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Teachers inspired at the Primary Science Conference

Monday 4th July 2022

The Science Oxford Centre was filled with primary teachers from across the Oxfordshire and Reading areas on Monday 4th July for the annual Primary Science Conference – the first full day in-person conference since before the pandemic.

Organised in conjunction with the Oxfordshire Science Learning Partnership based at Oxford Spires Academy, the event attracted primary teachers including science subject leaders and senior leaders and was full of practical hands-on ideas for teaching and inspiring young people with science. Delegates enjoyed opportunities to learn, share best practice and network with local primary colleagues and experience the Science Oxford Centre.

Thinking Talking Doing Science!

The day began with a keynote presentation from Helen Wilson who, along with Science Oxford’s Bridget Holligan, founded the Thinking, Doing, Talking Science project. Helen explained how the Thinking, Doing, Talking Science evidence-based approach focuses on maximising opportunities for higher order thinking and has been shown not only to increase levels of attainment in science but also positively impacts both pupils’ and teachers’ attitude to and enjoyment of the subject. Helen later ran a popular workshop about crafting a primary science lesson.

Crafting a primary science lesson

Teachers were spoilt for choice when deciding which workshops and presentations to attend. Highlights included Leading Primary Science which supported Subject Leaders in their role, Science Through Stories which demonstrated how storytelling can be effective in science lessons, and Exploring Evolution which tackled this tricky Key Stage 2 topic in practical and creative ways. Delegates received advice on Scientists in School, learned how to use dataloggers and discovered the advantages of using floorbooks for children to record their learning. Our friends from Oxford University Museum of Natural History presented workshops on Insects and their Habitats and the Zooniverse Project.

lecturer with insects

Insects and their Habitats with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Our ever-popular Exploration Zone was open for teachers to try all of the hands-on activities for themselves. It seems that teachers enjoy making ‘helicopters’ to hover over our air table, putting scarves through the scarf shooter and watching water freeze as much as our primary-aged visitors!

Making crafts fly at the air table

Teachers loved our pond-dipping workshop too, led by Science Oxford’s Outdoor Learning and Ecology Manager Roger Baker.

teachers walk through trees with buckets and nets

Pond dipping in our 15 acres of woodlands

Judging from the comments teachers gave us, the day was certainly a success:

“Inspiring meeting and hearing from other colleagues and reminding me of good teaching practice”

“Wonderful mix of highly practical/workable teaching/learning. Great signposting to other resources”

“Lots of new activities and ideas gained”

“Superb! Very interesting very relevant so helpful. Going back feeling rejuvenated!”

“Excellent speakers, so knowledgeable and lively/engaging”

“Really informative and organised well”

“Wow all amazing! You have reignited my love and passion for science and I have so much to take back to school”

We’re already starting to plan next year’s conference – watch this space for more details!

To find out more about Science Oxford’s CPD and primary schools education programme visit here.

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