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  • Slip some science into everyday activities you can do while at home. The Hub has resources for helping early childhood, lower primary and middle primary students and families. This article outlines simple ways to engage learners and enhance their learning.

    Fun versus deeper learning

    While hands-on activities are fun, they also offer opportunities for building science knowledge. Discussion is one of the most effective ways of developing learning and knowledge.

    Encourage the learner to help you gather the materials and set up the activity. While doing so, discuss:

    • the names of the objects and equipment and what they will be used for
    • important words (content vocabulary) associated with the activity
    • predictions for what might happen.

    During the activity:

    • talk about what is happening, encouraging the use of the science vocabulary when appropriate
    • use questions such as “I wonder why” or “I wonder how”
    • repeat the activity, asking questions such as “I wonder what would happen if …”.

    After the activity:

    • reflect on the process and the outcome and whether predictions met the outcome
    • create a simple representation of the activity – an annotated drawing or photo of the activity
    • begin a display of special science words in a scrapbook or online platform, with images if desired.

    Literacy opportunities

    The Hub features a growing list of articles from the Connected journal – a series of readers published by the New Zealand Ministry of Education. Each article has a link to a Google Slide presentation, which allows users to view the journal online. There are also links to teacher support material (TSM). TSM has some very useful tips on how to enhance both literacy and scientific learning.

    Each Connected article featured on the Hub has related content that provides background information and activity ideas. Check out our entire range of Connected articles here – we’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    The topic Literacy through science collates Hub resources that can be used to promote visual and written literacy. Use the filters to narrow your search.

    Numeracy opportunities

    While doing a hands-on activity, consider how to incorporate numeracy:

    • Take advantage of simple counting or multiplication opportunities.
    • Weigh or measure ingredients/components, discussing the units of measurement – gram, ml, cm and so on.
    • Create a table or graph of results.

    Connected also promotes mathematical literacy. NZ Maths will help you find suitable age-related content.

    There’s no need to be an expert

    Science is about observation, curiosity, discovery and the pursuit of new knowledge. Don’t worry if you don’t have the answer to a question. Look up the questions and answer them together. When scientists don’t know an answer, they ask a colleague or do some research. Alternatively, contact us at the Science Learning Hub, and we’ll do our best to help.

    Related content

    Check out our articles with ideas for hands-on, active and outdoor learning from home for:

    These articles include a mixture of hands-on and online at home learning for:

    Check out some other ready-to-use resources developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the Support for distance learning article.

    Content curations

    Our Early years resources collection has curated resources that have either been written specifically for younger children or are resources that can be easily adapted. Find out how to make the most out of this collection in our Creating collections article.

    For further inspiration and ideas have a look at our Learning science from home Pinterest board.

    Teaching remotely and learning from home? – we created the collections below – they are full of ideas to keep students actively engaged in STEM activities:

    For more on using and creating collections, see this super helpful article.

    Useful links

    Visit Literacy Online for more Connected articles.

    Visit NZ Maths for numeracy-related Connected articles.

    Otago Musuem's @HOME contains a wide range of resources to keep you and your whānau entertained at home, with many of the materials having an underlying educational component.

    Visit the Learning from home government website for other activity ideas.

    At the start of 2021 The Education Review Office | Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga (ERO) released a report series, Learning in a Covid-19 World: The Impact of Covid-19 on Schools, it looked at:

    • how Covid-19 impacted students, teachers, and schools
    • how schools responded, and what they learned
    • the challenges that schools expected they might face in future changes of alert levels.

      Published 1 April 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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