The New Zealand Science curriculum wants our young learners to develop the skills, attitudes and values hat give them a foundation for understanding the world.
At Essential Resources, we want to give educators the tools to teach primary science constructively and confidently. Our science resources for primary school contain experiments, investigations, mind maps and worksheets – plus troubleshooting tips. All to make it easy to include science in your classroom.
Using the Forensic Science book, students will become forensic scientists by using crime-solving techniques. Emergency Science will give your students a foundation for action to respond to climate change. Or use Smart Science to spark our students’ curiosity about Living World science.
The New Zealand Curriculum says it is important to teach science in primary school because “Science is able to inform problem solving and decision making in many areas of life. Many of the major challenges and opportunities that confront our world need to be approached from a scientific perspective, taking into account social and ethical considerations.”
This is further supported by Essential Resources author Julia Burton, who says primary school science teaches our young people how to ask the “right” questions and find appropriate explanations.
The word appropriate is key here. In a world where we are “bombarded by misinformation, fake news and pseudo-science,” our young people need to know how to evaluate the information they encounter. The critical thinking and analytical skills developed through science helps them to sort through information to make evidence-based decisions.
There are several strategies to differentiate primary school science lessons.
Content – The complexity and amount of content students learn can be adjusted to meet their needs and strengths. An example of this is shown in the Emergency Science series.
Author Brenda Greene does the heavy lifting for teachers by differentiating the lessons into What, How and Why for beginners, developers and experts. Here all students can work on the same topic of Surviving Natural Disasters, but “beginners” focus on the Earth’s crust, while “experts” learn about making volcanoes.
Process – This is adapting how students learn to align with their preferred learning style – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. It also addresses the fact that not all students need the same amount of teacher support and can work as individuals, in pairs or in small groups.
Product – When teachers differentiate what students are asked to create to show their learning. It can be aligned with Bloom’s Taxonomy. For example, some students are asked to list the experiment results, while others evaluate the results.
Learning environment – Another way to differentiate lessons is to create a flexible classroom layout to support both individual and group work. Is there a quiet space for those who prefer to read individually and areas for others to work collaboratively?
Some of our great teaching resources for science experiments and investigations are:
Forensic Science by Chris Astall and David Winter
In this primary science resource, students will learn how forensic science is used to solve crimes before carrying out investigations themselves. The Forensic Science book develops the scientific capabilities central to the nature of science aims within the New Zealand Curriculum.
Science Smart – Living World by Caroline Mulholland
The living world science resource is for those teachers looking to bring science into the classroom! Students learn about the living world through a variety of hands-on experiments and investigations, with worksheets to support their learning.
Scientific Experiments by Julia Burton
Burton has written a series of science resources for primary schools. The resources get you teaching primary science constructively, as it provides activities for students to design, carry out and analyse experiments.