Scientific Enquiry Skills
Developing independent investigators
There are many skills within science that children are expected to master.
In order to develop these skills children need to be given opportunities to:
- Raising questions - asking questions, have ideas
- Ways of enquiry - making decisions about how to answer questions
- Planning to answer questions - deciding how to test ideas, which equipment to use, suggesting ways to test ideas safely
- Predicting and hypothesising
- Making observations - making careful observations, using equipment accurately and safely.
- Making a record of evidence - deciding how to best way to present their findings
- Considering evidence - looking for and identifying patterns in evidence
- Evaluating evidence - reflecting on how reliable and accurate their findings are
- Developing ideas from evidence - giving possible explanations for evidence
- Evaluating evidence decide how they may communicate and explain their ideas to others
- Reflecting on how science influences our lives and the lives of others
If they are expected to make too many decisions at once without being taught strategies to help them they can be overwhelmed - and so can we! If they are not expected to make any decisions at all the development of their science skills can be thwarted. Thus, it is useful to identify a skills focus for a unit.
How do I support pupils to see how the skills fit together?
The Scientific Enquiry Cycle Speech Bubbles contain questions to encourage children to think about the main skills. These can be placed on classroom walls to support children to see the whole enquiry cycle. Teachers can then identify areas where the class does well and enable the pupils to see where the skills focus of the lesson or series of lessons might be. Pupils could identify for themselves which skills they feel more confident with and which they feel less confident with.
KS1 Scientific Enquiry Cycle Speech Bubbles (32.0KB)
KS2 Scientific Enquiry Cycle Speech Bubbles (36.5KB)
How do I and the pupils know how to develop the skills?
The scientific skills ladder takes each skill outlined by the speech bubbles and suggests a progression which is linked to the level descriptors (Levels are in brackets after each statement). Pupils don't necessarily progress up through each statements one by one, it enables teachers and pupils to see the progression through. This can be and has been used to track individual or groups of children's attainment in scientific enquiry (AT1). This supports the teacher and pupil to see where the learning lies and where to go next.
Staffordshire Skills Ladder 2010 (55.0KB)
General resources to support teaching the skills
Scientific Enquiry Games Active ways to learn and revise science enquiry skills Anne Goldsworthy and Bob Ponchaud 978095275067-3-0
New Star Ginn Teaching Scientific Enquiry Infant ISBN 0602301688
New Star Ginn Teaching Scientific Enquiry Lower Junior ISBN 0602299136
New Star Ginn Teaching Scientific Enquiry Upper Junior ISBN 0602299535
Scientific Enquiry Games
Science Table Mat Side 1 (36.0KB)
Science Table Mat Side 2 (35.0KB)
Changes to the Programme of Study
The Entrust Science Team is responding to the new Primary Science curriculum and scientific enquiry (now to be "Working Scientifically") and is providing opportunities for teachers to engage with the changes and specific topics for teaching with a dedicated programme of support.
Information and booking
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