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Comparative tests

In comparative tests, children control variables to find the answers to questions. Simple tests could make comparisons between 3-4 different materials or objects. In a fair test investigation children will identify one variable to change and to keep other variables the same.

Fairs tests are not mentioned in the curriculum until Key Stage 2 in England, but many pattern seeking activities can be extended for older students by getting them to think about how they would control the variables. We’ve provided some example here from the Enquiring Science 4 All website:

  • Year 1- Which material would make the best umbrella?
  • Year 2 -What conditions are needed for a plant to grow?
  • Year 3- How does the position of a light source affect the size of a shadow?
  • Year 4- which drinks are unhealthy for our teeth? (use egg shells)
  • Year 5- What size wing makes the best paper sycamore helicopter?
  • Year 6- How does exercise affect our heart rate?


Share ONE comparative test enquiry in the comments below to continue to build up a shared bank of ideas.

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching for Home Learning: Primary Science

National STEM Learning Centre