Teachers up and down the country have been waiting in anticipation for good resources that will aid them in the smooth implementation of the 2014 primary science curriculum, and help them carefully and effectively assess their pupils.
Well, ‘Snap Science’, from Collins, could be just the answer. This new, dynamic toolkit has been written by a team of curriculum experts and incorporates a range of useful elements. It is a whole-school scheme of work (accessible in both printed and online formats) that shows clear progression through all the new modules contained with the 2014 Programme of Study. It cleverly covers all aspects of planning, teaching and assessment, has clear links to the new ‘Working Scientifically’ criteria and helpfully includes a list of resources for each lesson. As a result, teachers can be secure in the knowledge that their pupils have access to an effective curriculum that will help them systematically build their skills and understanding.
Snap Science differs greatly from many schemes of work that I have encountered in the past in the way in which it can be utilised. Rather than being a strict framework it has built in flexibility, enabling teachers to use their professional judgement and adapt it to suit their own classes and schools. By accessing the online toolkit via the Collins Connect platform, teachers are able to download all the lesson sequences, lesson plans and related resources. The treasure trove of online videos, animations and interactive activities really help to engage pupils and bring the scientific concepts to life. Each lesson comes complete with its own resource sheets that are differentiated into three levels to enable all pupils to access the lessons effectively. This differentiation can also been seen through the ‘Enquire’ section of the main lesson plan. As a result of this, every child should have the ability to succeed within the lesson and gain a good grasp of the related learning intention.
What I have found particularly refreshing about Snap Science is the way in which it strives to approach school science in an authentic manner. Jane Turner, the series editor, states that the questions posed throughout the toolkit are reality-based and not contrived, which is something with which I would agree. By basing the modules around questions that children want to find out the answers to (such as ‘What do flowers have in common’ – Lesson 8 of the Year 3 Plants Module) it makes the work meaningful and real for learners and instantly engages them. They are able to make links to their own experiences and discuss their ideas with their peers. Each lesson has a clear learning intention and success criteria that are written in child-speak to exemplify what is required for them to be successful in the lesson. This is very powerful and will motivate even the most reluctant scientific learner.
What makes Snap Science stand out for me is how it incorporates ongoing teacher assessment into the whole toolkit. Gone are the days of having a series of lessons with an assessment at the end. Snap Science incorporates Assessment for Learning within every lesson so that the teacher can gain a good, thorough, awareness of how his or her pupils are progressing. Each lesson encourages a lot of talking through the concepts and this really does empower the children to take an active role in their own learning, rather than just passively filling in worksheets.
Well considered and effectively presented, these resources are an absolute must for the new curriculum.