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Traditionally, in England at least, science has not been taught formally to young children in a thorough systematic way. Adults who are middle aged or older now, frequently had very little science education, if any at all. Nowadays things have changed considerably for the better, but this does mean that primary school teachers find themselves having to teach science to their young charges with little confidence in their own knowledge and little experience from their own childhood. This module offers practical advice on teaching science to children aged 5 –7 in a fun and effective way.


The aim of this module is to offer advice to teachers of children aged 5-7 who want practical ideas to help plan their teaching of science.

Science is an important subject

A sound knowledge of science is essential in today’s modern technical world and will probably be even more so in the future. You should treat science as an important subject. By this I mean you should set aside a set time each week to spend on a science lesson or lessons. You probably already do this for english and mathematics and you should do the same for science. How much time you spend each week is up to you or your education board but I would recommend that you spend one hour a week in a formal science lesson and perhaps another hour a week as part of topic work.

Science is a practical subject

Science, in essence, is a way of finding things out about the world. The scientific method, has allowed man to make very rapid advances in knowledge and understanding about the natural world. This method is best demonstrated by Gallelao’s experiments with gravity. The wizdom at the time suggested that heavier objects fell faster than light ones. He dropped two masses and timed how fast they fell to disprove the accepted wizdom. Such a simple experiment but no one had thought to do it before him.

When teaching science aim not to teach facts, instead aim to teach skills. Pupils with the necessary skills will, with your help of course, be able to find out the facts for themselves. The skills needed to become a scientist can only be learned through practice. Pupils gain theses skills by performing experiments. You should aim to do at least one investigation or experiment every week. For very young children, the experiments should be simple with clear results.

A very simple experiment for a child in this age group might be to find out the answer to“What happens to an ice cube if we leave it on a dish in the classroom?”. This is an experiment that a child as young as three or four can comprehend. As the child grows older related questions can be investigated. How long does it take for the ice cube to completely melt? Does the position it is placed in the room affect how fast it melts and if it does then what can that tell us about the temperature around the room.

Science is a playful subject

Children, especially young children, are naturally curious about the world and will, if left to their own devices find out about the world through play. As teachers we can exploit this natural tendency and encourage playfulness as a powerful aid to learning. Allow pupils time to play with science equipment. You could for example, give them a torch and ask them to find out as many things as they can about shadows, they must report back to the rest of the class in 5 minutes. If you do this you will find them teaching themselves. You can sit back and simply enjoy the fun.

Formal games can also work well. You want them to learn the functions of different parts of a plant? Make a set of cards with“makes food for the plant”,“soaks up water from the soil”and so on. Give each child a picture of a plant to colour in and explain the rules. Each child takes a card from the pack. They identify the plant part from the function then colour it in. If they get a card they had before too bad. If they colour in the wrong part they are out. First child with a fully coloured in plant is the winner. It does take some time and planning on your part because you have to make up the cards but once you do you can reuse them year after year. Again you will be able to sit back and watch the children teach themselves and each other! Other games, such as bingo, dominoes, and snakes and ladders type games can all be adapted to help teach science.

Science is a fun subject

Pupils love doing hands on work. With a little effort you can make science their favourite subject. Plan your lessons carefully. Keep learning objectives clear and simple. Do not try to teach too much all at once. Plan multiple activities that have the same learning objectives. Children have a short attention span, keep them enthusiastic by not exceeding that span. An hour long lesson should be divided up. For example you might plan :

  • A 10 minute starter activity (such as a video) to get them interested.
  • Two 15 minute practical activities to get them learning.
  • A 15 minute game to reinforce the learning.
  • A five minute teacher led whole class discussion to recall what they have just learned.

The time will fly by, fun will be had by all, and the pupils will come to love science.

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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Source:  OpenStax, Collection. OpenStax CNX. Dec 22, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11259/1.7
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