Teaching Primary Science: Physics

Enhance your physics subject knowledge for teaching primary science and discover practical activities for your physics lessons.

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Teaching Primary Science: Physics
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Help your primary students to excel in primary school physics

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

On this course, you’ll examine the key subject knowledge areas within the physics element of the primary science curriculum.

You’ll develop your own knowledge of physics and discover practical activities to use in your classroom to explain physics concepts to your students.

You’ll also consider common misconceptions children may have and how to identify and help your students overcome them.


  • Week 1

    Understanding light and sound

    • Getting Started

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

    • Challenging misconceptions

      Throughout this course, we will look at some of the common misconceptions children have, and how we can address these with hands on activities and careful use of language.

    • Light

      We explore some of common misconceptions that children might have related to the topic of light, with practical ideas that allow children to investigate their ideas.

    • Sound

      Getting hands-on with musical instruments can help children to explore and challenge their own thoughts and ideas about sound.

  • Week 2


    • Introduction to the week

      This week we will be looking at forces, thinking about what children need to know, any misconceptions that they may have and how we can support correct understanding.

    • Subject knowledge: forces

      We look at how we describe the forces acting on an object, including friction and gravity.

    • Misconceptions about forces

      Discover the typical misconceptions children have around forces.

    • Eliciting Misconceptions

      You can use diagnostic activities to reveal children's understanding of forces. We start by looking at the use of annotated diagrams.

    • Reconstructing the learning

      See how to address common misconceptions through challenging children’s ideas. Here we look at how to demonstrate concepts like air resistance and gravity.

  • Week 3


    • Introduction to the week

      Welcome to the final week of the course. This week we'll be looking at electricity.

    • Subject knowledge: electricity

      In the following steps we look at the science behind electricity. We will examine what electricity is, and explore electrical conductors and insulators.

    • Misconceptions about electricity

      Discover the typical misconceptions children have around electricity.

    • Eliciting Misconceptions

      Discover how to find out if children think that only metals conduct electricity, cells go flat because the electricity runs out and that components in a circuit get more electricity if they are closer to the cell.

    • Reconstructing the learning

      We take a look at three practical activities to help children to develop their understanding of electricity.

    • Reviewing your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you plan for learning.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

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 physics.
  • Apply subject knowledge of physics 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 primary teachers and trainee teachers in primary education (pupils aged 5-11 years) who want to develop their physics subject knowledge.

The course refers to the English National Curriculum, but the subject matter is equally transferable to other curricula, and you’ll be encouraged to explore connections with your own national curriculum.

Who will you learn with?

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.

I spent 10 years working as a primary classroom teacher, 7 as a science subject leader. I’ve also supported schools as a leading science teacher before joining STEM learning as a primary specialist.

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.

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.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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