Thinking, Doing, Talking Science

Thinking, Doing,
Talking Science
Can we use our skills
to train teachers in a
way that has
measurable impact?
[email protected]
Oxford Brookes University
research with 16 primary
schools in 2002-04 found
that the following
approaches led to
increased engagement &
• More questioning
• Deeper thinking
• More discussion
• Less writing
• More practical activity
42 primary schools
Phase 1
Phase 2
21 primary schools
21 primary schools
Fair test
All Year 4 pupils (2012-13) in all schools
completed a pre-intervention test and attitude
survey in December 2012 and another test and
attitude survey in July 2014
Year 5
Pupil attitude survey – 3 sections
Learning science at school
10 statements
• Science lessons make me think
• I look forward to my science lessons
• I enjoy discussions in science lessons
Attitudes towards science
6 statements
• It is important that we learn science
• I like thinking about scientific ideas
Practical work in school science
7 statements
• We do practical work in most science
• Solving science problems is enjoyable
Thinking, Doing, Talking Science
Stated Aims
To enhance participating
teachers’ skills to:
improve the level of
conceptual challenge in
primary science by the
encouragement of pupils’
higher order thinking
make links between pupils’
learning in science,
mathematics and literacy
and so to increase the
cognitive challenge
throughout the curriculum
Dedicated discussion
slots in science lessons
Questioning skills to
extend pupils’ thinking
about scientific ideas
Understanding of
appropriate and
challenging science
practical work, including
investigations and
problem solving
Pupils’ focused and
creative classroom
recording in science
Links to maths & English
Teachers’ personal
science subject
Thinking time
Which is the
odd one out &
PMI: A world without electricity
Interesting Statements:
Positive Statements:
•You won`t waste so much energy
•Instead of electrical toys you would
have wind up radios –
that would be fun!!
•The world would be equal
•You would have to be inventive in
your spare time.
•Torches might become really
•People might be fitter – less T.V =
more exercise.
Minus Statements:
•It would be very scary walking home at
•There wouldn't be a London underground.
•You wouldn't be able to watch T.V!
The chocolate teapot
Try some
Living on the Moon
An eye in the middle of
your hand
See the sheet of further
A world without friction
A flexible skeleton
The Big Question: What causes gravity?
‘Pencils produce gravity but not
enough to attract anything.’
‘If you push the two books out in a
space craft, in a few days they would
gradually pull together…where there’s
no friction.’
‘It’s a force that pulls things to the centre
of the earth.’
‘It makes things fall’
‘It causes the tide to come in.’
‘The core is like a big magnet.’
‘Is it because the world is
‘I think it’s a force that grows in outer
space and it picks up rubble and pulls it
The Big Question: How do you know that the Earth is a sphere?
‘Why doesn’t water fall off
the edge if the Earth is flat?’
‘If it’s flat, when you
make the foundations
for a temple why
doesn’t it go through?’
‘Because gravity comes from
the centre of the earth,
because a sphere is the
smallest shape you can make
from the centre, it would most
likely be pulled up into a
There are
seventeen types
of penguin on
earth. Explain
why you think this
might be.
“Because you can get people from
different places in the world why not
“So that scientists can do more
research on penguins behaviour and
“I don’t know why.”
“Some penguins have to live in a
different type of happitat so there
boddie have to adapt and their
boddie can change.”
“Because when penguins evolved
they all had different DNA causing
them to have different apperances”
The Big Question: What is going on inside the wire?
Practical Prompts for Thinking
Make the bulb light
Which magnet is the strongest?
What are you going to test?
What are you going to
What type of graph is
What would be the learning objective?
How would you assess the learning objective?
Ofsted 'Maintaining Curiosity' Science Education Survey 2013
The best science teachers, seen as part of this survey, set out to ‘first
maintain curiosity’ in their pupils. The most successful schools
visited during this survey had adopted this as a key principle in
teaching science and this not only fostered enthusiasm for the
subject in their pupils but helped them to fulfil their potential.
This report highlights the
importance of teaching science
for understanding. For pupils to
achieve well in science, they
must not only acquire the
necessary knowledge, but also
understand its value, enjoy the
experience of working
scientifically, and sustain their
interest in learning it.
In the best schools visited,
teachers ensured that pupils
understood the ‘big ideas’ of
science. They made sure that
pupils mastered the investigative
and practical skills that underpin
the development of scientific
knowledge and could discover for
themselves the relevance and
usefulness of those ideas.
Explicit connections between science and literacy, when teachers
made them, showed clear evidence of better science and literacy
outcomes for pupils. Imaginative teaching allowed pupils to use
their science work as a purpose for their reading and writing, in
effect doubling the time available to teach both subjects.
Teachers were tempted to short-cut any writing tasks in lessons,
anxious that pupils moved on to practical work. This reinforced the
idea in pupils’ minds that clear planning and subsequent recording of
observations and results were not important parts of science
practical activities. At its worst, inspectors heard pupils say: ‘We like
science because we do not have to write anything.’
Using Bright Ideas and
Practical Prompts has
engaged their imaginations
and they often make links to
work covered in other
topics. Many of my Year 5
say that they love science
and parents have been
commenting on how much
their children talk about
what is being covered.
The children are more
confident in talking about
scientific ideas and they
share more without
worrying that they might be
wrong. They love the
practical sessions and the
responsibility of planning it.
I have learnt absolutely loads. I feel far
less concerned about lengthy recording in
their books. My lessons are fun and
interactive with lots of practical activities.
I start every lesson with a PMI or Odd
One Out, like a mental starter in maths,
and the children love this. I feel my own
scientific knowledge and understanding
has really improved thus I am more
confident in delivering my lessons.
It's been thought provoking, inspiring,
challenging and a great deal of fun! I now
enjoy teaching science more than
anything else - Thank you!
It has just been a truly amazing project.
Thanks so much to all concerned. I've
been teaching 15 years and have never
felt so inspired and motivated to get up
and go to work in the morning.