Session 2: Scientific and technological skills

In reading 2.1 (Bartholomew, H., Osborne, J. F. & Ratcliffe, M. (2004). Teaching students “ideas-about-science”: Five dimensions of effective practice. Science Education88(6), 655-682) knowledge about science is defined as ‘the methods of science, the nature of scientific knowledge, the process and practices of the scientific community, and a consideration of its application and implications that should form an essential component of the school science curriculum’. The paper lays out the work undertaken by a group of teachers as they teach knowledge about science in the classroom over the period of a year. The thesis of the paper is that one of the critical skills for working scientifically is to have an understand not only of the outcomes of the scientific process, but the methods and process that lead to that outcome.

This is reflected in the NESA Science and technology K-6 stage statements and outcomes. Each of the stages includes understanding, using and demonstrating scientific investigation as part of student learning. An example of this is found in the stage 3 outcome for students to “plans and conducts scientific investigations to answer testable questions, and collects and summarises data to communicate conclusions”

Primary Connections is a resource designed to help teachers link literacy and science in the classroom. It identifies literacy as a critical skill to enable students to work scientifically. One teacher states “through the literacy products, in particular the speaking it’s given the children a chance to really say what they know, and what they think they know, and look back and reflect on what they’ve learnt through the unit.” (Representations in primary science (focus on literacy) – 2.56mins).

Literacy is an assumed skill in the NESA stage statements and outcomes. An example from the stage 2 statement

“They generate and develop ideas, using research to inform their design ideas, which are represented using sketches, brainstorms and where appropriate, digital technologies.”

None of this can be done without the necessary literacy skills, making literacy a critical skills for students to be able to work scientifically and technologically.

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