Session 4: Programming

When programming a unit of work, thoughtful planning and preparation is necessary to help ensure that the outcomes can be achieved for all students. As discussed in previous posts, teaching science is not a task of simply teaching facts. It is teaching ideas about science. It could be describe as teaching students how to learn.

This takes intentional planning and effort. In chapter 5 of The art of teaching primary science (Dawson, V. & Venville, G. (2007)), planning is describe in this way

When planning units of work you are planning a sequence of lessons that will develop logically children’s knowledge and understanding of content, skills, values and attitudes across a period of some weeks. This means you need to consider the order of activities carefully. Which ones should be at the beginning of the unit and which should be towards the end? You also need to plan for ongoing assessment throughout a unit of work so that evidence is collected to evaluate children’s progress.

Each unit of work needs to contain its own logic and flow that builds children’s knowledge of the unit topic. In addition, it should flow on logically from previous units, to allow students to build on and challenge existing knowledge, and to bring in their knowledge from other subject areas.

Careful and thoughtful planning will allow a teacher to choose activities that ‘consider the children’s existing knowledge’ (Dawson & Venville, p 48), give adequate time to inquiry based learning activities, and plan for differentiation throughout the unit.

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