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Swansea University outreach project keeps children learning during lockdown

A Swansea University outreach project has helped deliver hundreds of science workbooks to children studying at home during Wales’ fire-break lockdown.

The Swansea University Science for School’s Scheme (S4) has provided science outreach workshops for schools in south Wales and developed video and online content to keep pupils engaged during lockdown earlier this year.

And the project leapt into action once more, with S4 printing their second Bumper Science Workbook for Key Stage 3 pupils to study at home during half term and the fire-break lockdown.

It saw University academics deliver hundreds of brand-new workbooks to schools in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Maesteg to support at home science learning as schools headed into the fire-break lockdown.

The Bumper Science Workbooks are full of easy-to-do, hands on science experiments that pupils can do at home, as well as worksheets, lessons, and links to online resources. The workbooks will provide a vital back up to pupil’s science education while they remain at home for an additional week after half term.

The books were developed by S4, a Swansea University outreach project that gets young people engaged in science, and can be used in conjunction with online resources created to help pupils to keep on learning. S4 has been part of the Welsh Government’s Trio Sci Cymru programme for three years and works with a number of schools in the Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Maesteg areas.

The books were produced by the project’s scientists and researchers and delivered to the project’s partner schools - Dylan Thomas Community School, Bishop Vaughan Catholic School, Pentrehafod, Ysgol Cwm Brombil, St Josephs, Ysgol Maesteg and Cefn Hengoed Community School.

S4’s Professor Mary Gagen said: “We are so glad to have been able to produce another science workbook to support learners with their science through lockdown. There is lots of great science content online but not all learners have equal access to the internet or a device to work on, so print materials that are engaging and interactive are really important when learners are having to work at home.”

Dave Griffiths, Head of Faculty (Science) at Dylan Thomas Community School said: “We are using the Bumper Science resource to support home learning during the fire-break lockdown. In class, we modelled using the S4 website and showed the kids the 'picture tabs' that appear as screen shots in the booklet. As an example, we looked at the video on dendrology together; they worked through the questions and activities in this section. We then looked at the answer section so that they are aware where to find the answers to questions in the Bumper Science resource when at home. Some who have difficulty with using Google Classroom were told to just pick a few sections in the booklet that took their interest. Others will be directed to task using Google Classroom at their set lesson times when not in school.”

S4’s Dr Will Bryan added: “The Bumper Books are a way for us to continue to provide extra curricular science activities to our partner schools through this challenging year. The second book contains lessons, activities and worksheets on biology, chemistry, and physics topics, with easy at-home activities so learners can keep their hand in at experimenting and that all important curiosity-driven side to science. In this second book we have got chapters on astronomy, the chemistry of cosmetics, soil science, weather and climate as well as some wildlife guides to encourage pupils to get out and about if they are able to.”

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