Your school uses the resource Learning Science Through Observation, Investigation and Imagination. At school, your child has a Student Science Journal, which is kept in the classroom. Your child records their learnings in science and their reflections on learning in their journal. The Student Science Journal is an ideal record that can be used at parent–teacher or student-led interviews.
How children learn science
You can support your child’s learning in science by thinking about the words observation, investigation and imagination. These verbs typify the way your child learns science at school. Children are encouraged to think like a scientist: using their powers of observation, undertaking an investigation and using their imagination to explain why.
At primary school, your child progresses from having a very egocentric view of the world (where they think everything is like them and has some form of consciousness) to being able to apply logic to concrete objects or events. In the later years of primary school, children can draw inferences from observations to make generalisations about the world, but they still struggle with abstract ideas.
In child psychologist Jean Piaget’s influential studies of cognitive development, he categorised children at primary school age as being in the ‘pre-operational stage’ (until age 7) and then the ‘concrete operational stage’ (ages 7–11).
This understanding tells us that, in learning science, children need to be in touch with physical objects; also, their explanations will only relate to concepts that they can observe. We encourage the use of children’s imagination as a fun way to build a bridge to explaining concepts in less concrete ways.
What you can do
You play a major role in your child’s learning in science, and in the very easiest of ways. For example, when taking a walk, or when you are at the beach or looking at the stars or cooking dinner, ask your child what they observe about the things around them. You don’t need to have the answers to any questions they may ask – throw the question back to them and ask what they think the answer is and why.