Practical Ideas for Teaching Primary Science

We have recently published our first primary science book, Practical Ideas for Teaching Primary Science by Vivian Cooke and Colin Howard. Aimed at trainees and teachers, this up to date text addresses primary science teaching in light of the new primary National Curriculum and the latest Teachers’ Standards, providing creative, inspiring and practical ideas and approaches for teaching the full range of science topics. In this post Colin and Viv present some thoughts on their motivation for writing the book.

It is a really proud day for me now that Viv Cooke and I have had our book ‘Practice Ideas for the Teaching of Primary Science’ published by Critical Publishing. It has been a long held dream of mine to write a practically based text for trainee teachers and serving teachers to help them successfully deliver science teaching in the primary school setting. I wanted the reader to learn that science is fun, should be motivating and easily within the grasp of the study of all children.

When you first start teaching it is like driving a car you are worried about the mechanics of all the skills you will have to master whilst also worrying about all the knowledge that has yet to be acquired. What you really want when you start on your teaching career are just good texts that you can draw from and can dip into in order to gain easily accessible ideas that can be used in class. You also want these ideas to have been tried and tested with children over time. That was the starting point when writing this book, I wished it to be accessible and full of practical ideas that were easily used or adapted without thinking I need lots of equipment and resources to carry these out. Ideas I would have wanted to start my career with and ideas drawn from many years of successfully teaching primary science. I also wanted to help those less scientifically confident individuals by given them as readers brief inputs of factual information, which are now found in the fact files, in order to help underpin their developing sense of subject knowledge. The book also has been created to help trainees consider what aspects of science misconceptions may hold children back from developing their understanding of various topics and thus limit pupil progress.

Though there are other good science books which trainees might read when studying to teach I wanted this text to reference the new primary curriculum so that they could see how the statutory orders might be implemented practically in school and how easy it can be to deliver quite complex ideas using simple practical investigations.

I am really pleased that Julia Morris at Critical Publishing has been so supportive in my efforts at writing and had guided me through this process. Without her critical yet supportive help this book would not have been so successful. I also wanted to say that when you write about something you know and believe in that it is not as daunting as you might think. Given that when I was very young my education was less than illustrious or academic I know that the great enemy to anyone successfully achieving their goals is a lack of belief in one’s own ability and therefore I urge you all to take that leap of faith like I have done when writing this book and make your dreams become a reality.

Colin Howard

I am delighted that my colleague Colin Howard and myself have written Practical Ideas for Teaching Primary Science which was  published by Critical Publishing in July of this year.   I have been teaching science for over 25 years, first of all as a primary school teacher and then in higher education,  as part of initial teacher training courses both,  undergraduate and postgraduate ones.   Many students that I have met over the years have found science difficult,  or  become disengaged with the subject by the time they came on my course.  Most students do not have a science background. I thus  wanted to write a book which would help those training to become teachers, as well as those that are already   teachers to understand science concepts and help them teach science using a practical hands on based approach which would motivate and engage primary children.  The book provides a significant bank of practical ideas and information to help the teacher as well as signposting common children’s misconceptions in a range of science topics.  Thus teachers are made aware of  children’s ideas around the topic before they start their teaching which should help with their planning and teaching. The science concepts and practical ideas described are all linked to the new National Curriculum and will thus provide some very useful support for all teachers on how to implement the new statutory orders.  References are made to using simple resources as well as making the most of the outdoors as well as other books, journals and internet sites.  Readers are also encouraged to reflect on some of the key messages in each chapter which will help develop their own professional practice.

Writing a book is a very time consuming exercise but a most enjoyable one too.  I have derived a huge amount of satisfaction in writing this book and I would recommend the experience to anyone who is contemplating putting pen to paper too.

Viv Cooke

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