Oakfield Science Group
When adults with learning difficulties showed a keen interest in science, staff at Oakfield Day Centre in Liverpool saw the perfect opportunity to use it and help build their skills, independence and self-confidence.
Over three years, 11 adults were involved in investigations, including topics such as magnetism and chromatography, and even testing the claims kitchen roll manufacturers made for their products. “Emphasis was on fun and practical activity,” said the tutor Irene Hampson, from Liverpool Adult Learning Service. “They learned how parachutes work using parachuting teddies.”
They each take great pride in their folders of work, and their literacy and numeracy skills developed rapidly through recording observations and presenting results for assessment.
The learners now do their own research at home, often with their families, and present their findings to the others. They have also developed their group-working skills; at first the tutor would decide on the curriculum, but now the group suggests and agrees topics.
“I enjoy working with my group as it teaches us to work together and we learn from each other. We talk about the things we want to study and know about, like space and building, and make a list of places we want to visit. I and my group feel more confident asking questions,” says Keith Cosgrove, one of the 11 members of the group.