Resources: Primary

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Relevant resources


Acids Forensic Science Investigation
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A who-dunnit circus of activities
This lesson introduces inquiry(ta)-based learning through the topic of forensic science. It engages pupils in higher order(ta) reasoning(ta) solving a variety of forensic problems.
Assessment Using Assessment to Raise Achievement in Maths
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Learning goals; self & peer assessment; effecting questioning; marking and case studies
This resource explores approaches to assessment(ta) in maths, including the sharing of learning objectives(ta), group work(ta), whole class(ta) assessment, questioning(ta) and more. Four case studies serve as useful discussion prompts to share practice(ta). This .doc version of the QCA's 'Using assessment(ta) to Raise Achievement in Maths' allows schools to select parts of the document that are most relevant to them.
Astronomy Stars in the sky: what's up?
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Use a software planetarium and encourage students to think about astronomy
This activity offers an opportunity for whole class(ta) discussion(ta) and questioning(ta) centred around the use of the Stellarium. It also affords good opportunities for self-directed study or homework(ta) extensions, including perhaps the use of free mobile apps(tool) (see below). There are also opportunities for some cross curricula(i) discussion of geography (navigation by stars) and history or literacy in relation to the ancient world.
Basic ICT skills Netbook familiarisation
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Basic ICT skills XO familiarisation
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Blogs A schools involvement with Sheffield Childrens Festival project Camp Cardboard
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A DEFT case study with Bradfield Dungworth Primary school, Sheffield
This cross-curricular(i) case study focusses on digital literacy, in particular using E-skills(topic) to: facilitate sharing information in an open and transparent way; explore issues related to e-safety and e-security and explore the creative potential of digital technologies. The case study highlights issues from using Web2.0 applications in a school setting as well as challenges of pupils openly sharing resources; in particular issues of e-safety with regard to resources they make.

A lesson idea from the case study is available at Digital Reporters at Camp Cardboard

Blogs Digital Reporters at Camp Cardboard
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Children using iPads to blog about Cardboard Sculptures
This activity is a cross curricula(subject) activity, involving a collaborative(tool) approach, giving children the opportunity to work together on a blog. Children were encouraged to engage in group talk(ta) and discussion(ta) in the classroom to reflect on the activity they were to report on. The activity furthers e-skills(topic) and e-safety(topic) through the use of whole class(ta) participation. The specific art activity provided a great stimulus for the blogging. Equally, however, this approach could be applied to any event in or out of school. The use of blogging and social media gave the opportunity for children to share their ideas with a wider audience, and also gave opportunities for real-time feedback to their work. The use of hand-held technology also enabled active learning(ta) as the portability of the iPads and iPods allowed them to be used outside the classroom.
Blogs Getting a buzz out of blogging
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Starting with the basic principles of blogs(tool) and blogging, this primary course looks at their use within education and how they can be used to improve teaching and learning. The focus is particularly on blogs as an ICT(i) tool for collaboration(ta) which encourages the effective use of reasoning(ta) and language(ta). The unit also discusses practical elements such as e-skills(topic) and copyright(topic) issues you might encounter in blogging.
Capacity Smoothie Capacity Challenge
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Investigating capacity and getting wet wet wet...
This is a practical session to be used with a whole class in small groups(ta) of 2 or 3 –perhaps with the added supervision of a teaching assistant if the class is excitable or particularly young. There is scope within this activity for the following different methods of learning:
  • Whole class(ta) dialogue - Discussion of each part of the activity
  • Open-ended questions(ta) – How can we find out if the containers hold the same amount? What can we tell just by looking at them?
  • Project work – as part of a wider maths topic on measuring volume and capacity.
  • Enquiry-based learning(ta) – children are discovering the answer to questions that they are encouraged to pose themselves.
  • Arguing and reasoning(ta) – persuading each other about their ideas.
  • Exploring ideas – developing practical, physical understanding of key mathematical principles.
Creativity Exploring the intersections of digital literacy and creativity
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A DEFT case study with Mundella Primary School, Sheffield
This cross curricula(i) case study focusses on Digital Literacy, in particular using E-skills(topic) to: extend/update teaching skills and support CPD and explore the creative potential of digital technologies. The case study examines the potential of using mobile technologies to enhance creative aspects of learning.

One of the lesson ideas from the case study is available as a separate resource at Creating Digital Paintings using iPads

Differentiation Differentiation
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Developing effective techniques for differentiation by task and outcome
The small group work(ta) nature of this task allows teachers to share ideas, and attempt to conceptualise two different types of differentiation(ta), together. It also encourages teachers to share practice(i)s in differentiation. Teachers are first asked to consider differentiation ‘by task’ by thinking about self-sustaining activities which pupils could manage with little support. They are also asked to consider differentiation by outcome, and ‘hierarchies of achievement’ for particular topics. The practical nature of the task offers a concrete outcome for teachers to take away and use in their practice both day to day, and in curriculum planning(topic). The resource could be used as a prompt to start teachers off, a comparator for teachers working on similar topics, or just as an additional set of possibilities.
Digital Art Creating Digital Painting using iPads
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Children using iPads to create observational drawings of flowers
This activity is a cross-curricular(subject) activity, that gives children to opportunity to work independently on an art activity that also encourages the development of E-skills(topic). This activity encouraged inclusion(ta) as the children's final work was displayed as a collaborative(tool) piece, where all children had the opportunity to make an equal contribution.

In this instance, the children created observational drawings of flowers. However, the subject of the art could change to fit with any topic across the curriculum. The use of hand-held technology could also active learning(ta) as the portability of the iPads and iPods would allow them to be used outside the classroom, thus enabling observational drawings to be made in a range of locations.

Environment Our Living Environment
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Wise up on ecology
This study module, an online booklet, deals with the particular ways of thinking about and studying of the environment. It is a useful homework(ta) resource to encourage pupils to engage with key scientific vocabulary(ta) and use their knowledge of the scientific method(ta) to engage with inquiry(ta) learning.
Force Which material makes a good parachute?
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A simple investigation into parachutes and air resistance
This activity supports a number of learning types:
  • small group work(ta) - investigation conducted by small groups reporting back to the class.
  • whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) - discussion of each situation 
open-ended questions(ta) – why did this happen? what do you think causes this movement?
  • peer assessment(ta) – do peers agree?
  • project work – linked in with the rest of the activities in this OER, topic work in design and technology, literacy, numeracy
  • inquiry(ta)-based learning – initial presentation to the class can be framed as a problem for them to solve; co-enquiry – children working collaboratively
  • arguing and reasoning(ta) – persuading each other about their explanations.
  • exploring ideas – developing understanding of key scientific principles.
Force Force
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Thinking about 'force' in the national curriculum
This sessions engaged pupils in inquiry(ta) using the scientific method(ta) to explore force. It offers opportunity for teachers to use higher order questioning(ta), whole class assessment(ta) and to engage pupils in effective group work(ta) for investigation.
Force Forces in Static Situations
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What are forces, how do you describe them and just where do they act?
This resource is part of a set of 7 ORBIT resources and can be used in different ways:
  • As a ‘dip in’ resource for teachers needing ideas about exploring forces.
  • As the foundation for a larger topic involving all of the activities as the inspiration for a large body of work on the exploits of Nelly the Elephant. There are clear links to literacy (Nelly’s story), numeracy (weighing and measuring), music (the song – how can it represent her journey in sound), art representations of elephants, designs based on India elephants in traditional tack), geography (the origins of elephants), history (Hannibal and historical uses of elephants).
  • At Foundation Stage children would be exploring forces in terms of pushes and pulls on various objects and are unlikely to be recording their results. At KS1 and KS2 children may be exploring forces by considering the idea of size and direction of force as well as the concept of balanced/equal or unbalanced/unequal forces. After a brief discussion(ta) about what the children know already about forces an interesting activity is to ask them to see what in the classroom they can move by pushing. Discuss their findings and ask about the size of force they were using on the objects and in which direction the force was acting. Use some pupils to demonstrate their actions. Then discuss the concept that there are forces acting in the other direction as well. If the object moves then the pushing force of the child is larger than the force acting in the other direction. Ask the children to try moving the wall by pushing. Then discuss the idea that the force of the wall holding together and staying still is equal to the force they are using to try to move it - otherwise there would be movement either of the wall or of the children backwards. A good way to demonstrate this difficult concept is to push a bulldog clip against a wall, using the wall to push one of the levers on the clip. Following this practical activity the children might pick one or two situations and use arrows to record the size and direction of forces in the drawn situation.
Force The Elephant on the Bridge
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She's standing still but there are still forces on her - find out what they are.
An interactive way of exploring this activity might be to have the children in small groups(ta) building a rope/string bridge and using a model elephant to stand on it. The children could either observe what happens and then discuss it or could film it and watch in time lapse to see exactly where the movement occurs in the bridge/elephant system. The latter would assist them in considering the direction of the forces acting as they would be able to see the direction of movements very clearly.
Force Floors and Pillars
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So many uses for toilet roll tubes - use them as a support for a floor.
Pupils work in small groups(ta) with basic supplies (exercise books and cardboard folders can be used as floors and objects from around the room as weights) to design, build and test a floor supported by toilet roll tubes. If conducted independently the activity could be used as an assessment piece. The activity could be presented as a problem to be solved - enquiry(ta) = can you build a floor to support Nelly the Elephant? Some children may not realise that upright toilet roll tubes are less likely to be squashed than horizontal tubes so it may be useful to pause the session after a short while to share ideas. There is a useful lesson here for pupils: some materials work well in buildings when used in a certain way but less well when used in another way, therefore it is important to understand the properties of materials before using them in buildings.
Force Building bridges from a piece of A4 paper
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A bridge too far...
This activity supports a number of learning types:
  • small group work(ta) - investigation conducted by small groups reporting back to the class.
  • whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) - discussion of each situation 
open-ended questions(ta) – why did this happen? what do you think causes this movement?
  • peer assessment(ta) – do peers agree?
  • project work – linked in with the rest of the activities in this OER, topic work in design and technology, literacy, numeracy
  • inquiry(ta)-based learning – initial presentation to the class can be framed as a problem for them to solve; co-enquiry – children working collaboratively
  • arguing and reasoning(ta) – persuading each other about their explanations.
  • exploring ideas – developing understanding of key scientific principles.
Force What makes a good paper airplane?
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This activity supports these learning types:
  • small group work(ta) - groups conduct an investigation and report back to the class.
  • whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) - they discuss 
open-ended questions(ta): why did this happen? what do you think causes this movement?
  • peer assessment(ta) – do peers agree?
  • project work – the activity connects with others in this OER on forces, with literacy and numeracy and with topic work in design and technology.
  • inquiry(ta)-based learning – an initial presentation to the class can be framed as a problem to solve; children work collaboratively (co-enquiry)
  • arguing and reasoning(ta) – children persuade each other about their explanations.
  • exploring ideas – the activity develops understanding of key scientific principles.
Force What floats and what sinks
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Is getting in the bath a way to lose weight?
This activity supports a number of learning types:
  • small group work(ta) - investigation conducted by small groups reporting back to the class.
  • whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) - discussion of each situation 
open-ended questions(ta) – why did this happen? what do you think causes this movement?
  • peer assessment(ta) – do peers agree?
  • project work – linked in with the rest of the activities in this OER, topic work in design and technology, literacy, numeracy.
  • inquiry(ta)-based learning – initial presentation to the class can be framed as a problem for them to solve; co-enquiry – children working collaboratively
  • arguing and reasoning(ta) – persuading each other of their explanations.
  • exploring ideas – developing understanding of key scientific principles.
Forces Force in the early years
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Thinking about the language of force
This lesson idea highlights the scientific language(ta) around the topic of force, and through group work(ta) and whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) engages pupils in inquiry(ta) and the scientific method(ta) surrounding force.
Games Introduction to games
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This courses provides an introduction to games(tool) in the classroom. The course will focus on freely available online games, which can provide a starting point for exploring their use in the classroom without investment in hardware and software. At the conclusion of this course you will have engaged in lesson planning(ta), ready for implementation in your classroom.
Global education A global dimension to science education in schools
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Science and technology beyond the Western world
This study unit is aimed at teachers who would like to give a more global feeling to their teaching. It shows how to source articles with an emphasis on science and technology beyond the Western world and how to incorporate them into teaching the curriculum.
Graph Variation of human characteristics - Visualising Class data
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A big survey of ourselves, measuring hands, feet and more
The lesson offers the opportunity to explore measurement, relationships between measurement, and ways to visualise and summarise this data. The use of ICT(i) allows the teacher to enter data and for pupils to immediately see the impact this has on the pie chart and frequency tables (which are automatically updated). This also allows the teacher to change the 'range' for the frequency counts, and discuss with pupils the impact of this on the pie chart, and whether this is a good representation - encouraging the use of mathematical language(ta) and scientific method(ta) throughout. In collecting the data pupils have opportunity for some self-directed group work(ta) - to measure various lengths as described below - and the teacher could use whole class(ta) questions(ta) to explore the strategies taken to conduct this investigation(ta).
ICT Primary Science Curriculum Activities with Sensors
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A compendium of investigations with sensors in primary science
This resource provides a set of activities to engage pupils in inquiry(ta) based learning in the scientific method(ta), often making effective use of ICT(i) and sensors(tool). The activities involve whole class(ta) questioning(ta) and collaborative(ta) group work(ta).
ICT Infant and Primary Science Activities with Sensors
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A compendium of investigations with sensors in primary science.
This is a compendium of activities to engage pupils in inquiry(ta) based learning in the scientific method(ta), often making effective use of ICT(i) and sensors(tool). The activities involve whole class(ta) questioning(ta) and collaborative(ta) group work(ta).
ICT IT in Primary Science
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A whole book of ideas for using generic ICT tools in science
This book is a compendium of lesson ideas with ICT(i) as a key focus for use in inquiry(ta) based learning and the scientific method(ta). It offers opportunities for use of group work(ta) and collaboration(ta) as well as whole class(ta) questioning(ta).
ICT Monsters using Scratch
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Children using a computer programming language to create moving monsters
This activity developed the specific e-skills(topic) of programming and digital animation. It could be considered the first step towards enabling children to design and create their own games(tool) using sprites and user-input controls. Computer programming helps to develop investigation(ta) skills as it requires the use of a previously unknown language(ta) to execute commands, which also develops the skills of mathematical thinking(ta). Computer programming also involves the use of modelling(ta) and planning(ta) techniques. Because Scratch is an open source programming language, this also creates opportunities for homework(ta), as the children are able to download the software for themselves at home.
Investigation Persuasive argument and evidence-based conclusions about the best car
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Got a new motor? Talk about your investigation like a scientist
This activity involving inquiry(ta)aims to develop children’s ability to support their conclusions with evidence. The teacher will model(ta) and encourage the use of the language(ta) that children require to discuss or present their data. The teacher can explain their rationale using the lesson below.
Language Exploring shape and its mathematical language through sorting activities
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Using mathematical language to discuss shapes of objects either printed or hidden in 'feely bags'. Can you feel the forks?
The Investigation(ta) of shapes and geometry can be very rewarding. A practical approach using objects from the pupils’ environment can increase their motivation and interest. In this unit, you will be using everyday objects to help pupils develop geometrical skills, such as recognising, visualisation(ta), describing, sorting, naming, classifying and comparing.

Through games(tool) on the properties of shapes, the activity engages pupils in group talk(ta), mathematical thinking(ta) and vocabulary(ta). This open ended(ta) task encourages higher order(ta) thinking, and could form the basis of whole class(ta) discussion(ta)/questioning(ta) and inquiry(ta) projects. It can be used as a lesson extension, or as a preliminary task.

Learning objectives Writing Learning Objectives in Primary Science
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How are learning objectives supposed to work? How can one achieve mastery in writing learning objectives?
This resource encourages teachers to think about ways to link learning objectives(ta) to the curriculum which also helps to conceptualise their teaching schemes. It also helps children to understand what they are learning and what they are aiming for. The resource brings together key ideas, looking at specific outcomes from activities, vocabulary(ta), differentiation(ta), resources and curriculum development(topic) and short term planning(ta). It could be used as a 'refresher' on ideas when planning lessons.
Literacy Developing Language in Primary Science
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The resource would be particularly useful for PGCE students thinking about incorporating cross-curricular(subject) strands, or teachers looking to do the same, either in their own practice or in new curriculum development(topic) work.

Language development and the use of appropriate vocabulary(ta) is highlighted as important across the curriculum. Incorporating this consideration into science planning(ta) is important for meeting the target of developing language. The importance of language and talk in science – including through group work(ta), and Whole class(ta) dialogue – is highlighted elsewhere (and in the resource) but includes the ability to explain concepts, understand synthesising ideas (including those from other people and texts), and the need to read and write for different purposes, (including conceptual understanding, data presentation, etc). These are key ideas in communicating the scientific method(ta)

Living things Classifying and organising living things using images
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Find different ways to classify living things
This lesson offers opportunities to explore ways to classify living things as well as characteristics which might be relevant, and how to address difficulties that may arise when trying to classify things in this way. The activity may be enhanced by the use of ICT(i) software (e.g. Picasa) but could be carried out with paper-based resources.

This lesson presents a good opportunity for small group work(ta) and some inquiry(ta) into how we classify; and why some classification methods might be more useful, or more scientifically interesting than others. There is also a good opportunity to use different sorts of questioning(ta); to encourage pupils to question each other; to engage in peer assessment(ta) and to focus discussion(ta) on the scientific method(ta) using key vocabulary(ta).

Materials Materials for Insulation
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How to insulate a cup of coffee.
Materials Insulating food for meals on wheels
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How to choose an insulator for cooked food.
Materials The Material World
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Exploring the properties of materials around us.
Designed to encourage active learning(ta), this study module explores the properties of materials from everyday life.
It also involves some simple inquiry(ta) and practical activities using household items.
Materials Heating and Cooling Materials
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What happens when you heat and cool materials.
In this inquiry(ta)-based lesson plan, students devise a ‘fair way’ to compare (mostly) physical changes in materials such as cheese and chocolate. They ask and answer questions about how to heat the materials and about using materials of the same size and shape. They also predict how substances may change and observe what actually happens.

The purpose of the lesson is to both support Year 2 students work on changing materials and to develop their ideas about ‘fair tests’. The activity thus offers an opportunity to assess(ta) how well students plan a test and observe change.

Matter People Particles
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Running around pretending to be particles is one way of letting off steam.
This is a practical session to be used with a whole class with scope within the activity for a number of different methods of learning:
  • Whole class dialogue - Discussion of each part of the activity.
  • Open-ended questions – Why do materials change state? What happens to the particles?
  • Project work – As part of a wider science topic on materials.
  • Enquiry-based learning – Children are discovering the answer to questions that they are encouraged to pose themselves.
  • Arguing and reasoning – Persuading each other about their ideas.
  • Exploring ideas – Developing practical, physical understanding of key scientific principles.
Measuring Measuring Light - Light and Dark
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Light can be light, dark or somewhere in between
This lesson involves the use of higher order questioning(ta) on scientific method(ta) topics to engage pupils in an inquiry(ta) relating to the nature of light, its measurement, and the use of sensors.
Measuring Measuring Light - Does light shine through everything?
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Using a sensor to see what's transparent and translucent
This lesson involves the use of higher order questioning(ta) on scientific method(ta) topics to engage pupils in an inquiry(ta) relating to the nature of light, its measurement, and the use of sensors.
Measuring Measuring Temperature - Cold and Hot
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Put a number on the meaning of hot and cold
This lesson involves the use of higher order questioning(ta) to engage pupils in an inquiry(ta) relating on how to record temperature and the use of sensors.
Measuring Thinking about measurement
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How big is it? Thinking about measurement
This module introduces the uses and limitations of measuring size, as well as giving a taste of using distance learning(i) materials for higher education. This resource can serve as a useful revision of various measures, while providing helpful insight into active learning techniques, use of real life examples, the importance of technical language, and the importance of study skills(topic) (such as use of dictionaries, indexes, representation of information, etc.).
Measuring Monitoring Temperature - Day and Night
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What happens to the room's temperature when I'm not here?
This lesson involves the use of higher order questioning(ta) on scientific method(ta) topics to engage pupils in an inquiry(ta) relating to recording temperature and the use of sensors.
OER4Schools Principles of interactive teaching
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Patterns Exploring Pattern
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Exploring patterns in mathematics
Each chapter of this tutorial highlights the study skills(topic) required to work through the real world examples and activities given. There are problems to be solved, some of which involve higher order(ta) thinking skills (for example, being asked to correct a set of instructions), and all of which encourage the use of mathematical language(ta) and mathematical thinking(ta). The resource could also be used in class, or as a useful homework(ta) pack.
Polygons Exploring properties of rectangles: Perimeter and area.
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Do two rectangles that have the same area also have the same perimeter?
A problem to inspire higher order(ta) questioning(ta) especially in whole class(ta) dialogic teaching(ta) encouraging pupils to engage in mathematical thinking(ta) and language(ta). You could use Geogebra(tool) in this investigation, as an example of same-task group work(ta).
Problem Solving Problem Solving in Primary Education
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Encouraging primary pupils to think about problem-solving.
Problem-solving and reasoning(ta) are important skills to learn, and engage with in teaching. This document provides some guidance and practical examples on how to use problem-solving skills in the primary curriculum.
Programming Using Scratch and other web applications to create and animate digital monsters: Monsters @ Monteney
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A DEFT case study of Monteney Primary school, Sheffield
This cross curricula(i) case study focusses on Digital Literacy, in particular using E-skills(topic) to: Learn the basics of programming and embed open source tools in pedagogical practice. The case study explores the pedagogical potential of open source tools such as Scratch; it also looks into issues involved in sharing lesson plans as OERs.

One of the lesson ideas from the case study is available as a separate resource at Programming Monsters using Scratch

Progression Progression and questioning techniques in primary science projects
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Measuring force and measuring progress.
This resource provides an overview of the Year 6 scheme of work - 6E Forces in action and includes some experiment examples. The experiments could be run in class, with increasingly advanced objectives(i) including students' use of language(ta), the factors they discuss, the way they use equipment, assessment(i), etc. This resource can work as standalone lesson ideas / science projects /inquiry(i), or to illustrate progression of concepts through a scheme of work or curriculum planning(i) document.
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Category:Primary Category:Resources