The CIEC post-it planning tool can be used to help children recognise when and how to set up comparative and fair tests and explain which variables are significant, which need to be controlled and why. When the children complete the obtaining evidence section, the results will automatically produce a graph. For this reason the planning board can only be used with investigations that produce numerical data.
Children working in small groups should think about all the things that they could change when planning their enquiry. The list can often be long and varied and children should be encouraged to generate as many possibilities as they can. The initial ideas could be recorded on real post it notes. They should then do the same for the things that they could measure, which will change as a result of changes to the variables. This will be the outcome of the investigation. An example of this is to suggest measuring the height and width, length of roots, number of leaves, etc of a plant they have grown under different conditions for an agreed period of time (rather than recording other potential growing conditions).
The class should then:
Each small group of children should then:
It is important that primary teachers understand what it means to work scientifically and use this to their best advantage when planning, differentiating and assessing high quality science lessons. Download the latest support from CIEC containing progression grids, guidance and child friendly self and peer assessment posters to support all aspects of science enquiry from Early Year Foundation Stage, through the primary years to Key Stage Three within the science curriculum for England.
Contact CIEC if you would prefer published copy, at £1.50 each or £15.00 for a class set of 30 (plus p&p).