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Teaching secondary science
Teaching secondary science

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2.1 What is practical work?

The term ‘practical work’ itself is vague and covers a broad range of activity.

Reflection point

What does practical work bring to your mind? What, in your experience, is the purpose of practical work? What is its role in helping pupils to acquire knowledge of science and the concepts that we want pupils to grasp? To what extent does practical work in schools reflect the nature of science?

Practical work is more than lab coats and Bunsen burners! It can serve several different purposes. It may aim to support the learning of science content, develop skills (e.g. using instruments, process or investigation skills), give students a feel for a phenomenon, develop their conceptual understanding or help students learn about the nature of science.