Exploration

Overview 

Exploration is a science module that introduces children to important, fundamental scientific concepts about themselves, the natural/material world and simple, yet powerful, experiments.

It introduces children to ideas about opposites and about different properties of matter, for example textures (hard/soft), states of matter (liquid or solid), the properties of air (it is everywhere, it is invisible, movements of air produce wind, it supports the flight of aeroplanes and birds, it exerts pressure) and density (will an object sink or float?). It encourages children to look closely at everyday objects as through a microscope.

 

Why are these skills important?

This module helps children develop the ability to analyse changes or transformations from one state to another. The children study irreversible transformations in science. These include an introduction to processes of growth and maturation where the current state of a child, plant or animal reveals its past and/or future and to the cyclical transformation of the seasons. It also includes an introduction to concepts about the transformation of objects by human skill, as well as to concepts about breaking objects and the implications this has. Some things cannot be returned to their original state and this has important consequences – ecological damage if we destroy trees or waste if we damage domestic artefacts and toys.

Children also learn about reversible transformations – water taking on the shape of its container; the three states of water and the processes of boiling, freezing, evaporating and condensing; the transformation of salt as it dissolves in water; the recovery of salt as water evaporates from a salt solution and the use of a thermometer to measure changes in temperature.

 

How does this module work?

A key feature of this module is the opportunity it offers young children to participate in simple science experiments. They are able to observe transformations as they happen, to look carefully, to talk about what they have seen, and to think about the conditions that are necessary for the experiment to work. They have a chance to predict what will happen and to check their ideas against real outcomes.

The most unusual feature of the module is the innovative use of games and stories in exploring natural physical phenomena. These are at the heart of the module. They have been carefully planned and structured to capture and retain the children’s attention, as well as to support them in actively building their knowledge and understanding of different concepts and ideas from the world of science.

 

The additional benefits of this module

As in all the other Key to Learning modules, opportunities to develop crucial thinking skills are embedded within the planned activities. The tasks set may call for symbolisation (e.g. a substitute shape, stylised drawing, or physical gesture to represent a state of matter); modelling (e.g. the use of a sequence of physical gestures to represent the temporal sequence as steam transforms first to water and then to ice as it cools); logical analysis (e.g. an invitation to predict what will happen next in an experiment and then check to see what actually happened) or creative production (e.g. the opportunity to solve a character’s dilemma and explain why your solution works during discussion of the stories).

Overview 

Exploration is a science module that introduces children to important, fundamental scientific concepts about themselves, the natural/material world and simple, yet powerful, experiments.

It introduces children to ideas about opposites and about different properties of matter, for example textures (hard/soft), states of matter (liquid or solid), the properties of air (it is everywhere, it is invisible, movements of air produce wind, it supports the flight of aeroplanes and birds, it exerts pressure) and density (will an object sink or float?). It encourages children to look closely at everyday objects as through a microscope.

 

Why are these skills important?

This module helps children develop the ability to analyse changes or transformations from one state to another. The children study irreversible transformations in science. These include an introduction to processes of growth and maturation where the current state of a child, plant or animal reveals its past and/or future and to the cyclical transformation of the seasons. It also includes an introduction to concepts about the transformation of objects by human skill, as well as to concepts about breaking objects and the implications this has. Some things cannot be returned to their original state and this has important consequences – ecological damage if we destroy trees or waste if we damage domestic artefacts and toys.

Children also learn about reversible transformations – water taking on the shape of its container; the three states of water and the processes of boiling, freezing, evaporating and condensing; the transformation of salt as it dissolves in water; the recovery of salt as water evaporates from a salt solution and the use of a thermometer to measure changes in temperature.

 

How does this module work?

A key feature of this module is the opportunity it offers young children to participate in simple experiments. They are able to observe transformations as they happen, to look carefully, to talk about what they have seen, and to think about the conditions that are necessary for the experiment to work. They have a chance to predict what will happen and to check their ideas against real outcomes.

The most unusual feature of the module is the innovative use of games and stories in exploring natural physical phenomena. These are at the heart of the module. They have been carefully planned and structured to capture and retain the children’s attention, as well as to support them in actively building their knowledge and understanding of different concepts and ideas from the world of science.

 

The additional benefits of this module

As in all the other Key to Learning modules, opportunities to develop crucial thinking skills are embedded within the planned activities. The tasks set may call for symbolisation (e.g. a substitute shape, stylised drawing, or physical gesture to represent a state of matter); modelling (e.g. the use of a sequence of physical gestures to represent the temporal sequence as steam transforms first to water and then to ice as it cools); logical analysis (e.g. an invitation to predict what will happen next in an experiment and then check to see what actually happened) or creative production (e.g. the opportunity to solve a character’s dilemma and explain why your solution works during discussion of the stories).

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