4 Summary

Elementary students will only develop their scientific investigation skills by ‘doing’ science. As a teacher you need to provide opportunities for students of all ages to carry out open-ended investigations that are meaningful and relate to their life experiences. It is only through practical investigation that your students will develop essential thinking skills that will enable them to understand the scientific process.

This unit has explored how young students can conduct investigations with the support of their teachers. With appropriate teacher support, your elementary level students are capable of asking questions, making observations, predicting outcomes, carrying out practical investigations, recording information, interpreting data, drawing conclusions and reporting findings. Incorporating investigations into their learning will increase your students’ enjoyment of science, improve their skills and contribute to the development of their complex critical thinking for the future.

Students also need feedback on how well they are doing and where they could improve their skills. This needs to be given in ways that students find useful and help them make progress, otherwise they will ignore the feedback. (For more details, you may want to read the key resource ‘Monitoring and giving feedback’).

3 Planning and performing investigations