Effective instruction in science requires hands-on experience and observation. In the words of the Association for Science Education: ‘A good primary science education:
Acknowledges that children come to science education with ideas, observations and questions about the world around them and use these as the foundations for their learning.
Nurtures children’s curiosity and inspires them, in a rich learning environment, to discover more and to develop positive attitudes and an appreciation of the nature of science.
Challenges children to develop and use scientific skills; acquire and apply scientific knowledge, understanding and language; investigate through playing, exploring and experimenting; communicate and collaborate effectively with others; challenge scientific evidence.
Enables children to make connections between scientific ideas and to see how they are developed and applied in other disciplines and beyond the classroom.’
While experience counts for much, learning from books is also important, for it helps bring coherence and order to a child’s scientific knowledge. Only when topics are presented systematically and clearly can children make steady and secure progress in their scientific learning. The child’s development of scientific knowledge and understanding is in some ways a very disorderly and complex process, different for each child. However, a systematic approach to the exploration of science, one that combines experience with book learning, can help provide essential building blocks for deeper understanding at a later time.