Reception 3 to Year 6
Science within a transdisciplinary programme
In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), science is viewed as the exploration of the biological, chemical and physical aspects of the natural world, and the relationships between them. Our understanding of science is constantly changing and evolving. The inclusion of science within the PYP leads learners to an appreciation and awareness of the world as it is viewed from a scientific perspective. It encourages curiosity and ingenuity and enables the student to develop an understanding of the world. Reflection on scientific knowledge also helps students to develop a sense of responsibility regarding the impact of their actions on themselves, others and their world.
It is recognized that teaching and learning science as a subject, while necessary, is not sufficient. Of equal importance is the need to learn science in context, exploring content relevant to students, and transcending the boundaries of the traditional subject area. The transdisciplinary themes provide the framework for a highly defined, focused, in-depth programme of inquiry, and as science is relevant to all the transdisciplinary themes, all planned science learning should take place within this framework. In return, the science knowledge and the application of that knowledge will enhance inquiries into the central ideas defined by the transdisciplinary themes.
It is worthwhile to note that spontaneous, student-initiated science inquiries will occur that are not directly related to any planned units of inquiry. These are valuable teaching and learning experiences in themselves and they provide teachers and students with the opportunity to apply the pedagogy of the PYP to authentic, of-the-moment situations.
The knowledge component of science in the PYP is arranged into four strands: living things, Earth and space, materials and matter, and forces and energy.
The study of the characteristics, systems and behaviours of humans and other animals, and of plants; the interactions and relationships between and among them, and with their environment.
Earth and Space
The study of planet Earth and its position in the universe, particularly its relationship with the sun; the natural phenomena and systems that shape the planet and the distinctive features that identify it; the infinite and finite resources of the planet.
Materials and Matter
The study of the properties, behaviours and uses of materials, both natural and human-made; the origins of human-made materials and how they are manipulated to suit a purpose.
Forces and Motion
The study of energy, its origins, storage and transfer, and the work it can do; the study of forces; the application of scientific understanding through inventions and machines.
All teaching and learning provides the opportunity to utilize and develop the PYP transdisciplinary skills (thinking skills, social skills, communication skills, self-management skills, and research skills) in our students. In addition to these, the science component of the curriculum also provides opportunities for students to develop a range of science-specific skills and processes. These skills include:
- Observe carefully in order to gather data (for example, students will examine objects and living things to find out more about them; observe and manipulate objects by using all their senses as appropriate; observe changes in living things, objects and events over a period of time; distinguish between significant and less significant observations; record observations in a systematic way).
- Use a variety of instruments and tools to measure data accurately (for example, students will use a range of tools and techniques with increasing competency; use standard and non-standard units for measurement; measure, compare and record data including mass, weight, time and temperature; select appropriate tools and measurement units).
- Use scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and experiences (for example, students will talk about what is observed; describe simple features of objects and events; describe what is happening using an increasing scientific vocabulary; record and present findings and conclusions using a variety of strategies and appropriate scientific vocabulary).
- Identify or generate a question or problem to be explored (for example, students will ask questions or show curiosity about the natural and physical environment; ask questions or identify problems that may lead to investigations; pose questions and define problems that will facilitate effective investigations or inquiries).
- Plan and carry out systematic investigations, manipulating variables as necessary (for example, students will identify variables; collect information and data from a range of sources; suggest approaches and methods for solving problems; identify one or two variables relevant to an investigation; recognize the way in which an experiment is unfair if the relevant variables are not controlled; reflect on methods used in investigations and their effectiveness).
- Make and test predictions (for example, students will observe similarities and differences; guess and suggest what will happen next in structured situations; based on prior learning and/or observations, suggest outcomes of an investigation; make justified predictions; propose ideas or simple theories that may be explored or tested).
- Interpret and evaluate data gathered in order to draw conclusions (for example, students will sort and classify according to observable features or selected criteria; look for and recognize patterns in observations; compare results of different investigations; interpret information and offer explanations).
- Consider scientific models and applications of these models (including their limitations) (for example, students will share findings with peers informally; represent findings using pictures and models; reflect on and build upon their own current scientific theories and applications; apply scientific knowledge to reconstruct or refine their understandings of the physical, chemical and biological worlds; assess their understanding in light of new data or reconsideration of existing data).
Primary Years Program Science scope and sequence, July 2008