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Taking science education across the world

Our future depends on exploring all the frontiers of science, on innovative technologies based on these explorations and on the development of scientific literacy in all peoples through science education.

Using the books and films together

In my last blog I talked about visual aids that I had used as a teacher many years ago and how I was bringing them up to date with films with notes.

In fact, the films I have made are to go with my books in the Ways into Science series and the notes, called Stop and Chat, are to extend your children’s interaction with the topic and with you.
Find out more about them at

To use the book, film and resources simply follow these few steps.

1. Download the zip file and print off the Stop and Chat sheet. (The zip file also contains a quiz, answer sheet and experiment report sheet that you might like to use with the book).

2. Sit at the computer with your child with their book, and your Stop and Chat sheet and click on the film.

3. You may like to run through the film with your child without the Stop and Chat sheet so both of you can see how the topic is presented.

4. Play the film again but this time stop it at the times shown on the sheet and use the notes to ask your child about the topic or perform an activity. The stop and chat sheet has times at which you should stop the film and just … chat. Try it.

5. You may find that the notes suggest activities which you can do with your children and they can write them up on the report sheet downloaded from the zip file to keep a record of their developing science knowledge in a science file.

Please have a go and let me know how you got on by writing to

What can this be? Final two Curiosity Box books published

The Curiosity Box series is now complete!

The last two books in this six book series have just been published. They are Animals and the Human Body.

The Curiosity Box - Animals The Curiosity Box - The Human Body

Like all the books in the series they aim to stimulate children’s interest and curiosity in the natural world.

If you are already familiar with the titles published earlier this year you will know about “What can this be?” It is the title of the challenges I set the children as they read through each book. Their purpose is to arouse curiosity and initiate the imagination to produce an answer before turning the page to find out more.

At the end of each book is a curiosity quiz and suggestions for the children to set up their own curiosity box.

One keen reader has already sent in a picture of her curiosity box and I have provided extra notes about curiosity in science on my website. See them at

The autumn is a great time for walking in the countryside and finding curiosities in the natural world. Perhaps you would like to photograph them and send them to me at

so I can put them in our Science Exhibition Gallery at for children around the world to see.

Autumn science topics

The science of the seasons

As summer slips slowly into autumn this month, the topic of seasons naturally arises in many science courses around the world. In the UK, for example, at Key Stage 1 (5 – 7 year olds) there is a section of the curriculum entitled seasonal changes. My Ways into Science book, Seasons, provides library support for this topic.

Ways Into Science : Seasons

Ways Into Science : Seasons

While at you can find a film explaining how the seasons link to the movement of the Earth, stop and chat discussion sheets to help the children secure their knowledge, a quiz based on the Seasons book and an experiment report sheet to record the children’s activities in this topic.

quiz sheet

quiz sheet

The film and stop and chat discussion sheets can also be used now, or at other times of year by children reading Moving up with Science:Habitats where habitats through the season are featured on pages 12 – 19.

Moving Up With Science - Habitats

Moving Up With Science – Habitats

The science of space

The lengthening evenings with their starry skies provides an opportunity to cover curriculum work on space. To provide library support for 9–11 year olds in this area I have written The Earth in Space where pages 16 to 19 can be integrated with the film and the stop and chat discussion sheets.

Straight Forward With Science: The Earth In Space

Straight Forward With Science: The Earth In Space

All twenty five books in my three Franklin Watts series – Ways into Science, Moving up with Science and Straightforward with Science – have activities for the readers to try. They are very welcome to send in reports and photographs of their work to me at and I will put them in The Science Exhibition Gallery for other children around the world to see and share their interest in science.

The film and stop and chat sheets may also be useful in supporting revision of the movement of the Earth in the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint science course. See pages 74 and 75 of the study guide and pages 70 – 71 of the Teachers guide.

Teaching about the Seasons and the Earth and Space

In Teaching Primary science you will find sections on the seasons (pages 21 – 27) and Earth and Space (pages 152 – 158).

Teaching Primary Science

Teaching Primary Science is published today by Bloomsbury

In each section there is background information, glossary, progression notes, technical tips, three detailed lesson plans, further lesson ideas and activities and cross curricular links. You might like to integrate the film and stop and chat discussion sheets with the Seasons and Earth and Space sections in this book.

You may like your children to use ICT to communicate reports and pictures of their science investigations to other children around the world to inform, interest and inspire them also in their science work. If you do, send their work to peter and I will put it in our Science Exhibition Gallery. Here is an example from the gallery.

Two more book in the Curiosity Box series now available

Two more books in the Curiosity box series have just been published. They are Rocks and Fossils, and Minibeasts.

Curiosity Box : Rocks and FossilsCuriosity Box : Minibeasts

If you’d like to find out more about the Curiosity Box series, please take a look at the video below.

The final video in my Ways Into Science series is now finished

The final video in my Ways Into Science series is now finished and live!

In the video I talk about our senses and what they detect, then I ask you to explore the world around you using your senses too!

There’s now a total of eight videos, covering all the books in the series, along with support materials for teachers available to download from this site for free. There are videos and support materials for all of the Ways Into Science books. You can access all the videos and materials via the Ways Into Science page, or using the links below.

View the video and materials for Ways Into Science: Plants
View the video and materials for Ways Into Science: Everyday Materials
View the video and materials for Ways Into Science: Habitats
View the video and materials for Ways Into Science: Keeping Healthy
View the video and materials for Ways Into Science: Life Cycles
View the video and materials for Ways Into Science: Seasons
View the video and materials for Ways Into Science: What Animal Is It?
View the video and materials for Ways Into Science: Your Body, Your Senses

If you make use of the videos and materials, please email me at to let me know what you think.

The changing of the seasons

My new video to tie into my Ways Into Science series talks about the seasons. Using a simple model of the solar system I describe what seasons are and what causes them.

Ways Into Science - Seasons

Ways Into Science – Seasons

You can find the video, along with the downloadable resources to go with it, here.

Bring your habitat hat and join me in the rainforest

Visiting the African rainforest

Visiting the African rainforest

In my new video, made to support the Habitats book in my Ways Into Science series of books, I pay a visit to four rainforests around the world and describe some of the animals and plants that can be found there. All thanks to a bit of movie magic!

There are freely downloadable support materials to go with the video including a stop and chat sheet, quiz and experiment report sheet. The support materials can be found here.

Support materials for the first two Ways Into Science books now online

Recently I’ve been working on support materials for my Ways Into Science book series. These materials are freely available from the site and consist of:

A video to complement each book, supported by a “Stop and chat” sheet to use in the classroom and stimulate discussion with your students, a quiz for each book (with an answer sheet for the teacher) and finally an experiment report sheet for students to report the results of their experiments.

As an example, here is the video to accompany Ways Into Science – Plants:

The materials for the first two books are now available and can be found using the links below, the materials for the other books in the series will be released over the next month or two.

Support materials for Ways Into Science – Plants
Support materials for Ways Into Science – Everyday Materials

How the Curiosity Box series came to be written

When I give talks about my writing I am always asked “Where do you get your ideas from?” As ideas come from many different things I usually give a very general answer but for my new series of books, Curiosity Box, I can be very specific.

When I was setting up the website I decided to provide free downloadable posters about the scientific method. I thought the stages in the method were best represented by a group of children doing an experiment so I constructed a storyboard on which to place the various stages.

The Scientific Method poster 1

The Scientific Method poster 2

I settled on an experiment on gravity with the children investigating the speed at which things fall. The problem was to find a way to set them off on an investigation. At the time I had been reading about how cabinets of curiosities were set up in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and eventually were developed into museums. I then thought of the things that my granddaughters collect such as pine cones and pebbles. These objects are usually left on display on a bedroom windowsill which could be thought of as a small modern take on a cabinet of curiosity.

Horse chestnuts

Here are some conkers from the curiosity box section of the website

I then thought “What if one of the children gathered all her curiosities into a box, then tripped and the curiosities fell out?” This idea worked and so became part of the story. However I was still intrigued by the idea of a curiosity box so made one up in a shoebox and visited local schools with it. The response was so positive that teachers started setting up their own class curiosity boxes. I thought perhaps a series of books about curiosities that children can easily observe might be a help so the first two titles in the Curiosity Box series are now published, two more will be out in June and two final books to complete the series published in August.



The Seashore

The Seashore

My new book series – The Curiosity Box

“Have you any signs of a scientist?” This is a question I ask in the introduction in one of my textbooks for 14 year olds but it can apply to anyone.

I then ask “When did these signs start to show?” and I provide a time line to help the students decide. One of the earliest signs of a scientist occurs in babies, it is curiosity. When I was a baby I apparently annoyed my mother (not for the last time) by picking all the threads of cotton out of my towelling nappy, holding them up and watching them fall into my pram.

Me as a baby

Me as a baby

My curiosity produced bald nappies and perhaps an early inkling of the power of the gravitational force. Many decades later my new science series about curiosity called Curiosity Box is launched this month.

The Seashore

The Seashore



I think the books can be used in several ways. They can be read to young children by parents, carers or teachers and as the book is read, the illustrations can be explored by the children and questions asked before turning the pages to find the answers. At the end of the book the children can test their knowledge by talking about the items in the curiosity box that has been prepared for them and then try to answer the Curious Quiz. There is also a section on making a curiosity box which provides useful web links. The books could be read by older children on their own, but you may like to join them by helping them to make their own curiosity box. You may like to take photographs of the curiosities you find and put them in your curiosity box. Here is a curiosity I photographed this week.

Pixie Cup Lichen

Pixie Cup Lichen

It is a pixie cup lichen.

My Books

Follow the links below to find out more about my books and book series, as well as downloadable resources for teachers and parents using my books.

Books for Primary Schools
Books for Secondary Schools

Books and Resources for Teachers

Contact Me

I can be contacted in the following ways. If you have a picture for the Natural World Photo Gallery or the Science Exhibition Gallery, please send it by email.