Science is a dynamic, collaborative human activity that uses distinctive ways of valuing, thinking and working to understand natural phenomena. Science is based on people’s aspirations and motivations to follow their curiosity and wonder about the physical, biological and technological world. Scientific knowledge represents the constructions made by people endeavouring to explain their observations of the world around them. Scientific explanations are built in different ways as people pursue intuitive and imaginative ideas, respond in a rational way to hunches, guesses and chance events, challenge attitudes of the time, and generate solutions to problems. As a result of these endeavours, people can use their scientific understandings with confidence in their daily lives. Science has many methods of investigation, but all are based on the notion that some form of evidence is the basis for defensible conclusions. Because scientific explanations are open to scrutiny, much scientific knowledge is tentative and is continually refined in the light of new evidence. The quest to construct coherent, tested, public and useful scientific knowledge requires people in their scientific undertakings to be creative and open to new ideas, to be intellectually honest, to evaluate arguments with scepticism, and to conduct their work in ways which are ethical, fair and respectful of others.
Science Learning Outcomes
- Students investigate to answer questions about the natural and technological world using reflection and analysis to prepare a plan; to collect, process and interpret data; to communicate conclusions; and to evaluate their plan, procedures and findings.
- Students communicate scientific understanding to different audiences for a range of purposes.
Science In Daily Life
- Students select and apply scientific knowledge, skills and understandings across a range of contexts in daily life.
- Students make decisions that include ethical consideration of the impact of the processes and likely products of science on people and the environment.
Science In Society
- Students understand the nature of science as a human activity.
Earth and Beyond
- Students understand how the physical environment on Earth and its position in the universe impact on the way we live.
Energy and Change
- Students understand the scientific concept of energy and explain that energy is vital to our existence and to our quality of life.
Life and Living
- Students understand their own biology and that of other living things, and recognise the interdependence of life.
Natural and Processed Materials
- Students understand that the structure of materials determines their properties and that the processing of raw materials results in new materials with different properties and uses.
‘Primary Connections: Linking science with literacy’ is an innovative approach to teaching and learning which aims to enhance primary school teachers’ confidence and competence for teaching science.
A partnership between the Australian Academy of Science (the Academy) and the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), Primary Connections focuses on developing students’ knowledge, skills, understanding and capacities in both science and literacy.
Current research highlights that successful science education requires teachers to be supported not only with curriculum resources but also with professional learning to boost their pedagogical content knowledge in the teaching of science and literacy.
The Primary Connections programme provides both components, which have undergone substantial trialling and will support the implementation of the Australian national curriculum.
The professional learning program gives teachers the tools to understand the Primary Connections approach, its philosophy and goals. Through interactive workshops, participants develop their pedagogical content knowledge. Teachers also explore how to effectively use, adapt and extend curriculum units to suit their students’ needs, or write their own units using a unit planner.
Primary Connections has links to other projects such as The Learning Federation and the Science Education Assessment Resources (SEAR) Project.
Our Lady of Mercy Primary School has initiated the Science Connection Program through 2009 & 2010. It has been a very successful transition to the teaching and learning program in the school.
Primary Connections 5Es teaching and learning model
The Primary Connections 5Es teaching and learning model is based on the theory that students learn best when they are allowed to work out explanations for themselves over time through a variety of learning experiences structured by the teacher. Students use their prior knowledge to make sense of these experiences and then make connections between new information and their prior knowledge. To help students make the connections between what they already know and new information, each Primary Connections unit uses five phases:
Each unit begins with a lesson that mentally engages students with an activity or question. It captures their interest, provides an opportunity for them to express what they know about the concept or skill being developed, and helps them to make connections between what they know and the new ideas.
Students carry out hands-on activities in which they can explore the concept or skill. They grapple with the problem or phenomenon and describe it in their own words. This phase allows students to acquire a common set of experiences that they can use to help each other make sense of the new concept or skill.
Only after students have explored the concept or skill does the teacher provide the concepts and terms used by the students to develop explanations for the phenomenon they have experienced. The significant aspect of this phase is that explanation follows experience.
This phase provides opportunities for students to apply what they have learned to new situations and so develop a deeper understanding of the concept or greater use of the skill. It is important for students to discuss and compare their ideas with each other during this phase.
The final phase provides an opportunity for students to review and reflect on their own learning and new understanding and skills. It is also when students provide evidence for changes to their understanding, beliefs and skills.