Being a scientist isn't just about sitting in a lab all day running experiments. To be a great scientist you need creativity and imagination to be able to ask interesting questions and find new ways of solving problems. Scientists also need to communicate their findings with other people, whether by writing, drawing pictures or diagrams, or even by going on TV!

In this activity, pupils can look at the pictures which have been sourced from the Royal Society archives and then make up their own fictional stories based on what they perceive. These images could also be used to stimulate discussion as a class or to form the starting point for art work.

Questions and story starters are included with each image and can be used to provide students with some initial inspiration for their stories. Please note that the story starters accompanying the pictures are not all scientifically accurate and are there for inspiration! You can download all the pictures and story starters here.

Alternatively, pupils could find out more information about some of the pictures and then write more factual, scientific stories based on their research. This may be particularly useful for the illustrations by named scientists, such as Robert Boyle and William Spottiswoode. 

Some of the pictures could also be linked in with topic work; for instance, pupils could use information they have learnt on Ancient Greeks for the Vernon picture and The Human Body for the Vesalius picture. 

You may also like to find some further images of your own by using the Royal Society's Picture Library site, where the help notes provide further instructions on how you can search for relevant images.

There are themed resources on the Picture Library site which may be of interest, such as collections of scientific instruments, or portraits of scientists.

There is also a range of useful search options under the 'advanced search' link on the Picture Library main site. You can search by 'object-type' and look at categories such as "illustrations" and "drawing" which could be particularly relevant for this exercise.

It is also possible to search for further information on specific scientist figures named in the Invigorate KS2 learning resources, for example, you could search for Benjamin Franklin, Robert Fitzroy or Mary Buckland.

When viewing an image in our Picture Library, you may also note that there are hyperlinks alongside the image. When you click on these hyperlinks you will be taken to some further relevant images which are similarly categorised. 

After the children have completed their individual stories, you may also like to ask some of the pupils to present their stories to the rest of the class through a 'hot seating' exercise. In this exercise, a child can role play as their imagined scientist and the other children can question them further about their 'discovery'. 

If you would like ideas for another creative writing exercise - creating an expedition diary for an explorer - see the resource based on the lives of James Cook and John Franklin.


Curriculum links

Science: Working scientifically
   Animals - including humans
Literacy: Writing - Composition
   Writing - Vocabulary, grammar, punctuation
History: Ancient Greeks
Art: Learn about great artists, architects and designers in history

Science fiction

Library door small


Click here to be taken to the library!


In the library you will be shown an interesting picture. Use it as inspiration for a story. All of the pictures are related to something being discovered. Imagine that you are the scientist who drew the picture and write a story that describes the scientific discovery you have made.

To help you get started, we've given you some questions to think about and some first lines of a story. These are not scientifically accurate, just something to give you inspiration!


Click here to be taken to the library!