5 Activities to Bring Sciences and Literacy Together

British Science and Engineering Week is around the corner. In keeping with the spirit of creative thinking, it's not even an actual week - it runs from 11-20 March, perhaps to play with our primitive notions of what time is, but far more likely because it gives us an extended opportunity to put science and engineering in the spotlight. In SBT's experience of working with teachers, sciences and literacy can come together in surprising and meaningful ways; here are our top 5 activities to bring the two together, picked from our collection of resources and case studies. 

Exploring insects with James Carter's poetry (lower primary)

James Carter's charming little poem Bug Hug is available on his website. The poem wonders how a little bug can give a cuddle to its family with all those legs and wings getting in the way; this can be a nice gateway to looking at insects in real life. Some of them aren't born with arms to hug and some of their parents are far too big to hug (not to mention ugly). Check out page 3 of our James Carter learning resources for some handy bug-related links and activity ideas.

Use The Loon on the Moon to explore space (lower primary)

Chae Strathie's book is all about the Loon, a Moon-dwelling creature who flies around collecting children's dreams to power the Moon and make sure it keeps glowing. The Loon flies to all the different planets, so the book is a great chance to explore the Solar System: why not create your own scale model? Have a look at our Chae Strathie resources for more activity ideas.

Imaginative writing can be a vehicle to explore the ways in which science impacts ordinary lives.

Create space-themed pop up books (upper primary)

If you didn't know that Stephen Hawking's daughter Lucy writes some marvellous fiction about outer space, our Authors Live event with Lucy is a fantastic introduction. Inspired by the event, Goodlyburn Primary School decided to create their own pop up books for younger children, telling space-themed stories with the aid of different pop ups. The class also produced a non-fiction book and came up with some great space poems; check out the case study to read more about this great project. 

Zombie Science (lower secondary)

Darren Shan's Zom-B books are not for the faint hearted, but if you dare to read them then you've got a great platform for some zombie science lessons. At McLaren High School, librarian Louise Edwards organised an entire cross-curricular project inspired by Darren's Authors Live event, which included a lesson on the difference between a virus and a bacterial infection. If you fancy doing something similar yourself, you can read the case study and find out a bit more. The really great thing about this project was that Darren's books ended up being checked out of the school library by the entire S1 (we must warn you to read them before you decide which age groups they are suitable for in your school!). 

Explore science through imaginative writing (upper primary - lower secondary)

Imaginative writing can be a vehicle to explore the ways in which science impacts ordinary lives. Molecular biologist Mhairi Stewart makes the case for marrying science and writing in this blog, where she discusses the potential of imaginative writing to develop understanding of scientific concepts. Mhairi hits on the key point that science inspires wonder, creating possibilities that feed imaginations and inspire rich imaginative scenarios. Also, human beings face conflicts which only science can overcome - fighting deadly diseases, combating fuel shortages, navigating treacherous journeys and predicting natural disasters. Imaginative writing can be a great way to explore future solutions to these problems.

Our Authors Live programme is full of wonderful events with children's authors - you can watch previous events on demand or check out upcoming events to watch live. The above case studies have been picked from our Authors Live Teacher Champions programme - you can read about other case studies inspired by our programmes here.