Credit points


Campus offering

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EDST241 Science Education 1: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment ; EDST342 Science Education 2: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment ;EDST261 Science and Technology Education ;EDST264 Science and Technology for Early Childhood and Primary Teachers 2

Unit rationale, description and aim

Knowing how to teach science to primary school children is vital because, as the Australian Curriculum makes clear, scientific knowledge, understandings and skills support children in making informed decisions about local, national and global issues.

This unit contributes to the recognition of a teacher’s responsibility to the common good, the environment and society. The assessment in this unit is aligned to the capabilities required to teach science: to think critically and creatively about the Australian Curriculum: Science and relevant state-based curriculum; to demonstrate the skills of scientific investigations; to have relevant content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in science; to understand learning theories relevant in science, and to understand both Western and Indigenous perspectives of science. Pre–service teachers will work both autonomously and collaboratively to locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information in the development of their competencies towards Graduate level for Standards 1 and 2 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

The aim of the unit is to allow pre–service teachers to demonstrate the values, knowledge, skills and attitudes of a competent and confident teacher of science, as prescribed by the Australian Curriculum: Science, to primary school children.

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 - Identify aspects of science teaching which contribute to the common good, the environment and society (GA2, GA4; APST 2.1, 2.4, 4.1; ACECQA B2, B3)

LO2 - Demonstrate knowledge of the Australian science curricula (and relevant state syllabus and curriculum) and the General Capabilities and Cross Curricula Priorities as they pertain to the Learning Area of Science (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.4, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4; ACECQA B2, B3)

LO3 - Apply understanding of scientific processes through collaborative planning and undertaking of a scientific investigation (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8; APST 2.1, 3.3, 3.4, 4.2; ACECQA B3)

LO4 - Select and demonstrate aspects of scientific content knowledge which are the basis of the Scientific Understanding Strand of the Australian Curriculum: Science F-6 (including relevant state syllabus and curriculum) (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 3.3, 3.4; ACECQA B2)

LO5 - Design, develop and evaluate learning sequence(s) in science using appropriate evidence-based pedagogical approaches; relevant theories of learning, assessment strategies and relevant aspects of the Australian Curriculum: Science (and relevant state syllabus and curriculum) (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 4.1, 4.2; ACECQA B2, C4)

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

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively

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.

1.4 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.

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.

3.3 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.


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

B Education and curriculum studies

B2. The Australian curriculum

B3. Numeracy, science and technology

C. Teaching Pedagogies

C4. Teaching methods and strategies


Topics will include:

  • Examination and use of the Australian Curriculum: Science, relevant state-based curricula, including Cross Curricula Priorities and General Capabilities as they pertain to the Australian Curriculum: Science Learning Area
  • Theories of learning in science in primary school settings.
  • Scientific investigations: processes and skills involved in asking testable questions; undertaking methods of data collection which pay heed to the need to control variables; collecting data; analysing data, and making valid conclusions based on those data
  • Scientific content knowledge aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Science and state syllabus and curriculum
  • Pedagogical content knowledge relevant to teaching science in primary schools from evidence-based pedagogical approaches
  • Western and Indigenous perspectives of, and ways of knowing in, science, with special attention to the resources and Descriptors in the Australian Curriculum: Science and state syllabus and curriculum which specifically target Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Assessment practices relevant to primary school science education
  • 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
  • Evaluation classroom teaching practices for improved learning.

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, 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 pedagogical content knowledge. Tutorials will be active, collaborative and experiential, with a focus on the application of science understandings and inquiry skills that are aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Science (and relevant state syllabus and curriculum). 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 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 transfer their knowledge and skills 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 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 etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The major assessment task for the unit is intended to provide pre-service teachers with the opportunity to design and conduct a practical science investigation that would be appropriate for an early childhood/primary classroom. The task is sufficiently open-ended to allow pre-service teachers to follow their own line of interest within a science disciplinary area and includes a proposal element to enable early feedback and guidance. The secondary assessment is intended to allow pre-service teachers to showcase their developed knowledge and understandings related to science curriculum and pedagogy. 

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to complete all assessment tasks, and achieve a Pass grade overall. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task

Proposal and Peer Review of a Practical Science Investigation and Book Plan



GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 1:

Practical Science Investigation and Book

The Assessment Task requires pre-service teachers to undertake a scientific investigation in the area of Science Understanding which incorporates Physical sciences, Chemical sciences, Biological science or Earth and Space science, for a particular stage of child development and report it in a book format.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 2:

Unit Plan and Presentation (Group Task)

Create and present a learning sequence incorporating practical examples based on the Australian Curriculum: Science. The sequence is to:

  • Cater for students’ diverse needs
  • Use a range of teaching strategies including ICT and strategies to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  • Include the General Capabilities of literacy OR numeracy as they apply to the Science Learning Area.
  • Include at least one lesson which uses the Australian Curriculum: Science Elaborations for the Cross Curricular Priority "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures"


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 3: Critical Reflection

Pre-service teachers select an area of science teaching pedagogy (based on unit content) that they would like to enhance in their own practice. They incorporate specific actions into their Unit Plan and Presentation (Task 2) that helps them to develop the targeted skills. A written reflection on the:

i) skill(s) targeted;

ii) how they planned for these in Task 2; and

iii) evidence of their efforts and improvements in the targeted area

need to be presented in a critical reflection.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required texts:

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

Venville, G., & Dawson, V. (2019). The art of teaching primary science (3rd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Australian Curriculum

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

Relevant State and territory curriculum and syllabus documents

New South Wales K – 10 Syllabuses

The Victorian Curriculum F-10

Relevant State and Territory Curriculum Authority

ACT Education Directorate:

New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA):

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (CAA):

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA):

Recommended references

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

Bybee, R. W. (2009). The BSCS 5e instructional model and 21st century skills. A commissioned paper prepared for a workshop on exploring the intersection of science education and the development of 21st century skills. Retrieved from

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. (2017). Teaching primary science: Promoting enjoyment and developing understanding (3rd ed.). London: Taylor and Francis.

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

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