• NATIONAL STEM LEARNING CENTRE
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Teaching Primary Science: Chemistry

Develop your knowledge of chemistry to support your pupils' learning as part of the primary science curriculum.

Teaching Primary Science: Chemistry
  • Duration3 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $54Find out more

Improve the way you teach primary science by building your chemistry knowledge

To teach primary science effectively teachers must have strong subject knowledge, but many primary teachers are not science experts.

On this course, you’ll explore the key knowledge required to teach the chemistry elements of the primary science curriculum.

You’ll learn about the common misconceptions and misunderstandings children may have and learn how you can help your students identify and overcome them.

You’ll discover practical activities to do with your primary school students that will help them to learn scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    From 4 May 2020

    Understanding materials and their properties

    • Getting started

      Welcome to the course. We start by establishing what chemistry is and where it fits in the primary science curriculum.

    • Subject knowledge

      Gain an understanding of the concepts needed to effectively teach materials and their properties in the primary classroom.

    • Misconceptions: materials and their properties

      Identifying and addressing misconceptions is an essential part of successful teaching. But, what exactly are they and how do they arise?

    • Eliciting misconceptions

      Making time to discover whether children hold misconceptions is crucial for planning future learning. Throughout the course we’ll look at different ways to do this.

    • Reconstructing the learning

      After misconceptions have been elicited, they must be addressed through our teaching.

    • Reflect on your learning this week

      Time for you to reflect on what you’ve taken away from the course so far.

  • Week 2

    From 11 May 2020

    States of matter

    • Subject knowledge: solids liquids and gases

      Extend your own subject knowledge about the three states of matter and their properties

    • Eliciting misconceptions

      Discover some suggested activities to elicit children’s misconceptions around states of matter.

    • Reconstructing the learning

      See how to address common misconceptions through challenging children’s ideas. Here we look at discussions to define a solid, looking at sand under a microscope and creating a water cycle in a bag.

    • Reflect on your learning this week

      Time for you to reflect on what you’ve learnt this week about the states of matter.

  • Week 3

    From 18 May 2020

    Changes of materials

    • Subject knowledge

      In the following steps we look at the science behind dissolving and why it is often confused for melting. We also examine changing materials where a new material is formed.

    • Misconceptions

      Here we take a look at some of the most common misconceptions about changes in materials.

    • Eliciting misconceptions

      Discover how to find out if children think that dissolving and melting are the same thing, a dissolved substance has disappeared and if they have an incomplete understanding of irreversible changes.

    • Reconstructing the learning

      Challenge children’s misconceptions about changes of materials and reconstruct incorrect ideas.

    • Reviewing your learning on this course

      Overall review of the course

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Identify the importance of good subject knowledge when teaching primary science.
  • Develop personal subject knowledge of chemistry.
  • Apply subject knowledge to class teaching of pupils aged 5-11 years old.
  • Explore practical activities to teach scientific concepts in the primary curriculum.
  • Identify common misconceptions children may have in primary science concepts.
  • Develop teaching strategies to identify and overcome children’s misconceptions.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for teachers and trainee teachers of primary education (pupils aged 5-11 years).

Teaching assistants may also be interested in developing their subject knowledge through this course.

This course refers to the English National Curriculum but teachers of young students from around the world will be able to apply the course teachings to their own curricula.

Who will you learn with?

Sarah Dagnell

Sarah Dagnell

I have been a primary school teacher for 13 years and work at Clifton With Rawcliffe Primary, York. Currently, I also work 3 days a week at the National STEM Learning Centre in the Primary PDL Team.

Karen Brunyee

Karen Brunyee

I am currently a Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Learning Centre in Primary STEM. I have been a teacher for 14 years, teaching classes from FS2 to Year 6.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

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