By Orna Herr, Communications Officer (Education) at the British Science Association


Welcome back to the last stretch of this school year!

As the sun comes out and the warm weather beckons us outside, now is a brilliant time to share the magic (and science!) of the natural world with your pupils.

Children are naturally curious and excited to discover the world around them; fostering this curiosity from a young age can lay the groundwork for a long-term involvement in STEM.

We know that for primary school children, as well as starting young, emphasising the fun of learning is important to sustain their interest as they grow, so we’ve made sure our primary CREST Awards are just that – loads of outdoor fun!

Enjoy CREST outdoors

CREST Awards is our flagship education programme which encourages children and young people aged 5-19 to think and act like scientists and engineers. We provide activity resources for all ages – our primary CREST activities are designed for children up to age 11 and come in Star and SuperStar packs, for infants and juniors.

Lots of the activities are based outside, encouraging children to learn about nature, from minibeasts to birds to trees. We have gathered some of our activities here to help you make the most of the weather that allows for out-of-the-classroom learning.

These low-equipment resources can also be great for parents to help keep their children  learning – and entertained! - over the summer break.

Reach for the Stars

The Star Challenges collection, perfect for 5- to 7-year-olds, includes four nature-themed activities designed to spark a passion in the littlest learners.

‘Animal adventure’, on page 4, is about minibeasts and their habitats. All you’ll need are jars for catching the minibeasts (before they’re returned to their homes), magnifying glasses and ideally an identification book (which families can borrow from their local library during the summer holidays) or an internet-connected device so the children can find out more about their catches and where they live.

You’ll find ‘Plant detectives’ on page 36 – this one gets children exploring plants, where they grow and how they got there. Similarly to ‘Animal adventure’, all that’s needed is a safe outdoor space, magnifying glasses and an identification book/device – mother nature provides the rest!

The collection also includes ‘Discovery bag’ (page 20), which has children collecting different parts of different trees (can they tell the difference between oak and elm leaves?), and ‘Rainbow colour collectors’ (page 40) – all about the brilliant range of colours just outside our windows.

You’re a SuperStar

The activities in our SuperStar collection encourage children aged 7-11 to begin developing more advanced STEM* skills ahead of starting secondary school.

‘Bumblebee mystery’, on page 36, turns children into investigators – they will be looking around the local area for bumblebees and other pollinators. In the process, they can learn about the different types of pollinators, which types of plants attract them and why pollination is important.

They will write up the results of their investigation into the local bee population and present them to the group, which can be a great confidence builder.

On page 176 is ‘Tree trouble’, an activity through which children learn that trees are habitats for other living things. They will consider the impacts of cutting down an old tree on the creatures and plants that live on or near it, by going outdoors and getting to know some trees! This is a fantastic chance to develop their understanding of biodiversity and ecosystems.

There is no shortage of other activities in the SuperStar pack for fun, outdoor learning. You’ll also find:

  • A special new tree (page 10)
  • Brilliant birds (page 32)
  • Clever camouflaged creatures (page 50)
  • Goodbye old tree (page 82)

These activities can help you deliver low-resource, hands-on lessons in the final few weeks of the summer term, and hopefully encourage your pupils to keep up their outdoor investigations over the break!

Activities for secondary students

All these activities and more can be found in our CREST resource library, which also hosts a wealth of exciting projects for secondary school students – something for STEM-enthused primary pupils to aspire to.

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