Science is the active study of the natural and man-made world, including processes, structures, designs, and systems. Science students use their senses and tools to observe, record and analyze data about the world and to make conclusions based on evidence. Scientifically literate young people can understand basic science concepts, use skills for doing scientific investigations, solve technical problems, and design technologies for today’s world.
The main approach to teaching and learning sciences in the Primary Years Programme is through structured inquiry. PYP students are encouraged to investigate science by formulating their own questions and finding the answers to those questions, including through research and experimentation. In turn, students construct meaning and create models of how the world works through the development of scientific knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills.
How science practices are changing
Structured, purposeful inquiry is the main approach to teaching and learning science in the PYP. The PYP represents an approach to teaching that is broad and inclusive in that it provides a context within which a wide variety of teaching strategies and styles can be accommodated, provided that they are driven by a spirit of inquiry and a clear sense of purpose.
How are science practices changing?
|Increased emphasis on:||Decreased emphasis on:|
|hands-on learning experiences to ensure that students experience and learn science process skills; high level of student involvement in a flexible learning environment||teacher demonstration and strict adherence to teacher-defined activities and direction of process|
|units of inquiry that lend themselves to transdisciplinary investigations||science lessons/units in isolation|
|challenging students to answer open-ended questions with investigations so that they
can abandon/modify their misconceptions by observations, measurements or experimentation (teacher as facilitator)
|the teacher as the sole authority for the correct answer or for disseminating information (teacher as expert)|
|a wider and responsible use of technology in all its forms as a tool for science learning||a limited use of technology as a tool for learning science or the teaching of an isolated group of skills|
|accepting uncertainty and ambiguity or the possibility of more than one acceptable solution/ hypothesis||finding pre-set answers|
|more than one approach, model or process||one scientific model to approach investigations|
|discussion, dialogue, elaboration and interpretation of data gathered, with students proposing explanations and conclusions||written recording of data only; collecting and recording data as the sole purpose of an activity|
|challenging students to find applications for, and take action on, what they have learned||simply learning science facts and skills|
|instruction that recognizes that process and content are interdependent||separating instruction in scientific process and scientific content|
|providing students with the opportunities to explore a science interest when it arises||confining science to set times|
|a concept-driven curriculum using a wide variety of materials and manipulatives.||a textbook-driven curriculum using a limited range of science textbooks.|
-Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education