Archive for February, 2014

Springwatch! The Red Admiral and the Snowdrop

red admiral snowdrop

(Image by Butterfly Conservation)

Springtime’s here again! Well, nearly. To start a series of seasonal posts, here’s a picture that made headlines when taken a few years ago. The image, taken in mid February, shows a Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atlanta) visiting a snowdrop on a sunny winter day. What’s the big deal? Well, this photo, beyond its colourful and cheery veneer, is actually a strong visual reminder of the extent of climate change.

The Red Admiral, is one of our most well known butterflies, but it is traditionally a non-resident species. Originating in North Africa and South Europe, each year they would traditionally migrate to our shores from May onwards. Our winters have always been too cold for the butterflies to survive, and autumn stragglers would always either perish or attempt to return to sunnier climes. In recent years, the warmer winters have led to handfuls of the species surviving overwinter, but this phoograph is one of he first times that this symbol of summer was able to wake up and fly around amongst the first tentative flowers of spring. Food for thought, indeed.

When will he first butterflies and bees be seen this year? Or maybe they are appearing already! Drop us a line and let us know.




14-21 February was National Nest Box Week.. However, as Spring approaches, any week is good for putting up nest boxes. If you have trees in your school grounds, why not give it a go?  As the NNBW website explains, “Natural nest sites for birds such as holes in trees or old buildings are disappearing fast as gardens are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired. Taking part in NNBW gives you the chance to contribute to bird conservation whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your nest box”

Science-wise, you could do a good investigation into habitats with your class, studying habitat requirements and choosing the best location in the school grounds to place a nest box. Designing and building nestboxes could even be a cross-curricular DT project.

Although NNBW is over, BTO are actively encouraging continued interest in nest boxes, and their website is still active here, with lots of great resources.

In the meantime, we’ll be bringing you more Springtime science ideas soon!


We’ve been absent for a little while due to personal circumstances, work commitments and the generally hectic Christmas season. Fear not, Primary Scientists are in abeyance no longer! We’ve got lots of new ideas and posts coming for the new year, including trialing the new curriculum, and some ideas for Science clubs. Our New Year’s Resolution is to actually get around to posting them…!

Is there something you’d especially like to see covered? Subject knowledge puzzling you or the new curriculum got you in a tizz? Drop us a line in the comments box or to our email address,

In the meantime, here’s an awesome Science picture of a meteor shower in Wyoming…

Perseid meteor shower seen from Snowy Range in Wyoming.

For more awe and wonder, check out 2013’s most awesome Science pictures on Buzzfeed.

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