Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit enables pre-service teachers to develop a deep understanding and knowledge of Science, and the diverse ethical and moral aspects of science in society. Pre-service teachers will apply their gained knowledge in designing meaningful teaching experiences that promote inclusivity, cultural awareness, ethics and care in the science classroom.

There will be an emphasis on exploring and developing effective, ethical, and culturally appropriate pedagogical practices addressing the diverse aspects of the Australian Curriculum, including cross curriculum priorities. Pre-service teachers will develop and promote rich, inclusive, interconnected understandings about the world around them associated with scientific endeavour and sustainable living.

The aim of this unit is to develop pre-service teachers' understanding of teaching science in the primary school, with particular reference to the role of science in the critical transition to a sustainable, ethical and just society.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate reflective pedagogy of selected science content, including ways of engaging and working scientifically, at levels appropriate for both primary teachers and a diverse range of students (GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 4.1)

LO2 - Critically articulate and reflect on current beliefs about the nature of science from personal experience and theoretical understanding (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.1)

LO3 - Compare and contrast students’ learning in science from Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.4)

LO4 - Evaluate and use a range of science and ICT resources relevant to the teaching of science from an ethical and sustainability perspective (GA4, GA8, GA10; APST 2.5, 2.6, 3.4, 3.6)

LO5 - Synthesise curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design, implement and evaluate a sequence of learning experiences and programs for primary school students of varied abilities, based on reflective critical understanding of current views of learning in science with understanding of the literacy/numeracy demands within the Australian Curriculum: Science syllabus (GA4, GA8; APST 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 4.2)

LO6 - Appraise and design procedures for the management of science learning environments, including ICT, that demonstrate an understanding of the relevant legislative, administrative and organizational policies and processes ensuring safety, responsibility and equitable access to opportunities for all learners (GA5; APST 4.1, 4.4, 4.5, 7.2).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.


Topics will include:

  • Content from relevant Australian curriculum documents
  • Theories of learning and teaching in Science 
  • Current ideas about the nature of Science
  • Strategies for developing Science skills in students
  • Programming, lesson planning, classroom management in Science
  • Issues of equity in Science education, including Indigenous perspectives of Science and supporting the learning of Indigenous students
  • Sustainability, ethics, cultural diversity and Science education.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In line with social constructivist principles, this unit is premised on the belief that teaching and learning activities should build on prior knowledge, connect with the learner’s needs and interests, be inclusive and sensitive to a range of cultural perspectives, and encourage active participation. Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit, including lectures, practical workshops and on-line learning experiences. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment will relate directly to the achievement of the outcomes. The first item is common across all campuses. Lecturers may choose one of the second tasks.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Design and presentation of a lesson sequence that includes at least four sessions, clearly stating the teaching approaches adopted, and how the aims and teaching approach connects to the Australian Curriculum: Science and the cross curriculum priorities.


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Choice:

For the purposes of national moderation all campuses must select the same task.

An examination or series of in-class tests based on the learning outcomes for the unit. Extended response and short answer questions will form the basis of the exam/tests.

Pre-service teachers will demonstrate understandings of theories and topics covered in this unit in relation to Science content and pedagogy in the primary classroom. Programming issues, student safety, the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes will be examined.


  • Essay - How students learn in and through science. Theories of teaching and learning about science in primary school settings must be included, addressing all the learning outcomes for the unit.


  • ePortfolio – of ideas and school observations that showcase knowledge and understandings related to science curriculum and pedagogy, addressing all the learning outcomes for the unit


  • Report - reflecting consideration of the environment through the lens of sustainability, addressing all the learning outcomes for the unit


  • Presentation - a practical task presented to the peer group implicitly involving scientific thinking and working, addressing all the learning outcomes for the unit


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Allen, M. (2019). Misconceptions in primary science (3rd ed.). Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.

Castano Rodriguez, C. (2016). Which values regarding nature and other species are we promoting in the Australian science curriculum?. Cultural Studies of Science Education. 11(4). Pp 999-1021. doi:10.1007/s11422-015-9675-7

Jalongo, M. (2014). Teaching compassion: Humane education in early childhood. 10.1007/978-94-007-6922-9.

Koch, J. (2017). Science stories: Science methods for elementary and middle school teachers (6th ed.) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Noddings, N. (2013). Caring: A relational approach to ethics and moral education (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Pascoe, B. (2018). Dark emu: Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture. Broome,WA: Australia Magabala Books.

Saxena, A. (2019). Ethics in science: Pedagogic issues and concerns. Gateway East, Singapore: Springer.

Skamp, K. & Preston, C. (2020). Teaching primary science constructively (7th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

Settlage, J., Southerland, S., Smetana, L. & Lottero-Perdue, P. (2017). Teaching science to every child: Using culture as a starting point (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Taylor, N., Quinn, F., & Eames, C. (2015). Educating for sustainability in primary schools: Teaching for the future. 10.1007/978-94-6300-046-8. 

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