Peter.D.Riley

International bestselling award-winning author Facebook Twitter

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.

The Science Exhibition Gallery

In this section of the site I display some of the models and displays children have made to demonstrate their understanding of scientific concepts. You can even send in your own pictures and have them featured on my blog as an inspiration to other teachers, parents and children for science projects of their own.

Join the Science Exhibition by sending in photographs of your displays, experiments, science models and home labs.

Send your photographs and captions to: peter@peterdriley.com

With each photograph send in a caption of one sentence to describe it. Also send in your first name and age and the name of the country where you live. For example “Pippa, age 6 UK”. For schools you may add something like “in Year 5 Wellfield School UK”, or if you wish a child or student to take some particular credit include their first name. For example “Nicole, Year 5 Wellfield School UK” No other details will be shown on the website.


Mini beasts – a beautiful science activity?

In recent blogs I have been considering the science people remember from their school days and also suggesting that science does not need to be perceived as hard but can be beautiful. In the blog on beauty I used a simple description of beauty as something which can generate pleasure and satisfaction.
I saw this in action when I visited my local primary school to help with their study of mini beasts.

The lesson began by looking at the film What animal is it? which is free to view at http://www.peterdriley.com/books/ways-into-science-series/

This sets mini beasts in context in the animal kingdom.

The children then explored the school grounds to make a mini beast survey. In the survey the mini beasts were identified and counted.

Identifying and counting the minibeasts

After twenty minutes the children returned to the classroom and discussed the data they had collected.
I pointed out that they had made their survey during the day and asked them how they could find out about the mini beasts that might be active at night?

Followers of Spring Watch suggested setting up cameras but others suggested a much cheaper alternative of setting up traps and I showed them how to make a pit fall trap.

The pit fall trap

These were set up all over the school grounds.

Creating pitfall traps

The following morning the traps were emptied and the mini beasts were identified and counted and added to the data collected the previous day.

The children then wrote up their investigation using the free downloadable Experiment Report sheets from my website at http://www.peterdriley.com/downloads-and-resources/ (scroll down to The Experiment Report sheet and receive it in a zip file).

An experiment report sheet

An experiment report sheet

They completed their mini beast study by using https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/classic/ to make bar graphs and pie charts.

Mini beast bar chart

Mini beast bar chart

You can see by their reports and graphs that the children had found the science activity pleasant and it gave them satisfaction to spend time writing it up and making the graphs and charts. Perhaps science is beautiful after all.

The school has agreed for their work to be displayed in the Science Exhibition Gallery at
http://www.peterdriley.com/category/science-exhibition-gallery/

If you and your children have done a science activity that is an example of the beauty of science like this one please send it in to peter@peterdriley.com for display in the Science Exhibition Gallery for every one to see.



My visit to Settle School for science day

I was invited to Settle School to take assembly and then take part in their activities for Science Day.

For the assembly I gave a short presentation on how ideas change over time.

Being helped by my grand daughter

Being helped by my grand daughter

In this picture you can see the tables laid out with my ‘props’ starting with the toy rabbit and bunch of carrots to discuss humans as hunter gatherers then moving through establishing how ideas changed over time.

I am assisted by my eldest granddaughter Megan in discussing how we changed our ideas about the earth being the centre of the universe.

On the right are a section of telephones showing how one aspect of technology has changed in my life time (see blog 23rd March).

Speaking into a glove

Speaking into a glove

Here I am talking into a glove telephone. Megan had rigged up a speaker so I could talk into my hand and my voice filled the hall! I The children thought it was a WOW moment.

Making cartesian divers to float up and down in bottle.

Making monsters

Making monsters

Testing the divers

Making monsters

Go here to find out how to make the divers.

Material monsters

Taking time out from making a monster.
Making a material monster

Three eyes but is it just one leg or a tail?
A material monster

Celebrating a win in one class’s competition.
A material monster

You may like to find out more about materials by looking at the film for the Everyday Materials book in my Ways into Science series.

Why not download the free stop and chat feature that goes with this film to discuss materials with your children. At the end of the film is a material monster I made. Perhaps your children would like to make some monsters too. If they do photograph the monsters and send them in to peter@peterdriley.com so their pictures can join those from Settle School.

One class took the monster theme forward and made them explode!

One class took the monster theme forward and made them explode! This is a variation on the model volcano experiment.

explosive monster

explosive monster

explosive monster

You may also like to make a really explosive monster by trying the activity in Violent Stuff on page 20-21 of my Real Scientist book called Stuff.

If you make an exploding monster send a photograph of it exploding to peter@peterdriley.com and I will put it in our Science Exhibition Gallery to inspire children around the world in science.



Testing seeds from the International Space Station

Settle Primary School are taking part in the Rocket Science Experiment being run by the Royal Horticultural Society and the European Space Agency (see the end of this post for a link to find out more about the experiment).

They are making a fair test in which they have planted 100 seeds that have been in space and 100 seeds that have stayed on Earth. They are germinating the seeds and growing the seedlings in exactly the same conditions and recording data to send for analysis by leading scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society and the European Space Agency.

Setting up the pots of compost

Setting up the pots of compost

Planting the seeds

Planting the seeds

Setting out the labels

Setting out the labels

Signs of germination

Signs of germination

For more information about this project go to https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Competitions/Rocket-Science-Experiment-Overview.



The beanstalks keep on growing

Continuing on from my previous post about children at Settle school planting beanstalks, more reports on their progress have been coming in to the school. They show just how enthusiastic the children have been about taking care of their beanstalks and they have used several different ways to measure the growth of them…

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How to make a rain gauge for measuring rainfall

In my last post I described visiting Towneley hall and seeing Richard Towneley’s rain gauge which was built in the 1670s. Today we’ll be looking at building our own rain gauge…

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Primary Science : Teaching the scientific method by growing beans

The nursery and reception classes at Settle School have been looking after their bean seeds since they received them at the Play Barn nearly a month ago.

All the beans germinated and the children observed the growth of the seedling shoots. As the pots are transparent the children can observe the development of the roots. The children have been watering their seedlings and keeping the pots by the window so the plants can get the light they need to make food.

BeanstalkBeanstalkBeanstalk

This line of scientific enquiry is called making observations over time. The major working scientifically skill is observing. At one point the children were asked to demonstrate another scientific skill – to make a prediction. This was recorded as thought bubbles. The child’s name is written in the second bubble by the teacher, the child’s prediction is written in the third bubble by the teacher and the child draws a picture of the prediction in the large bubble. I have done on in the style used in school.

Beanstalk thought bubbleThe children’s predictions included “it will grow into a sunflower”, “into grass” (perhaps from recalling a previous plant growing exercise), “into a colourful flower”, “a rainbow flower” (use of imagination) and not surprisingly “a beanstalk that grows up to a castle.”

The children have now taken them home but are being encouraged to photograph their plants as they grow and send them into the new children’s blog facility so all the data on bean plant growth can be reviewed in the summer term, predictions evaluated and conclusions drawn.

Here is the first photo report arriving from home showing the measurements being made as
the bean plant keeps growing.

Beanstalk



A home-made sun/eclipse observer

My next door neighbour Allen is a retired science teacher and built this eclipse observer from a world war two tank telescope. The light is diverted through the telescope onto a sheet of tissue paper in a box to provide shade for the image that forms on the paper.

The observer The eclipse in progress Watching the eclipse



Make a floating ghost

Make a floating ghostHere is a year 3 project comparing the force of gravity with that of a magnet.

First make a ghost out of a paper bag and attach a metal paperclip. Then, hold the paper bag just below the magnet. The ghost hovers!

Find out how to set it up a levitating paper clip  in Revise for Cambridge Primary Checkpoint Science teachers guide  page 68

See how a hands free ghost can be made in Hot Topics Myths and Legends page 31



Fruit bowl solar system by Pippa

Pippa aged 6 has been busy in the kitchen making a model of the Solar System!

Next she will be trying the swing solar system as described in The Real Scientist  – Space

If you try any of the activities in my books and would like to show them off on my blog, please email a photo to the address on my contact page!

Fruit bowl solar system by Pippa



An antler or a dragon’s wing?

Here’s something I found for a curiosity box. When I showed it to year 1 at Settle School, a boy said “It’s a dragon’s wing!” It’s really a fallow deer antler that fell off after the rutting season.



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.