National Curriculum sets out in some detail the programmes of
study which are children's minimum entitlement in science. Systematic
information about children's understanding of the science which
is prescribed in the National Curriculum is a prime research target.
Of particular interest is conceptual progression and effective
strategies to promote teaching and learning.
Primary SPACE (Science Processes and Concept Exploration) Project
worked closely with teachers to find out about children's understanding.
It examined the concept areas covered by the national curriculum.
The Project, directed by Professor Wynne Harlen and Professor
Paul Black, was based at the Centre for Research in Primary Science
and Technology, University of Liverpool, and the Centre for Educational
Studies, King's College London.
The research is constructivist in orientation. That is, it is
based on the assumption that children actively construct their
own understanding of how the world works. Their ideas are influenced
both by their understanding of their own direct experiences and
by their interpretation of socially transmitted ideas. These ideas
recur with high frequency and may impede a shift towards conventional
scientific understanding. Knowledge of children's starting points
is invaluable to teachers and curriculum developers since it provides
insight as to where teaching should begin.
The SPACE Project Research Reports were published between 1989
and 1998 to present the results of this exciting enquiry into
the ideas which children form about scientific concepts and processes.
Each report describes some aspects of the sequence and development
of children's intermediate understandings in a particular science
domain. They record, in fascinating detail, the classroom methods
used by teachers to elicit children's ideas; summarize the main
ideas which emerge between Reception and Year Six and also describe
some of the techniques used to help children develop their ideas.
most recent work of the SPACE project (
has been extended to examine teaching and learning across Key
Stages 1, 2 and 3 (age 5-14 years).
Primary SPACE Project research results were used as the foundation
for Nuffield Primary Science, published by the Nuffield-Chelsea
Curriculum Trust and Collins Educational.
here for more information about the entire series and where to buy.
* The Earth in Space
* Evaporation and Condensation
* Processes of Life
* Rocks Soil and Weather