25 Black Bamboo with Activated Charcoal Patches (for bites and splinters).

Grazed knees have never looked so good (or been so kind to the planet!)

PATCH, the natural alternative to wound care that just loves your skin!
LATEX FREE – PARABEN FREE-THIMEROSAL FREE – CRUELTY FREE

To enter this competition, answer this bamboo-zling question in the comments box below:

Bamboo is….

  1. The slowest-growing plant on the planet
  2. The most expensive plant on the planet
  3. The fastest-growing plant on the planet

This competition closes at midnight on 31st July 2019. For full terms and conditions visit whizzpopbang.com/terms

PATCH is available to buy from www.patchstrips.eu and from mid-July, you will be able to buy PATCH in most Holland & Barrett and Superdrug stores across the UK.

How to get the most out of one issue of Whizz Pop Bang science magazine

Mr Tyler, a Year 2 teacher at Great Moor Community Infant School in Stockport, answers the question ‘how can teachers help to get kids and parents more involved in science?’ He came up with a simple answer that’s really easy to implement!

Each month, when Whizz Pop Bang arrives in his classroom, Mr Tyler creates a new Whizz Pop Bang scrapbook.

The children take it in turns to bring both the scrapbook and the copy of Whizz Pop Bang magazine home for the weekend so they can have fun doing a STEM activity, reading the magazine or just doing the puzzles. The children love writing in the scrapbook and proudly sticking in their photos, experiment results and observations. It’s not compulsory, it’s not homework – it’s all about having fun with science at home – and kids, parents, teachers and even Ofsted are loving it!

Toby Tyler, Teacher at Great Moor Infant School in Stockport

Mr Tyler also uses the tag #WPBShare on Twitter to proudly share his class’s Whizz Pop Bang achievements – check it out and tweet us your class’s science achievements too @whizzpopbangmag

62,000 children take part in Great Science Share for Schools

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell of Manchester University

Tomorrow, Tuesday 18th June, over 62,000 children are taking part in the Great Science Share for Schools to share their science learning.

The Great Science Share is about children communicating something that they have been investigating which starts with a question that they are interested in. By promoting child-centred learning in science, the campaign provides opportunity for young people to communicate their scientific questions and investigations to new audiences – in their own words and ways. They will even grill University and civic leaders on matters of climate crisis.

WHERE? All over the world! Schools across the UK, Nigeria, Brazil and India are taking part. See if schools near you are having an event on the map below, or visit greatscienceshare.org for the interactive map.

Great Science Share for schools map of satellite events

The national campaign led by The University of Manchester aims to inspire young people from across the UK and overseas to share their science learning with new audiences. Children and teachers from schools as far afield as Nigeria, India and Brazil, are getting involved alongside children from Great Ormond Street and Manchester Hospital Schools.

The Great Science Share for Schools’ UK flagship event will take place at The University of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery on Tuesday, 18 June. This will see hundreds of children from 45 primary schools across Greater Manchester demonstrating their own science investigations to each other on campus.

Are your children taking part? Is your school hosting a satellite event? Share your experiences!

The consequences of plastic pollution are at the forefront of the Manchester event, as Derby High School students share their findings through a specially choreographed dance, whilst other children from Park View Community School have considered what a non-plastic world might look like. This year it’s evident that children are concerned with the environment and how they can use science and engineering to improve lives.

Students will also be putting questions to Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell and Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Abid Latif Chohan about what current and aspiring scientists alike can help address some of the planets biggest problems.

“Once again the Great Science Share for Schools has grown and it’s outstanding to see how such a simple concept can spread so wide. We are proud to be able to give children an opportunity where their scientific questions and interest are valued.”

Dr Lynne Bianchi, Head of SEERIH (Science & Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub)

Primary science teaching resources on light

Hello teachers! Our newest resources are available to download, and they make the perfect accompaniment to the awesome Eye Spy edition of Whizz Pop Bang.

Year 6 and P7: Make a Periscope Lesson Pack

Make a periscope science resource pack from Whizz Pop Bang
Whizz Pop Bang investigation pack for year 6 and P7,
linking to the ‘light’ and ‘vibration and waves’

In this light investigation lesson pack, pupils will discover how light travels in straight lines and reflects off objects so we can see them. Pupils will learn about the different parts of the eye, including the cornea, lens, pupil, retina and iris. Using mirrors and a kitchen roll, pupils will investigate light by building a simple periscope.

This downloadable pack includes:

  • A lesson plan, complete with top tips for setting up the activity
  • Printable instructions for the activity
  • A PowerPoint presentation that explains how we see
  • A writing frame for an explanation text with a diagram of the eye, to be used in English lessons
  • Three speedy science activities

Year 6 and P7: Bionic Eye Interview Reading Comprehension

Whizz Pop Bang interview with a biomedical engineer

This non-fiction Bionic Eye Interview text links to the ‘light’ and ‘vibrations and waves’ topics for year 6 and P7. The interview with Gregg Suaning, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, explains how his team is developing a bionic eye called Phoenix99 that could help people who have lost their sight to see again.

This downloadable reading pack includes:

  • An A3 reading spread for you to print
  • Reading comprehension question sheet
  • An answer sheet including the objective for each question, which is taken from the reading National Curriculum

This historical scientist biography text for year 6 and P7, linking to the topics *light* and *vibrations and waves*, describes how Patricia Bath invented the ‘Laserphaco Probe’. This invention uses lasers to help break up and remove cataracts through a cut in the eye just 1 mm long. It has been used by eye doctors around the world.


Year 6 and P7: Historical Scientist Patricia Bath Reading Comprehension

Whizz Pop Bang reading pack on historical scientist Patricia Bath

This downloadable reading pack includes:

  • An A3 reading spread for you to print
  • A reading comprehension question sheet
  • An answer sheet including the objective for each question, which is taken from the reading national curriculum

Inside this eye-poppingly exciting edition of Whizz Pop Bang you’ll find all sorts of ways to trick your eyes!

You’ll meet a cheetah – they’re spotted, speedy and have super-sharp sight – and learn how creatures who live in the dark sense their surroundings.

You can also discover how microscopes work and have a go at making some fantastic 3D glasses.

Not yet a subscriber to our downloadable teaching resources?

Teacher’s reviews for Whizz Pop Bang!

The Whizz Pop Bang Pee Power issue is proving a big hit! We’re loving this review posted by a teacher on facebook…

“I told one of my classes of girls that following the very popular issue all about pooh the latest issue is all about wee. They were very excited. Where but in a science lesson can children talk about wee and pooh? A few months ago we were testing acids and alkalis using pH paper and I mentioned that a couple of years ago one girl tested her urine. Quite a few hands went up to volunteer to do the same, so of course I let a couple of girls go off to the loo with plastic cups. And instructions not to spill them on the way back! My girls love WPB; they can read them if they finish their science early or if we have a few minutes. Most popular with 6 year olds for some reason!”

Madeleine Holmes

Looking for ways to build girls’ confidence in science?

“The positive work that Whizz Pop Bang does to challenge and break down gender stereotypes has really hit a chord with the girls in our school. They love everything about the magazine, from its gender balanced covers to the articles and practical ideas that appeal to them and especially the features on contemporary and historical female scientists and engineers.

Every issue features female scientists discussing their jobs, and there’s rarely a month goes by without girls in my class asking about how you get in to engineering, or become a fossil hunter. The content and the presentation are really helping to open primary school-aged girls’ eyes to the huge variety of careers they could follow and helping them realise that there is no such thing as a job women can’t do!

The focus on historical scientific figures such as Agnes Arber, Florence Nightingale and Rachel Carson has encouraged girls in my class to engage in independent research into significant female scientists of the past and their contributions. It’s also sparked debates in class about why, historically, there are so few prominent women in scientific fields and, most importantly, what they want to do to change this. Whizz Pop Bang has inspired many of the girls in our school to think about and consider careers that they would never have been aware of otherwise. We have seen a marked increase in girl’s interest in, and engagement with, STEM subjects. This year our science club was 70% girls and 8 out of 12 of our Science Lab Technicians were girls.”

Paul Tyler, Mearns Primary School, Glasgow

Supporting upper KS2 with SATS…

“Using Whizz Pop Bang has revitalized our science teaching. The quality of the resources are first class and particularly support cross curricular links through the reading comprehension activities. We have found these to be particularly useful at the upper end of KS2 where science can be used as a vehicle to support SATs, making use of skills of inference and deduction based on relevant scientific topics. In addition the planning offers exciting practical ideas, particularly useful to teachers who are not scientific specialists. The children absolutely love carrying out the real-life experiments.”
Sally Cowell, Head teacher at Shaw Ridge Primary school, Swindon

Science ideas for gifted and talented groups

“I originally ordered Whizz Pop Bang for my then 7 year old. At the time, I was a microbiologist with a real passion for science and wanted my children to have the same passion and natural curiosity. Following the birth of my second child, I retrained as a primary school teacher, specifically Early Years. My passion for science never left me and I like to use science investigations with my class of 4 and 5 year olds to promote cross curricular learning and natural curiosity. I also run the Gifted and Talented group for which I also use ideas and investigations from Whizz Pop Bang. Recently we made the straw DNA model. The children loved it. The investigations can be tailored to any age group from 4 – 12. I absolutely love it.”

Mrs Sara Thomas, Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School, Burton upon Trent


Find out how Whizz Pop Bang can transform science in your school with our monthly magazines, and new downloadable science and reading resources! Visit our schools page for more info and to download a free sample pack.

FREE primary science lesson pack on electricity!

Looking for fun and engaging science resources about electricity?

This lesson pack saves you valuable planning time as everything is ready to download and go! We’re giving teachers a FREE suite of Whizz Pop Bang STEM activities to try, combining creativity with fun science experiments to teach your class about circuits.

What’s inside the lesson pack?

Download this free lesson pack!

Whizz Pop Bang’s Electric Art pack contains everything you need to teach a full lesson on electricity and circuits for year 6 (P7 for Scottish schools) including:

  • Three non-fiction reading comprehension texts, with question and answer sheets:
  1. Non-chronological report text – How Stuff Works: Plugs
  2. An interview text with Electrical Engineer Nikita Hari
  3. A biographical text about the ‘Father of electricity’ Michael Faraday
  • A PowerPoint presentation all about electricity, including how to draw circuits
  • A game – ‘Complete the Circuit’
  • A worksheet explaining circuit symbols
  • A PowerPoint presentation to prompt a ten-minute discussion about solar power

Create a buzz in your classroom!

Prepare to inspire your scientists-in-training! There’s a simple recipe for conductive salt dough, which pupils can use to make a working circuit to light a bulb or buzz a buzzer, a game, engaging presentations and lots more. It’s minimal preparation for you but maximum learning potential for your pupils. 

If you found the BBC Bitesize science learner guides on electricity, conductors and circuits useful, these engaging STEM activities are a fantastic way to continue your pupils’ learning adventure.

Looking for a quick electricity activity?

This downloadable lesson pack includes a PowerPoint discussion topic, designed to make your aspiring scientists wonder about solar energy. Show your class the impressive photo of solar panels and use the prompts included to spark a lively debate, designed to fill ten minutes.

Electric art lesson plans linked to the English National Curriculum for science and the Scottish National Curriculum for science

Free science club activities!

The Electric Art activity is a perfect after-school activity for science clubs, Scout or Guide groups, or even as a home science experiment. It’s the perfect easy science experiment for kids – you don’t need lots of special kit or expertise to get some enlightening (or buzzy!) results!

Written by teachers and science experts, for teachers and STEM educators

We’ve poured a lot of expertise into these resources, but don’t just take our word for how valuable they are:

“The new teachers’ lesson plans from Whizz Pop Bang are fantastic, exactly what teachers want! Written by teachers for teachers, they are clearly laid out and concisely written so you can pick them up and use them straight away. Whizz Pop Bang have linked them to the Curriculum for Excellence so it’s easy to see where they fit into your science planning. A brilliant new resource for teachers to use and enjoy.”

Paul Tyler, Teacher at Mearns Primary School

Click here to download your resource pack!

WIN! Brilliant Ideas from Wonderful Women

It’s International Women’s Day 2019 and to celebrate we’ve got three copies of this super cool book to give away! To enter this competition simply answer this question…

Which famous female scientist discovered that Earth has an inner core, as well as a mantle and outer core? 
1. Inge Lehmann
2. Katherine Johnson
3. Agnes Arber

Answer in the comments box below by midnight on Sunday 10/3/19 👇🏾
(Hint: the answer is in the QUAKE RATTLE AND ROLL issue of Whizz Pop Bang!)

Helping children in Nepal to enjoy science

We have one simple aim for Whizz Pop Bang, and that’s to help as many children as possible to enjoy the wonderful world of science.

A few months ago a man called Brian Mildenhall, who works for a charity in Nepal, phoned and asked if we could donate some magazines for the children he helps. Brian works for a charity called Freedom Kit Bags which was set up to help end period poverty in Nepal. As well as supplying sanitary wear for women and girls, the team behind Freedom Kit Bags deliver education too.

Brian took a box of Whizz Pop Bang magazines on his most recent trip out to Nepal, and just last week he sent us these heart-warming photos of the children reading them at school. We’re all so touched to see our magazines in the hands of Nepalese children and teachers, helping them to read English and enjoy science. Thank you Brian and team for doing what you do! ❤️👍🏾🧠