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Engage children in your science activities from the outset with these clever, thought-provoking lesson openers. As John Dabell recently wrote “Opening activities should be the hook to entice children deeper into the content. This isn’t some cheap trick, it plays an important role in activating prior knowledge, engaging children and establishing a purpose for learning. Openers need to question and challenge in spades.”

What you’ll find below are a selection of Science Lesson Openers that have been taken from an app freely available from TTS Group. These opener questions are arranged by theme and by year group for KS1.

There are five questions for each theme, which increase in complexity. The vast majority of questions are open-ended to encourage thinking and discussion. When a question is asked, give children time to think before being prompting them for a response. Some of the question stems are generic and could easily be adapted for use within any theme.

Each year group also has a set of five questions which, in these examples, specifically focus on Working Scientifically. Try these out with your class, and download the free app if you like them!

Animals, including humans – Questions for Year 1:

  1. A cat is an animal, a dog is an animal, a bird is an animal – are you an animal?
  2. Where do animals like to live?
  3. Can you say why some animals are called carnivores/herbivores/omnivores?
  4. Can you help me make a list of some of the things that a carnivore/herbivore/omnivore would eat?
  5. Do animals have ears? Can you see the ears of a blackbird, or a snake or a fish?

See the app for questions for Years 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.


Seasonal Changes – Questions for Year 1:

  1. What is the order of the seasons?
  2. What season is it now and how do you know?
  3. Can you explain in your own words what the seasons are?
  4. What is your favourite season and why?
  5. Are the four seasons the same in every country, what about in Iceland or Australia?

Everyday Materials – Questions for Year 1:

  1. What does the word material mean?
  2. How many different materials can you name?
  3. Which material do we have the most of in our classroom?
  4. Can you list some things that are made out of plastic/wood/metal/rubber/glass?
  5. Which materials can you see if we walk around our school grounds?

Living Things and their Habitats – Questions for Year 2:

  1. What is a ‘living’ thing?
  2. Can you name some different habitats of animals (or plants)?
  3. Can you explain a micro-habitat and explain what it is?
  4. Why do all food chains start with a plant?
  5. What do you think might happen if the sun stopped shining?


Plants – Questions for Year 1:

  1. Where do plants grow?
  2. Can you make a list of all the plants that you know the names of (common, wild and/or garden plants)?
  3. What plants can you see out of the classroom window?
  4. Can you draw and label the main parts of a plant (ie. root, stem, eaves and flowers)?
  5. What is your favourite flower and why?


Have you seen the TTS Inspire app? It’s full of hundreds of free lesson openers across many subject areas, designed to make lesson planning easy. For key stages 1 and 2, you can search by subject, topic, age or stage.  Above is just a small selection of what is available for KS1 Science. Find out more and get it here for iOS and Android.  

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Read John Dabell’s independent expert review of the TTS Inspire app here.

We would like to thank the author, Pam Waite, for sharing her ‘golden nuggets’, mined through a lifetime of planning in education.

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