Introduction - part 1

Ask primary teachers what they think science is all about and they are likely to tell you that science is finding answers to our own questions, or carrying out fair tests, or testing out our ideas about the world around us.

Ask children the same question and they are likely to respond that science is knowing all about bulbs and batteries, or rocks, or growing cress and things!

The message that science is not only a body of knowledge but also a way of working seems to have reached the teachers but may not have yet got through to the children. Despite many years of a practical hands-on-approach to Primary Science, I’m not sure children fully understand either the process or the purpose of science investigation.

How can we as concerned teachers improve things and help children to a better understanding of the Science process? Four suggestions come to mind.

Firstly, teachers have to be quite sure what the process is all about and so a straightforward explanation is required.

Secondly, we need to find ways of raising children’s awareness of the process through the use of classroom activities which teach them how to investigate.

Thirdly, we need to have some idea of the way that children are likely to progress through the skills.

Finally, we need suggestions of the place and purpose of investigations within the curriculum.