As a tutor and parent I am constantly looking for ways to excite children about writing. Recently I came across the idea of using Science as a stimulus for writing.
Through a simple search it is easy to find lists of simple but exciting science experiments which can be tried out either at home or in the classroom. Two websites which I have used are http://www.shell.co.uk/gbr/environment-society/shell-in-the-society/social-investment/science-education/shell-education-service/home.html and http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/online/science-bites.html. There any many experiments to choose from which makes it easy to find those which fit with a particular topic or for which you already have the resources available.
Recently I tried out the ‘Dancing Raisins’ experiment (which can be found on the Glasgow Science centre site). I used this as a follow-up activity to some work we had already done on nouns as my pupil had been struggling to identify them. Firstly I asked my pupil to identify all the nouns in the instructions for the experiment and then during the experiment he had to list all the nouns he could observe such as bubbles, fizz, lemonade, container, raisins etc. This and other experiments would also be ideal for using as stimulus for verb, adverb or adjective activities.
I found that because the pupil found the experiment so engaging, they became enthralled in the activity and despite being often reluctant to write he was keen to list everything he could observe. The activities also encourage the use of more precise and powerful vocabulary and scientific terminology.
The experiments could also be used for more extended pieces of writing such as creating own instructions, writing up the results of the experiment or writing questions for other pupils to answer. They are certainly well worth trying out as a way of encouraging writing whilst also extending scientific skills and knowledge.