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Salty New Year Resolutions

by Gordon Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2


 To offer a new way to think about what we want to achieve this year.

Preparation and materials

  • Note that Steps 3 and 4 relate to the Key Stage 2 science curriculum, ‘Properties and changes of materials’, specifically, ‘know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution  . . .’.
  • You will need a large clear jar or jug of water, some salt and a teaspoon, plus a table to display them on, but keep them out of sight, if possible, until they’re needed.


  1. Ask if anyone has heard the expression‘New Year’s resolution’ and what it might mean. Draw out from the children the idea of making a decision to do something better or different in the year ahead.

  2. Suggest that you have a new way of thinking about this by breaking the word ‘resolution’ into two parts. 

    The first part is ‘re’. Ask for other words beginning with ‘re’ and pick up on examples that suggest doing something again, such as ‘reheat’, ‘redo’, ‘replay’, ‘rearrange’ and so on. 

    Suggest that this part of the word ‘resolution’ can make us think of doing something again  . . .  and again.

  3. Move on to the second part of the word ‘resolution’ – ‘solution’. Ask for meanings of this word, drawing out from the children that it can mean an answer, bringing something into focus or dissolving something in a liquid. 

    Ask if any of the children have studied this yet in science. 

    Place the jar or jug of water, salt and teaspoon on the table.

    Show the salt to the children and point out that it is a solid. Show the water and that it is a liquid. Stir a spoonful of salt in and show that it ‘disappears’ into the water. Explain that what you now have is a solution of salt and water.

  4. Ask if anyone knows how the salt can be made into a solid again? Explain that this can happen if the water is evaporated (boiled off), but do not dwell on this unless the children have investigated it and can talk about it.

  5. Sum up what has been talked about so far, that we have two messages in one word. Whatever you decide to do this year that is better or different, remember the word ‘resolution’. ‘Re’, the first part of the word, reminds us that, if we go wrong or don’t stick to our plan, we can always try again.

    Also remember the second part, ‘solution’. Just as the salt seemed to disappear into the water, if you don’t stick to your plan, you can dissolve the failure away and start again. This takes you back to ‘re’ – have another go. 

    So, no matter how many times you go wrong, you can always have another go, dissolving past mistakes, again and again: ‘re’ ‘solution’, ‘re’ ‘solution’, ‘re’ ‘solution’. 

Time for reflection

 Many people make New Year’s resolutions. Some of them stick to their plans, many people don’t.

Think carefully about what you want to change.

What would you like to do differently this year? Join a club, learn a new skill or be better at something

Try to choose something that you think you can actually do, but always remember the word ‘resolution’:

‘re’ – have another go
‘solution’ – past mistakes dissolve away and you can start again.

So, if you really want to change something or do something new, stick at it and don’t give up – let that be your resolution.

Publication date: January 2015   (Vol.17 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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