Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsWe have looked at the five different types of enquiry that are mentioned in the English National Curriculum.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsThese are: Sorting, Classifying and Identifying, Pattern Seeking, Comparative or Fair Testing, Observation Over Time, and Research. It is very useful to map enquiry across the school. This ensures that the children are able to experience all five types of enquiry, and develop the required skills associated with each type. Mapping it out ensures coverage and progression of content knowledge when we compare maps across year groups. There will be times when a certain enquiry type is not appropriate for a particular topic or program of study, and this is fine. Over a year or age phase the children will experience all enquiry types if they are planned for. Here is an example of a mapping grid for Year 5, age 9-10.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsAs you can see, the teacher has looked at the appropriate enquiry types for each topic in the year. They used the learning objectives from the English National Curriculum and thought of a practical activity they could do to cover it. In this way they can ensure coverage as they can be sure they will be teaching all enquiry types over the year. You can see that they have missed fair and comparative tests for animals including humans as this was not appropriate. Think of a unit of study that you teach with your year group. Are there any enquiry types that you think work really well?

Skip to 1 minute and 33 secondsFOR EXAMPLE: if you were thinking about everyday uses of materials in Year 2 (age 6-7), you could use pattern seeking. You could investigate whether thicker materials absorb more liquid than thinner materials. You could also use Observation over time, through considering how long it takes for different materials to soak up a spill, or to dry after washing. Or perhaps you could use Sorting and Classifying to sort these materials into those that are suitable for making a waterproof hat.

Mapping enquiry across the school

Mapping out enquiry in your school is really useful as it ensures progression of skills, coverage of enquiry types and progression of content knowledge.

There will of course be times where a certain type of enquiry is not appropriate or not possible, this is fine, you just need to make sure that there is an even spread across the year.

This is an example of a coverage map for enquiry types.

Enquiry map for Year 5
Enquiry map for Year 5 (view larger version).

In the next step, you’ll create an enquiry map for the topic of animals.

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Teaching Primary Science: Getting Started

National STEM Learning Centre