Blog Post

Another bloomin’ Christmas…so spruce it up with some science!

Grumpy Santa by Richard Elzey

As the Christmas season is drawing nearer, I decided to use it as the focus for some recent science CPD.  From there my Christmas science ideas have snowballed (oh dear…), so I thought I’d present (get it?) them to you here so that you can have a go with your class.

Ways to use Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo and the Waitrose Christmas Advert

1. Observing and describing


  • Watch the advert once – just for fun and for getting an overview
  • Watch the advert a second time and ask the children to note down what they ‘notice’ e.g. robin in a kettle, mountains, boat, bird table, waves
  • Watch the advert for a third time and ask children to add detail to their original notes e.g. Robin peeping out from an old-fashioned kettle; Bird table with a welcoming mince pie feast; vast crashing waves almost drown the exhausted bird.
  • Your list of ‘noticings’ should read like a poem.
  • Edit and refine as necessary.
  • NB: if you’ve never used the ‘Art of Noticing’ before you will need to teach your class how to do it, or write one together for younger/less experienced children.

2. Giving reasons/explaining


  • Select objects from the video/book and make slides with 3 photos of objects on. E.g. robin, hawk, girl; mountain, sea, river; kettle, shed, bird table;
  • Ask the children to say which one they think is the odd one out and why. Insist that the children reply with a full sentence – I think the odd one out is_________because_______
  • This activity is great for AfL and also for getting children the children to use ‘because’.

 3. Collecting information to answer a question


  • Create a list of statements about the story and ask children to read/listen to the story and then say whether they are true or false
  • The back of the book contains information about migrating robins. Create statements and ask the children to use to text to find out which are true or false.
  • Find/write texts about any other aspect of the book/video and repeat the above!


Marvellous Mince Pies

What’s not to love about a mince pie!  Not only do they taste delicious, but they also contain a myriad of scientific opportunities.  Here are a couple of simple ideas to get you started.


Observing, describing and comparing mince pies

  • Have your children become consumer advisors and do a mince pie comparison
  • You can use a simple comparison grid (see below) to collect their ideas and then write a piece of prose using all the connectives, comparative phrases etc. required of your by SPAG.


Describing, sorting and explaining – mince pie dissection!

  • Get your children to dissect a mince pie and sort it’s component parts. Can they think what the ingredients list would be?  What were the ingredients like before they were baked?  How are they different?  Why?

Try downloading Kitchen Concoctions for further information on mince pie dissection.

Investigating Christmas

  • Which stocking holds the most presents?
  • Which stocking is the stretchiest?
  • Which is the best paper for wrapping our present?
  • How many paper chains can you make in 60 seconds?

Wishing you all a marvellous end to the term, and a very peaceful holiday.


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