Although Biology is only established as an individual core subject in Key Stage 3, children in KS1 and KS2 still need to learn about scientific concepts and processes which make up Chemistry, Physics, and Biology. In these early stages, kids will be getting used to problem-solving; cause and effect; observation of the natural world around them; and analysis of changes and patterns.
In this article, we’ll look at how children approach science in KS1 and KS2, and provide some resources to help build out science lessons in primary school.
Science in KS1 and KS2
In KS1 students are applying exploratory and discovery skills to scientific ideas. Children should be encouraged to look at, and interact with, the world around them, perform inquisitive actions and observe results. Scientific knowledge, processes and methods of gathering information are introduced slowly to help children acclimatise to the idea of carrying out a formal experiment.
Observation of the natural world is the starting point for paving the way to Biology lessons. Children should be encouraged to think about the way they feel and perceive certain things, and how organic objects can be affected by changes. Learning needs to be visual, hands-on, tactile, and interactive to support first-hand experiences.
At KS2 children will begin to be introduced to biology as a discipline within their general science lessons. Children will begin to think about their own bodies, animals, plants, organic materials, and the weather as some of the early topics of biology. Seeking patterns, identifying change, classifying, and grouping are built upon and children will begin to conduct basic experiments of their own, hypothesising about possible outcomes and being asked to explain why they predict certain outcomes.
Installing a Science Habitat Centre in the classroom is a good way to introduce children to biology, and allows them frequent time to visit the centre to observe progress and change. You might choose to keep some small insects and plants in the habitat centre to support an ongoing project, for example.
Resources for Teaching Biology
Experiments are a fantastic way to get children excited about biology, while also accustoming them to the process of carrying out experiments of their own later on in education. Here’s a list of online resources and experiment ideas to fill out science lessons and get kids thinking about biology.
The Royal Society of Biology aims to offer a unified voice for the study of biology across academia, professional development and governing policies. As such, the website is home to a collection of free resources covering a range of activities suitable for primary school children.
Activities are grouped by topic, including scientific processes; ecology and the environment; and humans and animals. Each resource is developed to work along with the national curriculum and specifies its target age group. Teachers can download classroom posters, flashcards, downloadable worksheets to print out, and videos via Dropbox.
Created by biochemist Paige when researching programmes for homeschooling science, Elemental Science has developed into an award-winning science resource used by teachers, teaching assistants, and parents. Here teachers can find 10 biology experiments that engage children in thinking creatively about science. Experiments include creating an edible cell model and composing a leaf journal.
As per Elemental Science’s origins as a homeschooling aid, almost all experiments can be carried out with household objects making them easy, accessible and safe for your children when supervised.
One of the first biology topics that children in primary school will learn about is plant science. Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) produces teaching resources with the help of curriculum developers and organisations in biology that centre on plant science.
Resources on the website cover science of seeds, fruits, vegetables, trees and other plants that children are familiar with. These can be supported with visual classroom aids like our Plant Life Cycle Magnets that can be put up on the whiteboard. Teachers can also access articles on how to perform experiments such as building an aphid isolation tower, or suggestions on different investigations suited to primary school children.
Springboard Supplies Plant Life Cycle Magnets
Some children might recognise Brian Cox from television and might be even more motivated to try out some of his experiments designed especially for primary school-aged kids. On the link above on the Royal Society website, Brian Cox presents a series of subtitled videos on YouTube to support the confidence of teachers carrying out science experiments and relating them to the real world.
Teachers can also find a list of experiments here to conduct in-class including investigating how to get clean water from dirty water, and which temperature chocolate melts at.
Chester Zoo’s website features a hub of learning resources all about the animal kingdom. Here teachers can search for activities that fit into their lessons by using the search function to specify educational stage, topic, and resource type. Activities also specify appropriate ages groups.
Activities include PowerPoint presentations that ask children to guess which animals are native to England and which aren’t, and investigative activities to see what types of wildlife have been visiting the garden or playground.
Great for getting children involved in classroom experiments, or to send home as homework, Science Journal for Kids has a hub of lesson ideas. On the link, teachers can find a collection of biology experiments that can be conducted at home using everyday items. These exercises are ideal for allowing children to follow simple instructions with the supervision of an adult, encouraging them to take control of the process of an experiement.
The page features a video showing step by step instructions on how to conduct each experiment in only a few steps. Each experiment comes with a list of equipment and instructions.
At Springboard Supplies we believe in using teaching aids, toys and equipment as a ‘springboard’ that children can use to start the learning process.
Springboard Supplies Human Body Experiment Kit
Our Human Body Experiment Kit is a fantastic way to learn about the human body and understand how it works by asking the child to use their five senses. Through a range of different basic experiments and a 48-page guide book children can explore external aspects of the body and learn about the internal workings too.