Language is key to knowledge and social participation. Already in primary school, the skills gap should be closed through systematic language promotion. Experiments on natural scientific phenomena in everyday life with an inquiry-based approach are particularly suitable for the promotion of language skills.
In the Science on Stage teacher project 'Lilu's House', an international team of ten primary school teachers developed a teaching brochure that offers specific ideas and practical advice for hands-on experiments.
In the bathroom, kitchen and living room the children come across 'inexplicable' observations which they examine with entertaining experiments, while simultaneously training their language skills. These experimental units are complemented by methodological recommendations. The diverse difficulty levels of texts and tasks consider mixed-ability classes in learning and skills and help to create inclusive lessons.
The brochure was published on 21 September 2018 in Brussels, with hands-on workshops following the presentation. The material is available for free on our website.
The project was supported by the Joachim Herz Stiftung.
Teacher for special education, LVR-Hanns-Dieter-Hüsch-Schule, Viersen, Board Member of Science on Stage Deutschland e.V.
Area: Primary education, language promotion, inclusion
Physicist, Freie Universität Berlin - Didaktik der Physik, in charge of 'Sonnentaler' (www.sonnentaler.net) Board Member of Science on Stage Deutschland e.V.
Area: Science in primary education, outreach universities
Principal Grundschule Landkern
Area: primary school, language promotion, teacher training
Inquiry-based learning with biographies makes the promotion of language skills in primary school possible in a special way. The pupils experience the connection between science and language. Reading, understanding and sharing what they have learned are the main elements that promote language skills.
The natural sciences in particular provide children with reasons to talk about the things they have done or found out like in our brochure "Lantern Moon and Hot Ears - Promoting language skills in primary school with science".
Follow-up activities in the member countries
The brochure 'Lilu's House: Language Skills though Experiments' has been translated by teachers from the Science on Stage member countries into Latvian, Russian, and Georgian. Further translations are currently in progress.
Germany: Train the Trainer project
In 2021-2022, Science on Stage Germany organised a train the trainer project on the Lilus House brochure. 20 teachers from Germany and South Tyrol (Italy) attended workshops on how to implement the experiments from the brochure, how to further develop them to make them suitable for their own classes, and how to pass on their knowledge to their colleagues.
In response to the situation regarding Covid-19, Science on Stage Türkiye initiated several workshops on the Lilu's House brochure. The events were held in 2020 through private Facebook pages. This way the participants were safe but could also learn.
The response was huge. Over 850 people signed up beforehand!
Following the translation of the Lilu's House brochure into Latvian, Science on Stage Latvia held a successful workshop for primary science teachers in Jelgava in 2020.
Germany: Lilu's digital house
In order to support digitalization in the primary school sector as well, Science on Stage Germany has made a part of the content of the brochure available digitally.
The browser- and mobile-friendly version has additional interactive elements such as digital worksheets, quizzes, and memories for the classroom, as well as a selection of pictures and videos of the experiments.