The Science 5/13 project, 1967 to 1975, was sponsored by the Schools Council, the Nuffield Foundation and the Scottish Education Department. It was the first project to state explicitly what it was hoped children aged 5-13 would achieve through work in science. This was set out in the guidelines to Objectives for Children Learning Science reproduced at the end of all of the publications apart from the two Units of background information.
Aims and objectives
The overall aim of the project was to help teachers to help children aged 5-13 to learn science through first-hand experience using a variety of methods. It produced books for teachers, most of which were units of work to support teachers in enabling children to find answers to problems the children had themselves chosen to investigate. The units exemplify experiences through which the children can be helped to achieve the objectives but do not constitute a course.
The units were all for teachers to cover the age range 5 to 13. There were no pupil materials or kits of equipment. The activities were identified as suitable for children according to their developmental stages, defined in terms of Piaget’s description of cognitive development:
- Stage one: Transition for intuition to concrete operations (infants generally) and the early stage of concrete operations
- Stage two: Later stage of concrete operations
- Stage three: Transition to stage of abstract thinking In addition to three books of general teacher guidance, there are 23 books described as units for teachers containing suggestions for classroom activities. Some of these also contain background information about the topic. In the cases of two topics the background information is in separate books.
The project was originally conceived by its sponsors as a continuation of the Nuffield Junior Science Project, begun in January 1964 and ended in December 1966. Whilst sharing many of the educational convictions of the Nuffield JSP the new project director and team had their own views on how to help teachers apply a child-centred approach. In particular the project identified objectives for students learning science, thus spelling out what it was intended students should learn rather than focusing solely on how students were learning. In the Units the activities were linked to the learning objectives at the stages.