Physics Problems for Primary Pupils

Physics problems - KS2

We teach Key Stage 2 children (7-11 year olds) how to solve interesting and sophisticated maths problems (see here). Many children are comfortable using the Singapore style bar-model methods to support mathematical problem solving.

But the only physics problems we set pupils at primary are data-handling types (typically bar charts).

I have written previously about cognitive load theory and problem solving (here). But to teach problem solving, you need problems.

ASE conference

There are many great things about going to conference: meeting up with colleagues and friends; making new friends (I have a dozen Japanese blogs welling up) and letting half-formed thoughts turn into half-formed plans.

One of my half-formed thoughts was problem solving at KS2.

So I went to the session on problem solving on Thursday by Ally Davis (Isaac Physics) and Robin Hughes (Physics Olympiad), and got totally distracted by the problems themselves.

Immediately after that, I had a very interesting conversation with Tony Sherborne about literacy and maths in primary science, which began to turn the thoughts into plans.

Finally, I bumped into Ally again and we talked for ten minutes about problem solving with younger pupils.

So here we are – a half formed plan.

Stage #1: Find, adapt and develop physics problems which KS2 pupils can access.

Stage #2: Develop teaching resources to support pupils learning (based on CLT).

Stage #3: Blog about it….

Here are two problem types and how I would teach them (CLT style): Physics problems – KS2 – Google Docs

If you can point me to more junior school physics problems, I would be very grateful.