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Primary Science Skills and How to Teach Them

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Science Enquiry

Strategies and activities to support upper primary children (aged 7-11) to develop a range of scientific skills, which can subsequently be applied in their own scientific investigations.

Scientific enquiry is essentially a thinking process. For children to undertake effective science enquiries in the classroom, they need to know how to collect and interpret useful data. Simply meeting science skills during practical activities is rarely enough for them to be learned and embedded.

Primary Science Skills and How to Teach Them, written by PSTT Fellow Tracy Tyrrell, supports the development of ‘working scientifically’ skills. Building on the more open-ended, exploratory approach of lower primary, these materials cover the skills required at each stage of a scientific enquiry and are mapped to different scientific enquiry types, providing teachers with a comprehensive choice of activities.

The resources are based on two earlier books written by Anne Goldsworthy, Rod Watson and Valerie Wood-Robinson which were originally created for children aged 9-13. Getting to Grips with Graphs (1999) and Developing Understanding (2000) were the outcomes of the AKSIS project: a three-year research collaboration between the Association for Science Education and King’s College London, funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Resource content

The resources are organised into eight units, with each covering specific science enquiry skills. The first two units are available now, with the remainder being released over the course of this academic year. Watch this space!

Unit 1: Encouraging Exploration

Unit 2: From Questions to Enquiry

Unit 3: Planning and Predicting

Unit 4: Gathering Useful Evidence

Unit 5: Collecting and Recording Results

Unit 6: Presenting Results

Unit 7: Describing and Explaining Results

Unit 8: Evaluating Investigations

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Free sample pack

Click to download the sample pack containing an introduction to the series along with exemplars of teacher notes and children’s activities from the first two units.

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Safety Notice & Disclaimer

PSTT advises teachers to refer to either the CLEAPSS website or SSERC website for up to date health and safety information when planning practical activities for children.

PSTT is not liable for the actions or activities of any reader or anyone else who uses the information in these resource pages or the associated classroom materials. PSTT assumes no liability with regard to injuries or damage to property that may occur as a result of using the information contained in these resources. PSTT recommends that a full risk assessment is carried out before undertaking in the classroom any of the practical investigations contained in the resources.

All materials are ©Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) and are freely available to download and share for educational purposes. Whilst educators are free to adapt the resources to suit their own needs, acknowledgement of copyright on all original materials must be included. Rights to images included in the resource have been purchased for PSTT use only – as such, these images may only be used as part of this resource and may not copied into or used in other materials.