Nuffield Primary Science

The Nuffield Primary Science materials were based on the findings of a research project called the Science Processes and Concept Exploration (SPACE). This was the first set of resources published in the UK for primary science teaching that was explicitly based on a constructivist view of learning.

The research aims

 From January 1987 the SPACE research project carried out research into primary students' ideas about some science concepts. When the National Curriculum was introduced the research was extended to each of its concept areas to investigate in depth:

  • what ideas students held about aspects of the world around them;
  • how they came to form these ideas;
  • what were the possibilities of helping students to modify their ideas, to bring them closer to the more useful, scientific ones.

The results of the SPACE research were published in 11 Research Reports between 1990 and 1998, by Liverpool University press. Some of these are available on the Nuffield Foundation website 

Research and development methods

 The SPACE research and the development of teachers’ guides were carried out in classrooms with the help of teachers, so that materials relevant to everyday work could be produced. For the purposes of the research a stratified random sample of children from the classes involved was interviewed by researchers before and after classroom intervention, whilst the teachers adapted the methods used by the researchers to collect ideas less formally from all the children. The classroom materials were trialed by teachers who also added to the suggested activities.

The range of resources

The full range of resources covers teachers’ guides, student books, a background science book and a science co-ordinator’s book, covering all primary school years. There is also an in-service training package comprising four units. Thus the full set was designed to provide a complete programme for primary science which could meet the requirements of the National Curriculum. The activities were suggestions, not requirements, and the equipment needed was noted but not provided.

Resources

Nuffield Primary Science: General Guidance

Some of the publications from the Nuffield Primary Science Project give general guidance about the research base of the project, its implementation in schools and the professional development for teachers across the full age range in primary schools. Other resources in this library give more specific guidance and...
Publication date:
1990 - 1999

5 resources
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Nuffield Primary Science for Ages 5-7

The Nuffield Primary Science materials were based on the findings of a research project called Science Processes and Concept Exploration (SPACE). This was the first set of resources published in the UK for primary science teaching that was explicitly based on a constructivist view of learning.Guidance for teachers...
Publication date:
1990 - 1999

2 resources
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Nuffield Primary Science for Ages 7-12

The Nuffield Primary Science materials were based on the findings of a research project called Science Processes and Concept Exploration (SPACE). This was the first set of resources published in the UK for primary science teaching that was explicitly based on a constructivist view of learning.Guidance for teachers...
Publication date:
1990 - 1999

3 resources
0
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A first look at different plants and animals

This "Nuffield Primary Science" course is founded on extensive research. The books are a scheme using children's own ideas as starting points for scientific investigations. The research is known as SPACE (Science Processes and Concept Exploration). This book looks at different plants and animals.
Publication date:
1993

Physical resource:
Book

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