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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Teaching for Home Learning: Primary Science. Join the course to learn more.

Planning a sequence of learning

In moving to remote teaching, the temptation is to try to recreate what you would do when you are face to face in the classroom by delivering a lesson online. However, in many cases, particularly for primary pupils, live ‘synchronous’ online lessons are not appropriate for a number of reasons. Similarly, online learning that requires pupils to actively use computers or other devices to complete learning tasks, is not practical due to device availability, capacity to learn independently using online tools and safeguarding concerns. Indeed, many online platforms prohibit users under the age of 13 or require parental supervision as part of their terms of service.

In this course we will be focusing on ‘asynchronous’ approaches to teaching for home learning. This means teachers and pupils do not have to be online in the same place at the same time. Whilst we will refer to the use of online technologies, particularly for the ‘teaching’ component of home learning, the emphasis will be on activities that pupils can undertake either with a parent/carer online or more independently, offline.

This means that in any planning for learning at home, we need to consider the resources and content required, and what the role and actions of the teacher, the pupil and the parent/carer will be in learning activities.

A framework for home learning

The Education Endowment Foundation has put together a framework for home learning approaches, which support pupils in thinking about how they learn. This five-step structure mirrors what we would expect to do in the classroom over a series of lessons to develop pupils’ metacognition and self-directed learning. The process includes ensuring prior-learning is built upon and reflecting on what they have learnt:

  1. Activate - Prompting pupils to think about what they have learnt previously, that will help them with their next steps.
  2. Explain - Explicitly teaching strategies to pupils and helping them decide when to use them.
  3. Practise - Pupils practising strategies and skills repeatedly, to develop independence.
  4. Reflect - Pupils reflecting on what they have learnt after they have completed a piece of work.
  5. Review - Revisiting previous learning after a gap.

What you should not have to do is recreate new activities and remote lesson plans from scratch. Many of the existing sequences of learning you have can be tweaked, refocused or simplified for home learning. The crucial difference, as we will see in the next step, will be how activities within a sequence of learning are conveyed to parents and pupils with clear instructions, to enable those activities to be undertaken.


Take a look at the framework above. Think about the age group of the pupils you work with. How relevant do you think this framework is to supporting science learning for your pupils? Where might parents or carers be most needed to support learning through this framework?

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching for Home Learning: Primary Science

National STEM Learning Centre