Primary Science Development Officers (PSDOs) from the Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) programme created resources linking the Read, Write, Count and Bookbug bags to simple and effective STEM opportunities for students.

Sarah Hynie-Klemen from Dundee and Kirsty Johnson from Renfrewshire share more details of the resources with us:

Sarah: “After a meeting with the Central Library Resources team, I was inspired to further delve into the connection between STEM and stories. It seemed like a great opportunity to connect children and families throughout Dundee with STEM, since all young children receive these books.

“The impact of linking stories enables children to develop their literacy skills whilst also tapping into the wonderful world of STEM and shows that it is not an add-on but something that can be woven into their daily learning and exploration. Children have a natural curiosity in exploring the world around them, so this is the time to be enabling and enhancing their interest in STEM, providing a foundation and inspiring children to consider real-world applications.

Teachers and children have loved these activities and shared that the children’s enthusiasm for the resources have brought on multiple reads of the book and participation in many of the STEM activities. Some of the favourites have been the Inch and Grub Inventions activities and the tree activities from Arlo.”

Kirsty: “When I first saw the titles of this year’s fabulous Read, Write, Count books, I was immediately struck by their obvious links to STEM. I thought that there was a great opportunity to use these books as a hook to explore some of the rich science and STEM concepts in greater depth. Read, Write, Count provides an excellent interdisciplinary map of different ways to use these books for learning across the curriculum, but I thought there was even more scope to delve further into the STEM learning that they offered especially as every school and P2 or P3 child in Scotland would have access to these particular books.

“I know time is precious for class teachers so curating useful links that supported the STEM learning in the books would make it more accessible and encourage deeper exploration with their learners.

“I love science and teaching science and I am always keen to show the links to STEM across the curriculum.

“There are lots of amazing science resources out there, but sometimes it takes time to explore them and to identify the best quality resources that meets the needs of learners.

“I read the books a few times to pick out the key ideas that I thought would be useful to explore further.

“The resources I shared were free and high-quality, requiring little additional resource. There was also a mixture of different types of learning, to offer choice and remote learning opportunities.

“​I think it is important to help our young people see the links to STEM in the world around them. These stories may be fictional but the messages they convey are important in real life, and it is vital that young people develop their curiosity, knowledge, understanding, and skills which will support them within and beyond school.”

All of the resources are freely available:

RAiSE will be creating a suite of resources for the 2022/23 bags which will be available on Scottish Book Trust’s website and announced in the new academic year. There will also be professional learning sessions for teachers to make the most of the STEM links available.

RAiSE is a programme of The Wood Foundation, Scottish Government, Education Scotland, and participating local authorities which empowers primary teachers with the skills, networks, and confidence to develop and deliver motivating and engaging STEM learning experiences.