VSSEC's Primary Program Instructional Design
Science Inquiry Skills
As well as science content, it is important that students learn scientific processes that support the development of 'scientific thinking' and 'attitudes of science'.
Attitudes of science
- respect for evidence
- critical reflection
- sensitivity to the living and non-living environment
The instructional design of VSSEC's primary program provides opportunities for students to experience changes in their own noticing, thinking and understanding. Lessons are designed as hands-on, student-centered tasks. It is important that students have time to think, experiment and discuss their ideas in a safe and supportive environment.
Learning is an active process; we need to acknowledge students' attemps to make sense of their experiences and help them confront inconsistencies in their sense making. Teachers' questions can model the sorts of questions students might ask themselves. Mistakes are not signs of inadequacy, but helpful contributions in the search for understanding. Rather than dismiss responses as "wrong", they should be encouraged as the expression of ideas.
Scientific skills and processes
- observing (including measurement, scientific drawing)
- raising questions (understanding what questions are investigable)
- hypothesizing (possible explanations)
- predicting (using hypotheses to make predictions)
- planning and carrying out investigations (understanding fair testing and variables)
- interpreting information (patterns, inferences and conclusions)
- communicating (recording, reporting and discussing)
Students work in pairs or small groups to encourage collaboration and discussion.