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Supporting science at home

​What is science?

Science is the study of the physical world, where we establish facts by using experiments and observation. Studying science helps us understand how the world works.

Science is an important part of our heritage and we use its applications every day in our lives, at work, at leisure and in the home.
Science and the application of science are central to our economic future and to our health and wellbeing as individuals and as a society. In a modern and ambitious society like ours, sciences for all are vital.

Scotland offers many exciting and rewarding careers in the sciences and engineering. Find out about sciences skills and careers.

How can I help?

This page provides ideas for supporting your child in different areas in sciences.

What will learning in the sciences enable my child to do?

Learning in the sciences will enable your child to:

  • develop curiosity and understanding of the environment and their place in the living, material and physical world
  • demonstrate a secure knowledge and understanding of the big ideas and concepts of the sciences
  • develop skills for learning, life and work
  • develop the skills of scientific inquiry and investigation using practical techniques
  • develop skills in the accurate use of scientific language, formulae and equations
  • apply safety measures and take necessary actions to control risk and hazards
  • recognise the impact the sciences make on their life, the lives of others, on the environment and on society
  • recognise the role of creativity and inventiveness in the development of the sciences
  • develop an understanding of the Earth's resources and the need for responsible use of them
  • express opinions and make decisions on social, moral, ethical, economic and environmental issues, based upon sound understanding
  • develop as a scientifically-literate citizen with a lifelong interest in the sciences
  • establish the foundation for more advanced learning and future careers in the sciences and the technologies

Careers in the sciences

Scotland offers many exciting and rewarding careers in the sciences and engineering, as do other countries around the world. The sciences are vital for key economic sectors in Scotland, such as energy, the creative industries (including digital), food and drink and life sciences. It is often thought that these careers are only available to those who have a university degree in a science or engineering related subject, but many opportunities also exist for modern apprentices and for technician-level roles too.

The skills gained through the sciences can also open doors to careers in many other sectors. For instance, transferable skills such as the ability to solve problems, make accurate predictions and draw valid conclusions can be applied to many contexts. As a result, sciences skills are much valued. 

Planet Earth

Biodiversity and Interdependence

Early years

  • Get your child involved in gardening at home.
  • Grow fruit and vegetables.

Primary

  • Talk about the different parts of flowers and plants.
  • Read books about living and non-living things.
  • Visit the local garden centre or park.
  • Talk about the positive effects plants have on society.

Secondary/senior phase

  • Encourage your young person to join a science club or take part in science activities.

Processes of the planet

Early years

  • Make ice cubes and melt them again; talk about what is happening.

Primary

Read stories about the weather and water (Noah's Ark) and share experiences.

  • Float and sink objects in the bath or sink.
  • Read Mr Archimedes' Bath and talk about why the water rises in their bath.
  • Talk about the clothes they are wearing on particular days and discuss why they are wearing them
  • Use thermometers to look at temperatures inside and outside your home.

Secondary/senior phase

  • Discuss topical stories in the news about climate change and its effect on the rest of the world.

Forces, electricity and waves

Vibrations and waves

Early years

  • Make instruments from junk (cardboard, plastic cups, rice, peas). Talk about the volume of each instrument.
  • Talk about the sounds of the items you have in your kitchen, bathroom etc.
  • Walk around your local area and listen for as many sounds as possible.

Primary

What material will make the loudest instrument or the quietest?

  • Discuss how different species of animals communicate. Is there a common feature? Is it all different? How do you know they are communicating?

Secondary/senior phase

  • When visiting the optician, discuss how different lenses are used to benefit sight. 

Materials

Properties and uses of substances

Early years

  • Read The Three Little Pigs and share the reasons for the success of each materials.

  • Make junk models with different materials and for different purposes (bridge, house for action figure/doll) and test it to see if it works.

Primary

  • Make parachutes with different materials, test them to see which is most successful.

  • Use different items around the house to test how long each might take to dissolve ice cubes and discuss why this might be useful in different seasons.

Secondary/senior phase

  • Have a Periodic Table poster to hand, this will help with homework.

  • Discuss how ingredients for baking have different effects (baking soda, bicarbonate of soda).

Biological systems

Body system and cells

Early years

  • Talk about the correct names of body parts.
  • Talk about the senses, what can you see, hear, feel, taste and touch around you.
  • Play with a toy doctor's set and explore different parts of the body. Talk about what's on the inside too.

Primary

  • Talk about what job the skeleton does.
  • Talk about good hygiene and how germs are spread.
  • Relate how your organs are important for good health and how to look after them.

Secondary/senior phase

  • Talk about the importance of vaccinations and how they provide protection.

Topical science

Primary (P5-P7)

  • Watch Newsround, the local and/or national news and talk to your child about the science stories.

  • Discuss stories you read in the newspaper or magazine.

Secondary/senior phase

  • Read books on famous scientists (for example Thomas Addison, Alexander Graham Bell, Alexander Fleming) and discuss how they have contributed to research and development.

Where can I go for further information and ideas?

Your child will have a Glow username and password. You can use this to access Glow where you will find lots of interesting information.

'I am a scientist!' resource

Every day can be a science day for families with this new online resource

Science is an important part of Scotland’s heritage and happens all around us. This resource can be used by families and shouldn’t cost a lot as most of the things you'll need can be found around the house or in the garden.

The experiments are split into sections, depending on the age and stage of your child. The good thing is, you might find experiments of interest to your family in any of them. So try some of these experiments and become a science family! 

PDF file: I am a scientist! (6.5 MB)

Video clips

Primary and early years

Secondary

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