When it comes to primary science, complex vocabulary such as vertebrae, osmosis, and spectrum may cause students to switch off long before they reach for a dictionary. Wait a second, what’s a dictionary? For the youtube generation, dictionaries are not are no longer the go-to point for student discovery. And even if they were, young bibliophiles might need help to translate a wordy, theoretical concept into something they can visualise and understand.
The Vineyard is a community primary school in greater London. Headteacher Ms Pearce lists ‘challenge and creativity’ as two of the school’s key focuses. To support her students with science, Pearce turned to Tigtag, a film resource that can animate how physical, material and living processes work in just three minutes.
Beautiful footage from programmes such as BBC documentaries and the US History channel have been edited to explain the learning goals for each part of the curricula. Science Coordinator Mr. Cooper said, ‘If you can’t have David Attenborough in your classroom the next best thing is Tigtag; a primary resource full of interesting facts and videos designed for non-specialist teachers and curious children.’
In 2013 The Vineyard achieved outstanding Ofsted status, and the report commented that:
New approaches to the teaching of science and the humanities to develop pupils’ thinking skills, with much more investigation, have brought these subjects to life and enabled pupils to produce outstanding work.
Tigtag is one such approach that develops such thinking skills and prompts investigation. Mr. Cooper uses the Teacher Toolbox to select different ‘Big Questions’ for discussion; can cats see in the dark? What happens to the brain when we sleep? Why is there no sound in space? These questions really set young minds into action, and can spark of an array of lively discussion and further learning, which often continues long after the lesson has ended.
In addition, Mr. Cooper chooses from a variety of Tigtag’s practical activities, which aid the children to carry out their own investigations. Today they are learning about light intensity from different sources around the room, documenting their findings in the downloadable worksheets provided. Tigtag’s ‘Additional Information’ helps Mr. Cooper explain the science at each stage of the investigation and the students are fully engaged, asking question after question.
The Vineyard has extended their subscription to Tigtag until 2018.