The external environment can enable some high-quality opportunities for underpinning and understanding the use and application of the knowledge that is learned in the classroom.
Sensory experience is the beginning of exploration. Seeing, listening, touching, smelling and tasting, appropriately, are all essential basics. https://chrischiversthinks.weebly.com/blog-thinking-aloud/five-senses-starter
In English, for example, exploration of the site for micro-settings can be the starter for perhaps putting figures into the environment, creating an adventure in the micro world. If children are able to lie down and see that micro world from the point of view of the character, they can place themselves into the adventure. Really adventurous opportunities could be taken to fully storyboard and script the adventure, it could be created as an animated film.
Descriptive opportunities are all around; everything is capable of description, orally or in writing.
Report writing is also supported by outside activity, maybe in the form of a daily diary, a summative description of a specific event or activity. Rules or instructions for games being played?
Art. In the same way everything can be drawn, or painted or photographed, for use as the basis for a larger piece of work, which might be collage. How about incorporating natural materials? Don’t forget to encourage the exploration of colour naming, too. How about giving out a colour chart and getting children to find an object of each colour?
Looking at maths, counting opportunities are everywhere. How many… bricks in a metre square? How many bricks high is the school? How many paving stones in a patio? Ow broad are tree canopies? What is the circumference of a tree? Work out the diameter?
How many… petals on a daisy? This is interesting. Do all daisies have the same number of petals? Each child to pick ten, to organise and count each one. Results collated in a group, as a bar chart.
Measures. How long is… this can lead to measuring all aspects of the school, put onto a sketch map, with older children then transposing the measurements into a scale drawing of the school.
Angles, yr 6, could be incorporated into the measures activity, as a form of triangulation activity, perhaps using a 360 degree protractor with a pointer fixed to the centre. Heights of things, buildings or trees, could be calculated from an activity using a clinometer, an angle metre. Don’t forget to remind the children about their own height, to their eyes…
Having explored mapping the site, as a Geography activity, looking at the micro sites for ecology is a very useful activity. Go out onto the/a “grass” area. How many different plants actually make up the “grass” area? With a tray, childnre to look for and collect examples of different leaves of plants, to then seek to identify. Are there areas where plants are left uncut? How does this affect the growing paterns of the same plants? How high do they grow, uncut? How low can daisies flower?
Animal tracks and signs can be surprising. What lives in the school grounds and what evidence is there that they are round? Blog, with pictures. https://chrischiversthinks.weebly.com/blog-thinking-aloud/creating-nature-detectives
Minibeasts. How about hunting the Triantiwontigongolope? Poem, song and ideas for minibeast hunting… https://chrischiversthinks.weebly.com/blog-thinking-aloud/triantiwontigongolope
Creating observers of the world is a key starting point for further exploration, in that it enables questions, from either the child or the teacher. All questions can be followed up. https://chrischiversthinks.weebly.com/blog-thinking-aloud/observation-get-them-to-look
The deepening of exploration can be calibrated through a structured questining scaffold, as per the diagram below.
The material world of the school can be explored, looking at the building architectural features; what holds it up, what different materials have been used, for what purposes? Materials outside? What’s the soil made from? Anything looked at can be enhanced through a magnifier, or possibly under a visualiser on the IWB.
Are there shadows in the school grounds? How about making a sundial to check on the movement and maybe make a clock? How do shadows change in length at different times of the day? Why?
If it rains on a day when the sun may come out. How about drawing around a puddle and seeing how it alters during the day?
Using the sun to explore the drying action on different materials? Which material dries the fastest, or slowest?
Primary science is about children
About their real world
Finding answers by some kind of first-hand experience.
It is about children being scientific,
A process involving the skills of
Observing; starting with direct and short term observations,
Employing all their senses
Using tools to aid the senses to find the less obvious
And increase their ability to select from those observations
Those things that are meaningful,
Later ordering those observations to derive pattern and structure
Classifying; beginning by sorting things
According to attributes selected by the children,
Recognising similarities and differences,
Gradually accepting and using official ways of classifying.
Measuring; using non-standard units of volume, time, length, mass,
Later moving to standard measures, with increasing accuracy
And more sophisticated instruments.
Using measures to determine patterns of events, such as growth and change.
Predicting; speculating about possible outcomes of events or experiments,
At first intuitively,
Later making use of prior experience and logical argument,
To develop predictions that can be tested by experiment,
Eventually being able to formulate general hypotheses
Rather than single predictions.
Experimenting; early attempts to make tests fair
And record results,
Takin increasing care over control of variables,
Later selecting specialised equipment to tackle practical problems
That are abstract from familiar environments.
Communicating; Oral and drawn descriptions of first hand experiences,
Late developing a more precise use of language of planning, reporting and explaining,
Events or experiments,
Increasingly more accurate in recording,
Developing diagrams, graphs and working with data,
Making general statements, conclusions, from the results.
Explaining; exploring the links between cause and effect,
When I did this…that happened,
With increasing use of reference material
Supporting their thinking and reflections,
Later developing explanations that derive from their reflections
Rather than relying on first-hand experience.
Evaluating; reflecting on the whole process,
Suggesting ways in which they would change their approach,
Making sense of their experiences, through refining and honing central skills,
Using developing knowledge to help address new situations…
On my blog, in the contents section, scroll down towards the bottom to find more subject ideas. https://chrischiversthinks.weebly.com/contents.html