We find that the more child initiated the tasks are, the better the learning outcomes in terms of both use of skills and recall, and also confidence and enjoyment. As many investigations as possible are pupil planned to show them we value their ideas. The following sequence illustrates our approach.

1. Introduce the broad theme (for example materials) – the children have free time to explore a range of materials that have been put out for them

2. Children make pictorial mind maps of everything they know about the theme. An adult scribes the children’s ideas

3. Children are asked individually what they would like to find out on this theme

4a. Children are grouped into those with similar questions so they can work with an adult to find answers

4b. While some children are working with the adults the others explore freely a selection of things set out and items they find in the classroom

4c. Children may go on a walk around the school to explore the theme (for example, materials around the school, electricity used around the school, shadows on the playground)

5. The children record what they have found out – in pictorial form, maybe with some attempts at writing

6. The children communicate what they have found out to the group / class (for example speak, show and talk about the picture, draw on interactive whiteboard, demonstrate).

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