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It isn't rocket science or is it?

Check out a new Science Fun At Home activity. As well as two ideas for making rockets, there is also a link to a rocket competition run by the National Physical Laboratory and the UK Space Agency.

Science Poster Competition for Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 only

During the last few months of lockdown many of us have been much more aware of the amazing bird song and the variety of flowers and trees and more recently the abundance of butterflies and bees visiting the colourful flowers.  We know from research how important it is for our mental wellbeing to be able to be outdoors enjoying our gardens, going for walks in the countryside, across fields, by the river, in the park or elsewhere. We would love you to design a poster that encourages either people to think about the benefits of being outside and enjoying our natural environment or to show how important it if for us to look after our environment.  Don’t forget that on a poster it is best not to use too many words but the words you do use need to get your message across clearly.

The poster will be judged in age groups and there will be gift vouchers for the winning entries.  You can either design your poster using artwork then take a photograph of it or you can design it on the computer and send it as an attachment.  (Only one entry per person). Whichever way you do it you will need to send it to school@hertingfordbury.herts.sch.uk by Monday July 6th .

Twelve Science Sparks activities

The Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) is continuing to upload more fun science activities for you to do at home. I thought it would be helpful to have these in a zip folder for you to explore at leisure.

The Book of Hopes from the Literacy Trust

I am sure that many of you will have seen this wonderful online collection of stories, poems and illustrations that have been designed to comfort, inspire and entertain children in lockdown. There are some great stories including some with links to science. Look at The Hungriest Caterpillar on P.88 to find out about the real-life scientific discovery of caterpillars that can eat plastic. After reading this, children could find out more about scientist Federica Bertocchini and the wax moth. Alternatively, you could consider the Dung Beetle on P.92 to appreciate the magnificence and importance of dung beetles. You could then find out more about beetles as there are plenty of others that you could write about.

Would you like to welcome tiny creatures?

You could create an insect home and place it in your garden or on your balcony and see who comes to visit. Follow this step-by-step Royal Horticultural Society guide.

Special Species competition

The Linnean Society is currently running a 'special species' competition, a really creative way of exploring science and living things through creating your own species. This exciting competition is open to all age groups (including adults). Previous creations have included 'deadly creatures' after being inspired by Steve Backshall's Deadly 60, a beautiful blue-legged goliath beetle and the bearded rainbow finch.

Want to know what's in bloom near you?

If plant spotting is of interest to you, you might like to use these free downloadable plant spotter sheets.

How high can you jump?

Check out this wonderful BBC clip of the widowbird jumping to try and attract a female. It can clearly jump several times its own height. Why don't you explore how high you and other members of your family can jump? You could do some research into animals that jump too. I wonder which animal is the best at jumping. Perhaps you could find out.

Explore forces or habitats at home

This collection of Explorify activities is ideal to do at home with keen explorers. These activities on forces and habitats will enable you to enjoy an afternoon of science a week.

Time to slow things down

It is always fascinating to watch mini-beasts in the garden. Ants are particularly industrious and its great to see their teamwork as they heft items around that are much larger than themselves. However, in my view, the most fascinating are the bees. Perhaps you could have some fun in the garden videoing bees and other creatures in slow motion to observe them more closely.

Have you ever thought about drifting dandelions?

There are lots of dandelion seed heads at the moment and I always find myself mesmerised by them as they float past me in the air. Did you know that they can travel amazing distances, perhaps up to 50 miles? Scientists have only recently discovered how they do this. Check out this video and article from the New York Times on dandelion flight to find out more.

Have fun finding patterns in nature

There are patterns and shapes that can be seen everywhere in nature. Why not look for these patterns and take photos or draw pictures of them. Some things to look out for are concentric circles (tree stumps are good for this), spirals, symmetry and patterns in the number of petals. If you are interested in this, there is a BBC news article about patterns in nature which can be found on the link below.

Do you fancy meeting Florence Nightingale?

The Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) is offering an innovative way of meeting scientists past and present. They have teamed up with Spectrum Drama and St Mary's University to help you learn more about people who do jobs that use science. What a wonderful way to increase your knowledge and build on your science capital! There are activity sheets and videos, as well as a way of providing feedback. So far you can meet 'Florence Nightingale', two doctors (a viral immunologist and a hospital doctor) and tomorrow you'll have the opportunity to meet the last man ever to walk on the moon - Gene Cernan. Find out more about Science at Work on the PSTT's dedicated page.

Winchester Science Centre @home challenges

If you're curious to find out more, Winchester Science Centre has made some very user-friendly science@home resources available. They include challenges on Mission Space, Minibeasts, Sounds of the Sea, Observing Space, Conservation, Family Band and Sound in Space, with one to follow shortly on Food Chains. The activities are all easily accessible via downloadable pdf and with 'grown-ups' guides for each. Satisfy your curiosity here.

Find out about flowers from our visiting botanist

Botanist Karen van Oostrum is a regular visitor to our school and she thought we might like some plant and flower facts to guide us in our outdoor activities at home. Many thanks for these helpful documents. Now we'll be able to enjoy our exploring even more than ever!

The most incredible observation over time

Flourishing Hertingfordbury scientists Sean (Year 4), Ethan (Year 1) and Zara (Nursery) have been making the most of their time at home by observing robins nesting in their garden plant, watching them really closely for a whole month. They have created a wonderful photographic journal of their special Easter guests and the three eggs that were laid. Check out their amazing story here to find out what happened as the chicks emerged and fledged. 

The next science magic trick

Science magician Dr Matt Pritchard demonstrates one of his favourite balancing tricks in the next in his fascinating series. Take a look at 'Uncanny Balance' and prepare to be amazed!

Seek and ye shall find...

While we've been enjoying the great outdoors on our daily walks, we've been discovering all sorts of plant and wildlife species with a free app called SEEK which enables us to identify plants, flowers and wildlife in our area. We photograph our specimen with our smartphone and in real time the SEEK app identifies it. Take a look at the screenshot of some of our latest finds. With the user's permission (in your case your parent or carer), the app sends collected data from your area to the iNaturalist global biodiversity database, helping us to take an active part in biodiversity issues affecting our planet. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature says that having the app is like having a naturalist in your pocket. Perhaps you could ask your parents or carers if they'd like to give it a go. We are loving it! Why not take a look at the iNaturalist England and WWF websites. I've included the links below.

How good are your observation skills?

While I was out on my daily walk yesterday, I found this interesting feather. Can you identify which bird it came from? Bird feathers can be fascinatingly beautiful. You might like to study the patterns on bird feathers. You may be lucky to find a real one like me or you could use a close-up photo. Try sketching the feather. Look really closely at the detail to make your artwork authentic. Then you could mix and add some colour.

Even more fun science at home...

The Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) has hooked up with Science Sparks to create some fun science activities for children to explore at home. The resources are clear, simple, accessible and manageable. These include engineering challenges introducing famous scientists, engineers and artists, and some science challenge chasers for older children. Explore the link for more hands-on, 'funtastic' science!

STEM primary activities for home learning

STEM has created some excellent resources to support children's education from home. These cover cross-curricular, science, maths, computing, and design and technology activities. 

It's a kind of magic

Check out the following links for some great science and maths related 'magic' presented by leading scientist and magician Dr Matt Pritchard. You'll simply love these activities! While you are on the science page of our school website, where can you see the magic in our 'handy' school science principles towards the bottom of this page? Ask your parents to email your answer to Mrs Bennett to the new school email address, remembering to write 'Science magic' as the subject of the email.

Check your child's science skills

While you are investigating science with your children at home, why not encourage your child to keep track of the the science skills they are developing? These child-friendly, working scientifically wheels will help them to do this. They could take photos or create a science journal to show these skills in action.

DO try this at home

First we brought you slime... and you slimed! How about making your slime electric? You can explore physics in many exciting ways by visiting the Institute of Physics website. Find out what Marvin and Milo have been up to for some great science ideas. Go on, get curious!

Fancy tackling a wild challenge?

Have you ever thought of birdwatching in your home environment? As the RSPB says on its website, spread your wings into the wonderful world of birds. Stick your beak out, use your eagle eyes and get spotting!

 

I challenge keen Hertingfordbury scientists to use their observation skills and take up the RSPB Go Birdwatching Wild Challenge. Think creatively about how you record your findings over the next few weeks. Do the same birds keep appearing or are there new arrivals? How often do the birds visit and how long do they stay? Look closely to follow their habits and identify their markings. Close your eyes and listen carefully to the bird calls.

 

So far from my kitchen window this week I have seen a wren, jackdaws, pheasants, buzzards and a sparrowhawk. What can you see from your window? Find out how to go wild on the link below which includes an activity sheet and online bird identifier. Get twitching!

STEM learning launches a range of family activities

You may wish to check out the family activities available from the STEM website.

Are you a space fan?

If so, you might like to know when to look out from your home at the International Space Station passing overhead over the next few days. Let's hope the sky stays clear! The timings are:

 

Friday 27th March at 7.42pm (visible for 4 minutes) and 9.19pm (visible for 1 minute).

 

Saturday 28th March at 6.55pm (visible for 4 minutes) and 8.31pm (visible for 2 minutes).

 

Sunday 29th March at 8.44pm (visible for 3 minutes) and 10.20pm (visible for 1 minute).

 

Monday 30th March at 7.58pm (visible for 4 minutes) and 9.33pm (visible for 3 minutes).

 

If you enjoy the views, why not ask your parents to sign up for the ISS alerts for your area by visiting www.spotthestation.nasa.gov. That way you can be notified by email about when the ISS is going to be visible for more than 3 minutes and you can enjoy stargazing long into the future. You may even manage to get some good photographic evidence. Have fun! 

At Hertingfordbury Cowper Primary School, we love science!

Fun science investigations to explore at home

Remember, you must always ask the permission of an adult before investigating science at home. 

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