In this new edition of the ASE Guide to Primary Science Education, two important areas are highlighted. The first is the importance of taking a scientific approach to teaching. This means using evidence, where it exists, in making decisions that affect teaching, and being sceptical about claims where there is no evidence. The complexity of the processes of learning and teaching means that finding convincing evidence in relation to teaching practices is more difficult than conducting a scientific experiment in a laboratory. What works in some classrooms may not be so effective in others. But it is always useful to try out what others find helpful – and there are many good ideas in this Guide – whilst collecting evidence of changes in children’s engagement in learning.
The second message continues the longstanding debate around the dual goals of science education: the development of conceptual understanding and the development of inquiry skills. We value learning with understanding, as opposed to rote learning, and have long recognised that this depends on children starting from their existing ideas and on teachers enabling them to develop ‘bigger’ ideas. However, this will only help children’s scientific understanding if they are working Scientifically, that is, gathering and using evidence and developing the skills of inquiry. This takes time, not just for carrying out these processes, but also for reflecting on how this has been done and how it has led to ideas being changed.
These messages form the backbone of this flagship ASE book, designed to assist beginning teachers and senior subject leaders alike.
Section 1 - Why teach primary science?
Introduction: Why is learning science important in primary school today? by Natasha Serret and Sarah Earle
How children learn and teachers teach by Sally Howard
Educational neuroscience and the brain: some implications for our understanding of learning and teaching by Derek Bell and Helen Darlington
Learning and teaching science through inquiry by Wynne Harlen
Using, sustaining and serving the environment by Carolyn Yates and Sarah Eames
Creating chances, inspiring choices: the value of embracing primary engineering by Lynne Bianchi and Jon Chippendall
What are we teaching? Science curricula across the UK by Wynne Harlen, Peter McAlister and Philippa Minto
Section 2 - How do I teach?
Planning for primary science by Kulvinder Johal and Natasha Serret
Progression by Terry Russell and Linda McGuigan
Inclusion by Shân Oswald and Clare Warren
Formative practice in primary science by Natasha Serret, Catarina Correia and Christine Harrison
Teacher questions for learning in science by Kendra McMahon and Alison Eley
Tricky topics by Alison Trew and Tara Lievesley
Thinking through science by Helen Wilson and Bridget Holligan
Promoting understanding through dialogue by Debbie Eccles and Eleanor Atkinson
Creativity and science by Claire Seeley and David Allen
Cross-curricular science by Lynne Bianchi, Leigh Hoath and Sarah Walker
Using ICT in teaching and learning science by Paul Tyler
Teaching in the outdoor setting by Leigh Hoath and Helen Spring
Section 3 - Whole school approaches
Professional development and learning by Bryony Turford and Jane Turner
The science subject leader by Liz Lawrence and Nicola Beverley
Supporting assessment across the school by Sarah Earle, Asima Qureshi, Pauline Rodger and Carol Sampey
Transition and transfer in science learning by Martin Braund, James Petrucco and Nicky Wallis
Health and safety in primary science by Jason Harding
Visitors in and visits out of school by Joy Parvin, Suzanne Mennie and Jane Winter