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Emotional and behavioural difficulties can severely limit children from accessing the right educational opportunities, as well as being extremely difficult to manage in a class of thirty children. Teachers and teaching assistants need a bank of effective options to draw from to support both children’s learning and their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Science In My Pocket is a set of activities primarily for teaching assistants to use on a one-to-one basis with children who need emotional and behavioural support. The activities prioritise ownership of investigations and the development of independence and resilience, rather than children being guided to simply complete a task.

Isaac’s story

The resource was developed after the success of a simple off-the-cuff activity for a very disengaged child. Isaac was given a magnet from the teacher’s pocket and asked to walk around the school finding things it would ‘stick to’. The teaching assistant saw an incredible change as he took ownership of the activity. He independently categorised the different objects into magnetic and non-magnetic, whilst all the time, communicating what he was doing. At the end of the session, for the very first time, he gave feedback to his class about what he had found out.

The success of this experience inspired his teacher, Nina Spilsbury, to put together a bank of science activities to help Isaac re-engage. These activities have since been widely trialled and developed into this wonderful resource – Science In My Pocket.

What children say:

“I like everything about it!”

“It was fun going round the school and going to different places.”

“It was so nice as I got to show other children what I did and they all liked it.”

What does the resource include?

  • 10 pockets – one for each set of activities.
  • Each pocket bag has a set of instruction cards for investigative science activities based around a particular theme. There is room in the bags to add all the equipment needed (listed on pages 14 and 15) so they are instantly ready to use.
  • A teacher’s guide, including photocopiable templates.
  • A poster listing the activities and the minimum time needed for each.

Science in my Pocket supports the development of the skills of ‘working scientifically’ in both key stages 1 and 2.

What teaching assistants say:

“I really noticed just how much involvement in the task has impacted his well-being.”

“The whole TA team are looking forward to using this resource.”

“I have more confidence to do science with children.”

Look out for blogs highlighting the following PSTT resources:



The Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) have a vision to see excellent teaching of science in every classroom in the UK

There is much to explore on their web site, Primary Science Teaching Trust – PSTT including many free digital downloads, videos, and excellent support for subject leaders.




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