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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Teaching Primary Science: Getting Started. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds I’m Karen Brunyee, and with my colleagues, Sarah Dagnell and Tanya Shields, we are the primary science professional development leaders at the National STEM Learning Centre. We will be taking you through this course, Getting Started, which is designed for primary teachers of science, supporting you to develop your practice in improving children’s learning through enquiry driven science.

Skip to 0 minutes and 35 seconds We will cover three core areas of primary science: Planning for practical science, mapping enquiry types and skills, and developing thinking and reasoning in your classes. Through examples from these topics, you’ll explore approaches to teaching the subject based upon sound pedagogy and share your experience in the classroom with others. By working scientifically, children will be able to develop behavior and skills that reflect those of real scientists. Acquiring knowledge as a result of the process of questioning, observing, investigating, identifying patterns, explaining and initiating inquiry. This week, we’re going to focus on the importance of planning for and resourcing, practical science.

Skip to 1 minute and 21 seconds We’ll look at how to plan practical science, what are the key resources you might need for any science activity, and how using roles in class could help to structure your group work. We start with considering the importance of a well resource lesson, to allow children to explore in context rather than an abstract concept. The first thing we’d like you to do is to say hello in the discussion below, and share your experiences in primary science, either as a teacher or as a student yourself.

Getting started with primary science

Welcome to Teaching Primary Science: Getting Started from the National STEM Learning Centre.

When was the first time you remember being curious about the world around you?

As children, we naturally questioned everything, wanting to understand the mechanics behind the world we met. Primary Science should nurture this natural curiosity, to develop children’s understanding of the world and teach them essential enquiry skills. It should start the process of inspiring our scientists of the future as they build their understanding of the value and place science has in their lives.

This three-week course will develop your confidence and enable you to tackle practical science in the primary classroom. You will:

  • develop your confidence in carrying out practical science for 5-11 year olds
  • share ideas on how to plan for effective practical work in primary science
  • and collaborate with peers, educators and mentors to share and critique ideas for teaching practical science.

Watch the video above and find out what we’ll be looking at together this week.

Explorify This course has been endorsed by Explorify. Explorify is an award-winning free digital resource, created by Wellcome. It’s changing the way primary science is being taught in schools with engaging, creative science activities designed to spark curiosity, discussion and debate. We look at thinking and reasoning in Week 3 using Explorify resources.

Course support

Karen Brunyee, Sarah Dagnell and Tanya Shields are the Primary Professional Development Leaders at the National STEM Learning Centre. They will guide you through this 3-week course, supporting you to develop your teaching of practical primary science. They will also record responses to a selection of your questions in the Q&A session. Your course mentor is Allie Beaumont, who will be contributing to discussions between 14 September - 18 October 2020.

Mentor support for this run of the course has now finished. However, this course has been designed so that you can learn with others online using the course comments and offline with your colleagues. You are welcome to join the next run of this course where mentor support will be available again.

Tasks and discussions

As you progress through the course you will be asked to undertake several tasks that will provide you with opportunities to:

  • Reflect on your teaching of primary science and others you have observed.
  • Explore ideas for effective practical work in primary science.
  • Create opportunities for developing thinking and reasoning.
  • Share ideas with others.

Tasks are clearly indicated and are highlighted with a vertical line in the left-margin - like the one against this paragraph. The first tasks of this course are at the bottom of this page.


To start off, we’d like to know a little more about you. What experiences have you had of primary science, as a teacher or as a student yourself? Let us know who you are and your thoughts in the discussion below.

Mark complete

When you complete a step on the course, click Mark as Complete at the bottom right. This helps you keep track of your progress. Mark over 90% of the course steps complete and you’ll be eligible for a Certificate of Achievement when you Upgrade.

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching Primary Science: Getting Started

National STEM Learning Centre