Excerpt: Over the last decade the teaching of science in secondary schools in the UK has been under scrutiny. Surveys undertaken on behalf of the Assessment of Performance Unit report the levels of performance attained by a national sample of pupils in a range of measures and point out, among other things, some of the difficulties that secondary school pupils have in understanding certain scientific ideas. In addition studies of secondary science classrooms including the survey undertaken by HMI suggest that didactic teaching methods still tend to predominate especially in upper secondary classes. When the Secondary Science Curriculum Review was instigated to address a number of issues in the teaching of science in secondary schools the Children’s Learning in Science Project was set up to work in collaboration with the Review. The intention was to develop revised teaching approaches which would be informed by research on children’s thinking in science and current theoretical developments in cognition. In particular we identify three potentially fruitful theoretical developments which suggest the need for rethinking our approach to teaching and learning science.
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