It’s DAY THREE of WHIZZ POP BANG’S 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS PRIZES! Every day until 12th Dec, we’ll launch a competition to give you and your budding scientists a chance to win awesome prizes. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for another chance to win…
💫 The Whizz Pop Bang Science Joke book – stuffed with over 200 hilarious jokes to get the whole family laughing out loud! 💫 Whizz Pop Bang Issue 41: Jingle Bell Rock – A mash up of musical science! 💫 Whizz Pop Bang Issue 17: 12 Days of Christmas – Edible science to see you through the festive season!
It’s perfect for popping under the tree!
To be in with a chance of winning this perfect prize, just answer this question in the comments:
Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here!
Are you new to the role of Science Co-ordinator? Or maybe you’ve been a Science Co-ordinator for a while, but you’d like to freshen things up. Read these top tips from our primary school expert Kirsty Williams…
Writing your action plan
Being a co-ordinator of any subject can be daunting and it can be difficult to know where to start. An action plan is an ideal way to get things off the ground.
If you can, talk to the previous Science Co-ordinator. They will already have a wealth of knowledge on the subject and will be able to tell you what they have already done, what has worked well and what they think the next steps are. If they have left the school, look at their action plan from the previous year and speak to senior management staff to find out more information. It’s really important to establish the subject’s current profile at your school before you can decide what will go into your action plan. Just remember to make the targets achievable – for example, although having a science week is nice, an excellent science day might be more realistic.
Your responsibilities as a science co-ordinator
Once you’re familiar with your school’s science provision and future aims, you can write an action plan based on your responsibilities as a science co-ordinator. These are:
1. Promoting science
To be a good co-ordinator, you don’t have to be a subject specialist, but you do need to be interested in the subject and confident in teaching it. To be able to effectively promote science to the rest of the staff, it’s important to lead by example. When another teacher walks into your classroom, it should be clear that you have a love of science. Always have a science display and, when the opportunity arises, get your class to share their science work. Encourage other teachers to send their pupils to you to show you their science achievements. You could even keep some special science stickers to hand out as rewards!
Try to incorporate science into as many lessons as you can. Share your passion with the children and make it cross curricular. Choose science-related texts during English lessons and for reading comprehensions. Use historical scientists as well as current scientists, making sure there is a balance of gender. Interviews with people who use science in their jobs is a great way of promoting science capital. You want your pupils to see that science is everywhere and useful and can lead to some really exciting jobs, such as being a nature navigator or a coral biologist who gets to dive in the ocean as part of her job, or a thrill engineer who designs rollercoasters! The list goes on – check out our bank of reading comprehensions here.
In staff meetings, it can be hard to give your subject a voice because it’s one of many subjects taught and you don’t want to add to your fellow teachers’ workloads. However, don’t forget that all children have to take several exams in science at GCSE level, along with English and maths, so it shouldn’t be allowed to be pushed out of the primary curriculum. If you have the opportunity to lead a staff meeting, try to make it fun and practical so that it’s memorable; remind teachers how enjoyable it is to teach science and make sure they leave with an idea they can try out in their own class. Whizz Pop Bang’s downloadable teaching resources are packed with engaging hands-on science lesson plans to ensure staff are never short of ideas.
2. Ensuring coverage and progression
It’s important to ensure each area of science is being taught in the correct year group, in line with the National Curriculum. To do this, you can ask teachers which topics they are teaching in each term, plus which enquiry skills they are covering. This overview will help you to see if there are any gaps, and a record should be kept in your co-ordinator’s file. The PSTT has a great poster which explains each enquiry skill, which may be a useful document to give to each member of staff to support their planning.
It can be tempting to buy into a scheme to try to ensure progression. A scheme can provide a good skeleton to support your less confident colleagues, but it isn’t strictly necessary – schemes are expensive and can still have gaps.
To ensure progression in lessons, you should make time during the year to do a medium-term planning scrutiny. You should look for progression and make sure that members of staff are covering the content of each topic correctly. It’s important that year groups don’t cross over. Some topics are smaller than others so, where this is the case, encourage teachers to broaden their pupils’ scientific thinking and cover more of the enquiry skills, rather than adding in further content that may be taught in another year group. It’s important that pupils learn science skills, as we all know it’s about the journey and not about the final outcome. OFSTED will be looking to see evidence of where lessons are going and where they have come from, so showing progression is particularly important.
Vocabulary progression is also key; giving each teacher a vocabulary list for each topic can be helpful. Knowledge organisers are also popular. These are useful tools that help teachers to make sure they cover the correct content. It’s important these are used correctly – they shouldn’t be given to pupils to learn the content, but instead, they should be used as a support for spellings and definitions. Whizz Pop Bang has vocabulary posters and knowledge organisers for each year group – they’re available within our teaching resources.
You are responsible for ensuring teachers have the resources they need to teach their subjects. One of your first jobs at the beginning of the school year should be making sure the resources are organised and clearly labelled so you can see what is missing or needs replacing. Ensure consumable resources, such as batteries, are topped up regularly and buy class sets of beakers and measuring cylinders etc, to make testing ‘fair’. In the current situation, the sharing of certain resources is prohibited. There is more guidance on this from CLEAPS
Whizz Pop Bang provides hundreds of engaging downloadable science lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, hands-on investigations and science reading comprehensions that are all written by primary school teachers and linked to the National Curriculum.
Supporting teachers who are not confident with teaching science is really important. As primary school teachers, we are expected to teach lots of different subjects so there’s nothing wrong in admitting that you need help teaching an area of science – we can’t all be good at everything! Talk to your colleagues and establish which areas they are less confident about and how you can help them. You might be able to assist them with planning or you could arrange for them to watch you teach science. If it’s subject knowledge that they’re wobbly on, Reach Out CPD is a really useful free website that explains the science behind the topics. It only takes a few minutes to go through each unit.
In Whizz Pop Bang’s downloadable lesson plans, the science behind each experiment or investigation is clearly explained, to give teachers the confidence they need to deliver the lessons.
5. Keeping up to date
As part of your role, it is important to be aware of what is new. This is hard to do when you are busy but social media is an easy way to do this. It is a great place to find support and get new ideas. As a community, teachers are supportive and are keen to share ideas and give advice. There are some great groups out there, such as primary science co-ordinators and the Whizz Pop Bang teachers’ group, which gives regular updates on new resources added to the website and shares relevant news and articles.
Once you’ve written an action plan and begun to implement it across your school, it’s important to keep an eye on how things are progressing. There are plenty of ways to keep track of science in school – observing lessons, learning walks, book scrutiny, planning scrutiny and pupil chats. All of these are important, but most importantly, remember to lead by example so that all the staff and children sense your infectious love of science!
Whizz Pop Bang magazine and teaching resources are brilliant ways to enhance your school’s science teaching:
We provide downloadable science lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, hands-on investigations and science reading comprehensions written by primary school teachers.
Whizz Pop Bang teaching resources link to the National Curriculum, ensuring correct coverage.
All of our resources are year group specific, ensuring progression between the years.
We make cross-curricular links to other subjects, such as English, Maths, History, Geography, Design and Technology and PSHE.
Prices from as little as £190 per year for a copy of Whizz Pop Bang magazine through the post each month and whole-school access to our ever-growing library of downloadable teaching resources, with unlimited teacher logins.
“Using Whizz pop bang school resources has enabled investigations to be an integral part of my science planning. I now have investigations and experiments throughout my planning rather than just at the end. The lessons are easy to resource and the pack has everything I need to teach the lesson so it saves me time as well!” Louise Hampson, Year 3 teacher
The new Ofsted framework for primary schools has shifted the focus away from data and put more emphasis on a broad, engaging curriculum. This means that Ofsted inspectors are now shining more of a spotlight on science. So, what will Ofsted inspectors want to know when they take a ‘deep dive’ into science at your primary school?
Would you like help to improve primary science in your school?
A few primary science coordinators have shared their experiences of the Ofsted inspections under the new framework, and we have to say, the inspections seem very thorough! To help take away the fear and uncertainty for science coordinators, we’ve put together this short summary to show you what to expect in an Ofsted deep dive into science, and we also share our top tips of what you can put in your coordinator file.
Make sure you know what each year group is teaching and how these topics progress across the years. It’s really important you understand what is covered in EYFS; if this isn’t your area of expertise ask your colleagues in FS2. The National Curriculum states clearly what each year group should cover. If this is followed, you will ensure there is progression across your school. Although it is tempting to buy into a scheme, this can be very expensive; it’s perfectly possible to teach science well without one. Here is a link to a useful progression on enquiry skills.
Keep a list of all CPD that members of staff have attended. Make sure it also includes any support that you have given them, even the times when a member of staff has asked you for advice and you have pointed them in the direction of a useful website or resource. As part of the deep dive into science, Ofsted inspectors will be scrutinising the way in which teachers explain science to their pupils. It’s therefore really important to support the less confident members of staff. Ask the staff to tell you if there are any areas that they are required to teach in science that they are not sure about. This will help you to prioritise their CPD. Don’t forget to keep a record of any staff meeting you have run and a copy of handouts you have given to teachers.
3. Scientific vocabulary
It is important that pupils use the correct scientific terminology, and Ofsted will be looking for this in lessons and in pupils’ books. Encourage staff to have a science vocabulary wall in their classroom, or word mats for the pupils to have in their books at the start of each topic. Pupils asking and answering questions is a key part of their learning. Here is a useful document shared by a teacher with the science curriculum mapped through ‘big questions’.
When you look at the
books, make sure the whole school is recording learning objectives at the
beginning of each piece of work and that the pupil activity relates to it. Make
sure there is clear progression and all the content links to your overview.
5. Curriculum links
Make a list of all of the ways that your school teaches science through other subjects such as reading, maths or history. Collect a couple of examples of lesson plans or pupils’ work for evidence.
6. Resourcing and trips
Make a note of any
science trips that take place and how they fit into that year’s science
coverage. Consider the resources needed for each topic so you can be sure that
you, as the science coordinator, have made the appropriate provision.
7. Action plan
Make sure your action plan is up to date. If there is an area that is a weakness, it’s important to be honest about it. It’s far better to identify the issue and state the steps you are putting into place to resolve it, rather than to ignore the problem.
8. Lesson observations
If you haven’t already, make sure that you find the time to observe a science lesson with a member of SLT; ask for this to be part of your performance management. There is a chance you will be expected to observe science lessons with the Ofsted inspector. It’s better to have had the opportunity to have done this with a friendly face first!
If you’d like to improve science at your school, Whizz Pop Bang magazine and the downloadable teaching resources can help:
Downloadable science lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, hands-on investigations and science reading comprehensions written by primary school teachers
Linked to the National Curriculum, ensuring correct coverage.
All resources are year group specific, ensuring progression between the years
Cross-curricular links to other subjects such as English, maths, history, geography, design and technology and PSHE.
Prices from as little as £190 per year for a copy of Whizz Pop Bang magazine through the post each month and whole-school access to our ever-growing library of downloadable teaching resources, with unlimited teacher logins. Click here to find out more.
Explore how our bodies get rid of chemicals we don’t need. Topic: Animals including Humans and Body Systems and Cells Year Groups: 6 and P7
This lesson pack teaches children how our urinary systems work. Your body has a whole wee-producing department called the urinary system, including your kidneys, bladder and the tubes that connect them and carry the wee out of your body.
This lesson pack includes:
A lesson plan, complete with an explanation of how our kidneys work
Differentiated printable instructions to make a urinary system
A PowerPoint presentation that explains how the urinary system and kidneys work
Topic: Animals including Humans and Body Systems and Cells Year Groups: 2 to 6 and P3 to P7
A short discussion topic. This impressive image shows a close-up view of a kidney glomerulus. Each kidney has around a million glomeruli that filter toxic waste from the blood.
This ten-minute activity, linking to speaking and listening, is ideal for use at the beginning of the day or during transition times, such as after lunch. Pupils will be challenged to guess what the image is by answering the questions shown on the first slide of the PowerPoint. Once pupils have finished, click through to the next slide to reveal the answers.
Interview with a scientist who turns waste into energy. Topic: Animals including Humans and Body Systems and Cells Year Groups: 4 and P5
This interview text delves into what a bioengineer does. Yannis Ieropoulos has designed and created the ‘Pee Power’ toilet, a system that fuels itself and creates little waste. He spends most of his days thinking a lot about toilets, robots and other electronic systems that could be self-sustainable.
Hennig Brand was an alchemist. Topic: Animals including Humans and Body Systems and Cells Year Groups: 4 and P5
This biography text describes the life of historical scientist Hennig Brand. He was an alchemist who lived in Germany in the 17th century and was the first to discover an element. Hennig found phosphorus whilst experimenting with wee!
Issue 47 – Pee Power Find out what wee is, why it’s so important and how your body makes it! Discover some of the wee-rder wonders of urine – did you know that the Romans used wee for cleaning their teeth? Which animal can pee whilst doing a handstand?! Have a go at brewing up some fake wee, create a model urinary tract system and put up the wee colour chart in the classroom.
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:
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
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!”
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.
Oh how we love January with wet hats, missing gloves and runny noses. Whether it’s snowing outside or not, snow time like the present to start investigating the winter wonderland! With science magazine Whizz Pop Bang your kids can simulate a snowball flight, investigate the colour of snow, make their own snow globe, make a barometer, a weathervane and a rain gauge – a storm of science fun!
As well as lots of COOL experiments we look at how a freezer works, tell the story of the snowflakeand interview a Penguin Aquarist to find out what it’s like working with those adorable creatures. Kids can marvel at 10 Awesomely Amazing Extreme Weather Events, and learn about polar bears (did you know their fur isn’t actually white?) We also tell the fascinating story of the genius Albert Einstein.
Looking forward to a fun-filled year of science with you guys 🙂
The results are in from our minibeast competition (issue 11, June) and we have five winners to announce!
Firstly we want to say thank you to all of you who entered. We had over 75 entries of awesome minibeast photos. We now have spiders, bees, butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, slugs, ladybirds, snails, dragonflies, centipedes and moths all crawling around on the Whizz Pop Bang office wall 🙂
Without further ado here are our lucky winners and their prize-winning photos…
Isla Gibbs, age 10:
James Grant, age 7:
Khadeejah Hussain, age 5:
Megan Whitfield, age 10:
Pippa Pang, age 6:
Congratulations to our five winners, your butterfly garden kits are on the way! If you didn’t win and you’d really like a butterfly garden kit they are available from insectlore.co.uk
Enjoy the sunshine and the minibeasts in your garden or park, and remember to handle all minibeasts very carefully and be aware that some might sting.