Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Children Doing and Learning Science

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Early Childhood and Primary Education

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will look at different perspectives of science education (content, process and attitudes - including also environmental issues) which are reviewed and discussed critically from the perspective of children learning science. Literature on children's alternative ideas about scientific phenomena is also reviewed and the implications of these ideas to teaching science are considered.

Pedagogical approaches to teaching science with young children such as constructivism and inquiry-based learning are considered.

Practical examples of these different pedagogical approaches are provided and critically discussed in terms of types of process skills that they promote among children as well as level of scientific understanding achieved. There will be opportunities to develop educational activities in science and to research and critically reflect on their impact on children of different ages.

Study-Unit Aims:

- To provide an understanding of the different aspects of learning science with respect to children at early years and primary level;
- To consider the role of science education in society and the role of teaching science in promoting scientific literacy as well as ensuring a supply of future scientists;
- To review and critically discuss issues in science education related to children's alternative frameworks about how the world works and implications to teaching;
- To review and discuss the main pedagogical approaches developed and shown to be effective in engaging young children in meaningful learning in science;
- To highlight the key characteristics of inquiry-based learning overall and how it can be applied to the teaching of science.
- To review planning in science, engage in the design and implementation of science activities, research their impact and reflect on the understanding and process skill development promoted in children at early years and primary level.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- list and describe the different aspects of doing science;
- specify the process skills promoted during science investigations;
- identify and describe key science concepts included in the early years and primary education curriculum;
- identify key environmental issues and their impact on Earth;
- list and describe the key characteristics of inquiry-based learning;
- mention the key issues related to the reasons for which it is positive to do science with children of ages 4-11 years;
- identify the different aspects of inquiry-based learning.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- identify the scientific concepts covered in a science investigations;
- identify the science process skills promoted in a science inquiry of investigation;
- consider the role of science in society and critically discuss the contribution or otherwise that science has in society;
- identify instances in science through which environmental issues can be considered and positive environmental issues related;
- research children's ideas on different scientific phenomena and identify alternative frameworks held;
- design and implement inquiry-based activities for children in early years and primary level;
- critically discuss why it is valid and educationally sound to do science with young children;
- plan science activities through schemes of work and lesson planning;
- gather the required equipment needed to carry out scientific investigations;
- read literature in science education, identify the main issues raised, discuss the implication of these issues to children learning science, and to put forward arguments based on literature in favour of certain pedagogical approaches.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Tunnicliffe, S.D, (2015), Starting Inquiry-based Science in the Early Years: Look, talk, think and do, London: Routledge.
- Tunnicliffe, S.D, (2015), Talking and Doing Science in the Early Years: A practical guide for ages 2-7, London: Routledge.
- Meier D. R. and Sisk-Hilton s, (2013), Nature Education with Young Children: Integrating Inquiry and Practice, New York: Routledge.
- Alake-Tuenter, Ester ; Biemans, Harm J.A. ; Tobi, Hilde ; Wals, Arjen E.J. ; Oosterheert, Ida ; Mulder, Martin, (2013), Inquiry-based science teaching competence of primary school teachers: A Delphi study, Teaching and Teacher Education Volume 35, October 2013, Pages 13–24.

Supplementary Readings:

- Dunlop, Lynda ; Compton, Kirsty ; Clarke, Linda ; Mckelvey - Martin, Valerie, (2015), Child-led enquiry in primary science, Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, Volume 43, Issue 5, 2015.
- Tony Loughlanda & Laetitia Kilpatrick, (2013), Formative assessment in primary science, Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 04 March 2015, Vol.43(2), p.128-141.
- Maria Lucero, Martin Valcke, Tammy Schellens, (2013), Teachers' Beliefs and Self-Reported Use of Inquiry in Science Education in Public Primary Schools, International Journal of Science Education, Volume 35, Number 8, 1407 - 1423.
- Hackling, Mark ; Sherriff, Barbara,(2015), LANGUAGE-BASED REASONING in Primary Science, Teaching Science, Jun 2015, Vol.61(2), pp.14-25.
- Forbes, Anne , Skamp, Keith, (2013), Knowing and Learning about Science in Primary School "Communities of Science Practice": The Views of Participating Scientists in the "MyScience" Initiative, Research in Science Education, 2013, Vol.43(3), p.1005-1028.
- Braund, Martin ; Leigh, Joanne, (2013), Frequency and Efficacy of Talk-Related Tasks in Primary Science, Research in Science Education, 2013, Vol.43(2), p.457-478.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Suzanne Gatt (Co-ord.)
Elena Bianca Scicluna

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It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.