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Week 0: Develop International Early Years Science Activity

C-J Foster

This project gives you a space, a team and a chance to have a positive impact on the science education of young children, and to engage with international experts and students.

A more detailed project brief will be provided in the next section!

Lab 0-6 At The University of Manresa

So, how does this project work?

This project will take place over six weeks and involve guided group work to build a toolbox of ideas, experiences and practical resources you will present at the end of the project and be able to take with you to use in the real world.

Each week will consist of a scheduled meeting with a series of short tasks and activities with guidance on what you will need to work on before the next session. You will also be provided with resources to support you in creating and delivering your ideas.

The main outcome of the project is to develop one (or more) activities/resources to support science education for children aged under 5. A further outcome is that you will share this practice and what you learnt from it with experts in Spain and their science education students, in order to strengthen our understanding of this process and the outcome i.e. what have you learnt about developing educational resources for children?

At the end of this project you will share your activities and what your learned from the process with students in Spain, and potentially with other students at Manchester Met. as part of Future Me Week.

As well as the children and practitioners at a local nursery who can give you the feedback on your ideas and their impact in the real world! (delete if not relevant)

This project gives you a space to create and play with different ideas! You should aim to be as creative as you can, and your ideas and solutions can be as ambitious or as practical as you would like! You will get the most out the project by being engaged, passionate and keeping up good communication.

Outline of the Project plan:

This section outlines the timeline of the project and the milestones you should hit each week.

Children experimenting with a resource at Lab 0-6

Week 1: Meet your team and group reflection

By the end of week one you will know your team and the challenge. We will also gain inspiration and advice from creative science educator Hannah Jeffares at Z-Arts Community Theatre.

Week 2: Create ideas for your project

As this is reading week for some courses this meeting will be on Teams. By the end of week two you will have explored lots of ideas and decided which ones to develop. Let Juliette know what resources you need to develop your activities next week.

Week 3: Refine your idea(s) and bring it to life

By the end of week three you will have refined your idea(s) through developing prototypes and testing them with each other.

Week 4: Using expert feedback to refine your ideas

This week you will show your ideas to Professor Gabriel Lemkow Tovias, and gain his his expert feedback on your resources. By the end of week four you will have explored the different aspects of your idea: it’s desirability, feasibility, viability and sustainability.

Week 5 – Final Development

By the end of week 5 you will have finalised your idea, and be ready to present it at the bilingual nursery next week. You will also document the idea (either by video or images) this week for sharing with students in Spain.

Week 6 – Presentation and feedback

This week you will take your resource to a local nursery, and will gain valuable feedback from children and practitioners. By the end of week 6 you will have presented your project idea, received feedback and discussed your reflections from the project which you will add to the documentation you share with the Spanish students.

If you need to book a space to meet outside of the scheduled meetings you can do this online or in person by booking one of the Library Workspaces in the All Saints Building

Develop an activity/resource to support science education for children under 5 years old

This section provides the overview of your project/ brief for this project. You should read through this carefully and think about how your motivation and expertise fit into this project challenge

Science is a tool for understanding the world, and should be accessible to everyone. The scientific education of very young children is often neglected, and requires creativity in order to provide children with resources which can support their understanding of the world around them, and provide them with opportunities to engage in scientific processes of experimentation, observation, conclusions etc.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the curriculum followed in the UK for children up to 5 years old. Whilst maths and literacy are identified in the curriculum, science is not, although ‘understanding the world’ is identified as a key area. This means that science as a distinct subject is somewhat neglected in formal provision, and community resources, such as those in museums are mostly aimed at older age groups. Globally many young children do not have the opportunity to engage with formal education, but this does not mean that they do not engage in scientific thinking in their daily lives, indeed children with more freedom that in the UK to play within nature may have more opportunities. Further, some countries are recognising the importance of science and technology education in the early years, such as Estonia which provides robotics education in all nurseries and requires early years educators to have a high level of education.

In this project, you and your team will become knowledgeable about science education for children under the age of 5, and will work together to develop resources which could be used in nurseries to support their scientific development.

You can approach this absolutely any way you would like, the more creative the better! Think about what skills, knowledge, and passions you have and how you can use this to champion green spaces in Manchester.  

During this project, you will scope out an idea or initiative that you could implement in nurseries, home environments, schools, museums etc.

Starting Prompts

These questions are provided to give you some starting points to think about. They are by no means exhaustive, and you should feel free to go in your own direction, but they should give you some ideas to consider.

How can you identify and communicate scientific concepts/processes for children under the age of 5?

What value does non-directed/exploratory processes have for this context?

How can you communicate with children in a non-didactic manner?

Are there any barriers that prevent young children from engaging with science?

How can you enhance the ideas and resources that early years practitioners can use to develop science education for under 5s?

How can the teaching environment/space be used?

What role does play/fun have in science education?

What excites you or worries you about exploring this?

Finally, for inspiration you may want to visit/chat/watch/read/think about/consider the following as a starting point for your ideas!

Video of space Explora 0-6 (another space designed by us):

A normal day in the Lab 0_6:

What are you bringing to the project?

Before starting the project it is worth conducting self reflection on what you are bringing to the project and what you hope to gain from it.

Even if you feel like you don’t have any expertise in early years science education (you probably do!) just by being here you have displayed a motivation for this kind of work.

Below are some questions to reflect on before you meet your team. You may want to jot a few answers down to bring to your first team meeting

Regarding your own expertise you might want to return to the project brief

  • What motivated you to join this project?
  • How can you use your degree specific skills and knowledge to address the problem brief? Think creatively!
  • Do you have any skills or knowledge from any other areas of your life, like hobbies or work, that you can bring to the project?
  • Do you have any personal connections to the issues raised by the project brief?
  • What is the first idea that came to mind when you read the project brief?

Starting Resources

If you need some ideas you can explore some of the resources below

Lab 0-6 the TV show (several chapters about specific science topics, 2 seasons):

Lab on wheels:

Nursery World Science Resources: