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Research using secondary sources

The enquiries we have looked at in the previous steps can be extended by setting an open research task, which will also help pupils to revisit their learning and aid long-term retention.

Using ‘what if..’ questions can really spark a child’s imagination. The Explorify website provides plenty of examples which could be used as an engaging stimulus for a research activity:

  • What if all materials were stretchy?
  • What if humans hibernated?
  • What if we ate insects?
  • What if water couldn’t freeze?

Creative ways to communicate research

  • Children create a poster to show their understanding of the topic.
  • Make their own Top Trump cards through research on the topic they are studying. For example, they could watch the Chester Zoo live feed about one of the animals and then write a fact card for that animal.
  • Create a cartoon book for a topic
  • Children make their own Google quiz on a topic they are interested in that is shared with the class.


Have a look at the ‘what if’ ideas on the Explorify website and choose a question that could be used as a follow up to a practical activity that you have shared earlier in the course. What would you ask children to produce to display their research?

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching for Home Learning: Primary Science

National STEM Learning Centre