Science & STEAM
Science is a core specialist program for all students in the school. STEAM comprises Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics.
Eltham North Primary School provides an engaging and exciting Science program for every child. Students explore the chemical and physical sciences in a laboratory style environment participating in a hands on program that involves the children completing a large variety of practical investigations. It is important for students to observe science in action, rather than to simply read or be told about it. With a high emphasis on safe lab procedures, students can be seen utilizing an extensive range of equipment working to rediscover the theory that great scientists before them have explored. Our program provides children with a variety of individual and small group experiences. The program is sequenced allowing students to build on their personal knowledge and experiences each year.
To implement the Science program, we have access to a newly developed laboratory style room that enables projects to be implemented that require space and specific materials. We have walking access to Edendale Farm and the surrounding creek area that enables us to complete field work on a regular basis. The school grounds also provide a science rich environment for students to observe, gather data, and produce reports on their observations.
Our specialist Science teacher, Jo Harwood leads inquiry based sessions with the senior students in terms one and three. In terms two and four the junior school participate in the program. All students are involved in a safety induction program at the beginning of each year to ensure that they are well acquainted with correct laboratory procedures. Safety in the Lab is paramount and students develop a strong sense of the need for these practices. Procedures are regularly reviewed with students at all levels. These procedures are also designed to assist the students in completing practical investigations to a high standard producing pleasing and often exciting results for them.
During the induction program, the students and program leader work collaboratively to produce some communal expectations of everyone working in the Lab. This year, the agreed expectations are:
To follow instructions
To respect others
To always behave in a safe manner
To not be afraid to take a ‘safe’ risk
Program Development: The school invested in the conversion of an old space into a new and exciting Science and Cooking Centre. New kitchen appliances were installed as well as a large range of specialist Science equipment being purchased and made available for student use. Students are learning to use digital microscopes and are looking forward to using Bunsen Burners soon. Laboratory coats, goggles and gloves have become standard attire as the students hypothesise and test their theories during their Science lessons each week. Every student in the school will have access to the program where they will be able to use equipment often reserved for use in a secondary school science laboratory. There is an excitement in the air as students can be overheard discussing their latest investigation results!
Students have been donning lab coats, goggles and gloves as they begin to investigate how the scientific world works.
Our level 3 and 4 students have been put through an extensive safety induction where they have been taught to identify and rectify potential hazardous situations in the laboratory environment. They were also treated to a unique laboratory safety video in which they were very quick to spot the hazards.
Have a look and see how quick you are to spot the hazardous conditions at www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr7roogzM8c.
Students were then put to the test with their first investigation and safely created borax crystals.
An abundance of exciting equipment is making its way into the lab. Test tubes, bunsen burners, digital microscopes, light boxes and many other tools will be available for students to explore with this year. The digital microscope will be introduced this term and students will be able to use it to create slides for use with the class. One exciting feature of this new piece is that students will be able to use the projector to share their images with the class. This will be of particular interest to the level 3 students as we are investigating Living Things.
We invite you to come and check out this new and exciting space!
SCIENCE: Our Curriculum
Foundation Level: (Preps)
The prep students investigate the chemical sciences areas of materials and the physical science area of movement. Both programs are literacy based as well as involving some initiating practical investigations. In the materials unit, students learn about natural and synthetic materials. Sorting and classifying materials according to their origin, properties and purpose. A collage project is one exciting feature of this unit.
In the movement unit, the students study the way objects move. They explore whether size or shape are factors in the way an object moves. This unit includes many practical investigations carried out in a whole class setting. Basic scientific language pertaining to laboratory practices is introduced at this level.
The two key areas of exploration build upon the knowledge and experiences that the students gained in the Foundations year. Students explore how everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways. This unit involves a wide range of practical investigations carried out in both the Lab and the schoolyard.
In the Physical Sciences unit, the investigations are structured in order to explore the range of sources of light and sound. The way in which our senses are involved in this process is also researched and tested in a variety of practical investigations. The students are beginning to be responsible for some areas of the practical investigations but are often led through the investigations with high teacher direction. Students are building on their language acquired in the foundation year and begin to use more specific terminology when discussing practical investigations.
In this program students continue to build upon their knowledge of materials by looking at the ways in which different materials can be combined. Students are involved in mixing substances for both specific purpose as well as fun to ‘see what happens’! Once again, this unit includes a large number of practical investigations. It is at this point that students are explicitly taught the purpose of PPE( personal protective equipment) where they are regular wearers of safety goggles, Lab coats and goggles. This is a most enjoyable aspect of the program for students as it is at this point that they view themselves as real scientists.
The second area of study is a physical sciences unit where we look at how a push or a pull affects how an object moves or changes shape. Once again, the students complete a variety of practical investigations to observe how this occurs. It is at this stage that students begin to complete short statements using correct terminology when reflecting on an investigation.
In Year three, the students are further extended in the materials unit as they explore the change of state between solid and liquid. We investigate the effects of adding or removing heat and how this influences state of matter. Many practical investigations are carried out and it is at this point that students are encouraged to begin designing their own investigations to test their hypothesis. This unit compliments the second unit where we explore the many ways in which heat can be produced and how it can move from one object to another. At this stage, students are introduced to the format of a written practical investigation report. They are led through the key areas and begin to produce their own simple reports with teacher assistance. Correct scientific terminology is encouraged when writing up practical investigations.
The first unit of study is in the area of physical sciences where an extensive study of forces is completed. We specifically look at how forces can be exerted by one object on another through direct contact or from a distance. Again, students design and complete a wide range of practical investigations. It is at this level that students begin to explore specific vocabulary associated with writing up practical investigations and they begin to become more responsible for the creation of their prac reports. They further develop these skills in their second unit of work where the physical properties of natural and processed materials are put to the test. Building on their knowledge from previous years, students make predictions about how the properties of particular materials can influence their use.
The first unit of study at this level is a physical sciences unit on Light. An in depth study of how light from a source forms shadows and can be absorbed, reflected and refracted is carried out through a variety of practical investigations. Students begin to work alone to complete these investigations to encourage them to become more independent, rather than always relying on a prac partner.
The second unit continues the study of materials from the previous year, but the students look at more sophisticated ways in which solids, liquids and gases have different observable properties. We look at how the state of matter influences the different ways in which the substance may behave. This is another unit where the students are improving their laboratory skills and they can be seen to be organizing many aspects of an investigation including making their own improvements to the methods suggested to investigate a question or solve a problem.
Electricity is the first unit that the students explore in this program. Students complete investigations in order to make accurate conclusions about how an electrical circuit provides a means of transferring and transforming electricity. They also explore how energy from a variety of sources can be used to generate electricity. At this stage, students are usually working independently to complete investigations as an emphasis on personal organization is actively fostered.
The second unit is a chemical sciences unit on change. We explore reversible changes to materials such as melting, freezing and evaporating. They are compared to irreversible changes such as burning and rusting. Students work towards designing their own investigations in this unit. They are assisted to plan appropriate investigation methods to answer questions or solve a posed problem.