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EDST241 Science Education 1: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment


EDST167 Science and Technology for Early Childhood and Primary Teachers 1 , EDST201 Science and Technology Education , EDST261 Science and Technology Education , EDST204 Science and Technology for Early Childhood and Primary Teachers 2 , EDST264 Science and Technology for Early Childhood and Primary Teachers 2

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit continues to provide deep and critical immersion in the teaching and learning of science for primary school emphasising the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to plan and implement sequenced learning experiences for children. The unit continues to explore the three dimensions of science: Science Inquiry, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Understanding with a particular focus on Physical and Chemical Science, drawing on other content relevant to these focus areas. Pre-service teachers’ science content knowledge, and knowledge of science curriculum and pedagogy of these topics will be fostered by drawing on relevant theories of learning. Lectures and tutorials showcase learning and teaching approaches for primary science classrooms informed by research.

This unit aims to assist pre-service teachers in further develop a deep and critical understanding of the teaching and learning of science for primary school emphasising the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to plan and implement sequenced learning experiences for children, with a particular focus on Physical and Chemical Science.

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 an advanced understanding of theories of how children learn in science and the ability to apply these principles to teaching and learning situations (GA5, GA6, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, 4.4)

LO2 - critically examine and apply the Australian Curriculum: Science documents and other relevant science curricula to their teaching practices (GA4, GA5; APST 2.2, 2.3)

LO3 - demonstrate their ability to use and implement appropriate planning, teaching and assessment strategies and resources, including the ethical use of ICT, in their teaching of science in primary school settings that are responsive to a diverse range of student abilities (GA4, GA8; APST 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.2, 2.3, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.4, 5.1, 5.4)

LO4 - exercise critical thinking and judgment in integrating diverse science teaching approaches to plan science lessons that address Australian Curriculum: Science Content Descriptions including the General Capabilities and Cross Curriculum Priorities of the Australian Curriculum or equivalent state documents (GA5, GA6, GA8; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.3, 3.2, 3.4, 4.1, 5.1, 5.4)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

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


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.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

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.

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.

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

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

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.


Topics will include:

  • How children learn in and through science
  • Theories of teaching and learning about science in primary school settings
  • Planning, assessing and programming in science
  • Practical workshops aligned with the Australian Curriculum: Science - Physical Sciences and Chemical Sciences which: model activities appropriate to the primary science classroom and provide opportunities to design assessment tasks that enhance primary student learning
  • Examination and use of Australian Curriculum: Science and other relevant state/territory science curriculum documents and other resources to plan effective learning sequences in primary science classrooms.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be delivered in a combination of tutorials, lectures and online tasks. Learning will be enabled by collaborative group work, presentations and discussions that require participants to reflect on applying theory into practice.

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 with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

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 tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to participate in and submit all assessment tasks, achieving a Pass grade overall.

Total assessment is the equivalent of 4,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

The Assessment Task requires participants to use their developing science knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy to plan a sequence of learning experiences.

Part A

Sequence of science learning experiences

Part B

Individual critical reflection of the lesson sequence

50% (Part A 30%, Part B 20%)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Choice - For the purposes of national moderation all campuses must select the same task:

Essay - How children learn in and through science. Theories of teaching and learning about science in primary school settings must be included


 ePortfolio – of ideas and school observations that showcase knowledge and understandings related to science curriculum and pedagogy.


Presentation - create and present a learning sequence based on the Australian Curriculum which caters for students’ diverse needs and uses a range of teaching strategies appropriate to the target science concepts


Exam of short answers and extended responses on the key content of the unit.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

Basu, S.J., Barton, A.C., & Tan, E. (2011). Democratic science teaching: Building the expertise to empower low-income minority youth in science. Rotterdam; The Netherlands. Sense publishers.

Fitzgerald, A. (Ed.). (2013). Learning and teaching primary science. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

Fleer, M., Jane, B., & Hardy, T. (2007). Science for children: Developing a personal approach to teaching (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.

Fitzgerald, A. (2012). Science in primary schools: Examining the practices of effective teachers. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Loxley, P., Dawes, L., Nicholls, L., & Dore, B. (2014). Teaching primary science: Promoting enjoyment and developing understanding (2nd ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge; Taylor and Francis.

Meadows, J. (2012). Science and ICT in the primary school: A creative approach to big ideas. Hoboken, NY: Taylor and Francis.

Pedretti, E., & Nazir, J. (2011). Currents in STSE education: Mapping a complex field, 40 years on. Science Education, 95(4), 601-626.

Skamp, K. (Ed.). (2012). Teaching primary science constructively (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Smith, K., Loughran, J., Berry, A., & Dimitrakopoulos, C. (2012). Developing scientific literacy in a primary school. International Journal of Science Education, 34(1), 127-152.

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