Science - Hands up for hands-on

22nd June 2012 at 01:00

What the lesson is about

At primary school age, every child is a scientist: they ask a million difficult questions and try to figure out how stuff works. It is the time when they pick up the most important intellectual life skills, and learning is at its most exciting, writes Andrea Sella.

Learning so often comes from doing things. What is missing from many primary schools is a lab, a workshop, a mental-adventure space where children can discover things for themselves. One solution may lie in the Lab_13 idea of Rick Hall, director of programmes at Ignite!, a centre that promotes creativity in learning.

Lab_13 is a network of eight laboratories in primary schools, managed by pupils but overseen by a "scientist in residence". Each lab is a place where children are able to build things such as rockets, periscopes, comets or modelling-dough electrical circuits; they can make meringues or a loaf of bread and look at them under a microscope.The children are learning in a hands-on way; and spending time in the space can be allocated as a reward.

Creating such a space can be done for a relatively modest sum by using under-utilised storage spaces, sourcing second-hand materials and involving the community in its construction.

What else?

The more serious issue is how to support an inventor or scientist in residence. Ideally, it should be a scientifically or technically trained person who can help to guide the ideas of the children. One solution is to involve university students: for example, at University College London there are volunteers supported by the students' union.

www.ignitefutures.org.ukprojectslab_13.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now