Skills development in fifth and sixth classes

The skills of working scientifically

Through completing the strand units of the science curriculum the child should be enabled to:


  • Ask questions about animals, plants, objects and events in the immediate environment and their relationships
  • Ask questions that will identify problems to be solved
    Does light travel in straight lines?
    How can this be tested?
  • Ask questions that will help in drawing conclusions and interpreting information


  • Observe, describe and discuss physical, natural and human elements and processes in the immediate environment
    colour of water in stream
    types of materials used in building construction
    flora and fauna to be found in a range of environments
    effect of forces on a variety of materials
  • Recognise and describe pattern and sequences in observations patterns observed in the adaptation of animals to their habitats sequences in seasonal changes
  • Distinguish between the significant and less significant observations


  • Offer suggestions (hypotheses) based on a number of observations and data available about the likely results of the investigations
  • Make inferences based on suggestions and observations
  • Propose ideas or simple theories that may be tested by experimentation

Investigate and experiment

  • Collect information and data from a variety of sources, including observations in the environment, classroom observations and experiments, photographs, books, maps, CD-ROM and computer database
  • Design, plan and carry out simple experiments, having regard to one or two variables and their control and the need to sequence tasks and tests
  • Realise that an experiment is unfair if relevant variables are not controlled
  • Appreciate the importance of repeating tests and experiments
  • Identify (with guidance) different ways of looking at a problem and compare results of different investigations

Estimate and measure

  • Use appropriate simple instruments and techniques to collect and record data on length, weight, mass, capacity, time and temperature thermometers, rulers, scales, stop-watches, measuring jugs record sheets, spring balances and force meters
  • Estimate and use appropriate standard units of measurement
  • Decide what should be measured and the degree of accuracy required