Science Through Stories… a Hawthorn Press Review


Science Through Stories

Teaching Primary Science with Storytelling

by Chris Smith PhD & Jules Pottle

Published by Hawthorn Press

Our friends at Hawthorn Press sent us this exciting new publication following our expression of interest. I was particularly interested in this book as it focuses on teaching science through storytelling and, as our Waldorf early years curriculum is all about storytelling, I am hopeful the two will compliment each other.

The book is aimed at primary school teachers who are teaching in classrooms, delivering the stories in this book to children of primary school age. As you know, we are home educating and we don’t do any actual ‘teaching’  which makes it very interesting finding out how well the Storytelling Schools publications translate in our circumstances. Bundle Number one is 4.5 years old so is at the youngest end of the spectrum for this book.

We looked a story from the Physics section; FullSizeRender (54)

This is a story I am already familiar with so I was very interested to see how it translates, it is also seasonal so fits with our seasonal approach to home education.

 Physics was something I was hopeless at in school. I never really ‘got it’ and even now, years later, it still brings to mind the mundane and overwhelming. I put this down to the teaching. It wasn’t made real or interesting and always appeared so daunting. These days I know better, anything can be made fun and spark that interest if it is presented in the right way, so let’s see if I’m proved right…

Firstly I had a good read through of the story, the ‘tips for telling’, the suggested ‘Ways to work with the story’ and the related science activities included for us to try. These are also followed by a section providing ideas to  ‘Explore other curriculum ideas that link to the story’ this includes Reading, Fiction, Non Fiction, Art and Design/Technology.

After reading everything through, I was very excited to begin!

Bundle Number One and I sat down for the story, him being completely unaware that this was anything more than just that, and I told the story with him thoroughly enjoying joining in on the chorus of;

‘Heave-ho, heave-ho! Pull the turnip free.

Heave-ho, heave-ho! We’ll have it for our tea.’

as we pretended to pull our giant turnip out of the ground. We also got Bundle Number One’s favourite toys involved to help us pull, which he loved!

After the story, we moved on to explore a selection of related activities. These activities were taken from the book and I chose;

Moving cars

We played with Bundle Number One’s transport toys,  pushing and pulling them along the carpet, adding bean bag ‘road humps’ to see what difference they made.

IMG_5506              IMG_5506

IMG_5513         IMG_5515

Shaping dough

we pushed, pulled, twisted, squashed, stretched and rolled some play dough….

FullSizeRender (52)


During each of these activities, we were playing around with Forces – Pulling and Pushing. The fact that all of the learning took place through first hand experience, none of it feeling like a ‘lesson’ of any sort really worked with our own approach to home education and I would most definitely recommend this book to fellow home educators, you can grab your copy here!

Watch This space for more updates as we discover Science Through Stories!

Pick and Mix Fridays


7 thoughts on “Science Through Stories… a Hawthorn Press Review

    • The book is designed for Primary aged children but there are stories that would be suitable for slightly older children. Pretty much all f them could be adapted to make them more complex for an older age group I think. We don’t follow the national curriculum so it’s tricky to know on that score!) x


      • Thanks for the reply. We homeschool using Steiner-Waldorf and are starting the science blocks of classes 6+ (aged 12), but not sure if this book would be useful for that (physics, mineralogy, then on to chemistry, human biology). It’s an expensive book so I thought I would ask. We have outgrown the fairy tale stage now.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You are amazing for home educating, I’m not sure I could ever do it partly I don’t have the right level of patience and my maths skills seem to have disappeared over the years! Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s