Spiral Curriculum in Science Education: Teaching Science to Children of Different Ages

spiral curriculum: a spiral of light

We all have a lot on our plates at the moment. Maybe if we only had one task to deal with, it wouldn’t be so bad, but when our homes are a whirlwind of Zoom meetings, working, housework, home-schooling, trying to keep office hours and parenting, it’s all a bit much, isn’t it?

Traditional coping mechanisms to deal with a huge workload are redundant at this point. 

Delegation, taking some time off, having some time to yourself? All great ideas in everyday life, but they just don’t work in lockdown. If you’re reading this blog, there is a high probability that you are a teacher, a parent or more than likely, both. If you are indeed a parent and you have children at different stages in their schooling, then keep reading. This is for you…

Having a positive mindset and a good work ethic can carry us a fair way forward, sure, but sometimes we need to work smarter, not harder. If you have children of different ages, you can use this tip to your advantage.

Introducing the spiral curriculum in science education

Using the spiral curriculum in science education can be defined as a course of study in which students will see the same topics throughout their school career, with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning.

Put simply, in Science, the same topics are revisited as students progress through the different key stages, so we’ve taken the liberty to look at this week’s HLH Science resources and pair them up with the same topic areas in the different key stages.

Biology: Food Groups 

This theme runs throughout all of the key stages and so lends itself well to this idea. This range of resources from our primary-age arm Twinkl match well with the key stage 3 and 4 resources we offer at Beyond.

KS1 Food Groups | KS2 Healthy Eating | KS3 Food Groups | KS4 Food Testing Investigation

Chemistry: Chemical Reactions 

Again, an idea that features in every key stage, one thing to bear in mind is that in the lower key stages, chemical reactions and physical changes are referred to as irreversible changes and reversible changes respectively.

KS1 Changing States| KS2 Identifying Changes | KS3 Reactions of Acids | KS4 Rate of Chemical Change      

Physics: Electricity

Another great topic for your children to work on together is the recurring theme of electricity. (Additional thought, a good idea for a practical would be to get them to turn some lights off when they leave a room, but let’s be realistic in our expectations)

KS1 Electrical Dangers | KS2 Electricity Activities | KS3 Potential Difference Graphs | KS4 Physics Electricity Knowledge Organiser

It’s just an idea. It works because of the nature of how Science is taught. Having seen it in action in schools it can be very effective. It boosts the confidence of the older learner, makes the younger learner feel relevant and spurs them on to want to do more. We won’t burden you with the teaching theory behind why this works, goodness knows you don’t have time for that at the moment, but this might, just might mean that your kids will do some work and you can have a Zoom meeting without being asked for a piece of toast halfway through your daily briefing.

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