Knowledge and Understanding of Science

Knowledge and Understanding of Science was a series of five books written to help teachers in primary schools with background understanding of science. The books deal with the topics in physical science which generally cause the greatest difficulty to primary teachers: Forces, Energy, Chemical changes, Genetics and ecology, Electricity and magnetism. Published in 1991-4 by the National Curriculum Council (the body at the time responsible for implementing the National Curriculum at the time) the guides provide professional development activities for use either by teachers alone or working in groups with colleagues.

It was intended that after working through the text and successfully completing the assessments, teachers would have covered those aspects of the topics described in the programmes of study for Key Stages One and Two of the National Curriculum. The purpose of the material was to extend teacher knowledge and understanding; it was not suitable for direct use in the classroom.

From 1989 primary teachers were required by the National Curriculum to teach science to children through the primary years. It was well known that prior to the National Curriculum many primary teachers focused on biological topics and neglected physical science topics through lack of personal knowledge and understanding. At the same time as professional development courses in science were being run, these guides were additional help that could be used by teachers unable to attend courses.

The five books were produced by groups of science educators experienced in primary science curriculum development, knowledgeable in science and familiar with the relevant research. The material was trialled and revised before publication. It was intended that that the books could be used in various ways, as part of individual study, school-based staff development, INSET courses or initial teacher education.

It was suggested that teachers needing to refresh their understanding could move quickly through the book by reading the 'what the scientists say' and 'further thoughts' in blocks of text found at the end of each section. Teachers who wished to deepen their knowledge and understanding were advised to work systematically through the sections, which was likely to take about 15 hours for each book.


Knowledge and Understanding of Science: Forces

The Knowledge and understanding guide: forces provides background scientific knowledge and understanding for teachers. It is not intended or suitable for direct use with students. It comprises nine sections which could each be the focus of an individual study session. Each includes ‘tasks’, ‘discussions’, ‘what the...

Knowledge and Understanding of Science: Energy

This book develops teachers' background understanding of different aspects of energy.

Within the book the sections are grouped into two main parts: sections 1-7 cover levels one to five of the National Curriculum, sections 8 and 9 cover levels six and seven of the National Curriculum. Each section includes...

Knowledge and Understanding of Science: Chemical Changes

The resource for teachers Knowledge and understanding of science: chemical changes, published in 1994 by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, (taking over the responsibilities for the curriculum from the National Curriculum Council), provides background scientific knowledge and understanding for teachers...

Knowledge and Understanding of Science: Genetics and Ecology

The Knowledge and understanding of science guide: genetics and ecology was published in 1994 by School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (the body which took over the responsibilities for the curriculum from National Curriculum Council). It provides background scientific knowledge and understanding for teachers....