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This page contains

  1. a very brief introduction to research about scientific thinking in young children
  2. a short video arguing (4m) that scientific education is critical to future prosperity
  3. a short video explaining (3m) how some education systems are failing to teach science.
  4. a short video explaining one view of how one education system survives in spite of those failings.
  5. key excerpts for Australian teachers drawn from the NESA - K-10 Science Curriculum
  6. a very short comparison of two major instructional design frameworks, and the argument for why one of these provides better outcomes when teaching for scientific understanding.
  7. a flow-chart illustrating one common framework for teaching with a scientific process.

Additional, teacher-centic, philosophical and inspirational videos/information are supplied in the introductory information page that summarises the state of western science education from the perspective of a number of prominent international scientists.

The Native Intelligence Of Young Children

  • Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have found that 4 and 5 year-olds are smarter than college students when it comes to figuring out how toys and gadgets work. 1) 2)

Assessing Scientific Understanding

  • Harvard provides assessments that measure the degree to which teachers hold the accepted scientific view represented by the national standards in life science and familiarity with their own students’ ideas, a measure of pedagogical content knowledge. The application of psychometric models aligned with cognitive research findings will help to establish scales and subtests that accurately gauge the scientific understanding needed for teaching elementary school and middle school life science.3)

The Problem

  • In an era where children and teenagers are using technology at unprecedented levels, why are they no longer keen to study the subjects that underpin it?
  • It is a question that has baffled education authorities, with high school enrolments in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) slumping to a two-decade low. 4)

Video 1. What is the engine that will drive future knowledge & prosperity? (4min)

Video 2. What Is The Secret Educational Weapon Delivering Scientific Success? (3min)

A call to action

This wiki hosts a collection of authentic, evidence-based, learning activities and teaching strategies designed to help promote a deep understanding and love of science, whilst providing a content and philosophy that remains fully linked to the current Australian K-12 Curriculum.

Excerpt: NESA - K-10 Science Curriculum Information

Progression: In Stage 3 students develop their skills in applying the processes of Working Scientifically through planning and conducting a range of types of investigations. They increase their understanding of the importance of undertaking scientific investigations honestly and accurately to develop shared evidence-based understandings.

They further develop their understanding of the relationship between evidence and the process undertaken, reflecting on their evidence in relation to the process used. Students are more self -reliant in asking questions and in planning and conducting their investigations. They pose testable questions relating to simple cause-and-effect relationships and consider fairness and ways to check observations and measurements.

They bring a greater understanding of scientific explanations to their work. Students select and refine their application of the investigation methods encountered in previous stages, by considering data and information from secondary sources, comparing field observations made at different sites or times and using systematic approaches to exploration.

Students employ additional methods for recording, processing and communicating their findings, consistent with their stage-appropriate progression in literacy and numeracy, including using at an introductory level, the language of science and graphical representations. They select and use digital technologies where relevant to gather, organise, process and communicate information and/or data from a variety of sources for identified purposes and audiences. 5)

Instructional Design Frameworks

Within instructional design, two major instructional frameworks have emerged – objectivism and constructivism. 6) 7)

Simply stated;

  • Objectivism depends on a framework configured by the designer to set the performance objectives and creates a systematic approach to the learning content. The instructor’s role is to teach the students a well-circumscribed body of information within a well-defined learning environment.
  • Constructivism is less content-oriented and more learner-centered; the designer goal is to create an information-object rich, and socially meaningful (i.e. communication and collaboration filled) learning environment. A facilitator aides the learner through the creation of authentic tasks and helps the student integrate other understandings of multiple perspectives through reflection. 8)
  • To summarise it thus follows that, good knowledge of content is most critical when teaching is delivered via an objectivism based instructional framework, but not so important when teaching is delivered via a constructivist framework.

For those reasons, wherever teacher expertise/content knowledge is limited, taking a constructivist approach may provide a more successful learning outcome.

So what's the story with misconceptions?

A Reminder About How We Do Science:

The scientific process


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