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Contents and Editorial

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Editor: Geoff Auty

Extract: Moving to the next level takes place at age 11 in England and Wales and involves many changes for young people: a larger establishment, a longer journey each day, different teachers for each subject, being the youngest cohort in school instead of the oldest, and more. It seems that most children look forward to the opportunity to learn science in a laboratory in their new school, but are often disappointed by the lack of practical activity. In this edition, our special theme considers problems associated with the transition from primary to secondary school and welcome Sue Collins and Michael Reiss as guest editors.

Science note: The windowpane oyster, Placuna placenta, as a source of capiz shell

Issue: September 2016 362

Extract: Allan Mills describes the use of capiz shells for making lampshades, including the process that makes them translucent and the controls on harvesting them to maintain a stable population.

Science note: Making ink for Magna Carta

Issue: September 2016 362

Extract: Peter Borrows discusses how ink was manufactured centuries ago and challenges us to reproduce the method in modern times.

Science note: Metalloids, semiconductors, semimetals and poor metals

Issue: September 2016 362

Extract: Christopher Talbot explains that the simple division of solid elements into metals and non-metals is not so simple, with possibly four intermediate stages.

Theme editorial: Science during primary–secondary transition

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Sue Collins and Michael J. Reiss

Extract: The issues and challenges for pupils and teachers raised and discussed in this special issue of School Science Review on science during primary–secondary transition have exercised the minds of teachers, researchers and education departments in many countries for decades. The underlying aim of science education for pupils during transition from primary to secondary schooling continues to be continuity and progression in their learning.

Oh no, not this again! Improving continuity and progression from primary to secondary science

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Martin Braund

Extract: Progression and continuity are cornerstones of the National Curriculum for England and yet it seems these slip after pupils transfer to secondary school, causing pupils to regress in science. Part of the solution is to provide continuity with challenge without repeating what has already been experienced and achieved. This article describes bridging work in science and how it was received by pupils, with some suggestions on how to get the most out of these approaches.

Science learning in the outdoors to support primary–secondary transition

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Karen Kerr

Extract: This study provides additional insight into how outdoor learning can be used as a vehicle to address transition issues. It analyses the benefits of outdoor learning through the use of shared learning days with pupils in transition phases across all the cited outcome categories: cognitive, affective, interpersonal/social and physical/behavioural. The article argues that a carefully designed programme of outdoor ‘shared learning days’ with pupils in both phases working together is a sound model to help address the recommendations arising from specific transition issues through the delivery of aligned outcomes and impact from learning science outdoors.

A bridge too far: the decline in shared science activities during primary–secondary transition

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Maurice Galton

Extract: This article reviews the use of ‘bridging units’ in science to improve curriculum continuity during transition from primary to secondary school. Based on research evidence collected over several decades, it suggests that the use of these units rose to a peak around the time of the millennium, but that in recent years few schools have continued with these curriculum initiatives. The reasons for this decline are explored.

Joining up the thinking: how science ‘learning progressions’ could address problems inherent in primary–secondary transition

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Michael Allen

Extract: Dips in pupils’ science attitudes and performance when they transfer from primary to secondary school in England are well established. They have been related to a variety of factors, including repetition of science content at year 7 and differences in the pedagogical approaches taken by primary and secondary teachers. One potential way forward would be to use data from research studies that have surveyed how pupils’ science thinking develops across key stage 2 (7- to 11-year-olds) and key stage 3 (11- to 14-year-olds). These ‘learning progressions’ can provide continuity that takes into account pupils’ changing science concepts over the transfer period and so help ease transition.

‘Scientists are not always right, but they do their best.’ Irish children’s perspectives of innovations in science teaching and learning

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Colette Murphy, Mary Mullaghy and Alice D’Arcy

Extract: Research globally has shown that many children lose interest in science towards the end of primary school and throughout the post-primary phase. This article explores children’s experience and views in Irish schools that have adopted innovative practices that aim to empower, excite and inspire children in science. One of these focuses on explicit teaching of the nature of science, using an inquiry-based science approach. The second involves a 25-week programme whereby scientists and primary teachers co-teach ‘rocket science’ through games, experiments and challenges. Children’s views are used to suggest some recommendations, which may help to improve their experience of science during transition from the primary to the post-primary phase.

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