What better way to celebrate the new school year than to make sure you’re not missing out on some great STEM initiatives for primary. Here are our top three!
1. Bitz and Bob
If you’ve been frustrated by the answers ‘what about Charlene?’ or ‘I think you’ve forgotten Kevin Webster’ when noting that there are no fictional engineers on TV, then Bitz and Bob is for you!
It’s a cartoon for Foundation Phase pupils that celebrates engineering and there’s so much to love about it:
1. Its main character, a little girl called Bitz, is an engineer
2. Each episode poses an engineering challenge that is solved by Bitz with her brother Bob and assorted friends
3. A 4-minute programme ‘You can do it too’ follows each episode, featuring 5-7 year olds trying experiments at home that are linked to the episode
4. It’s funny – and the very fabulous Rob Delaney (from Channel 4’s Catastrophe) voices one of the characters.
Are you tired of doing the same experiments in science for which you already know the answers, but aren’t confident enough to be less prescriptive? Are you dreading teaching science?
Then Explorify is for you.
Actually, it’s for all primary school teachers, irrespective of science knowledge and experience, but you get my point. For me, it’s up there with Bitz and Bob as one of the best things to happen for primary science this year. There, I said it.
Explorify offers a range of activities, including videos ad hands-on experiments which promise to ‘spark curiosity, develop thinking skills and increase your impact’. We all know that children are naturally curious, and Explorify provides a framework within which to support teachers in celebrating and encouraging that curiosity.
For me, Explorify gives teachers the chance to strengthen pupils’ natural tendency to behave like scientists. It encourages pupils to ask questions, and gives them the time to think and to work out how to find the answers. And isn’t that a lot more exciting for teachers, as well as pupils, than re-running that ‘which material keeps the water hottest’ experiment?
3. Barefoot Computing
I’ve been a volunteer for Barefoot Computing since it launched in Wales in early 2017, and I’ve seen first-hand how it supports primary school teachers in their delivery of computer science.
It runs free twilight CPD sessions which take teachers through what it means to be ‘computational thinkers’, with cross curricula activites to try both without computers (unplugged) and with computers (plugged).
And…not only do you get free access to all its resources on the web, which you can search by topic, key stage and activity type, but Barefoot Computing also provides free posters for your classroom, and information about other initatives to help you on your computer science journey.
What’s not to love?