How you can help with each Key Stage
During Key Stage 1, your child will develop their investigative skills, and you can help them at home in this area, too. Capitalise on your child’s natural curiosity by taking them outside and exploring the garden with a magnifying glass. Life and living things will be a big part of science in Key Stage 1, and they will begin looking at the complexity of nature in more and more detail throughout this Key Stage. Help them develop this by showing them seeds and where they come from, investigating what the body can do, talking to them about plants and what they need in order to grow and helping them understand acids and decay. They will also learn about physical processes and materials. There are plenty of online resources to find out further information on these subjects if you are unsure. It is always better to tell them accurate facts than apply guesswork. Encourage your child to think of science as being part of their everyday life, rather than something totally separate from it.
Key Stage 2 will see your child become increasingly able to connect their ideas and use their knowledge to work out and articulate simple theories. Exploring various environments will help broaden their view of the world around them, and they will discuss issues such as materials, forces and light with an increasing use of scientific language and data when presenting key findings. They will use this data to answer questions and identify changes and differences relating to basic scientific ideas. Other topics include: sound and electricity; states of matter; living things and habitats; forces and magnets; light, reflection and shadows; and plants and animals. You can continue to support your child with their science homework by using objects to demonstrate a theory and conducting simple experiments together to bolster what your child is learning at school. Connect science with fun by taking them to places like science museums, zoos and aquariums.
Your child is likely to broaden their ideas behind scientific knowledge during Key Stage 3, and this will include exploring concrete and abstract ideas and applying them to chemistry, biology and physics. Their experiments will have to be more accurate and precise and they will be expected to evaluate and draw conclusions from their own work. They will be expected to: ask relevant questions; draw predictions; develop their scientific vocabulary; interpret data; have an understanding of cells, skeletal and muscular systems, digestion and nutrition and reproduction; understand the concepts behind photosynthesis, ecosystems, genetics and evolution; understand atoms, elements and compounds, chemical reactions, pure and impure substances; start to learn the periodic table; materials, earth and the atmosphere; understand energy changes, motion and forces, matter, electricity and electromagnetism.
You can help your child during Key Stage 3 by using scientific language wherever possible and encouraging them to use it too. Continue to make science a part of their everyday life and ask them questions when appropriate; for example, ask them to explain photosynthesis or tell you about the digestion process. You could also encourage them to practise their periodic table and use flash cards to test them.
Here are some key symbols from the periodic table that would be useful to get familiar with:
Key Stage 4 Science is split into three subjects: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Biology will cover: genetic variations; nerves and hormones; energy and biomass in food chains; and evolution. Chemistry covers: fundamental ideas in chemistry; limestone and building materials; metals and their uses; crude oil and fuels; plant oils and their uses; and changes in the Earth and its atmosphere. Physics will include the following topics: the transfer of energy; energy and efficiency; electrical appliances and their usefulness; methods to generate electricity; the use of waves for communication.
Your teen will also be required to carry out coursework for all of their Science courses. It is crucial that they have a quiet and comfortable working zone to focus on their coursework, homework and revision. Your child should know that you are close by should they need you, and you should continue to make science fun whenever possible. Science will be a lot more complex during Key Stage 4, so you should brush up on your own knowledge by looking at relevant websites. Encourage your teen to use different coloured pens and paper to make revision more fun, and get involved with quizzes and tests for your teen to see if the information has sunk in.
Tips and tricks to help with Science: a quick guide
- Explore the great outdoors: take a walk together and you’ll be amazed at the nature and science you will come across.
- Ask questions or ‘brain-teasers’ to encourage your child to be inquisitive. You could even lead discussions on science-related topics over dinner – about global warming, for example.
- Conduct simple and fun science experiments at home. Click here for some great ideas.
- Find online resources you can access in order to brush up on your own scientific knowledge.
- Show enthusiasm and excitement when your child brings home a Science project. Children will pick up on this approach and have a positive outlook.
- Let your child watch science programmes or documentaries with you in order to spark their interest. There are also science books and magazines that could help build on their curiosity.
- Treat your child to daytrips where they will be having fun and learning about science at the same time – for example, museums or science centres.
- If your child is finding a particular aspect of Science hard to comprehend, have a word with their teacher and discuss how some additional help could be given.
- Always monitor their safety when conducting science experiments at home.
- You could take them to the library in order to carry out additional research for their Science homework.
For further information, check out some of our resources on Science
Do you have any tips on how to provide the best support for your child’s Science homework? Share them in the comments box below.