Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Young People's Book Prize activity sheets



Congratulations to Maggie Alderin Pocock who has recently been crowned the winner of the 2023 Young People’s Book Prize with her book of frequently asked questions about space ‘Am I made of stardust?’.

Part of one of the pupil activity sheets. Most of the text is too small to read but the title is 'Am I made of stardust' and we can see the front cover of the book.

Did you know that CIEC writes resources every year to maximise the learning that is possible from all six of the shortlisted titles? There are separate pupil and teacher activity sheets. Between them, they have sections on relevant careers, on maths links and the profile of a relevant scientist, as well as several engaging science activities which will help teachers to make effective links with the science curriculum and the content of the books.  All of the investigations can be done as standalone activities or carried out as an in-depth sequence to develop pupil’s disciplinary and substantive knowledge. The sheets also contain information about how schools can apply for a Royal Society Partnership Grant of up to £3,000.

Part of one of the activity sheets. most of the text is too small to read but we can see the front cover of 'Live like a hunter gatherer' and the title of the whole sheet is 'Live like a hunter gatherer teacher sheet'

 Whether or not your school has been involved in the judging and whether or not you have access to the books in question, you will find that these free resources can have a positive impact on STEM learning in your class, so why don’t you take a look and let us know what you think?

A stack of books.

We will send a copy of one of the books that has been shortlisted in the past five years to the first three schools to be in touch at with information (and ideally pictures) of how they used the CIEC activitysheets in their schools. Additionally, the first 10 schools to get in touch will receive a hard copy of a full set of this year’s activity sheets.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Working Scientifically in the Primary Classroom: Progression of enquiry skills from EYFS to KS3

This document is FREE to download from the CIEC website

Just as important as teaching the substantive aspects of the curriculum is teaching the disciplinary aspects as children learn to think and act like scientists. Teachers tell us that they find it much harder to plan for progression and to assess children in this area and this is where our free resource ‘Working scientifically in the primary classroom: Progression of enquiry skills from EYFS to KS3’ comes in.


Skills can be tracked from one key stage to the next from EYFS to KS3

Skills can be tracked from one key stage to the next.  For example, ‘Make links and notice patterns in their experience’ (Characteristics of Effective Learning in EYFS) is tracked to ‘With guidance, they should begin to notice patterns and relationships’ (KS1 science program of study) and ‘Begin to look for naturally occurring patterns and relationships and decide what data to collect to identify them’ (Lower KS2 science programme of study). This enables teachers and subject leads to systematically track the skills throughout the primary age range and beyond.

I can statements for EYFS

Additionally, there is a poster for each key stage (EYFS, KS1, Lower KS2 and Upper KS2) with ‘I Can’ statements which can be shared with the child, enabling them to be fully involved in their own assessment and progression. 

I can statements for Upper Key Stage 2 

The clear layout of this document supports teachers to plan lessons which enable children to show progress in their learning and add challenge for those children who are ready for it.  It also gives a framework that facilitates accurate assessment and empowers children to peer and self-assess working scientifically skills.

This booklet can be downloaded for free from the CIEC website.  Alternatively, if you would like to buy a hard copy they can be purchased from our online store for £3.20 (including P&P) for a single copy or £26.45 (including P&P) for a class set of 30.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Working with families


An image of a 'mad scientist'.  White, middle aged, lab coat, untidy hair and a crazed look in his eyes.
Stereotypes of 'mad scientists' negatively impact on the science capital of children and their families

In recent years teachers have become increasingly aware of the importance of developing children’s science capital by helping them to understand that science is relevant to their current and future lives and that scientists are ‘people like me’ rather than science being the preserve of a select few that fit prevailing stereotypes.  

An industry at home activity sheet.  Most of the text is too small to read.The title says 'Best Bubbles'.

Children from 3 to 93 will be able to join in with this activity which invites you to work out the best mixture for making bubbles.

At CIEC we believe that we not only need to think about the science capital of the children that we work with but also that of everyone around them. A particularly important influence on children is the family that they live with, so anything that we can do to raise the awareness and aspirations of family members is likely to have a positive impact on children.

An Industry at home activity sheet.  Most of the text is too small to read.  The title is 'Runny Fun'.  A subheading is 'Making Ooblek'

In this exciting activity starch is extracted from potato peel to make ‘ooblek’; whatever your age we guarantee that you will learn something new!

One way to do this is to use our IndusTRY AT HOME activities. They are designed for use with families and are easily resourced at home.  They are interactive and engaging and link aspects of the primary science curriculum with real life contexts.

An Industry at home activity sheet. Most of the text is too small to read.  The heading is 'Washing Powder'

For this activity families are invited to compare different washing products as they learn that product development is an important role for some scientists

There are 18 different IndusTRY AT HOME sheets with a range of activities to suit the whole age range from nursery to Y6.  Teachers have told us that they find them more creative than traditional homework without impacting on their workload. Children have told us that they like collaborating with other family members and find the activities enjoyable. Parents report that they are easier to manage at home than activities that children do not want to do. All of the IndusTRY AT HOME activities are free to download from the CIEC website.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Making Ripples


The front cover of the Industry at Home resource.  The text is displayed in brightly coloured boxes.  All except the titles 'Industry at Home' and 'Making Ripples' is too small to read.

Making Ripples is free to download from the IndusTRY AT HOME page of the CIEC website.

We have recently been adding to our popular IndusTRY AT HOME resources.  Thanks to funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry five new resources will have ideas for activities that can be done with children as young as three, but which can be enjoyed by the whole family including older children.  Indeed, given that they are accessible to such a wide age range you may be surprised by how engaging (and thought provoking) adults find the activities too!

Concentric circles of ripples on water.

Adults as well as children are likely to fascinated by this simple activity.

For example, the activity ‘Making Ripples’ invites families to take advantage of a bright sunny day to explore the way that ripples move on a tray of water as objects are dropped in, or the surface of the water is touched.  As with other IndusTRY AT HOME activities this activity is easily and cheaply resourced with items from around the home.

A screen shot showing part of the resource.  There is white text in a green box which is too small to read apart from the title 'Career and role play opportunities'.  There is also an image of a tug boat.

An extract from the IndusTRY AT HOME resource ‘Making Ripples’

There is also support for raising Science Capital by making links between the science in the activities and real science careers.  For example, after exploring the ways that water moves while making ripples, children learn that people who design and make boats need to know about this to help them to design boats that can move safely through rough seas.

We would love to hear how you get on if you use this resource either at home or in school.

Monday, December 5, 2022

A Pinch of Salt

Today's post is brought to you by one of our advisory teachers, Jane Winter

The weather is getting colder, and our thoughts are turning to icy windscreens and slippery roads! As gritter lorries gear up for action, a useful way to link this seasonal change to the science curriculum is with CIEC’s A Pinch of Salt. This free resource provides a real life context in which children can apply learning objectives and practise vocabulary from the science curriculum. 
It's working! Watching the clear salt solution drip through the filter paper.
In one activity children are first invited to compare a sample of pure salt with some rock salt. They are asked to consider how they could extract salt that was pure enough to use on food from the rock salt that is used for gritting roads. The process starts by dissolving the rock salt sample in water before filtering it to remove all the undissolved solids. The water is then evaporated from the salt solution to leave behind salt. The evaporation can be sped up by leaving the solution on a radiator or by using a tealight. 

The resource contains all of the information that you need to carry out this easily resourced activity.

 If you would like to try this, or any other activity, from A Pinch of Salt you will find that it is fully supported with teachers' notes and activity sheets for children. There is also safety guidance including information about NOT actually using salt purified in this way on food and the safe use of tealights. We would love to hear about your experiences of using this, or any other CIEC resource, and will send a hard copy of our acclaimed 'Working Scientifically' to anyone who shares their experiences with us.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Career Cards

This post is written by one of CIEC's advisory teachers, Jane Winter

 Primary teachers are increasingly aware of the importance of raising children's science capital.  High science capital means that ALL children realise that they too could have a career in STEM if they chose, rather than dismissing the possibility at an early age as "not something done by people like me".

At CIEC we believe that one of the best possible ways to do this is to give primary school children the opportunity to meet real STEM professionals and learn how the science that they do in school links to the science that happens in industry.  However, this isn't always possible and this is where our free to download resource Career Cards come in.  Each set of cards in the pack feature one of four STEM professionals who works with one of our partner companies Johnson Matthey.  One card contains their photograph, another their job title and another a job description.  The complete set for one person also has information about their hobbies and which subjects they enjoyed at primary school.

Career cards spark discussions which help to break down stereotypes about who can be a STEM professional

Upper KS2 children have responded well to using these cards and their teachers have told us that they lead to discussions which help them to realise that anyone can aspire to be a scientist or engineer and that there are a variety of routes into STEM professions.

The cards can be downloaded from our website.  However, if you don't fancy all that cutting out, a class set of 7 packs of cards can be purchased from our online shop at a heavily subsidised cost of £8.15.  If you use them in your own classroom we would love to hear how you get on.

Thank you to Johnson Matthey for funding the creation of these cards and for continuing to subsidise their cost to schools

Monday, October 3, 2022

New sustainability science activities from CIEC

This blog post it brought to you by Jane Winter, one of CIEC's advisory teachers

CIEC has started the new academic year by adding some more activities to the existing sustainability resource.  Like most CIEC publications these engaging and easily resourced investigations link real life science solutions to environmental problems and the primary science curriculum. 

Sponsored by Innospec, a company that develops personal care products, the investigations support children to consider the environmental impact of products such as soap and shampoo.  In one activity children explore the efficacy of solid and liquid formulation of soap and research the different transport and packaging requirements of these everyday products.  In another they plan an investigation to assess the suitability of different packaging materials, including an innovative soap wrapping that Innospec scientists have developed which dissolves the first time that the soap is used, thus reducing waste.

Children are motivated to work on these challenges to find out how science can provide solutions to environmental problems

As well as linking to the materials strand of the KS2 curriculum the activities provide ample opportunities for working scientifically including observation over time, secondary research and planning a fair test.  There are also cross curricular links including producing written reports for the scientists at Innospec and creating tables and graphs to display measurements taken during the investigations.  

The PowerPoint, which is included in the resource, provides open ended starting points for classroom discussion, letters from the scientists at Innospec and a short video highlighting the long term environmental impact of single use plastics including packaging. 

The resource contains a short video which provides a context for the investigations

These activities, and many more, are free to download from the CIEC website.  If you use this resource in your classroom we would love to hear from you to hear how it went.  Get in touch (preferably with photographs) at and we will send you a hard copy of some of our resources to say thank you.