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The key to engaging primary science

Published: May 15, 2019 3 min read

STEM learning

‘Social learning’, questioning and discussion are key to supporting primary pupils to develop their understanding of the world around them, so in our online course Teaching Primary Science: Getting Started we practice what we preach.

Primary science online course

Led by primary specialist facilitators, to connect online learners with each other, this foundation primary science course encourages discussion of lessons and ideas to help develop practice, with structured reflective activities and classroom tasks. Taking an active part in the course has led 96% of participants to feel increased confidence in their teaching ability upon completion.

This three-week-long course aims to help you master effective delivery of primary science in an engaging and practical way. It provides a platform to explore the different types of inquiry and learn how to embed these into science teaching:

  • observation over time
  • pattern seeking
  • identifying, classifying and grouping
  • comparative and fair testing
  • research using secondary sources

Creating learning opportunities that develop a sense of excitement and curiosity is fundamental to support children’s learning in science. Teacher confidence in carrying out practical science tasks is key to help bolster these learning opportunities, and that’s what this course hopes to equip participants with.

Contributions from the course educators (professional development leaders) and other participants, as well as reflections from participants themselves and the core course content, are all combined in different ways through learning activities.

Such mentor involvement has a positive effect in building relationships with participants, to the extent that quite personal and individual issues can be discussed online. In addition, discussion with fellow online learners builds confidence through collaboration.

“I enjoy this way of learning… I particularly like reading the comments as this makes it more of a collaboration than a solo effort!” – Past course participant

The course can be taken flexibly, so learners can focus on personal and specific goals, and spend more time on activities and content most relevant on an individual level.

Each week typically starts with a discussion task, an easy way into the topic which encourages idea sharing among participants, who are in fact prompted to revisit their contributions to discussions and other activities by the end of the week, in order to assess their change in understanding.

It’s not just new and recently qualified teachers who will benefit from this course, but any primary teacher who wants to refresh and develop their practice.

“I've really enjoyed this course. I'm now in my tenth year of teaching and it is easy to become almost complacent and just keep doing things as I always have. This course has really made me think about my teaching and what I can do going forwards to improve my differentiation and teaching practice.” – Past course participant