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Scope things out

Exploration is central to science, and children should have the opportunity to find out what things feel, look, sound, smell and, within reason, taste like. Every classroom, regardless of the age of the children or the size of the space, should have an exploration area where pupils can try things out, satisfy their curiosity, add things for others to explore and be awed by an object or something that happens.

Exploration areas might be linked to an ongoing science topic or simply house intriguing things. For example, put out the following: kaleidoscope, binoculars, microscope, telescope, fly's eye lens, concave and convex lenses, a range of spectacles, periscope, plastic drinks bottle with coloured water, and colour paddles. Allow children to explore in pairs, so they talk about what they are doing. Place questions beside items to extend children's exploration and put materials in a box so they can make their own kaleidoscope or periscope.

If you really do not have space, then consider a "Science Exploration Box", with objects that children can take on to the carpet area or their table to explore.

Rosemary Feasey is a primary science consultant.

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