North Devon pupil Kayleigh is Young Scientist of the Month because she loves practical science, and attends almost every Saturday Science Club session. Kayleigh admits she finds it hard to do science experiments at home, so coming to our club enables her to get hands-on with science. At primary level, the amount of science varies from school to school. Kayleigh says about science at her school “you don’t get to do chemistry stuff and I really like chemistry”.
Hands-on science experiments and activities for kids like Kayleigh is what Sciencedipity is all about, whether its workshops for schools, or extracurricular clubs, such as Saturday Science Club, fun practical science is the name of our game.
Let’s meet Kayleigh……
- Do you have a favourite experiment?
The alkaline and acid test – if it turns red or green to blue then to purple.
- What did you learn recently from an experiment that went wrong?
If your circuit doesn’t work, for example the lightbulb doesn’t light up – you need to check everything. I learnt you need a charged battery.
You need to make sure your stuff is prepared.
- Is there a particular area of science that you like, e.g. archeology, forensic science or engineering?
I like engineering and forensic science – I really like all three areas.
- Do you see yourself studying science as you get older, perhaps at college or university?
Yes – I want to be a vet!
- What would you say to people who think science is boring?
It isn’t – you can discover new things.
Why is practical science important from an early age?
Practical science stimulates an enquiring mind and deepens the acquisition of scientific knowledge. It teaches laboratory skills and scientific methods, develops open-mindedness and objectivity. Done well, practical science can develop children’s natural curiosity. Being allowed to find things out for themselves is developmental, rather than coercive, and helps them remember better.
Earlier this year, Hilary Leevers, Head of Education & Learning at Wellcome, said our education system needs to increase hands-on, experimental work in science subjects to inspire young people and meet their skills needs. “Most young people are positive about learning science and say that practical work encourages them to learn. Science is an inherently practical subject – young people need to do hands-on, practical experiments, not just learn scientific facts.”
Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association (BSA) commented that “Even at a young age, when their skill levels are still very low, children are encouraged to play music, act, draw and write stories. Students need opportunities to practise their scientific thinking and not just concentrate on the facts”.
Resourcing practical science has been an issue for many years, a 2013 report by Wellcome states that “many schools do not have adequate resources or appropriate facilities to teach science”. This isn’t just about budget, but also about ensuring there is strategic and up-to-date CPD for the class teacher.
At Sciencedipity, our goals are to make science engaging and relevant in order to maintain children’s interest, to develop their enquiry skills, and introduce them to new ideas. If the children can experience science in a fun, hands-on way at an early age, then we may light a spark that could last a life time.