Kelly with some home-made honeycomb

An education expert has launched a series of home-schooling science videos to help parents engage, enthuse, educate and entertain their children during the third national lockdown.

Kelly Davis, Lecturer in Science Education at the University of Plymouth, has created ‘Kelly’s Kitchen Science’, which provides a range of adapted experiments requiring only ingredients commonly found in the home.

From using sugar and washing up liquid to create bubbles that can be juggled, to demonstrating different densities of liquids with milk, oils and food dyes, the experiments are designed to be safe and suitable for all ages.

“Bringing science education into the home is perhaps the final frontier for learning outside of classroom or laboratory settings,” 

says Kelly, a Programme Lead in Primary-level initial teacher training within the University’s Institute of Education. 

“So through these videos, I want to show that there’s a variety of things you can do with your children to make science fun, which we know is absolutely key to inspiring them to learn about the subject.”

The idea for the video series came to Kelly after a number of friends asked her for home-schooling advice during the first lockdown, on what they could do with their children when it came to science. 

She began to look at some of the practical experiments that students learn on initial teacher training degrees and set about reconfiguring them for a domestic setting, using ingredients such as cornflour, baking soda and vinegar, likely to be found in the average kitchen without the need to go shopping. Kelly said:

“The key thing was to make these experiments as accessible as possible – hence Kelly’s Kitchen Science. Parents and carers do not need to have had any formal science education to do them – and nor should they feel that they have to buy expensive science experiment kits in order to provide fun activities for their children.”

Kelly Davis
Kelly Davis, Lecturer in Science Education
Kelly worked with University technician Richard Ralls to film the videos – all around 5-10 minutes long – and upload them to YouTube. She has produced extra resources to guide parents on how to carry out the experiments and how to extend the scientific learning, and she’s planning to work on more in the coming weeks if they prove popular.
A number of schools in the South West have already contacted her to register their interest in using them to support home-learning pupils, and Kelly is appealing to members of the public to get in contact with her to request other experiments. 
She added: 
“Schools are doing a remarkable job to support pupils at this time. In many cases, however, that does mean that children are having to increase their amount of screen-time and undertake more worksheet-based exercises. Through these videos, I’m helping people to step away from that for a short time and have some fun with your children.”
Kelly’s effort to support home-learning is one of a number of examples at the University. Earlier this month, Dr Natasha Stephen, Lecturer in Advanced Analysis (Earth & Planetary Sciences) and Director of the Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre, launched Lockdown Learn – an online resource where teachers and support workers can request help with virtual learning from academics and experts across the UK.
James Daybell, Professor of Early Modern British History, has created a series of lockdown specials of his internationally-renowned Histories of the Unexpected podcast. And the Plymouth Institute of Education has developed a wealth of learning resources for schools and families during the pandemic, across English, Maths, Art, Science and Music.