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Science-- What is it like to be old?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by DONYWIRL, Jun 8, 2020.


    DONYWIRL New commenter

    I am planning a Science lesson for Year 5 on old age.

    I am looking for a practical activity to support scientific reading around this subject areas. I did find some stuff around using glasses to read a small piece of text and record how the children felt but would love to know of any other ideas people might have had or used in the past which might give children an experience of what it is like to be older. Ideally, I would be like 3 or 4 examples to demonstrate this.

    Many thanks!
  2. NQT88

    NQT88 New commenter

    You could borrow some ideas from this:

    Don’t know how much you can do with current restrictions on equipment use though.
    DONYWIRL likes this.
  3. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    What is your learning intention? I've taught y5 several times and I'm trying to think how this fits into the science curriculum to help you. They need to understand old age as a part of the life cycle but not empathise with those in old age.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Using glasses to read does NOT, I repeat NOT, mean someone is old.
    Pageant, SummerSkies and Lara mfl 05 like this.

    DONYWIRL New commenter

    Caterpillartobutterly I am merely using the glasses and other means to highlight the common age related vision changes of eye sight as we grow older which is factually correct. In no way or in no part of the thread did I say that using glasses to aid with reading means that you are old.

    soooo excited the learning intention is to describe the changes as humans develop to old age. The main bulk of the lesson will involve scientific reading around this with an activity at the end. I was looking for a creative way to introduce the children to some of the changes we might go through when we enter old age. Any further advice would be appreciated :)

    NQT88- thank you for your useful comment. There are some good ideas there.
    sooooexcited likes this.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Perhaps start by looking at how a baby develops during those first two years of life was being completely helpless to being able to do quite a few things on their own. (They reckon dementia sufferers lose their abilities in the reverse order to which they were gained, so being able to dress themselves is an early skill to lose, but a later one developmentally. Being able to manage cutlery oneself and feed oneself a later skill whereas the ability to read and write are very late skills and often the first lost. Many children will have experience of siblings to help their learning with this.

    Think about the physical side and possibly get them to notice older people and how they walk / stoop etc. Get them to think why that is. (Your macular degeneration could fit in here and other eye deterioration such as glaucoma and becoming either short/longsighted, which most people do after their 50s) I often get them to think in terms of a river in it's stages from fast youthful spring to wide meandering curves as a comparison.
    DONYWIRL likes this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter


    DONYWIRL New commenter

    Thank you Lara. An interesting analogy using the river; I will use that as a prompt for discussion.

    caterpillartobutterfly- :) all of those will certainly generate lots of discussion. I will be able to demonstrate the losing of hair myself! Take care :cool:
  9. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Being old doesn't mean you are useless a decrepit.

    Joss Naylor, the legendary lake district fell runner, ran 70 Lakeland fell tops, covering more than 50 miles and ascending more than 25,000 feet, in under 21 hours to celebrate his 70th birthday.

    Chris Bonington (below) celebrated his 80th birthday by climbing the Old Man of Hoy. He also made the first ascent in 1966.

    These examples are obviously exceptional but you shouldn't encourage them to write old people off.

  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    And who was that chappie just recently who has raised millions of money for the NHS and turned 100?
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

    DONYWIRL New commenter

    Truly inspirational. There are many examples of this. Sir Tom Moore I believe.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Here's Dr Robert Kelming, aged 87, after becoming the oldest person to climb the Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  13. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    John B Goodenough won the Nobel Prize for chemistry at age 96 for his work on lithium-ion batteries. He's still at work, as far as I know, aged 97 trying to develop better batteries.


    OK, I've made my point. Better stop now.

    DONYWIRL New commenter

    I'm not sure what your point was gainly? I thought you were just sharing examples of inspirational older people.

    I agree that there are some exceptions to the rule. However, biologically there are changes as humans develop into old age. Things such as changes in vision, hearing, organ function can all be attributed to old age.The people you have chosen to highlight will still be getting older.

    I think some people may have gotten the wrong end of the stick. I am in NO WAY saying that old people can not be inspirational...I just wanted a bit of help with some planning :(
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Maybe go with a brainstorm (or whatever it's called these days) about what it means to be old and get the children's ideas.
    Then share all these inspirational stories and people.
    Then have a discussion about what it really means to be old and whether it is a good or bad time of life and what the children can do as they grow and move through adolescence and adulthood to try to ensure they have a happy, healthy and successful old age.
  16. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    "What is old "?Find out what the children understand by this. Some of them may think if you have grey hair you are old, no matter what your actual age. To a child 50 may be old.
    You would also need to look at "old age" within history, the improvement in healthcare and diet which has had a big impact on "old age".
  17. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Get them to try hopping on one leg to put their underwear and trousers on.
    Seriously, though why not get them communicating with an old people's home ? Letters to start with and then perhaps come encounters when the dust from Covid has settled more.
    Kartoshka likes this.
  18. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Some kind of model on atherosclerosis - so the slow build up of deposits that accumulate and eventually block the tube.

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