For me science is the most exciting area of the core curriculum and there are few more exhilarating events in the classroom than observing the children developing their own hypotheses or designing their own fair tests. This is so much more than a test of memory, this is a way of seeing children’s thought processes in action and it is a joy. It is the application of knowledge, an opportunity for children to develop confidence in their ability to think for themselves and what they learn from the process can be applied to countless other problems.
To teach children to think scientifically is one of the most important ways in which we can equip them for life in the modern world. There are the big scientific issues, like climate change and the over-use of antibiotics, which it is essential that the public understand if we want to mandate policy makers; but there are also many less obvious ways in which we benefit. With health scare stories appearing in the press every week and a myriad of charlatans claiming that they can make you thin, or cure that ill, it is important that children are given the tools they need to make sense of this. By asking; ‘what is the evidence?’, ‘what does this evidence tell me?’ and ‘how does this fit with what I already know about the world?’ we can take the fear out of the latest health scare and decide if we really need to see the doctor before buying those expensive pills from the internet. Scientific understanding is a huge practical advantage in the modern world and of benefit to us all.
If you put all of this to one side you would still have a fascinating range of topics to explore which definitely play to the natural curiosity of children. There is the extraordinary beauty and diversity of the natural world, including our own amazing biology and phenomena like forces, sound waves and electricity, that are all around us but which we cannot see, to explore. We live in a time in which Materials Science is set to revolutionise our world. In 2010 the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to a team from Manchester University for the discovery of Graphene, one of the most important materials of the future that was created using sticky tape and the stuff from the centre of a pencil. At one atom thick this extraordinary material is the world’s first 2D material, 200 times stronger than steel, the most conductive material on earth, transparent, flexible and impermeable. Go Material Science!
Our ready-made book collections for KS1 and KS2 offer great opportunities to increase children’s knowledge on many different areas of the science curriculum including Electricity, Human & Animal Biology, Forces, as well as Materials, Properties & Chemical Change, to name but a few.
I cannot wait to see what the scientists from today’s classrooms discover and hope that I have the understanding to appreciate the significance of their discoveries.
Written by Marcia Napp, Book Collections Manager