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EDSI600 Science Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment (F-6)

Unit rationale, description and aim

The Australian Curriculum and Early Years Learning Framework require teachers to have clear, scientific knowledge, understandings and skills support children in making informed decisions about local, national and global issues.

In this unit, pre-service teachers will experience and create designs for learning that promote children’s continued experiences of and engagement with scientific knowledges, concepts, applications, and skills of inquiry and investigation.

There will be an emphasis on exploring and developing effective, ethical, and culturally appropriate pedagogical practices addressing early years and science curricula. Incorporated are contemporary understandings of how children learn (including planning and assessment) in a range of early years and primary educational contexts. 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’ strong understanding and knowledge of Science, and the interconnected ideas of sustainability, and environmental diversity

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 - Use research, current education policies, relevant State and National curriculum frameworks and Early Years Learning Framework to articulate ways that teachers can support children to investigate their contribution to and impact on society and the environment (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.1, 2.4, 2.5; ACECQA B1, B2, B3, B6, F5)

LO2 - Apply aspects of the nature of Western and Indigenous perspectives of science and science teaching which contribute to the common good, the environment and society (GA2, GA4; APST 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.4, 4.1; ACECQA C1, C4, C7)

LO3 - Analyse and apply a range of learning and teaching approaches in designing for children’s learning in science, with particular focus on setting challenging goals through exploratory and purposeful play, inquiry-based integrated and inclusive learning (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA10; APST 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1; ACECQA B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C1, C2, C4)

LO4 - Design and reflect on appropriate assessment strategies of and for learning, including provision for how judgements can be made and moderated to evaluate children’s learning of science and sustainability (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 1.4, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3.4, 3.6, 5.1; ACECQA B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C1, C2, C4, C7)

Graduate attributes

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

GA3 - Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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.

1.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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.

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.

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.

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

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

B. Education and curriculum studies

B1. Early Years Learning Framework

B2. The Australian Curriculum

B3. Numeracy, science and technology

B6. Social and environmental education

B9. Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation 

C. Teaching Pedagogies

C1. Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C2. Play based pedagogies

C4. Teaching methods and strategies

C7. Contemporary society and pedagogy 

F. Early childhood professional practice

F5. Research 


Topics will include:

  • Theories and approaches to teaching Science through emergent and integrated curriculums including: scientific inquiry, problem solving, play-based learning and ethics of care
  • Science education in the Early Years Learning Framework and Australian Curriculum (and/or other state-based curricula as relevant); including Science understanding, Science as human endeavour and Science inquiry skills
  • Education for sustainability in early learning; integrating science, sustainability and the environment across learning outcomes from the Early Years Learning Framework and cross-curriculum priorities in the Australian Curriculum
  • Western and Indigenous perspectives of, and ways of knowing in, science, with special attention to sustainability and the environment
  • Key Science and inquiry understandings developed by children in early childhood and primary settings
  • Science; investigating the nature, development, and application of Science in the biological, chemical, physical and earth and space sciences
  • Science in Society; examining the ethical use of Science and implications for the wellbeing of individuals, societies and the environment
  • Creativity in Science; exploring the links between Science and creativity, especially with other areas of the curriculum (e.g., The Arts)
  • Key Science resources and materials; including safe and responsible use of physical and ICT resources and materials
  • Knowledge of learning and development in Science for setting learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics
  • Pedagogy for the effective and inclusive teaching and assessment of Science to children in early childhood and primary settings
  • Constructing learning sequences appropriate for primary school settings related to the development of age appropriate knowledge and understanding, and including appropriate pedagogical and assessment practices
  • Contemporary approaches to assessment and reporting; working with appropriate data and evidence of learning in Science for diagnostic, formative and summative purposes.
  • The contribution of science knowledge and practice in broader society, examining its ethical implications for the common good, society and the environment

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. The lecture and supporting materials for this unit will cover key concepts across the four science disciplinary areas (Biological sciences, Earth and space sciences, Physical sciences and Chemical sciences) in order to support the development of appropriate science pedagogical content knowledge and inquiry skills . Tutorials will be active, collaborative and experiential, with a focus on the application of science understandings and inquiry skills that are aligned to relevant curriculum frameworks and paradigms. Through active participation in lectures and tutorials, pre-service teachers will develop a deep understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry along with the ability to use a range of scientific inquiry methods including questioning, planning and conducting experiments and investigations, collecting and analysing data, evaluating results and drawing ethical and critical, evidence-based conclusions. First-hand experience with an inquiry-based approach to science teaching and learning will ensure that pre-service teachers are able to develop their own knowledge and skills as well as transfer these effectively to early childhood and primary classroom contexts. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required 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 learning including but not limited to reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts and video. 

Technology Enhanced Learning

The unit will include a Learning Management System (LMS) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to promote connection between on campus content and educational experiences. The LMS site may include:

  • Online review exercises.
  • Discussion board to exchange ideas and refine learning.
  • Video illustrations of teaching practice and focused readings addressing a wide spectrum of teaching contexts, practices and competencies;
  • Weekly face-to-face lectures and / or online lectures (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • Hands-on tutorials and discussions that promote peer learning;
  • Self-directed reading and research
  • Collaborative learning opportunities.

Face-to-face/Online Learning support

Students enrolled in both face to face and online learning modes are required to regularly log into the Learning Management System site to access recorded lectures and important announcements, to communicate with other students and lecturers, and to submit assessments and access feedback and grades. Students who are enrolled in either face to face or online learning will have equal access to support from the lecturer in charge and tutors.

Additional equipment requirements for online learning:

  • Reliable broadband access is recommended.
  • Headset with microphone to listen to podcasts, view videos and interact in synchronous classes.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate the course learning outcomes by demonstrating academic and professional standards through achievement against the unit learning outcomes. The Curriculum Studies units in this course focus on developing understanding of and skills in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment for a selected discipline with reference to the Early Years Learning Framework and the primary learning areas of the Australian Curriculum. Emphasis is given to demonstrating professional knowledge of the content and how to teach it (APST 2), and professional practice in planning and implementing learning (APST 3) and assessing learning (APST 5), with consideration to the wellbeing of individuals, societies and the environment, and the critical role that Science plays in these areas. In this unit the assessment focuses on applying pedagogical content knowledge and ethical considerations to inquiry-based learning in Science for learners from birth to 12 years. The two assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development in demonstrating pedagogical practice in: knowledge and skills for identifying and analysing science-based teaching and learning activities exploring a range of pedagogical approaches appropriate to the curriculum area, including an ethics of care approach (Task 1); and applying knowledge and skills to develop a learning sequence for teaching and assessing a selected Science topic to young children (Task 2); applying knowledge of the Science learning area to develop skills in making, moderating and justifying judgements of learner performance to reflect on assessment of and for learning.

A range of assessment procedures are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements. (

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for pre-service teachers to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to complete and submit all assessment tasks. Assessment in this unit includes a Critical Task: Task 2 Inquiry Learning Sequence. This task is core to the demonstration of a number of Australian Professional Teacher Standards. Pre-service teachers must demonstrate mastery of every summative standard listed in the learning outcomes and attain a score of at least 50% in Task 2 and a pass overall.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Multimedia Folio of Science Teaching Approaches

Develop an evidence-based folio of at least four teaching and learning activities that cover a range of approaches to science (i.e., inquiry, problem solving, play-based learning, Indigenous science, and ethics of care) and demonstrates the importance of science education for the wellbeing of individuals, society and the environment, for primary (5-12) learners.


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Inquiry Learning Sequence

Critical Task

Develop an integrated, inquiry teaching and learning sequence for a designated curriculum level and focus, that incorporates links to sustainability science and a rich assessment task suitable for a project-based learning.

  • Use a justified approach to support children’s learning and engagement in Science and selected cross-curriculum priorities and/or elements of early years curriculum where relevant (e.g., Being, Belonging, and Becoming in F-2 levels).

Design an assessment guide of and for learning, and strategies for judgement-making (e.g., rubric/criteria for summative assessment) and moderation.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Required Documents:

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority. (2020). Australian Curriculum: Science

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority. (2020). Implementation of the Foundation – Year 10 Australian curriculum.

NOTE: This Reference has links to the implementation of the Australian Curriculum (including Science) for all Australian States and Territories.

Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Being, belonging and becoming: Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Recommended References

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

Bhathal, R., & Bhathal, J. (2018). Australian backyard astronomy (2nd ed.). Canberra, ACT: National Library of Australia.

Cahir, F., Clark, I., & Clarke, P. (2018). Aboriginal biocultural knowledge in south-eastern Australia: Perspectives of early colonists. Clayton South, Vic: CSIRO Publishing.

Campbell, C., Jobling, W., & Howitt, C. (Ed.). (2021). Science in early childhood (4th ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

Dawson, V., & Venville, G. (2021). The art of teaching primary school science (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Fleer, M. (2015). Science for children. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

Krajcik, J., & Czerniak, C. (2018). Teaching science in elementary and middle school: A project-based approach (5th ed.). Routledge.

Loxley, P., Dawes, L., Nicholls, L., & Dore, B. (2017). Teaching primary science (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.

Moeed, A., & Rofe, C. (2019). Learning through school science investigation in an Indigenous school: Research into practice. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Nogrady, B. (Ed.). (2019). The best Australian science writing 2019. Sydney, NSW: New South Publishing.

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

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

Skamp, K., & Preston, C. (Eds.). (2021). Teaching primary science constructively (7th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

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