A Science Investigation Appropriate For A Key Stage 1 Setting

3254 words - 13 pages

Children develop enquiry skills almost autonomously from birth as they begin to make sense of the world surrounding them (Roden et al 2007). At school, during the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1, this natural inquisitiveness can be harnessed through scientific enquiry. Giving pupils explicit exposure to real experiences and phenomena can help conceptualise children’s scientific understanding of the world (Harlen & Qualter 2009). These important considerations were contemplated when planning a scientific investigation suitable for a Key Stage 1 setting. In this assignment I will analyse a lesson I planned, integrating science teaching with cross curricular links to English and Maths too. I will consider teaching approaches of this investigation, possible advantages or tensions with cross curricular planning and teaching and how they may impact on learning and teaching.
Working in a small group, we planned a science investigation into floating and sinking materials, focused towards a mixed year 1 and year 2 class setting. The planning objectives were taken from the current national curriculum (DfEE 1999) and were based around Key Stage 1 Science Unit 1C – Choosing materials for a purpose and Unit 2D – Grouping materials. This is defined by the new curriculum as “Everyday materials; year 1 - describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials”, and “year 2 - identify and compare the uses of a variety of everyday materials” (DfE 2013 p.141 & p.146). The lesson plan (see appendix 1) was intended to build on work pupils will have begun in reception or year 1 on floating and sinking. The progression would now be considering this in relation to specific materials to solve a problem. I suggested using the well-known and widely used bible story, Noah’s ark, as a stimulus to introduce the lesson. One of the many challenges of teaching is to find something to motivate pupils and challenge them, but to also build on something they already know (Arthur & Cremin2010). Hayes (2012 p.179) extends this notion by inferring learning that does not relate to previous experiences is “mechanical repetition” or “rote learning”. He summarises this as learning for “memory of content” rather than “understanding of a subject”. I agree with his connotations but think it would be very difficult to link all new learning to previous learning. If a teacher did this I believe links could be become tenuous or subject specific learning could be omitted.
Recapping the story and having the initial discussion during the introduction of the lesson would plan to build on the children’s literacy skills, specifically speaking and listening. The speaking and listening strand En1 of the current national curriculum (DfEE 1999) and spoken language strand of the new national curriculum (DfE 2013), both require pupils to listen and respond to others. During literacy planning and teaching a lot of focus is often concerned with reading and writing...

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