aiou course code 8638 book download free(GENERAL SCIENCE IN SCHOOL)

aiou course code 8638 book download free(GENERAL SCIENCE IN SCHOOL)



CODE No: 8638                                               UNITS: 1–9


Unit 1: Nature of Science ……………………………………………………………. 1
Unit 2: Science Education at Elementary Level …………………………….. 39
Unit 3: The Science Teacher ……………………………………………………….. 67
Unit 4: Learning Science…………………………………………………………….. 87
Unit 5: Strategies and Methods for Teaching Science …………………….. 117
Unit 6: Use of Instructional Aids …………………………………………………. 173
Unit 7: Assessment of Students’ Learning in Science Teaching ………. 203
Unit 8: Planning for Science Teaching …………………………………………. 223
Unit 9: Teaching of Science Concepts ………………………………………….. 241


Science Education at Elementary Level ……………………………..
The Science Teacher ………………………………………………………..
Learning Science……………………………………………………………..
Strategies and Methods for Teaching Science ……………………..
Use of Instructional Aids ………………………………………………….
Assessment of Students’ Learning in Science Teaching ……….
Planning for Science Teaching ………………………………………….



The Teacher Education Programs have great significance in the society. The mission of these programs is preparing qualified potential teachers by equipping them up to date knowledge, and skills to teach effectively. Faculty of Education is preparing qualified and competent teachers nation-wide. The faculty and administrators are engaged in the continuous support and strengthening of the mission of Allama Iqbal Open University. The development, improvement, and successful implementation of the Teacher Education programs are also focus of the attention for the Faculty of Education.


Teacher plays a pivotal role in teaching learning process. A teacher must complete some kind of teacher education before becoming a full-time teacher. The quality of student’s success is directly linked with the quality of teaching. Teachers are responsible for developing suitable instructional strategies to facilitate students in order to achieve the curriculum expectations. Teachers also use suitable methods for the assessment and evaluation of students learning. Teachers motivate students and apply variety of teaching and assessment approaches in the classroom, dealing with individual students needs and ensuring sound learning opportunities for every student.


With the explosion of knowledge in all fields of study, there is also an increase in knowledge regarding teaching strategies, pedagogy and assessment techniques. The world is becoming a globalized village. This globalization process and the social changes linked with it demand the introduction of permanent changes and reforms in the educational systems. The teacher’s new role is very crucial. In their new role, teachers should support both the students, parents and society. Teachers should act as guides for their students and facilitate them in their individual progress, taking into consideration the challenges of the globalization process. Science and technology can be helpful in shaping students views about life and learning. Now a days science and technology exist in a broader social and economic context and in turn have a significant impact on society and the environment. Teachers must provide opportunities for students to develop interest for science and technology. They must also ensure that students acquire the knowledge and skills need for safe participation in significant and technological activities. For this, there is need that teachers should be equipped with latest knowledge and skills regarding teaching and learning techniques so that they can cope up successfully with the challenges of latest school programs as well as the challenges from the society.




Keeping in view the latest trends in education, Allama Iqbal Open University has started B.Ed (1.5 years) program. The new approaches of teaching science have been included in this course. This course also provides several hands-on opportunities for prospective teachers to develop and refine their inquiry skills, critical skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills and creative thinking skills while studying fundamental concepts.


I congratulate Dr. Iqbal Shah, HoD, Department of Science Education, the Course Development Coordinator Mr. Arshad Mehmood Qamar, writers and reviewers of the course who worked hard in the development of this course. All of them worked dedicatedly like a team and completed this task in a highly professional way. I am thankful to Dr. Fazal Ur Rehman Programme Coordinator (B.Ed 1.5 Years) for his dedicated efforts. My special thanks to Prof. Dr. Nasir Mehmood Dean Faculty of Education.


We will welcome comments and suggestions from the teachers and the public for the improvement of this course.




Prof. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui Vice Chancellor





The recent era is the era of explosion of knowledge and globalization. The expanding Information communication Technologies have provided new opportunities as well as challenges for teaching and learning of science.


Traditionally, the basic role of school education was to provide basic know how of science and to prepare the pupils for further studies in the field of science. In the present era, science and technology have left the four walls of the laboratory and entered all spheres of life. The concept of science education for specialization has been extended to the new concept of science for all. Scientific literacy is one of the major goals of school science in the contemporary world.


With the new developments in cognitive psychology there is a paradigm shift from teaching to learning. The science teacher needs to acquire such knowledge and skills as will help her/him to meet the challenges of the 21st century.


This course has been organized to provide knowledge of new methods of planning, teaching, assessment and evaluation. The focus of the course is preparation of competent science teachers to teach science at elementary level. Therefore “General Science in Schools” is intended to help teachers to teach science. All relevant areas of teaching and learning science have been included in this course.


In the first unit, students will learn about the nature of science. All important concepts about this theme have been elaborated in it in detail. Furthermore the Implications of nature of science for teaching and learning science are also discussed there. In the second unit the overview of science education at elementary level is discussed. The need for teaching science at elementary level is also highlighted in this unit.


In the third unit, the role of science teacher has been described. With the advancements of technology and changing world, the role of teacher is also changing. Therefore the characteristics of teacher are also discussed in it. In the fourth unit science learning is focused. The types of different learning are also discussed in this unit. Moreover the misconceptions in science are also addressed and how to remove these misconceptions are described there.


The fifth unit consists of the strategies and techniques for teaching science. Once the students will understand the nature of science, need to teach science at elementary level, role of science teacher, the understanding of strategies and




techniques will become easy. Being a science teacher, the prospective teachers must have a thorough knowledge of these strategies and techniques. Therefore a detailed discussion about the strategies and techniques is described in the unit.


In the teaching and learning process the use of instructional Aids is very important. Learning can be improved and enhanced with the help of instructional Aids. Keeping in view the importance of instructional Aids, Unit Six contains a full discussion on it. Here not only conventional aids of teaching have been described but also the latest instructional Aides have also been described such as use of ICT, internet and computers etc.


Assessment is the important element to measure the learning outcome. Unit seven describes the different modes of assessment. It also guide the teachers how to develop and score the tests. The qualities of a good test are also described in this unit.


For everything we do, we need proper planning. Teaching can be made successful and impressive if there is also proper planning for it. Unit Eight describes the importance of planning along with unit planning and lesson planning. The structure of lesson is also very important. There is an exclusive section on it in this unit. In the teaching and learning science process, the laboratories play a vital role. Therefore this unit also has a section on managing science laboratory.


The last unit of this course consists of teaching of science concepts. In this unit, different lesson plans have been given based upon different techniques. This unit will be very helpful for the prospective teacher and give them an outlook and information for the lesson plans in various disciplines of science such as teaching of biology, chemistry, and physics.


This course is quite comprehensive and because of its scope it can be useful resource not only for prospective and beginning teachers but also for experienced teachers, science coordinators and science educators as well.




Dr. Iqbal Shah Head of Department

Department of Science Education

































Written by:       Arshad Mehmood Qamar Reviewed by:    Dr. Muhammad Safdar





Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………… 3

Objectives………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3




This is the first unit of Course “General Science in Schools”. This Course aims at equipping the trainee science teachers with the knowledge, skills and dispositions required for teaching Science effectively. Unit on Nature of Science (NOS) is very valuable as it fulfills the main standard of science education. Apart from it there are a number of justifications for teaching the nature of Science (NOS).


Some people argue that teaching about nature of Science is important to help the teachers understand the difference between science and non science. Students gain an understanding of the nature of science, so that they can see how science is connected to the real world. Science education research over recent decades has also shown that teaching about the nature of science enhances students’ understanding of science content, increases students’ interest and helps show the human side of science.


Researches show that science education is helpful to develop scientific attitudes. In this era of science and technology, technology is the application of scientific principles. Technology has become the part and parcel of our lives.


In this unit you will learn about the nature of science, what scientists say science is?

You will also gain understanding about scientific inquiry. In the final section of the unit, you will read the difference between Science and technology.



After completing this unit you should be able to:

  1. Tell what is Science
  2. Describe the three components of Science e. scientific knowledge, science processes and scientific attitudes.
  3. Enumerate science process skills and describe their
  4. Analyze the nature of Science and describe its implications for teaching and learning
  5. Describe the difference between science and technology and also explain their




1.1 Science

Can you tell “what is science?” explain your view point of science based on what you have already learnt about science? Start thinking about it and develop your understanding by reading the following.


Ontological meaning of science is “knowledge”. The word science has been derived from the Latin word “scientia”, meaning knowledge. So we can say that science is the knowledge about nature and natural phenomena.


Science can be defined under two approaches that are science is both body of knowledge (product) and process. The body of knowledge includes knowledge of facts, theories and laws. Whereas process includes how knowledge, theories and principles are formulated or developed.


According to Cambridge English Dictionary Science can be defined as “ Science is a knowledge got from the careful study of the structure and behavior of the physical world, especially by watching, measuring, and doing experiments, and the development of theories to describe the results of these activities.


There are other definitions which reflect nature of science. These are as follow.

  1. The systematic observation of natural events and conditions in order to discover facts about them and to formulate laws and principles based on these facts. The organized body of knowledge that is derived from such observations and that can be verified or tested by further investigation in any specific branch of this general body of knowledge, such as biology, geology or astronomy. (Source: Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology).
  2. Science involves more than the gaining of knowledge. It is the systematic and organized inquiry into the natural world and its Science is about gaining a deeper and often useful understanding of the world. (From the Multicultural History of Science page at Vanderbilt University)


  1. Science is an intellectual activity carried on by humans that is designed to discover information about the natural world in which humans live and to discover the ways in which this information can be organized into meaningful A primary aim of science is to collect facts (data). An ultimate purpose of science is to discern the order that exists between and amongst the various facts.


Dr. Sheldon Gottlieb in a lecture series at the University of South Alabama


In our everyday activities we are doing science, we can observe science in natural phenomenon, ranging from burning of fire to rain, from plants growth to food formation in the leaves. These entire phenomenon obey some natural and scientific principle.




Science is finding facts of things, processes, and phenomenon. These facts lead to develop theories, principles and laws which lead to further researches.


Science is a human activity through which problems are identified and questions are defined, and solutions proposed and tested. In this process data is collected and analyzed, and available knowledge is applied to explain the results. Through this activity, investigators add to the body of knowledge, thereby helping people better understand their surroundings. Applications of this knowledge also may bring about changes in society and the cultural order and may have a direct bearing on the quality of life. (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 1986).


According to Singh and Nayak (1997), the true test of a theory in science is threefold:

  1. Its ability to explain what has been observed
  2. Its ability to predict what has not been observed: and
  • Its ability to be tested by further experimentation and to be modified as required by the acquisition of new data.


In the light of above discussions science works through three major steps to test theory which are; observation, predictions based upon observations and experimentation. It is common consensus of science educationists that science has three major elements process, product and attitude. The method or process used by scientist in the search or exploration of truth has authenticity and is unique, valid, reliable, impartial and objective. Through this process theories can be tested in a well organized manner by controlling extraneous variables. According to Kumar (1995), there are two approaches of scientific study; first approach includes laws, principles and theories, which consider science as a product. Second approach includes scientific attitude and scientific method, which lay emphasis on science as process. The both approaches are equally useful and can be used in their way for achievement of objectives of science.


Every student must learn how scientific ideas are formulated, tested, and revised. He must also learn why scientists engage in this activity.


It is common practice that we focus on product aspect of science i.e. knowledge of facts, theories and laws and ignore the process aspect of science i.e. how knowledge about facts, theories and laws is generated or constructed. Science educationists are of the opinion that process approach is more important than product approach because it enables the students to have better understanding regarding everyday problems of scientific nature like global warming, pollution and their aftereffects. Process approach has ability to help students in doing and learning science. It is like, when a person wants to become a mechanic, that person would need to know what a mechanic does, and what type of skills and knowledge is required for mechanical work etc. Researches show that if students are




given instructions about the purpose of experimentation they design better experiments. It is therefore equally important for both the teacher and taught to understand what science is and how a scientist acquires knowledge.


Attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about something. Attitude is helpful for quality work. Positive attitude leads towards professionalism. For example, if you want to develop good quality teaching skills you must be open minded to listen critics of others and should be ready to change your way of teaching if it needs improvement. Doing science also requires certain attitude and a specific way of thinking. Scientific attitude includes: critical thinking, creativity, open-mindedness, and ability to revise initial conclusions when new evidence reveal them wrong etc.


We can conclude that science has three components/ aspects: product, process and scientific attitudes.


Key Points

  • The word science is derived from the Latin word “scientia” meaning
  • Science is a systematic way of acquiring
  • Scientific attitude includes critical thinking, creativity, open mindedness, ability to revise initial conclusion when new evidence reveal them as
  • Science as product is : knowledge about facts, theories and principles/ laws
  • Science as process includes observation, experimentation, and collection of data and drawing of
  • As a teacher you should have a scientific


Self Assessment Exercise 1.1

  • Answer the following questions:
    1. Define science in your own
    2. How science is interesting?
  • Why scientific attitude is necessary for a science




1.2      The Scientific World View

Scientists have their own views about the nature. They also share certain basic beliefs and attitudes what they do and how they view their work. The way how scientists think greatly depends upon their views about the nature and natural phenomena.


1.2.1  Science as Knowledge

Read the text below, you will be able to understand Science as Knowledge.


  1. The World is Understandable

It is a fact that this universe is well organized. Science also presumes that things and events in this universe follow a set pattern. These things, events and changes brought by these events are understandable. Scientists believe that the world and its complexity can be explored by using scientific method. All the phenomena in this universe follow some basic rules/principles. If conditions remain same the same happening may occur in other part of the universe. So knowledge gained from studying one part of the universe is applicable to other parts. For example, the different heavenly bodies follow same laws of motions.


  1. Scientific Knowledge Can Change

Theories are formulated on the basis of careful observations. New observations may change/challenge the prevailing theories. Addition or deletions of some part are inevitable. Therefore scientific knowledge is subject to change if new observations and evidence suggest that the new theory explains the phenomena better, or fits a wider range of observations. In science, the testing and improving and occasional discarding of theories, whether new or old, go on all time.


  1. Scientific Knowledge is Durable

Although scientists reject the notion of attaining absolute truth and accept some uncertainty as part of nature, most scientific knowledge is durable. Scientific theories are more often modified and expanded rather than their outright rejection. With the emergence of technology and advancement of science the scientists are able to make accurate predictions about natural phenomena. Continuity and stability are as characteristic of science as change is, and confidence is as prevalent as tentativeness.


  1. Science Cannot Provide Complete Answers to All Questions

There is a general misconception that science has answer of every question and solution of every problem; which is not true. There are many matters that cannot usefully be examined in a scientific way. There are, for instance, beliefs that—by their very nature— cannot be proved or disproved (such as the existence of supernatural powers and beings, or the true purposes of life). Science is unable to prove non materialistic/ abstract phenomenon. For example honesty, evil and goodness etc have no rigid structure.





1.2.2  Science as Product

In previous classes you must have read many concepts, hypotheses, theories, principles or laws of science. All these are different forms of science product/knowledge. Let us study these forms of knowledge in detail.


  1. Scientific Facts

A fact is an observation that has been repeatedly observed and is accepted as practically functional and “correct.”While facts can be scientifically refuted or may not be consistent across time and place, they are considered true until they have been proven wrong.


Have you ever considered nature of facts? What is a fact?

  1. Plants grow towards
  2. The sun sets in the
  3. When common salt is dissolved in water, it disappears but its taste can be
  4. Earth attracts every object towards its


All of the above statements show that they are common observations. These are facts. They can be observed anywhere any time. According to Collette &Chiapetta (1989) “A fact is a truth, a reality, and actuality, and the state of things as they are.” Facts can be identified on the basis of two criteria:

  1. They are directly
  2. They are demonstrable at any


Facts are known due to some underlying reasons. Light travel in straight line is a fact, which is experimentally proved. Some facts lead to exceptional events like earthquake, unusual behavior of an organism.


Sometimes statements which are not based on direct observation are also considered as facts. For example, the statement that sun contains Helium is not a fact but a conclusion based on fact/s that sun has lines which are similar to the spectrum of Helium.


Activity 1.2: Make a list of facts which can be directly observed.


  1. Scientific Concepts

A scientific Concept is an idea/model explaining some natural phenomenon. When we observe things, objects events, or some phenomena, we collect a number of facts about them. As the facts accumulate, they begin to show certain relationships and patterns. For example, we observe that most of the animals which have hair on their body, give birth to young ones, and feed their babies are given the name of ‘mammals’. Names of mammals are concepts which are formed on the basis of some facts.





Concepts represent a collection of large number of facts or data into a manageable form

e.g. animal, plant, atom, mammal, earth quake, force, acid, and many other similar concepts are included in science.


Concepts are means of describing relationship between different facts in a brief manner and they help us in understanding nature in a better way.


Discuss the list of statements of facts that you have made with your friends. Ask them what they think about the statement? Are these facts? Why they think these are not facts?


  1. Hypothesis

A tentative statement about any concept, event or phenomenon is called hypothesis. In our daily life we often make guess about different things which are happening around us. If we see a person suffering from chill and nausia, we may guess that person is suffering from malaria. Hypothesis may be correct or incorrect. Now read and thinks about the following statements. Can we call them hypothesis?

  • The color of the light may affect plant growth.
  • Temperature may affect bacterial growth.
  • Exposure to the Ultra violet light may be a cause of skin
  • High temperature may cause change of leaves


If all of the above statements are testable then they will be called hypotheses. If statements are formulated after verification and careful observation, then they are likely to be rectifiable. A good hypothesis should state clear relationship between two variables. “If, then” hypothesis is able to be tested for cause and effect. Hypotheses re tested through experimentation.


Read the following statement:

  1. If skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet light, then people who are frequently exposed to ultra violet light will have a higher frequency of skin
  2. If the color change in leaves is related to low temperature, then exposing plants to low temperatures will result in changes in leaf color.


Formulate five hypotheses using “if” and “then” relationship. Also identify the dependent variable and the independent variable.


  1. Laws

Laws are another form of scientific knowledge. You may remember some of the scientific laws that you studied at school level e.g. Newton’s law of gravitation, Law of




conservation of energy, Boyle’s law, and law of Conversation of mass etc. How they are different from concepts or facts?


Let us take the example of Newton’s first law of motion. In his observations at different times on different objects and under the same conditions, Newton observed that objects do not change their state of motion or rest if no force is acting on them. For example, if a stone is lying on the floor it will remain like that if no force is acting on it or if an object is moving it will keep moving if no force is acting on it to change its state of motion. On the basis of his observations Newton made this generalization which we know as Newton’s law of motion.


Now if you read the statement of this law you would realize that it explains what happens when no force is acting on the objects. It does not explain its cause as to why object will keep its state of rest or motion in the absence of any force acting on it. Laws are the statements about certain phenomena or events which will always occur if certain conditions are present. So we can say that,


Law is often described in mathematical relationship. For example, the law of gravitation describes the force between objects having different masses at various distances.


According to a definition by Krimsley (1995) “Law is a set of observed regularities expressed in a concise verbal or mathematical statement”.


For example, Newton’s law of gravity could be used to predict the behavior of dropped object, but it does not explain why it happened.


  1. Theory

In your school you have read about many scientific theories For example, you may have read or heard about the theory of evolution, Dalton’s atomic theory, or molecular theory of matter. Let us briefly review the molecular theory of matter to see what is a theory and how is it different from a law.


The molecular theory of atom states that:

Matter is formed of small particles which are called molecules. Molecules of a pure substance are similar, whereas molecules of different substances are of different type. There is a force of attraction between the molecules which decreases as the distance between molecules increases. Molecules are constantly moving. In solid state, of matter the molecules are very near to each other hence there is more attraction between the molecules therefore their movement is limited only to vibration. In liquid state the distance between the molecules is greater than the solid state hence the force of attraction is less than in the solids. The molecules move in all directions but do not leave the surface of the liquid. Hence the liquids have a definite volume but no shape; they take the




shape of the container. In gas from the molecules are at more distance hence the force of attraction between the molecules is very small and molecules freely move in all directions. Gases have neither a fixed volume nor a fixed shape.


Now if you carefully read this theory, you will realize that it describes the structure of matter and explains the structure as well as reasons of different forms of matter.


As you may have noticed, this theory increases our understanding of different forms of matter.


Theory explains a set of related observations or events on the basis of proven hypotheses and verified multiple times. Scientists formulate theories to explain a large number of facts and observations about the natural world. A theory has the following characteristics:

  • It is internally consistent and compatible with the evidence
  • Firmly based upon evidence
  • Tested and retested against a number of different phenomena
  • Can be shown as effective for problem-solving


In our everyday discussions we use the term theory in the sense of speculation, but scientists do not call a theory until it has been tested through many experiments. Theories are more certain than hypotheses, but less certain than laws. A law describes what nature does under conditions, and will predict what will happen as long as those conditions are met. A theory explains how nature works.


Scientists accept both a scientific theory and a scientific law to be true. Some laws, For example, the law of gravity, are also taken as theories. The Newton’s law of gravitation is expressed in mathematical form (F=Gm1m2/d2) and it is a universal law. The theory of gravity has been derived from the law. The theory of gravity describes how gravity works, what causes it, and how it behaves. Similarly another theory has also been derived from the law of gravitation. The basic law remains unchanged.


Theories can be modified or disproved when new data or evidence is available. For example, theory of spontaneous generation was disproved. According to this theory living organisms could be made from non-living matter. In an experiment, Louis Pasteur, a French scientist, boiled meat broth into an S shape flask. The shape was changed so that air could enter the S shaped flask, but small microorganisms could not. He left that flask for many days, as expected by Pasteur, no organism grew in the both. In another regular shaped flask in which both air and microorganisms can enter, he put the broth and left it for the same period. After several days he again observed the flasks and found out that only in the open flask microorganisms grew. From these results he concluded that living things can only be produced from living things and not from non living matter. This also shows that scientific knowledge is not final and fixed it may change when new




information becomes available. If the new evidence suggests the existing knowledge is revised or changed.


A theory and law are alike but also different in many respects. For example, a theory is more complex and dynamic than a law. A law is a principle that forms the foundation of the scientific method; whereas a theory is the end result of scientific process.


Scientific theories are well documented and proved beyond reasonable doubt. Yet scientists continue to improve to make them more elegant and concise, or to make them more all-encompassing.


1.2.3  Science as Process

As we have already stated that science is not a mere collection of facts, principles or laws it has two other dimensions which are equally important. These include: (i) processes of doing science and (ii) scientific attitudes.


The process skills are actually the skills that a scientist uses to solve problems and find answers.


These are actually the same skills that we all use in our daily lives to solve problems.


Through the application of science process skills scientists conduct scientific inquiry and solve problems. Science process skills are integral part of science. What we teach in our schools reflects only the content of science i.e. facts, theories and principles.


“Learning about the content of science without learning the process of science is like trying to learn a language by memorizing vocabulary words from a dictionary without understanding the nature and structure of the language”. Suppose someone memorizes a large number of vocabulary words of a foreign language, do you think he/she would be able to read an article written in that language? Learning word vocabulary may help someone to roughly communicate some simple thing but will never be able to have a proper conversation with the natives of that country. To be proficient user of a language one needs to understand its structure. Similarly, in science, you may learn all of the facts but you will not understand why scientists change or reject certain theories. We often hear people commenting that “these scientists, one day they claim that tea, For example, is bad for health then suddenly they change their views and say it is good for health”, or comments like, “oh these scientists the keep on changing their statement”. This is because we as lay person do not realize that scientific knowledge is not final and may change as new research suggests something different from previous knowledge. Due to lack of awareness and understanding of how scientists gather and analyze their data, how they make hypotheses, it becomes difficult, if not impossible for the students to fully appreciate how scientific knowledge is generated. Science helps us to know about the natural world. Understanding science is more than memorizing science content. Study of science should enable the learners to understand science related socio-political issues. It should also enable the students to make sense of new information. For example, if they




read or learn something new about diet, exercise or disease they should be able to apply the information on their lives. Understanding the process of science and scientific problem solving can also help us in making more informed decisions in our daily life. Study of science should also help our students to make such decisions as whether to buy natural or synthetic products.


In 1838, two biologists Theodor Schwann and Mathias Schleiden were working on animal and plant cells. The two scientists shared their observations and found that there were many similarities between the two types of the cells. On the basis of their observations they formulated a theory of cell. According to this theory:

  • The cell is the unit of structure and functions in living
  • Cells exist as distinct entity and as that they perform all the functions which a living organism They are also building blocks of an organism


Have you noticed that in this process the two biologists used a number of skills of Science? For example, they made observations, draw conclusions, and communicate their observations. All these skills are essential skills to solve problems and to acquire knowledge. When we limit science teaching and learning to merely science content, we not only deprive our learners from the knowledge of how scientific knowledge is generated but also from learning science skills.


“Teaching the process of science means going beyond the content to help students understand how we know what we know and giving them the tools they need to think scientifically. Most importantly, it involves making explicit references to the process of science.” (Lederman, 2007)


When scientists conduct scientific inquiry he/she makes observations, hypotheses, predictions, interpretations, and communicates the knowledge resulting from investigation to others. These are often called the “process skills” of science.




Initially American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) developed a list of thirteen science process skills. Later a number of skills were added to this list. AAAS developed a curriculum project, Science- A Process Approach (SAPA) for elementary schools.


SAPA grouped process skills into two types: basic and integrated process skills. The student should develop proficiency in basic science skills before using the integrated process skills.




  • Basic Process Skills

Basic science process skills are as follows:

  • Observation
  • Communication
  • Classification
  • Measurement
  • Inference
  • Prediction


  1. Observation

Observation is the basic science process skill. In Observation a learner see objects and events with the help of five senses. Observational skill provide basis for other science process skills. The observations can be in qualitative and quantitative terms depending upon the purpose of observations. For example, the observations that the tree is very tall or dwarf is a qualitative observation, whereas 10 meter tall and 2 meter dwarf are quantitative observation.


  1. Measuring

Measuring the values of different observable things and events is an important skill, as it is necessary to describe dimensions of an object or event. Each dimension has certain units .e.g length of any object is measured in meters, volume is measured in liters, mass is measured in Kilograms, heat is measured in Calories; temperature is measured in Kelvin etc. some reliable tools or instruments are required to measure certain dimension, e.g. length is measured with foot, meter rod or inch tape, volume is measured with graduated cylinder, beaker pipette, or flasks etc, mass is measured with electrical balance, physical balance, or spring balance etc, heat and temperatures are measured with calorimeter and thermometers,


To describe the dimensions of an object or event we use standard and non standard measures and estimates. Some examples of standard measures include using a foot ruler or measuring tape to measure length, measuring volumes of liquids with graduated devices object or event, measuring temperature with thermometer, measuring mass of liquids, Solids or gases etc.


  • Classifying

Things and events are classified on the basis of same characteristics for easy and systematic study. This skill is abruptly used in science. You might have learnt about classification from class-IV to upper classes. Matter has been classified into four groups: Solids, liquids, gases and Plasma. In the same way biologists have classified living things into animals and plants.


  1. Inferring

Inference is explanation of what we observe. Making an inference means, drawing a conclusion about a specific event on the basis of our observations and the facts or data that we collect. Statement of an observation may include cause and effect relationships.




For example, we observe rat’s droppings in the room and infer that the lion is somewhere near that place, or if we observe that leaves of plants are eaten we infer that insects might have eaten them. In science inferences guide the investigator in his/her investigation.


  1. Communicating

Communication is sharing information or knowledge, results of an experiment, findings, ideas or opinion with others in verbal, written or graphic form. For example, we may describe the change in the height of a plant over a specified time in writing or through a graph. Writing the report of an experiment in words, presenting the result of an experiment in table, graph or chart from and verbally describing something are few examples of communication. Communication is an important skill both in daily life as well as in science.


In daily life we communicate verbally, in writing and also through pictures or as such communication is often termed, in pictographs or pictograms. Egyptians used pictographs as means of communication as we infer from the pictographs found in pyramids of ancient Egypt.


The following tables are one way of communicating data.


Light Intensity Plant growth rate in centimeters
250 2
800 5
1000 9
1200 11
1800 12
2000 15
2400 10
2800 5


  1. Predicting

Every day on radio and television the newscaster gives us information about the next day’s weather forecast, which is based on data such as amount of moisture in the atmosphere, air pressure etc. This is prediction. Prediction means “stating the outcomes of a future event based on a pattern of evidence”. For example, in an experiment the researcher observed the growth of a plant over a period of two weeks and makes a graph of it. Based on a graph of its growth during the previous two weeks, he predicts about its growth during the next weeks.


The six basic skills can be put in a logical order of increasing difficulty.

These basic skills are used in an integrated manner when scientists design and carry out experiments. For example, observations about the size can be made through measuring the objects, similarly to infer we need to first observe.




The science process skills form the foundation for scientific methods. These are important individually as well as when they are integrated together.

Identify the different basic process skills required to perform the following activities. NOTE: In any one activity more than one process skills may be required.

  1. A teacher asks his/her students to note the shape, margins and pattern of veins on

the leaves in the given diagram.

  1. The students were also required to identify the
  2. In the end the students were asked to describe the various types of leaves shown in the
  3. The last activity was grouping the leaves according to their


Think and plan some science activities in which one or more science skills are required.


  • The Integrated Process Skills

The term integrated means having more than one components or parts which are interrelated in some way. The integrated skills are the skills which require application of basic science skills. It is therefore important that the learners develop proficiency in the use of basic science skills prior to use integrated process skills. The integrated process skills include the following skills:

  1. Formulating
  2. Identifying
  3. Defining Variables
  4. Describing Relationships between
  5. Designing
  6. Experimenting
  7. Acquiring
  8. Organization of data in Tables and Graphs
  9. Organizing investigation and their data
  10. Understanding Cause and effect relationship
  11. Formulating Models


  1. Formulating Hypotheses – stating the proposed solutions or expected outcomes for These proposed solutions to a problem must be testable.
  2. Identifying of Variables – stating the changeable factors that can affect an It is important to change only the variable being tested and keep the rest constant. The one being manipulated is the independent variable; the one being measured to determine its response is the dependent variable; and all variables that do not change and may be potential independent variables are constants.
  3. Defining Variables Operationally – explaining how to measure a variable in an




  1. Describing Relationships Between Variables – explain relationships between variables in an experiment such as between the independent and dependant variables plus the standard of comparison.
  2. Designing Investigations – designing an experiment by identifying materials and describing appropriate steps in a procedure to test a hypothesis.
  3. Experimenting – carrying out an experiment by carefully following directions of the procedure so the results can be verified by repeating the procedure several
  4. Acquiring Data – collecting qualitative and quantitative data as observations and
  5. Organizing Data in Tables and Graphs – making data tables and graphs for data
  6. Analyzing Investigations and Their Data – interpreting data statistically, identifying human mistakes and experimental errors, evaluating the hypothesis, formulating conclusions, and recommending further testing where
  7. Understanding Cause and Effect Relationships – what caused what to happen and
  8. Formulating Models – recognizing patterns in data and making comparisons to familiar objects or ideas.



Science Process Skills and Integrated Skills an Overview.
Process of Science Competency Indicators
Observing ·        Observe objects or events in a variety of ways using one or more of the senses.

·        Identify properties of an object, i.e. shape, color, size and texture.

·        Use indirect methods, i.e. hand lenses, microscopes, thermometers, to observe objects and events.

·        Observe objects or events by counting, comparing, estimating and measuring.

Classifying ·        Identify properties useful for classifying objects.

·        Group objects by their properties or similarities and differences.

·        Construct and use classification systems.

Inferring ·        Suggest explanations for events based on observation.

·        Distinguish between an observation and an inference.

Predicting ·        Forecast a future event based on prior experience, i.e. observation, inference or experiments.
Measuring ·        Compare and order objects by length area, weight, volume etc,

Measure properties of objects or events by using standardized units of measure.

·        Measure volume, mass, weight, temperature, area, length, and time using appropriate units and appropriate measuring instruments.

Communicating ·        Construct and use written reports, drawings, diagrams, graphs, or charts to transmit information learned from science experiments.

·        Verbally ask questions about, discuss, explain or report observations.

·        After an investigation, report the question tested, the experimental design used, results, and conclusions drawn, using tables and graphs where appropriate.

Using      Space/Time Relations ·        Describe an object’s position, i.e. above, below, beside, etc in relation to other objects.

·        Describe the motion, direction, spatial arrangement, symmetry, and shape of an object compared to another object.

Defining Operationally ·        State definitions of objects or events in terms of what the object is doing or what are occurring in the event.





·        State definitions of objects or events based on observable characteristics.
Formulating Hypotheses ·        Identify questions or statement which can and cannot be tested.

·        Design statements, i.e. questions inference, predictions, which can be tested by an experiment.

Experimenting ·        Design an investigation to test a hypothesis

·        Conduct simple experiments

·        Recognize limitations of methods and tools used in experiments, i.e. experimental error

·        Utilize safe procedures while conducting investigations.

Recognizing Variables ·        Identify the manipulated (independent) variable, responding (dependent) variable, and variables-held-constant in an experiment.

·        Control the variables in an investigation.

Interpreting Data ·        Organize and state in his/her own words information derived from a science investigation.

·        Revise interpretation of data based on new information or revised data.

Formulating Models ·        Create a mental, physical, or mental verbal representation of an idea, object or event.

·        Use models to describe and explain interpretations of ideas, objects, or events.


Table 1: Indicators of student’s Competency in Different Science Skills


  1. Why Should We Teach Science Process Skills?

In the present day world, science and technology have left the confines of laboratory and entered our daily life. Look at the things around you. How many things in your kitchen, bathroom, and workplace are the products of science and technology? Just take the variety of kitchen were that we use; the various types of fertilizers which are being advertized in media; internet; cell phones and many other electronic means of gathering and disseminating information etc. An efficient and safe use of all these facilities requires basic knowledge as well as some skills also. All this requires that even those who do not intend to pursue career in science or technology need to have basic knowledge and skills in science.


Understanding of science content and the process through which scientific knowledge is generated, and development of science, involves developing an understanding of four major ideas, the nature of scientific knowledge and understanding of impact of science on society are considered essential for this era of science and technology. A term “scientific literacy” is used to depict this knowledge and understanding of science and scientific enterprise. The person who has this knowledge is called scientifically literate.


A frequently given rationale for developing scientifically literacy is that citizens who are scientifically literate will be careful consumers of any new product. To explain this I shall narrate an example of use of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) a chemical that is extensively used as a pesticide. It is often used by mothers to kill head lice. Until few years back people use to apply oil and DDT mix to kill head lice. No doubt it is effective for getting rid of the past but this practice is extremely dangerous for health since DDT is a poisonous chemical. Scientific studies have related exposure to DDT products to increased risk of breast cancer, diabetes, and many other health problems. DDT use today has implications for generations to come, since once it enters human body it not only




stays there but could be transferred to next generations to come, since once it enters human body it not only stays there but could be transferred to next generation’s e.g. through mother’s milk. It also persists in environment. For example, soil and water for years. There are many other products that we use without any awareness of their effects chemical fertilizers, many food activities, insecticides and pesticides which we use in our homes and fields are few to mention. In this world of science and technology even those who are not scientists or researchers need to make decision in their daily life which require know how of science and technology. If a person is scientifically literate he/she will have some knowledge and will always make more informed decisions about what to use and what not to use.


It is also claimed that scientific literate citizens would also be able to understand socio- scientific issues such as global warming, energy problems, pollution and many other science and technology based issues which require knowledge of science to make any decision regarding these issues.


Science process skills are skills which are applied in solving problems and in acquiring information and knowledge. The proponents of teaching science skills believe that development of proficiency in these skills will help the learners to become lifelong learners.


Another commonly cited justification for teaching about nature of science and science skills is that understanding the structure and nature of science makes one better at doing and learning science. Research studies conducted on science students have revealed that fifth grade students designed better experiments after instructions about the purpose of experimentation.


  1. Teaching Science Process Skills

There are different approaches to teaching of science. Some of the major approaches include: factual approach, conceptual approach, modular approach and process approach.


  • Factual Approach

This approach is focused on transfer of factual knowledge of science to the students. It encourages rote learning. In this approach the students are generally passive receivers of knowledge. Little emphasis is given to teaching and learning of concepts, science process skills or nature of science. The most commonly used methods of teaching include: lecture method, recitation method. This approach has been criticized for conveying the distorted image of science as a mere collection of facts.

  • Conceptual Approach

As the name indicates, this approach emphasizes learning of concepts. Under this approach different methods are used for teaching science concepts For example, using concept maps as instructional tools is one way of teaching concepts. You may read about this method in detail in some other unit.




  • Modular Approach

This approach lay emphasis to teach individual students at their pace that is both the slow and gifted children can use it. For this purpose self learning modules are developed. “A learning module is a self-learning package dealing with one specific subject matter unit” For example, a unit on “atomic structure”, or “cell structure”. Module is structured in such a way that learner can choose the objectives that he/she wants to achieve, then select the relevant material. In a module a number of a variety of methods of learning are given the learner chooses the method he/she feels is best. In the module provision is made for the students to assess his or her achievement find out gaps in learning. In this approach teacher is a facilitator. This approach focuses on content, processes or both.

  • Process Approach

This approach has science processes as the main objective of teaching. This approach is advocated due to its effectiveness for giving an understanding of nature of science and how scientific knowledge is developed through investigation and inquiry. It also provides the learner an opportunity to use and practice science process skills. Science process skills are said to have a wider application in many subjects not only in science and also in our daily life.


Activity based method, inquiry method and project methods are examples of methods which can be used to teach science process skills. One of the common misconceptions about process approach is that the teacher will focus on teaching science processes when he/she will teach science content.


The pupils can learn content through application of science process skills. This will enable children to learn both science processes and content at the same time. For example, when a teacher gives an activity in which children are given a variety of flowers and are asked to study their characteristics like color, size, shape number of petals and also compare different flowers to study how they are similar and different. This activity will help them to develop- skill of observation and communicating the observation. It will also help them gain concentrate knowledge about variety in structure of flowers and parts of flowers. Or they may be asked to observe the growth of a plant and communicate the observations developing a chart, graph or in table form. Or they may measure temperature of water contained in the bottles of different colors to find out which color absorbs more heat from sunlight. The skill of inferring can also be practiced by giving the students a box containing an unknown object. The students are asked to find out what is in the box without opening it. They may listen to sound, feel the weight, and smell the box to find out what is in the box. Then, based upon their observations, they explain about the object inside the box. Their explanations are inferences based on their observation. As you may have noticed that the skill of inference depends upon efficiency in making observations. At elementary level the teacher can also help and guide the students to perform simple experiments like finding the factors affecting the flight distances of paper airplanes, or investigate the quality of different brands of tissue papers by checking which one is more absorbent.




In 1960s American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) started a program of science for elementary level by the name of “science a process approach”. This program was focused on teaching science process skills. AAAS chalked out the competency indicators for each of the thirteen science process skills. These are given below.


The competency indicators can guide the teacher about what children should be able to do to achieve mastery of processes. Read these indicators carefully and think of some simple science activities in which these skills could be used. Use the indicators to design the activities.


  • Scientific Attitudes

A third and equally important aspect of science is “scientific attitudes”. Attitude is a person’s inner thought, feelings and reactions towards, people; object or we can say the life and world in general. How a person acts and reacts greatly depends upon her/his attitude. For example, the way a student does his assignments depends on his attitude towards studies. If he takes studies seriously and something which is beneficial or interesting he/she will do it with great care and diligence. Similarly, if a person is superstitious he/she will believe things without really trying to find out the basis of an idea or opinion.


Scientific attitude is reacting and acting in certain ways to solve a problem. Literature has cited numerous attitudes which are conducive to that is which help to conduct a scientific inquiry. These include accuracy, intellectual honesty, open-mindedness, suspended judgment, criticalness, and a habit of looking for true cause and effect relationships. Scientific attitudes depict the mental processes of scientists, hence are also referred to as habit of mind. These habits are imporant5 not only of the scientist, but for everyone. If you consider Islamic teachings, you will realize that these habits of mind are stressed and emphasized in the Quran and Ahadith.


The table given below describes some of the scientific attitudes cited in the literature.


·      Empiricism ·        Practically studying or observing objects and phenomena using sense. It is based on the belief that nature and natural phenomena fellow constant rules and the world operates according to certain patterns that we can probe to understand nature and

how it works.

·      Parsimony ·        It means that the simple explanation is preferred to the complex explanations. For example, there were two explanations of planetary system the complex earth centered system with epicycles and the simple Copernican sun-centered system the

simpler explanation has been chosen.

·      Skepticism ·        Questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.
·      Precision ·        To be exact not accepting vague answers, explanations etc.
·      Respect for paradigms ·        A paradigm is our overall commonly accepted understanding about how the world works. If a concept does not fit with commonly held understanding of the world, the scientist goes to work to find out if the new concept is incorrect or if the paradigm





needs to be changed. A change in paradigm is called paradigm shift.
·      Willingness to change opinion ·        When the new evidence suggests that the previously held concept or theory is wrong, the scientist would change his previous concept.
·      Suspended judgment ·        Scientists do not give final conclusions or opinions unless there is adequate evidence to suggest it.
·      Aversion to superstition ·        A scientist rejects superstition and act on only those ideas which have some sound basis.
·      A thirst for knowledge ·        It is the constant quest to understand nature and natural phenomena which keeps the scientists going on.


Table: Scientific Attitudes. SOURCE:


Key Points

  1. The process of doing science is the science process skills that scientists use in the process of doing
  2. American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) developed a list of thirteen science process
  3. Process skills have been classified into two groups; basic and integrated process The basic (simpler) process skills provide a foundation for learning the integrated (more complex) skills.
  4. There are six basic science skills: Observation, Communication, Classification, Measurement, Inference, and Prediction.
  5. The integrated process skills include the following skills; Using Space/Time relations, Defining Operationally, recognizing variables, Formulating Hypothesis, controlling variables, experimenting, interpreting data, and formulating
  6. Science and technology are a part of our
  7. Knowledge of nature of science and ability to use science process skills is essential for common people to fully benefit from progress in science and technology and also to make safe use of products of science and
  8. Teaching of nature of science and science process skills will help the students to have better understanding of science content.
  9. Science process skills are applicable to problem solving in real life also hence a proficiency in these skills is also useful for those who do not wish to continue higher studies in science or who do not wish to go into professions related to
  10. Scientific attitudes are the third and equally important dimension of
  11. Scientific attitude is reacting and acting in certain ways to solve a
  12. Scientific attitudes are normally associated with the mental processes of scientists, hence are also referred to as habits of mind.
  13. Experts have enlisted a number of attitudes which are required or are conducive to scientific
  14. Willingness to change opinion, Skepticism, Precision, Suspended judgment and a thirst for knowledge are few of the examples of scientific




Self Assessment Exercise 1.2

  • Answer the following questions:
    1. Make a list of concepts from any chapter or section of the General Science textbook of 8th Compare the facts that you enlisted with the concepts you have listed. What is the difference?
    2. Identify concepts in the following statements:
      1. This reptile has a
      2. All living things are made of cells
      3. Things fall due to
      4. Mass of the ball is
  • Can we categorize the following as concepts? If yes Why? Table, Cutlery, Ball, Bread,
  1. Explain in your own words what you understand by “Science as product and science as process”.
  2. Give three reasons for which teaching science contents as well as processes is important?
  3. What is the difference between hypothesis and concept?
  • What is a theory? Give some examples of scientific
  • What is the difference between a fact and concept?
  1. Keeping in view the processes involved in experimenting explain why experimenting has been categorized as an integrated science process skill?
  2. “Shamsa wishes to sow tomato seedlings. She has soil from three different areas and she wants to know which soil will be best for growing tomato To find an answer to her question she potted tomato seedlings in three pots of the same size but having different type of the soil. Then she poured exactly equal amount of water in each pot and placed the three pots on a window sill next to each other facing sun”.

Can you name the variables in this experiment? Which of these are independent variables which are independent variables?


  • Select the best answer:
    1. Which science process skill involves using your five senses to describe what is seen, heard, felt, smelt, and tasted?
  1. Inferring
  2. Predicting
  3. Measuring
  4. Observing
    1. Which science process skill is an explanation of observations?
  5. Inferring
  6. Predicting
  7. Measuring
  8. Classification




  • Which science process skill is used mostly in experiments and is in the form of an If  then statement? It is a statement that can be proven as true or
  1. Inferring
  2. Observing
  3. Hypothesizing
  4. Communicating
    1. Which science process skill uses numbers to describe an object?
  5. Inferring
  6. Predicting
  7. Experimenting
  8. Measuring


  1. Which science process skill involves making up categories or grouping things together?
  1. Experimenting
  2. Measuring
  3. Classifying
  4. Analyzing Data
    1. Which science process skill uses a test under controlled conditions?
  5. Measuring
  6. Experimenting
  7. Collecting Information
  8. Inferring
    • Which science process skill involves sharing ideas through talking and listening, drawing and labeling pictures, graphs, etc?
  9. Predicting
  10. Experimenting
  11. Measuring
  12. Communicating
    • Which science process skill involves guessing what might happen in the future?
  13. Inferring
  14. Experimenting
  15. Predicting
  16. Communicating
    1. “The leaves turned yellow in December”. This is an example of:
  17. Inference
  18. Observation
  19. Prediction
  20. Hypothesis
    1. “Leaves turn yellow because there is less sunlight in December”. This is an example of:
  21. Observation
  22. Inference




  1. Prediction
  2. Hypothesis
    1. “If there will be more sunlight the plants will be green again”. This is an an example of a (n):
  3. Observation
  4. Inference
  5. Prediction
  6. Hypothesis
    • “The level of moisture in the air has increased I think it is going to rain in a day or two”. This is an example of:
  7. Observation
  8. Inference
  9. Prediction
  10. Hypothesis
    • A science teacher wants to demonstrate the lifting ability of different magnets to her


She uses a variety of magnets and iron filings for the demonstration. She weighed different amounts of iron filings and picked them with different magnets. You have read about operational definition in the next. Which of the following definition of picking ability of magnet has been used by the teacher? The lifting ability of the magnet is…..

  1. The weight of iron filings picked up by the
  2. The weight of the magnet used to lift the iron
  3. The shape of the magnet used to lift the iron filings
  4. The size of the magnet used in the


  • A biology teacher wants to show her students the relationship between intensity of light and rate of plant growth. She performed an experiment collected the data. She tabulated the data in the following


·               Light Intensity

·               (Candula)

·               Plant growth rate in (Centimeters)
·               250 ·               2
·               500 ·               5
·               700 ·               9
·               900 ·               11
·               1100 ·               12
·               1300 ·               15
·               1500 ·               10
·               1700 ·               5


Which of the following interpretation of the data given in the table is correct?

  1. Plant growth rate increases with the increase in the light intensity




  1. Increase in plant growth rate is directly proportionate to the increase in light intensity.
  2. As the light intensity increases plant growth first increases then after certain level it
  3. Plant growth is not effected by increase in the light




1.3      Scientific Inquiry

To “inquire” is to ask about something; to search into it, especially by asking questions, and to investigate something.


The term “inquiry” as we use it in our everyday life, refers to a process of finding information or knowledge which was not known before. The term inquiry is used for a serious search for information and to propose explanations or solutions of problems. So it is referred to a more rigorous approach to collect information. When used with reference to science it means what scientists do to find out about natural world and to propose explanations of natural phenomena based on evidence. You have read that science is both a way of knowing and a body of knowledge. What underlies scientific way of knowing constitutes scientific inquiry. How scientific inquiry is conducted, what are the rules regarding what should be accepted as evidence? How the conclusions should be drawn? What methods or techniques should be used to collect information? All these rules and methods are developed by practicing scientists and described by philosophers of science. The branch of philosophy which deals with nature of knowledge and how knowledge is generated is called “epistemology”


A definition of scientific inquiry given by National Research Council of America, describes scientific inquiry as follows:


“Scientific inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on evidence from their work”. (NRC, 1996, p. 23)


The following important points to note in this definition:

  • Scientists use many methods for scientific investigation; hence there is not a single method with fixed steps which can be labeled as “the scientific method”.
  • Scientists propose explanations of natural phenomena and draw conclusions on the basis of evidence which they collect through investigation.
  • Scientists apply science process skills to conduct


  • Types of Inquiry

There are four types of inquiry:  Open, Guided, Coupled & Structured.


  1. Open Inquiry
    • Build upon prior experiences and inquire about the overarching concepts
    • Display the tools, materials Begin with the student’s question
    • Continue with student(s) designing and conducting the investigation or experiment
    • Complete the learning cycle by communicating the results


The students have a prior experience with a set variety of tools and materials. The teacher then displays these tools and materials and asks the students what questions they could




devise using the materials provided. Students formulate testable questions, devise a plan using the materials, carry out their investigation and record and analyze their data. Students use the data to make a generalization or conclusion or further question and share the process and outcomes with peers.


  1. Guided Inquiry
    • Teacher selects the over arching question
    • Whole Class or groups of students work to assist in developing the laboratory procedure and learn specific skills needed for future open-inquiries.
    • Using the data gathered or provided, students generate explanations
    • Findings and claims are communicated


When the more complex concepts cannot be investigated directly in the classroom, teachers can provide applicable scientific data from a variety of sources to use in the guided inquiry.


  1. Coupled Inquiry
    • Teacher chooses the first question to investigate—specifically targeting a standard or set of benchmarks
    • After the guided inquiry, students engage in an open or full inquiry


  1. Structured Inquiry
    • Students follow teacher directions to come up with a specific end point or product
    • The teacher asks the class to discuss the results when the inquiry is complete


  • Characteristics of Inquiry

Scientific inquiry differs greatly from general inquiry that we sometimes conduct to find information. It differs with respect to the phenomena scientists investigate and also the method they use to collect the required information and how they draw conclusions, the logical and critical approach they use. There is a common understanding among the scientists about what constitutes an investigation that is scientifically valid.


We often read about steps of scientific inquiry or scientific method however, there is no fixed set of steps of conducting scientific investigation. There are, however, certain characteristics of scientific investigation that make it a distinctive mode of inquiry. It is important to note that although scientific inquiry is a special form of investigation yet it can be applied in many matters in our everyday life.


Wayne Welch, a science educator at the University of Minnesota, USA, has identified five characteristics of the inquiry process as follows:




  1. Observation

Observation is the starting place for inquiry. However, to make relevant, complete and accurate observations it is essential to ask the right type of questions. What? Why? And how are the questions that guide the observer in the process of observation.

  1. Measurement

Precision and accuracy is the hallmark of all scientific investigations. Measurement is a process skill which helps to describe the objects and phenomena in quantitative terms with precision and accuracy. Hence it is a basic and an essential process of science.

  • Experimentation

Laboratory and experiments are considered characteristic features of scientific activity. Scientists conduct experiments to collect data and to test the hypothesis. Experiments involve a number of science process skills, for example, observation, measurement, classification, inference, controlling variables, manipulating science equipment. We can classify it as an integrated skill since it involves many skills.

  1. Communication

It is essential that the scientists communicate the results of his/her inquiry to the scientific community and also the public hence it is an essential part of the inquiry process. The importance of honest and truthful reporting of the results of observation and measurements are essential in all scientific investigations.

  1. Mental Process

Performing experiments and collecting data is one component of scientific inquiry. Critically analyzing and evaluating data, finding patterns in data, proposing explanations on the basis of data, and formulating theories are essential mental processes without which scientists can not generate new knowledge. Experts have described several thinking processes that are integral part of any scientific inquiry. Some of these include inductive reasoning (i.e. A general conclusion is arrived at by specific examples), deductive reasoning (that a specific conclusion is arrived at from a general principle). An example of deductive reasoning is as follows:


“Gravity makes things fall. The apple that hit my head was due to gravity”.


In this example the conclusion about a specific instance has been derived from the law of gravity. Deduction is used by scientists who take a general scientific law and apply it to a certain case, as they assume that the law is true.


The Scientists also use imagination and intuition in formulating scientific knowledge. In descriptions of scientific method the same steps, may be in a different sequence and including many other steps, are given as are included in scientific inquiry. Hence we can conclude that in scientific inquiry scientific method of research is used.




Key Points

  1. Scientific inquiry starts with
  2. Measurement is carried out in order to bring precision and accuracy in describing object and phenomena.
  3. Experimentation is an integrated skill because it involves many
  4. The communication of results of some scientific experiment is very important because it provide information and awareness.
  5. Inductive and deductive reasoning are very important mental processes in scientific

Self Assessment Exercise 1.3

  • Answer the following questions:
    1. Define scientific Also describe its characteristic features.
    2. Which of the following process skill is needed to fulfill the requirement of precision and accuracy in scientific inquiry?
      1. Observation
      2. Inference
      3. Measurement
      4. Classification
  • Describe inductive and deductive Which of the following is an example of inductive reasoning?
    1. All the birds observed by scientists lay Hence all birds lay eggs.
    2. Noble gases are Neon is a noble gas. Therefore, neon is stable.
    3. Monocot flower parts are in multiple of three. Apple flowers have five Therefore, apple trees are not monocots.
    4. An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Therefore if we throw a ball, it will keep moving until some other force or object stops it from

1.4      Implications of Nature of Science for Teaching and Learning Science

There is a need to expand science teaching beyond knowledge of science. Understanding nature of science and inquiry are the core of science education. Science teaching must have reflections of that science is an important way to understand and explain what we experience in the natural world. All teachers of science must have a strong, broad base of scientific knowledge extensive enough for them to understand the nature of scientific inquiry, its central role in science, and how to use the skills and processes of scientific inquiry.


  • Teaching of Nature of Science

Most of the teachers need to know what nature of science is? Teaching of Nature of Science refers to:




  1. Teaching of scientific inquiry

Teaching of “NOS” refers to the teaching of scientific inquiry, values and underlying assumptions that are characteristics of scientific endeavor. “Scientific inquiry” refers to characteristics of the scientific enterprise and processes through which scientific knowledge is acquired. Scientific inquiry, traditional science subject matter, along with an understanding of the utility of that knowledge to the individual and society, represents the conceptual basis for teaching NOS.


The National Science Education Standards of USA state “student should develop an understanding of what science is, what science is not, what science can and cannot do, and how science contributes to culture” (NRC, 1996, p.21). Without understanding the values and assumptions underlying scientific knowledge and the processes by which the knowledge is acquired, the learner cannot construct an image of science which is true to nature of science. His/her knowledge of science will consist of isolated “facts” without any context. Hence the students will not be able to see the relevance of science to real life nor would they be able to apply this knowledge in real life.


There are three instructional approaches that have been used to help teach NOS. These approaches are: the historical approach, implicit approach and the explicit-reflective- embedded approach.


  1. Historical Approach

Including episodes of history of scientific discoveries in the curriculum enables the students to understand how science works. Through a critical study of how science works they could develop the critical thinking skills. This approach can also help students to distinguish between concepts, hypotheses and observations. It is also very important that they become aware of how science functions will help them to correct their misconceptions of how science works.


If we wish to use the history of science to create students understanding of nature of science, we must use the history of scientific discoveries in a way which illuminate particular characteristics in science. A teacher should also be able to challenge student’s views of scientific laws by demonstrating through giving the examples of scientific laws have changed over time. In the historical approach, instruction is intentionally geared towards highlighting important aspects of the nature of science. For this purpose examples from the history and philosophy of science are used. Classroom discussions can be very conducive for developing students critical, analytical and communication skills besides fostering knowledge about nature of science.


  • Implicit Approach

In this approach it is assumed that the methods such as inquiry, discovery or project method will enable students to get a grasp of nature of science and how it works. However the research has revealed that such methods has no or little effect on students understanding of nature of science.




  1. Explicit Reflective Approach

The explicit reflective embedded teaching requires deliberate planning and designing of instruction an assessment for teaching NOS.


This approach is based on the philosophy that to achieve any specific goal or objective the instruction should be focused on achievement of that goal. So if teaching of NOS is the objective then materials, instruction and assessment all should be designed and developed accordingly.


Explicit instruction of NOS requires that the teacher guides the students to think about specific aspects of the nature of science. It should be noted that the same instructional activities may be used in implicit and explicit approaches.


Discussions of historical episodes of scientific discoveries, inquiry and project methods of teaching science could be used to teach about nature of science. However, it is essential that the teacher should deliberately highlights particular aspects of the nature of science within the context of inquiry activities, exploration of socio-scientific issues, and discussions of key episodes in science history.


Science teacher should help students develop meaningful understanding about the basic concepts that contribute the nature of science. Research indicates that instruction specifically focused on teaching of NOS, giving the opportunity to students to learn about the nature of science in a meaningful context, and suing the process approach for instruction, can achieve the objectives of teaching of NOS effectively.


Nature of science instruction has also implications for science teacher education and training. Professional development programs should also includes NOS as a major objective. Teacher should be taught NOS and also should be trained in teaching NOS.


Research has revealed that simply engaging students in science activities does not lead them to appropriate understandings of the nature of science and the scientific knowledge. Students learn more about the nature of science when they are given opportunity to discuss and reflect about the characteristic of scientific knowledge and the scientific enterprise. To teach about nature of science effectively students should be engaged in science activities as well as in purposeful discussion on nature of science. In this approach, students learn about the nature of science and scientific enterprise as they develop the skills necessary to do science. The teacher explicitly links nature of science concepts to activity-based lessons incorporating science process skills, such as observing, inferring, predicting, measuring, and classifying.




Key Points

  1. Scientific inquiry means a method of collecting information for solving problems or for understanding natural phenomena which well organized and planned to collect facts and to propose explanations or solutions which are based on evidence. Scientists use both the inductive and deductive approach in scientific
  2. Scientists apply science process skills to conduct scientific
  3. There is not a single fixed set of steps for conducting scientific Scientists use diverse methods for conducting scientific investigation.
  4. Scientific knowledge is both reliable and
  5. Scientists use many methods to develop scientific
  6. Scientific knowledge is the product of creative
  7. Scientific activity can be
  8. Teaching of science should reflect characteristic features of science.
  9. There are three instructional approaches that have been used to help teach NOS: historical approach, implicit approach, and explicit reflective approach.


Self Assessment Exercise 1.4

  • Answer the following questions:
    1. Explain the following statements about the nature of science in your own
      1. Scientific knowledge is stable but yet subject to change or
      2. Scientific activity is not completely free of
      3. Doing science is a creative


  1. Suggest changes in the current methods of teaching science so that the learners could understand nature of
  • Why explicit reflective approach is considered more effective for teaching nature of science?
  1. Do you think that science teaching methods used in our schools reflect true nature of science? The image of science you had in mind before reading this unit does it reflects three components of science?




1.5 Science and Technology

We frequently refer to technology in our conversation. Comments such as following are heard at all levels: “travelling and communicating has become so easy in this era of technology” or “technology has made our life much easier, now we can do things with less effort and more efficiently” etc. But have you ever thought what this thing called ‘technology’ is? If you have not thought about it before, spend few minutes to think of some description of technology and then read on.


Technology has been defined in the literature as “body of the knowledge used to create tools, develop and enhance skills, and extract or collect materials. It is also the application of science. It combines the scientific method and material to meet an objective or solve a problem”.


It is also defined as “the branch of knowledge that deals with the development and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment. Technology draws upon subjects such as industrial arts, engineering, applied science and pure science”.


Read more:


We can say that technology enables us to change the world; to cut, shape, or put together materials as per our needs; to transport things from one place to another in less time with less physical effort; it helps to extend our senses. We use technology to change the environment to our needs. For example, technology has helped us to produce more and better food; it has provided us with all the comforts that we enjoy at our homes and workplace. It has extended our access to knowledge. Above all technology has overcome the limitations in communication imposed by geographical distances. Today we can communicate with people across the world in a matter of seconds. But all the results of developments in technology are not always beneficial to mankind. Changes that man has made in his environment are often complicated and unpredictable. For example, substances or processes used in the factories may harm the workers or other people. Similarly computer is a wonderful invention of 20th century and has been widely used by people in all walks of life. But its constant use is also not free of dangers. When we work on computer for a long time it may strain our eyes. Another important drawback of computer is that people spend hours on computer which leads to isolation from other. Increasing use of computers at workplace has made it necessary that workers should be able to use computer effectively to perform their tasks. It means that there is less chance for a person having no or little proficiency in computer to find a job.




We often use the term science and technology in a manner which reflects as if they are same. In fact they are two different fields of knowledge and are not only closely related but are also interdependent. We can explain it with simple example. The understanding that, steam is a form of water power which can be used. For example, to move objects such as a vehicle, is science. When a technologist used this knowledge and after experimentation develops a model of steam engine in his laboratory it is an example of technology.


Scientists conduct a research to study living things, matter and the universe. Science has different branches For example, biology, which is a study of living things and their environment, chemistry is the study of composition of matter, and similarly physics is a field of science which deals with matter and energy and their relationship. Scientific activity results in development of knowledge developed through observations and experiments. Scientific investigations are focused on finding solutions of problems, understanding phenomena.


Development in technology dates back to the cave age when man started to hunt using hand made weapons made of bone or wood. Historically technology developed as a result of man’s experience in use of different things or objects. During this experience man discovered their properties and how he could manipulate the objects to fulfill his requirements. In ancient times all knowledge was transferred from more experienced to novice, from one generation to the next. Today knowledge and skills are acquired through not only experts but also from a variety of other sources. For example, books, internet etc. Technology and science are interdependent. Technologists use scientific knowledge to invent and develop new technologies, whereas scientist uses technology in his or her research. For example, computer has led to the progress in the study of matter, energy and living things. With the help of technology scientists are able to set research sites on the surface of moon, in the ocean floors. Technology is also a source of motivation and direction for scientific research. For example, to solve the technological problem of increasing the efficiency of commercial steam engine the theory of the conversation of energy was developed. Similarly the technology of genetic engineering motivated the scientists to map the locations of the entire set of genes in human DNA. As technologies become more sophisticated, their link to science becomes stronger. There are several other examples which explain how progress in science and technology is related.




Key Points

  1. Technology is a body of the knowledge used to create tools, develop and enhance skills, and extract or collect It is also the application of science. It combines the scientific method and material to meet an objective or solve a problem.
  2. Technology enables us to change the world: to cut, shape, or put together materials as per our needs; to transport things from one place to another in less time with less physical effort; it helps to extend our
  3. Technology has brought a revolution in the world by making every aspect of life
  4. Technology has benefits as well as some draw
  5. Science and technology are closely
  6. Technology Draws on Science and Contributes on
  7. Technology is also a source of motivation and direction for theory and further research in


Self Assessment Exercise 1.5


  • Answer the following questions:
    1. What is the difference between science and technology?
    2. What is the relationship between science and technology?




Answers to self Assessment Exercises

Self Assessment Exercises 1.1 For the answers, read section 1.1 Self Assessment Exercises 1.2 Q.1

  1. For question 1 read the relevant section of the unit then choose from the next of General Science and select the concepts.
  2. Reptile, living things, cells, gravity, mass are science
  • Construct the answer by
  1. Read the relevant section and construct the answer in your words
  2. It is important because:


  1. You will know that science is not merely a collection of
  2. You need to learn the science process skills to be able to solve problems and acquire
  3. It creates interest and motivation for learning


Read the relevant section of the unit to answer questions Vi- viii.

  1. Because in an experiment we use many process skills for example, observation, measurement, classification, inference
  2. Independent variables = Sunlight, soil, water, pot Dependent variables = Plant growth


  • 2
i.D ii. A iii.C iv.D v.C Vi. B vii.D Viii.C ix.B x.B
xi.D xii.C xiii.A Xiv.C


Self Assessment Exercise 1.3 Q.1

  1. Read the relevant section of the
  2. C
  3. For the first part read the A


Self Assessment Exercise 1.4 Q.1

  1. Read the
  2. Some hints for answer: Less emphasis should be given to rote learning and more to understanding The teacher should know some history of scientific discoveries and highlights that scientific knowledge is based on evidence when new evidence suggest that the previous history need to be revised or changed in the light of new evidence scientists may change or revise the existing theories. Science is a human activity and like all human activities it can be subject to researcher’s biases however scientists try to remove the subjectivity using objective methods.




  1. Read the relevant section of the
  2. Think about your own concepts of science then compare it with what is given about nature of science in this unit and write the answer.


Self Assessment Exercise 1.5

For answers to question i-ii, read the relevant section of the unit.



  • Collette, Alfred, and Eugene, L. Chiapptta (1989). Science instruction in the middle and secondary schools. USA: Merrill Publishing Company.


  • Esler, K. Wolliam & Esler, K. Mary (1985). Teaching elementary science, USA: words worth. Inc



































Written by:       Dr. Muhammad Safdar Reviewed by:    Arshad Mehmood Qamar





Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………. 41

Objectives…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 41

2.1                    Science in the School Curriculum………………………………………………… 42

2.1.1              Need of Science in Elementary School Curriculum………….. 42

2.1.2              Need of Science at Secondary School Curriculum…………… 42

2.1.3              Importance of Science in School Curriculum…………………… 44

2.2                    Aims, Goals and Objectives of Science Education………………………… 46

2.2.1              What is Aim?………………………………………………………………. 46

2.2.2              What is Goal?……………………………………………………………… 46

2.2.3              What is an Objective?…………………………………………………… 47

2.3                    Levels of Objectives………………………………………………………………….. 50

2.3.1              Taxonomy of Educational Objectives…………………………….. 50

2.3.2              Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO)…….. 52

2.4                    The Science Curriculum……………………………………………………………… 55

2.4.1                    Structure of the Science Curriculum……………………………. 55

2.5                    Elementary Science Curriculum………………………………………………….. 59





Education is the process through which societies plan their socio-economic development. It is the most cogent instrument in the progress of any nation; hence the quality of education has to be improved for faster, wholesome development of the learners. It is universally acknowledged that any attempt at the improvement in the quality of education ultimately depends on the quality of teaching and learning in the classrooms and laboratories.


“Curriculum is a plan for learning”, as Taba (1962) says. Like every curriculum, science curriculum has its own objectives which should be fulfilled when the learner passed through the learning experiences. In Pakistan, at elementary level, integrated science curriculum is developed consisting of physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy. The courses in integrated science are being developed (curriculum 2006) in such a way so as to integrate science with the learner’s environment.


Every curriculum has at least four elements; objectives, content, methodology and evaluation. The major purpose of science at elementary level is to enable students to grasp the basic knowledge of science needed for the further study of modern science and to understand its applications.



After studying this unit the students will be able to:

  • Explain the need and importance of school science curriculum;
  • Differentiate between goals, aims and objectives of science education;
  • Define curriculum;
  • Apply and use the levels of objectives of curriculum;
  • Make learners interested in




  • Science in the School Curriculum (Need and Importance)

Science education is the field concerned with sharing science content and process with individuals not traditionally considered part of the scientific community. The learners may be children, college students, or adults within the general public; the field of science education includes work in science content, science process. The standards for science education provide expectations for the development of understanding for students through the entire science curriculum. The traditional subjects included in the standards are physical sciences.


Science education is core area of our education system and science is an essential and fundamental subject in our curriculum. Science education provides us an opportunity to think critically, and unify the concepts of man’s natural environment and apply these concepts to the control of the environment for man’s benefit. Furthermore, it is a human enterprise, which requires man’s best efforts to sustain it at an optimum level of productivity.


  • Need of Science in Elementary School Curriculum

Science in the school curriculum has been the subject of much attention in the 20th century around the modern world and now it is an emerging trend in the developing countries like ours. In most of the developing countries like Pakistan we have witnessed a steady increase in the number of science graduates and researches dealing with the learning and teaching of science.


At secondary level, science education provides the students with opportunities to think critically, practice different teaching methods and develop scientific concepts, which facilitate the understanding of the physical environment. Science also develops attitude, which is useful in a sense that it gives people a simplified and practical guide for appropriate behaviour. Positive attitude towards learning, subject area, and teaching method are all-important because they affect student’s motivation to learn, and continuing motivation not only to apply and utilize what has been learnt, but also to seek out further related opportunities.


  • Need of Science in Secondary School Curriculum

The main purpose of teaching science in secondary schools is to enable students to grasp systematically the basic knowledge of physical sciences needed for further study of modern science and technology and to understand its applications. It should help them to acquire experimental skills, develop the ability to think and to use mathematics/statistics to solve the physical problems. In teaching and learning science at school level, the students face many problems in understanding scientific concepts, theories, and laws in the science classroom and laboratory. In the opinion of Wood (1991), science education should be more about the learning of scientific processes than the learning of scientific facts.




Present age is known as the age of science and so science is considered an important subject in the school curriculum. Science Education enables the students to identify and solve scientific problems and to do research in new areas of knowledge. In this era of science, large numbers of people are being employed in scientific pursuits and for this they need knowledge of science. The dawn of space age and explosion in knowledge, have also necessitated the teaching of science to every student.


Science is essential for understanding the world through knowledge of the laws of nature. It also provides man with a tool for organizing his thinking and for classifying his experience. Science and technology education can make a decisive contribution to improving our standard of living and to impart the basic scientific and technological knowledge necessary for the younger generation to carry out an increasing number of occupations, especially in productive sector. The teaching of science and technology education is also a powerful means of stimulating creativity among young people.


In the view of Safdar (2010), “The most significant aspect of modern science is the impact it has had in solving a variety of problems of practical and technological importance as well as those related to the pressing problems of mankind. A large number of these problems require a proper understanding and application of scientific principles and processes”. Mentioning the importance of science education to meet the needs of food, power, transportation, communication etc. the continuous scientific research is needed to explore and discover new sources of power, food, communication and transportation.


However, history shows that no one will benefit if the structures of society (and the politicians and decision takers control this) do not make it possible. Science advance is helpless to achieve that. Look at solar (photovoltaic) energy. This may offer some answer to the long term energy needs of mankind. However, the decision about research to find answers is taken by the governments and leaders, not scientists of any sort. And this is the dilemma in our country (Pakistan). Where the scientists are ready to explore the new resources but the decisions are taken by the Government.


The main objective of school science education is to develop young people’s science capabilities. It is imperative that Australia’s future citizens have scientific knowledge and understanding that enable them to make personal and societal decisions on the basis of evidence and reason. For example, people who are scientifically capable can make informed decisions about the products they buy, the food they eat, and the environment in which they live or the lifestyle they adopt.


By the end of the compulsory years of school science it is intended that students should be able to demonstrate:

  • An interest in and understanding of the natural world
  • The ability to engage in communication of and about science
  • skepticism and questioning of the claims made by others identification and investigation of questions and drawing together evidence-based conclusions




  • The ability to make informed decisions about the environment, and their own health and wellbeing.


  • Importance of Science in School Curriculum

In Pakistan, science as a separate subject, included in the curriculum from grade 4 (curriculum 2006) and is core subject at elementary level. Science has a large number of applications in our daily life. For proper utility of such applications some knowledge of science is necessary. We cannot deny from the importance of science in the school curriculum due to the following reasons:

  1. Intellectual value (Sharpen intellect and promote intellectual honesty)
  2. Vocational Value (essential for much vocational knowledge)
  • Aesthetic value (scientists seek for truth and truth is beauty)
  1. Practical value (applications of scientific laws and principles)
  2. Moral value (truthfulness)
  3. Psychological value (learning by doing)
  • Cultural value (study about the past scientists and their discoveries)
  • Adjustment in modern life (Scientific outlook, scientific attitude)


It is essential that all school learners have some understanding of the sciences in that they will all be members of society, perhaps voters some as leaders. Society as a whole needs to see how the sciences can make a contribution for the benefit of all.


Key Points

  • Science is knowledge and a way of
  • Curriculum is a plan for
  • Generally curriculum has four elements; aims, content, methodology, and
  • Science is the systematic body of knowledge gain through observations and




  • At Elementary level, science education provides the students with opportunities to think critically and develop scientific concepts, which facilitate the understanding of the physical
  • The main purpose of teaching science at secondary level is to enable students to grasp systematically the basic knowledge of physical sciences needed for further study of modern science and its applications.
  • The importance of science in the school curriculum is due to its intellectual, aesthetic, practical, moral, psychological, and societal


Activity 2.1






  • Aims, Goals, and Objectives of Science Education

Goals, Aims, and objectives help to make dream come true, although these terms are interrelated but there are distinctions between them. Aims and objectives are often used in an educational context for curriculum, lesson and activity planning. Writing out aims, goals and objectives helps you make clear the educational intent of a lesson, course or activity. Aims, goals and objectives are often used in business for similar reasons and now an enterprise of educational set up. Aims relate to the end results but goals and objectives help to achieve these aims. Goals are abstract/intangible while the objectives are tangible/ concrete. Aims are basically the vision statements while the goals are the mission statements and the objectives are the desired out comes.


  • What is Aim?

To “aim” is to direct, as in a missile, blow word or act. In education, aims are the broad general statements reflecting the ultimate ends towards which the whole educational system is moving.


Aims tend to be more general than goals and objectives, because the latter terms relate to more specific tasks, while aims refer to the end results. A history teacher, for example, might aim to give his students a comprehensive overview of Pakistani history, while an immediate goal might be to educate them about events leading up to the Pakistan independent war. Aims aren’t necessarily accompanied by goals and objectives, particularly if someone stating an aim doesn’t follow through with it. Someone might state that she aims to be a successful teacher, for example, without setting the goals and objectives that would enable her to achieve this.


The educational aims must be relevant to the times – both the present and the future, and furnish direction that is good for society, and not for one particular group.


Aims are:

  • General statements — provide shape & direction to the more specific actions designed to achieve some product or behavior.
  • Starting points that suggest some ideal or inspirational vision for the good.
  • Reflect value judgments and
  • Provide guides for the educational or training


Writing aims: (examples)

  1. Self-realization – To understand individual development so that they may make choices that lead to a productive life.
  2. Parenting – To become effective


  • What is Goal?

Goals are clear statements of intent and are more specific than aims. Aims are the policy statements for example, “To foster in the heart of people in general and students in particular,




the loyalty and abidance of Islam, Quran and Sunna,” or “to develop the scientific attitude among the students.” Goals are the statements at the level wise that is goals of elementary education, secondary education, higher education, teacher education etc.


Let us take another example from the financial organization that might have an overall aim to increase profits and, in order to achieve this, set a clear goal to increase profits by 25 percent within a specific time frame say three years.


Goals are;

  • Derived from various aims and provide curriculum decision-makers with broad statements of what they should accomplish in terms of student learning as a result of a particular educational or training
  • A curriculum goal has a purpose or end stated in general terms without criteria or

Writing goals: (examples)

  • Parenting is an aim and the following goals are derived from this
  1. Study the qualities of good
  2. Determine the resources necessary for a healthy
  3. Plan for the birth of
  4. Establish an effective environment for developing
  5. Provide for children through their


  • What is an Objective?

Objectives are the activities carried out to bring aims and goals to realization (fruition). Someone whose overall goal is to get a more rewarding job, for example, would have a set of objectives that help him to achieve this. Such objectives might include sending letters out to companies he wants to work for, brushing up on interview techniques and learning skills or obtaining qualifications that would increase his employment prospects.


Objectives are:

  1. Usually considered to be specific in nature, written in terms of what students will know, be able to do, or behavior they will exhibit at the end of the
  2. Outcomes that students exhibit as a result of the experiences they receive from the

Immediate, specific outcomes of instruction, daily taught and assessed.


Writing objective: (example)

Goal – Obtain a meaningful job. This goal is translated into number of objectives

  • Explore sources of opening
  • Write letters or applications
  • Prepare a resume
  • Complete job application
  • Participate in job interviews
  • Write letter of acknowledgement







Connection (aim-goal-objective)

  • Aims, goals and objectives are linked because all three concern future intentions and all three must be set in motion if plans are to have a realistic chance of Someone who sets a goal is unlikely to carry it out if he/she doesn’t plan and implement the necessary practical objectives that will help her to achieve her goal.
  • The intent of aims, goals and objectives differ, but it must be remembered that congruence (similarity, correspondence) must be establish between them if education is to be meaningful.
  • Remember to use different levels of objectives and domains of learning to enhance your


Key Points

  • Aims are the broad general statements reflecting the ultimate ends towards which the whole education system is going
  • Aims are expression of purpose at highest level e. the expected life outcomes.
  • Goals are expression of purposes specified for achievement at each level of
  • Goals are clear statements of intent and are more specific than
  • Objectives are specific outcomes of
  • Aims, goals and objectives are interlinked because all three concern future
  • If education is to be meaningful then aims, goals, and objectives must correspond one


Activity 2.2










  • Levels of Objectives

As you know, taxonomy of educational objectives is intended to provide for classification of the objectives of our educational system. It helps in discussion of curricular and evaluation problems with greater precision.


When developing instructional objectives, providing instruction, and evaluating student performance, it is important to keep in mind that there are different levels or outcomes of learning. Distinguishing among different levels and outcomes of learning is important. If teachers are unaware of different levels of learning, they are likely to focus on one level to the detriment of others. For example, a teacher may teach a vast amount of factual information but never get around to teaching students to apply and synthesize this information. Or a teacher may teach higher level thinking skills without realizing that these skills require the prior learning of basic skills that must be integrated into these higher order skills.


In addition, it is not unusual to see a teacher who wants her students to learn higher order thinking skills give examinations that require only lower level skills. Under such circumstances, the students are likely to put their efforts into the lower order skills. Skills at different levels must be taught (and tested) in different ways; and therefore it is important for teachers and other instructional designers to take into account the different levels and outcomes of instruction.


  • Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

The term ‘Taxonomy’ is borrowed from biology and its meaning is ‘classification’. In education it is used for classifying educational objectives and their inter-relation.


Bloom’s (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is the most renowned description of the levels of cognitive performance. The levels of the Taxonomy and examples of activities at each level are given below. The levels of this taxonomy are considered to be hierarchical. That is, learners must master lower level objectives first before they can build on them to reach higher level objectives.


Under this taxonomy the specific objectives are classified into the following three domains:

  1. Cognitive domain
  2. Affective domain
  3. Psychomotor domain


Cognitive Domain

  1. Knowledge (Remembering previously learned material) Example: State the formula for the area of a circle.
  2. Comprehension (grasping the meaning of the material

Example: Given the mathematical formula for the area of a circle, paraphrase it using your own words.




  1. Application (using knowledge in concrete situation) Example: Compute the area of actual
  2. Analysis (breaking down the material into its constituent parts)

Example: Given a math word problem, determine the strategies that would be necessary to solve it.

  1. Synthesis (putting parts together to form a new whole)

Example: Apply and integrate several different strategies to solve a mathematical problem.

  1. Evaluation (value judgment of a product for a given purpose by using definite criteria)

Example: When you have finished solving a problem (or when a peer has done so) determine the degree to which that problem was solved as efficiently as possible.


Affective Domain

Receiving                 awareness, willingness to receive, selected attention

Example: The pupils can listen/read story in the book “truth is ever green.

Responding              willing responses, feelings of satisfaction

Example: The pupil can feel pleasure to speak truth.

Valuing                    acceptance, preference, commitment

Example: The pupils can decide to speak truth in specific condition.

Organizing               conceptualization of values, organization of a value system Example: The pupils can relate truth with reward in the life herein after.

Characterization     reflects a generalized set of values, a philosophy of life Example: The pupils can adopt truth as habit.

(Story of Abdul Qadir Jilani)


Psychomotor Domain

Reflex Movement    muscle movements

Example: The students can imitate in the given situation.

Fundamental Movement walking, running, jumping, pushing, pulling, manipulating Example: The students can use their five senses in a given situation.

Perceptual Ability    kinesthetic, visual, auditory, tactile, coordination

Example: The students can coordinate their five senses in any situation.

Physical Ability        endurance, strength, flexibility, agility

Example: The students can use and coordinate their sense to tackle a novel situation.

Skilled Movements games, sports, dance, the art

Example:    The students can use their ability to successfully accomplish the task.




Non-discursive   Communication   posture,   gestures,   facial   expressions,                       creative movement

Example: The students can create or invent new things.


The main value of the Taxonomy is twofold: (1) it can stimulate teachers to help students acquire skills at all of these various levels, laying the proper foundation for higher levels by first assuring mastery of lower-level objectives; and (2) it provides a basis for developing measurement strategies to assess student performance at all these levels of learning


This taxonomy may assist the teacher in clarifying his educational objectives and modifying his teaching practices so that relevant desired learning outcomes of learning are identified and realized.


  • Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO)

The Structure of the Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy offers a way of describing the growing complexity of a learner’s activity. It is based on the work of John Biggs. It can be used in two ways.

  1. To set learning objectives appropriate to where a student should be at a particular stage of their
  2. To set learning objectives appropriate to where a student should be at a particular stage of their


When writing your course objectives ensure that the verbs you use correspond with the level of cognitive engagement appropriate for your students. The SOLO taxonomy lists levels of understanding (objectives) and the indicative verbs associated with each level.


Level of Understanding: Pre-structural

No understanding demonstrated and approach involves acquiring disconnected bits of information. Student misses the point.


Level of Understanding: Uni-structural

Student shows concrete, reductive understanding of the topic. Simple and obvious connections    are    made    but    broader    significance    is    not     understood. Indicative verbs: identify, memorize, do simple procedure


Level of Understanding: Multi-structural

Student can understand several components but the understanding of each remains discreet. A number of connections are made but the significance of the whole is not determined. Ideas and concepts around an issue are disorganized and aren’t related together

Indicative verbs: enumerate, classify, describe, list, combine, do algorithms




Level of Understanding: Relational

Student can indicate connection between facts and theory, action and purpose. Shows understanding of several components which are integrated conceptually showing understanding of how the parts contribute to the whole. Can apply the concept to familiar problems or work situations.

Indicative verbs: compare/contrast, explain causes, integrate, analyze, relate, and apply etc.


Level of Understanding: Extended Abstract

Student conceptualizes at a level extending beyond what has been dealt with in the actual teaching. Understanding is transferable and general sable to different areas. Indicative verbs: theorize, generalize, hypothesize, reflect, generate


Key Points

  • The term ‘Taxonomy’ means ‘classification’. In education it is used for classifying educational objectives and their inter-relation.
  • Under Bloom’s taxonomy the specific objectives are classified into: Cognitive domain objectives, affective domain objectives, psychomotor domain
  • Cognitive domain is related to knowledge, affective domain related to feeling/emotions/interests/attitude while psychomotor domain related to
  • SOLO taxonomy offers a way of describing the growing complexity of a learner’s
  • SOLO Taxonomy can be used in two ways: (1) To set learning objectives appropriate to where a student should be at a particular stage of their program. (2)To set learning objectives appropriate to where a student should be at a particular stage of their


Activity 2.3

Write the levels of each of the Domain of Blooms and SOLO Taxonomies. Move from HOTS (higher level thinking skills) to LOTS (lower order thinking skills)


Bloom’s Taxonomy SOLO Taxonomy
Cognitive domain Affective domain Psychomotor domain








  • The Science Curriculum

The philosophy and spirit of science education is reflected not only in the program aim goals and objectives, but in the documents and in-service development to support the new curricula. In addition, the philosophy for science education is closely related to the concept of Core Curriculum.


For schools, scientific literacy has been defined by seven Dimensions of Scientific Literacy, which are the foundation for the renewed curriculum. Actively participating in 12 years of studying science program will enable a student to:

  • Understand the nature of science and scientific knowledge. Science is a unique way of knowing.
  • Understand and accurately apply appropriate science concepts, principles, laws and theories in interacting with society and the
  • Use the processes of science in solving problems, making decisions, and furthering
  • Understand and appreciate the joint enterprises of science and technology and the interrelationships of these to each other in the context of society and the environment.
  • Develop numerous manipulative skills associated with science and technology. Many of these deal with measurement.
  • Interact with the various aspects of society and the environment in ways that are consistent with the values that underlie
  • Develop a unique view of technology, society and the environment as a result of science education, and continue to extend this interest and attitude throughout


  • Structure of the Science Curriculum



The science curriculum should be based on three elements that are interrelated:

  • Science understanding: Understanding of scientific concepts, explanations and theories enables people to explain and predict natural phenomena and to apply that knowledge and understanding to new situations and These concepts, explanations and theories are drawn from physics, chemistry, biology and geosciences.
  • Science inquiry skills: Science inquiry poses questions, involves planning and conducting investigations, collecting and analyzing evidence and communicating This element is concerned with evaluating investigations and claims and making valid conclusions. It also recognizes that scientific explanations change as new or different evidence becomes available from investigations.
  • Science as a human Endeavour: Science influences society through its posing of social and ethical Societal challenges or social priorities influence the direction and development of scientific research. This element highlights the need




for informed, evidence based decision making about current and future applications of science where there is, or would be, an impact on society and the environment. It acknowledges that in making decisions about science and its practices, moral, ethical and social implications must be taken into account. It also acknowledges that science has advanced through, and is open to, the contributions of many different people from different cultures at different times in history and offers rewarding career paths.


All three elements of science are important and should be evident across each stage of schooling. In delivering the science curriculum the focus is on science understanding through the development of science concepts. The science inquiry skills and the human endeavour dimensions are embedded in the development of these science concepts.


Stages of schooling

It is proposed that in Pakistan the curriculum will be revised after every five years. The current curriculum 2006 has completed its five years but the textbooks based on this curriculum are still not published. So according to the policy document this science curriculum should be revised now.


Our science curriculum and most of the science curricula of many nations are based on Piaget developmental stages. Piaget is fundamentally a genetic epistemologist and therefore engaged himself in studying how human mind develops ideas about the environment. Specifically, he studied changes in knowledge and interpreted them from the psychological point of view by studying children. He believes that children are eager to learn and are active in their own development. This development takes place in four stages. He further said that cognitive development depends upon four factors (1) Maturation (2) Experience (practice, physical, logical, and mathematical) (3) Social environment (4) Equilibrium.


Stage 1,      which typically involves students from 5 to 8 years of age (integrated science course)

Stage 2,      which typically involves students from 8 to 10 years of age (Science as a separate subject, class IV-V)

Stage 3,      which typically involves students from 10 to 14 years of age (Science as separate subject, CLASS VI-VIII)

Stage 4,   which typically involves students from 14 to 18 years of age (CLASS, IX-XII)


Developing scientific capabilities takes time and the science curriculum should reflect the kinds of science activities, experiences and understanding appropriate for students of different ages. Early science experiences should relate to self awareness and the natural world. During the primary years, the science curriculum should develop the skills of investigation, using experiences which provide opportunities to reinforce language, literacy and numeracy relevant to science. In secondary school, some differentiation of the sub-disciplines of science is appropriate, although as many science issues are interdisciplinary, an integrated approach to science education is also appropriate. The




senior secondary science curriculums should be differentiated into courses, to provide for students who wish to pursue career-related science specializations, as well those who prefer a more general, integrated science for citizenship. A proposed structure for class I to XII curriculum is provided below.


Table 2.1: A proposed structure for I-XII science curriculum


Curriculum focus Source of interesting questions and the related science Relevant big ideas of science
Stage 1 Awareness of self and the local natural world Everyday life experiences involving science at home and in nature Exploration Observation Order Questioning &


Stage 2 Recognizing questions that can be investigated scientifically and investigating them Wide range of science phenomena that provide questions of interest and public importance to primary school students Change Patterns Systems Cause & effect Evidence & Explanations
Stage 3 Explaining phenomena involving science and its applications Simple everyday science phenomena and the major concepts from the physical, biological, earth and space sciences and from the applications of science that shape the personal and public worlds of adolescents Energy Sustainability Equilibrium & interdependence Form & function Evidence, models &


Stage 4 Opportunity to pursue science subjects relevant to interests and future intentions Separate subjects:

·               Physics

·               Chemistry

·               Biology

·               Environmental science

·               Science for life & work

All of the above would be embedded in the different science subjects


Key Point 2.4

  • The main objective of school science education is to develop young people’s science
  • There are seven dimensions of scientific literacy for
  • Science as a separate subject is taught in Pakistan from class
  • At elementary level the curriculum focus is on Awareness of self and the local natural world, Recognizing questions that can be investigated scientifically and investigating them
  • At secondary level the curriculum focus is to explain phenomena involving science and its application Opportunity to pursue science subjects relevant to interests and future








  • Elementary Science Curriculum

Learning in science is fundamental to understanding the world in which we live and work. It helps people to clarify ideas, to ask questions, to test explanations through measurement and observation, and to use their findings to establish the worth of an idea. Science is not seen as merely objective and value free but is recognized as being part of human experience. As such it is an integral part of daily life and relevant to everyone.


National Curriculum for General Science 2006 (Pakistan)

This curriculum aims to promote scientific literacy among the students by:

  • Helping students to develop knowledge and a coherent understanding of the living, physical, material, and technological components of their environment;
  • Encouraging students to develop skills for investigating the living, physical, material, and technological components of their environment in scientific ways;
  • Providing opportunities for students to develop the attitudes on which the scientific investigation depends;
  • Promoting science as an activity that is carried out by all people as part of their everyday life;
  • Portraying science both as a process and a set of ideas , which have been constructed by people to explain everyday life and unfamiliar phenomena;
  • Encouraging students to consider the way in which people have used scientific knowledge and methods to meet particular needs;
  • Developing students’ understanding of the evolving nature of science and technology;
  • Assisting students to use scientific knowledge and skills to make decisions about the usefulness and worth of ideas;
  • Helping students to explore issues and to make responsible and considered decisions about the use of science and technology in their environment;
  • Developing students’ understanding of the different ways people influence and/or are influenced by science and technology;
  • Nurturing scientific talent to ensure a future scientific community; and
  • Developing students’ interest in and understanding of the knowledge and processes of science that will form the basis of their future education in science and technology and careers.


Objectives: Main objectives of this document (science curriculum 2006);

  1. Emphasize scientific literacy for all students;
  2. Promote inquiry-based and student-centered science education;
  3. Emphasize understanding, not content coverage;
  4. Promote learning that is useful and relevant;
  5. Promote interdisciplinary learning;
  6. Promote spiritual and moral development of the students; and




  1. Act an effective instrument for a systematic and lifelong learning of the students of Grade IV-VIII and for all stake holder of the Pakistan school education system including administrators, teachers, students, parents, and civil


This document has been divided into the following components in order to achieve the desired aims and objectives:


  • Curriculum focus
    • The inquiry-based curriculum
    • The student-centered curriculum
    • An outcome-focus curriculum
  • The conceptual map for the curriculum outcomes
  • Criteria for the selection of:
    • Content strands, standards, and benchmarks
    • Students learning outcomes (SLOs), Grades IV-VIII
    • SLOs and Benchmarks Achievement Objectives


This Elementary school curriculum presents a paradigm shift from the characteristics of traditional approaches to inquiry-based approaches in the following manners;


Table 2.2: Paradigm shift: Traditional to Inquiry


Principle Learning Theory Behaviourism Constructivism
Students’ Participation Passive Active
Students’ Involvement in Outcomes Decreased responsibility Increased responsibility
Students’ Role Direction follower Problem solver
Curriculum Goals Output oriented Process oriented
Teachers’ Role Director/transmitter Guide/facilitator


Therefore this curriculum, which strive the scientific literacy, is intended to engage students in asking and answering meaningful questions. The teacher will pose some of these questions, the student will generate others. Generally these questions are:

Why…? How…? Should…? There are three basic processes used to answer these questions.

  1. Scientific Inquiry addresses “why
  2. How” type questions are answered by engaging students in Problem solving


  1. Should” questions are answered by engaging students in Decision




Table 2.3   An example of the questions WHY, HOW, SHOULD


Questions Why does my tea gets cool so quickly?

(science question)

How can I make a container to keep my tea hot? Should we use Styrofoam cups or ceramic mugs for drinking tea?
Process involved in answering the


Scientific inquiry Technological problem solving Decision making
Response: Heat energy is transferred by conduction, convection, and radiation A Styrofoam cup will keep liquids warm for a long time Personal health, the environment, cost and availability must be considered along with science and technology


Problems arise from: Curiosity about events and phenomenon in the natural world Copying with everyday life, practices and human needs Different views or perspectives based on different or the same information
Types of questions: What do we know? How do we know? How can we do it? Will it work? What alternatives or consequences are there? Which choice is best at this time?
Solutions Result in: Knowledge about the events and phenomena in the natural world An effective and efficient way to accomplish a task


Activity 2.5

Write down ten questions of ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘if-then’, ‘should’.




Learning Strands, Content Standard, and Benchmarks

  • LEARNING STRANDS (General Learning Outcomes)

Learning strands are the major learning areas, for example, knowledge, skills, attitude, and application, that student will be educated to in a curriculum framework.


In the National Science Curriculum 2006, following six learning strands have been selected for the students of Grade IV-VIII:

  1. Life science
  2. Physical science, and
  3. Earth and space science


These strands will cover the first part of the General Curriculum Outcomes, i.e. knowledge.

  1. Skills
  2. Attitudes, and
  3. Science, Technology, Society, and Environment (STSE)


These are called the integrating strands which cover the remaining three parts of the General Curriculum Outcomes.


  • Content Standards

Content standards are basically the description of the contextual content strands. Content standards outline what students should know and be able to do in science.

This curriculum focuses on the subject matter of science, including the learning theories, concepts, and principles that are essential to an understanding of each science area. Therefore, the following widely accepted science disciplines have been selected as content standards for the science curriculum 2006 (Grades IV-VIII).


  1. Life Science

Students will understand, explain and differentiate between the structures, characteristics and basic needs of living things, the process of life, and will also investigate the diversity of life and how living things interact with each other and their environment.

  1. Physical Science

Students will describe and explain common properties, forms, and interaction of energy and matter, their transformation and applications in chemical, physical, and biological system.

  1. Earth and Space Sciences

Students will be knowledgeable of the structure, process, and interactions among the Earth’s systems. They will also understand the Solar system and the scientific theories about the origin of the Solar system, and explain how we learn about the universe.

  1. Skills

Students will develop the skills require for science and technology inquiry for solving problems. The skills will be helpful for them to communicate scientific




ideas of results. They will learn to work collaboratively and to make informal decisions.

  1. Attitudes

Students will show a sense of curiosity and wonder about natural world. They will be encouraged to develop such attitudes that support the responsible attainment of application of scientific and technical knowledge. Such knowledge will be for the benefit of themselves, environment and society.

  1. Science Technology and Society

Students will develop an understanding of the nature of science and technology. They will build up a relationship between science and technology. They will also develop a relationship of the social and environmental context of science and technology.


  • Benchmarks (Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes)

Benchmarks are the statements that identify the outcomes of students what they are expected to know, be able to do, and value by the end of, for example, Grades V,VIII,X,XII as a result of their Grade-wise cumulative learning experiences.


Benchmarks, also, represent what is intended or what learning outcome is expected from students at the end of grade-cluster. At the end of a particular key-stage or grade-cluster majority of the students will have fully achieved the intended Benchmarks while other may not.


In this curriculum, two sets of benchmarks have been selected. First, the benchmarks for the grade-cluster IV-V, – What learning outcomes will be expected from all students at the end of grade-V in the six learning strands (i.e. life science, physical science, earth and space science, skills, attitude and STSE.While the second set of benchmarks for the grade-cluster VI-VIII, – What learning outcomes will be expected from all students at the end of grade-VIII in the six learning strands (i.e. life science, physical science, earth and space science, skills, attitude and STSE.


These Benchmarks are intended for all students. However, it is acknowledged that different students will achieve these benchmarks in different ways and to different depth and breadth depending on interest, ability and context.


Also at the same time, the selected benchmarks will present opportunities and challenges for teachers to be able to help their students in achieving the desired learning outcomes at the end of Grade V and Grade VIII.


  • Students’ Learning Outcomes

Students’ learning outcomes are the learning statements, specially describing what students are supposed to learn and able to do at each Grade level in order to achieve the specified Benchmarks for every Grade-Cluster. In other words, SLOs are the incremental steps toward accomplishment of Benchmarks, which are organized around the standards




and listed for each grade level as students advance in their knowledge, skills, attitudes and applications.






Suggested Answer

Activity 2.1         Visit: SAQ 2.1   A.        a, d, d, b, d.

  1. See the 2.1 part of the
  2. See the 2.1 part of the


Activity 2.2         a, b, c


SAQ 2.2              See the 2.2, parts of the unit. Activity 2.3 See the 2.3 part of the unit

SAQ 2.3              1.      Knowledge

  1. Characterization
  2. Reflex movement, Non-discursive communication
  3. Structure of observed learning outcomes
  4. Five

SAQ 2.4              A. 1.IV,

  1. XII,
  2. Awareness of self and the local natural world
  3. Explaining phenomena and its application
  4. Inquiry based
  5. See the 2.4 part of the unit



See the 2.5 part of the unit.





  • Abimbola (1993) “Guiding Philosophical perspectives M.O Ivowi, (Ed.) Curriculum development in Nigeria, (pp. 4-16) Ibadan: Sam Bookman Educational and Communication Services.


  • Federal Republic of (1998). National policy on education, Lagos:

NERDC Press. Olawepo, J.A. (1997). Introduction to principles and practice of Instruction.Unpublished manuscript. Available from the author, Department Of Curriculum Studies and Educational Technology, University of llorin, llorin, Nigeria.


  • Government of Pakistan. (2006). National Curriculum for General Science (Grade IV-VIII, 2006). Ministry of Education,


  • Kumar A. (1995). Teaching of Physical Sciences. New Delhi: Anmol Publications Pvt


  • Safdar, M. (2010). A comparative study of Ausubelian and Traditional methods of Teaching Physics at secondary school level in Pakistan. Unpublished Ph.D Level National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.


  • Shah, (2004). Making University Laboratory Work in Chemistry more Effective.

Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Glasgow: Glasgow University, Scotland.



  • Zais, R.S. (1976). Curriculum: Principles and foundations. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.


  • T. (1996). The Use of an Information Processing Model to Design and evaluate a physics undergraduate laboratory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Glasgow: Glasgow University. (3-4,6,9,11,12,48)

































Written by:       Arshad Mehmood Qamar

Dr. Muhammad Safdar Reviewed by:    Dr. Muhammad Tanveer Afzal





Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………. 69

Objectives…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 69

3.1                    The Changing Role of Science Teacher………………………………………… 70

3.2                    Characteristics of a Good Science Teacher…………………………………… 72

3.3                    Teacher as a Reflective Practitioner…………………………………………….. 77

3.4                    Teacher as a Class Room Based Researcher………………………………….. 81

3.4.1              Action Research (Definition)………………………………………… 81

3.4.2              Classroom Action Research…………………………………………… 82

3.4.3              Reasons to Conduct Action Research…………………………….. 82

3.4.4              Three Levels of Action Research…………………………………… 82

3.4.5              Conducting Action Research………………………………………… 82





A traditional science teacher teaches the truth while the good one teaches how to find it. Schools provide environment for teaching and learning process. Teachers are catalysts for learning. In promoting learning there is no single factor for effectiveness, though there are very characteristics of effective teaching and teacher. What do we expect effective science teachers to be like? Three main factors are associated within teachers’ control that exerts a significant influence on students’ learning, making up to a 30 per cent difference in their progress:


  1. Teaching skills
  2. Professional characteristics
  3. Classroom


A good teacher is congenial (friendly/ good natured / hospitable) and conscientious (painstaking/reliable/hard working) person, respected and intelligent. He possesses a sense of humour and also aptitude for teaching. Role of a teacher is wholistic in nature. At one time a teacher is a scientist at another time he is acting like a judge. Another requirement for a good teacher is that he should have a high sense of principles and an aptitude for creative work and scientific curiosity.


What do we expect effective teachers to be like? We will study in this unit.



After studying this unit you will be able to:

  • Understand the characteristics of a good science teacher;
  • apply the changing role of the science teacher in this current scenario;
  • use the reflective teaching;
  • develop and conduct action research to solve the classroom problems ;




  • The Changing Role of Science Teacher

There is a proverb, “The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires his or her students to discover” (William Arthur Ward).Teacher plays a pivotal role in the education system. There was a time when he was considered the master of the situation but the scenario has been changed. The paradigm is shifted from teacher centered to student centered and the role of the teacher has become more important than before.


As you know that the teaching and learning have moved from instructivism to constructivism, same is the case with the role of the teacher. This is the age of science and technology, therefore, the role of the science teacher is very crucial. Hokanson and Hooper suggest that there has been a change in education:


  • From instructivism to constructivism
  • From teacher centered to learner centered
  • From behaviourist to cognitive approaches
  • From representation to generation of knowledge
  • From transmission to construction of knowledge
  • From linear logic to nonlinear, network

Hence, in this scenario the role of the teacher is shifted from fact teller to collaborator, guide and facilitator. It is suggested that science teachers have an important role to play in structuring learning in which learners take control of the process (cognitive process). Science teacher helps to design the environment for learning and ensure that it engages the learner, collaborating with other learners, resources and experts to construct knowledge. The learner controls over his/her own experiences and the depth and range of studies, content and delivery media, enable him/her to tailor the learning experience to meet his or her specific needs and interest. These are essential features of effective learning, not least in the self-efficacy which they promote in students and its effect on motivation and achievement.


Different aspects of instruction and Construction


Function Instruction Construction
Classroom activity Teacher-controlled; didactic Learner-centered, interactive
Teacher’s role Fact teller; expert Collaborator, learner
Student’s role Listener, always the learner Collaborator but some time expert
Instructional emphasis Facts, memorization Relationships, inquiry and invention
Concept of knowledge Accumulation of facts Transformation of facts
Demonstration of success Quantity Quality of understanding
Assessment Norm-referenced, multiple choice items Criterion-referenced, portfolios, and performances
Technology use Drill and practice Communication, collaboration, information access and retrieval, expression.




Table 3.1: Difference between Instruction and Construction Source: Louis Cohen: A Guide to Teaching Practice. 5th ed. p. 172


Conventional and Restructured Learning Settings


Conventional setting Restructured setting
Student role Learn facts and skills by absorbing the content presented by teachers and media resources. Create personal knowledge by acting on content provided by teachers, media resources and personal experience.
Curriculum characteristics Fragmented knowledge and disciplinary separation. Basic literacy established before higher level inquiry is encouraged.

Focus on breadth of knowledge.

Multidisciplinary themes, knowledge integration and application. Emphasis on thinking skills and application. Emphasis

on depth of understanding.

Social characteristics Teacher-controlled setting with students working independently. Some competition. Teacher functions as facilitator and learner. Students work collaboratively and make some decisions.
Assessment Measurement of fact knowledge and discrete skills. Traditional tests. Assessment of knowledge application. Performance of tasks to demonstrate understanding.
Teacher role Present information and manage the classroom. Guide student inquiry and model active learning.
Possible use of internet Source of information for absorption. Source of information for interpretation and knowledge creation. Outlet for original work.


Table 3.2 Source: Louis Cohen: A Guide to Teaching Practice.  5th ed. p. 172


Key Points

  • Effective classroom teaching in science requires advance thinking and proper
  • Traditional methods are concerned with the recall of factual knowledge and largely ignore higher levels of cognitive outcomes.
  • In traditional way the student learn facts and skills by absorbing the content presented by
  • Constructivist student create personal knowledge by acting on content provided by teachers, media resources and personal
  • A good teacher provides guidance for the
  • In traditional setting the teacher present information and manage the


Activity 3.1

Observe at least three science teachers of your secondary school during teaching science and complete the following table given below and give your conclusion. Are they cognitivists or behaviourists or constructivists?





Function Performance observed
Classroom activity
Teacher’s own knowledge
Teacher’s role
Student’s role
Instructional emphasis
Concept of knowledge
Demonstration of success
Assessment technique
Use of Aids


SAQ 3.1


  • Characteristics of Good Science Teacher


Knows the subject matter ·       Regularly reads books and professional journals on the subject

·       Maintains an up-to-date knowledge

·       Takes classes, participate in science workshops, seminars, etc. and other opportunities to learn about the subject matter

Have awareness about national professional teaching standards ·       Have detailed subject knowledge

·       Have knowledge and understanding of human growth and development

·       Have knowledge of Islamic ethical values/social life skills.

·       Have ability for instructional planning and strategies.

He prepares himself for class ·       Has a detailed outline for the year

·       Prepares weekly class outlines

·       Allots preparation time

·       Periodically evaluates use of class time





·       Avoids frequent irrelevant anecdotes and departures from the subject (a sure indication of lack of preparation or interest in the subject)

·       Plans useful homework and assignments

Acquires and maintains excellent teaching skills ·       Explains ideas clearly

·       Asks fellow teachers to offer suggestions

·       Swaps ideas with other teachers

·       Attends seminars or classes on teaching techniques

·       Makes the subject interesting

Has good relationship with students ·       Is courteous and fair to all students regardless of intelligence or social class

·       Avoids sarcasm or humiliation

·       Knows students personally by name and background

·       Does not attempt to establish a buddy relationship, but maintains appropriate professional distance

·       Likes students; talks with them easily

·       Finds means of obtaining student feedback or suggestions and makes use of them

·       Allows for individual differences

Employs a range Teaching Strategies and style ·       A formal, didactic style with little or no interaction between teacher and students

·       Teacher presents the overall structure of the lesson but there is a room for students’ own contributions

·       Teacher and students largely negotiated the content and activities between themselves

Demonstrate positive attitude and behavior ·       Demonstrate involvement, application and enjoyment

·       Have pride to his achievement

·       Respect the views of others

·       Work independently and collectively

·       Can solve problems

·       Work safely, carefully and considerately

Has understanding about the use of modern teaching techniques, tactics, methods ·       A.V Aids ( I see and I remember)

·         I do and I understand

·       Use different teaching methods in one lesson (lecture cum discussion, lecture cum demonstration, discovery/inquiry , project )

·       Familiar with individual differences and local knowledge

Knows the steps in executing the lesson plan (steps are explained below the table) ·       Motivation ; objectives; teaching/learning; check understanding; provide feedback/guided practice; summary; independent practice; evaluate
Maintains discipline in the science classroom and lab ·       Be tough but fair.

·       School control begins in the classroom.

·       Contact parents before something negative happens.

·       Respect all students.

·       Use positive intervention.

·       Be assertive.

·       Allow the students to help make the rules.

·       Teach the rules and review the rules.

·       Make each child feel loved and secure.

·       Teach procedures, practice them, and review them.

·       Set limits.

·       Manage your consequences and be consistent.

·       Don’t take students’ misbehavior personally.





Knows and applies different assessment techniques ·       High level open-ended questions (oral, written)

·       Structured interview, viva voce, post-labs, projects

Knows the Motivation techniques ·       Establish a state of readiness for the instruction and relate the lesson to the previous learning.

·       Reward, appreciation, provide academic freedom

Explain the Learning ·       Explain to students as if they do not know anything.

·       Provide examples, demonstrate the learning, and use questions to guide

the learning. If this is a discovery lesson, let the students arrive at the answer inductively.

Check for Understanding ·       Provide feedback and reinforcement; ask questions and answer questions. ncourage students to express confusion/misunderstanding and to ask for examples.
Guide for Practice ·       Give directions for the activity;

·       Identify materials and their use;

·       Determine the means of collecting and reporting data.

·       Provide continuous feedback and reinforcement.

·       Make corrections. Monitor and make contact with all students. Give learning cues. Re-teach areas of confusion.

Provide Independent Practice ·       Students work independently. Time limits should be set.


You studied in this unit the qualities and the role of a good (science) teacher, you reach on the conclusion that there is no hard and fast list that tells you who is a good teacher or who is not a good teacher. However, there are traits that excellent teachers have in common. These are not the usual qualities such as being a good friend or having a nice personality. These are what researchers from around the world have found when they watched those teachers whose students excelled once they left that teacher’s classroom. Of course, not every teacher is going to be a skillful teacher for every child and a child spends only about 8 percent of the year in school, which means that regardless of the quality of teacher, a supportive home environment is essential to excellent learning.


Below are the traits of a good teacher as expressed by the young people around the world.


From Indonesia:

A great teacher   smiles   to   his/her   pupils   even   when   they   screw   him   up. A good teacher shows the whole wide world to the students.


From India:

One who helps his students in all respects. He makes his students able to live better life. He teaches students to take decisions in all the conditions.


From Ireland:

It is fundamental that a teacher cares about humanity in general.


From Chile:

A good teacher is someone who can learn from his students, who can learn with them, and for them.




From Egypt:

To win their confidence should be the teacher’s first aim – though strictness has to be in its place.


From Germany:

A good teacher, of course, has to be humorous. A teacher has to enjoy what she does! Has to remember how it was when he/she was a child.


From Pakistan:

A guide. A real friend is someone who knows all about you and still he loves you. A good teacher is a good friend. Good teaching is keeping yourself in the shoes of your students.


From Malaysia:

One who doesn’t ‘teach’ but instead is willing to ‘learn’ with the child and from the child.


From Mexico:

The teacher is to the students what the rain is to the field.


From Chad:

A good teacher should answer all questions, even if they are stupid.


From Nigeria:

A good teacher must be prepared to be foolish if that will help his pupil attain wisdom.


From Jamaica:

To become a good teacher, you not only teach the children, but you also have to learn from them.


Hence, this is all about good teacher and good teaching.




Key Points

  • An effective teacher has good classroom management
  • Wait five or more seconds after asking a
  • A good teacher is creative, energetic and has
  • A good teacher takes interest in helping people
  • Provide feedback and reinforcement;
  • Ask questions and answer
  • Encourage students to express confusion/misunderstanding and to ask for


Activity 3.2

List down some more qualities possessed by good science teacher.




  • Teachers as a Reflective Practitioner

Dear students, you, at school, college and university have experienced good/better, not good teachers—some teachers made the lesson easy for you and some have not helped you very much at all. Why does this happen? What makes the difference between a good teacher and a bad teacher (bad in teaching methodology)? How do particular approaches to teaching help or hinder the performance of the individual? We can find answer of these questions in the literature on effective teaching and effective teacher. You can see how the ideas about good teacher have changed over the years by reading literature. The literature reflects that how teacher can help learners to develop their knowledge, skills, and attitude, but it is concluded that no single teaching strategy is effective all the time for all learners.


There are empirical evidences that inexperienced teachers may not analyze, evaluate and direct their teaching practices in meta-cognitive manner that is the mark of reflective practitioner. Some of the reasons for this are explained in the work of many educationists/researchers. The following table summarizes some of these reasons and indicates how you might deal with these issues. These points are not presented to discourage you but encourage you to face the challenges. That is why you may be able to become a reflective teacher and so that you can start to develop strategies for overcoming these difficulties.


Table 3.3


Common barriers to reflection What might you do?
Beginning teachers may be so preoccupied with the subject matter, or with their delivery of the lesson, that they have little time to consider how well it is going. Prepare thoroughly so that you are confident of your knowledge and clear about the structure of your lesson. Use
Beginning teachers may be reluctant to be self-critical at a time when they are lacking in self-confidence and when they are fearful of failure. Do not expect yourself to be perfect rather accepting that you need to improve.
Beginning teachers may lack the knowledge of diverse teaching strategies that might help them to perceive alternatives to their current practice. Talk to other teachers about how they teach. Ask for advice. Observe other teachers. Look for ideas on the internet. Be preemptive thinker prepare yourself to take a risk and “step outside of your comfort zone”
Inexperienced teacher may have a very limited number of “frames” within which to consider their teaching. Practice deliberately looking at situations from more than one perspective. Try to look at your teaching through the eyes of yours students.
Some beginning teachers are unable to achieve the detachment from their own practice that would enable them to reflect upon it objectively and critically. Get feedback from yours students. Ask your management/colleagues to observe your teaching and give you feedback. Rectify yourself in the light of feedback and establish a “reflective partnership”.
Beginning teachers may see each class and each student as unique and therefore see limited potential in reflection on practice. Look for patterns in your interactions with students, analysing these patterns and try to work out why you usually behave in this way.
Beginning teachers may feel powerless to change the situations in which they are placed. Don’t try to change the whole education system in one year. Be realistic about what you can change, and try to change.
Beginning teachers may feel that they have no control All these issues are things that you need to reflect on.





over the social, moral, and political issues that impose on their classroom. You may not be able to change them immediately but you can at least discuss them with other teachers.
The routine of teacher may make it difficult to develop a challenging and questioning view. Challenge yourself to question every major teaching decision you make.
Trainee/beginning teachers are often confused by the range of theoretical models of teaching and learning with which they are confronted. Begin your reflections by adopting just one theoretical stance. Use that perspective to interpret what is happening, and then adopt a different theoretical stance.
Reflection is not a normal mode of behavior for many people. Develop the habit of reflection on everything that happens in your life.
It is easy to confuse knowledge acquisition with reflection. The essence of reflection is not to discover something new, but to come to a better understanding of something that is already familiar.


The process of making good teachers is complex. Reflection is a crucial part of that process and it cannot be developed without training, modeling and structured experience.” Generally, reflection is a mode of thinking that can be identified, described and developed. It also suggests that a teacher who is not reflective can be transformed into one who is reflective. This transformation requires knowledge and practice. It also requires perception because perception is the filter through which individuals interpret their experiences. Our perception are primarily depends upon how we see the world (idealist, realist, pragmatist etc.). These belief and values about the world determine what information we use when reflecting on our experiences.


Unless teachers understand what they are doing and why they are doing it, there is a little chance that their efforts will result in student learning or that their actions are morally appropriate. Reflective teaching should involve “searching for patterns about one’s thinking about classroom/lab practices and questioning that why and how some lessons are labeled as success and failure.


Reflective thinking is a learned process that requires time. Generally there is little, if any, time left at the day’s end to reflect on previous events, and to design meaningful, creative problem-solving strategies. However, given the intent of the student teaching experience, time for reflection should be a critical and ongoing practice. The following are some examples of activities that promote reflection and may be tailored to fit into the school day and beyond.


Think Aloud:

Intentionally express out loud thinking about teaching with your teacher intern. This is especially effective when teaching the teacher intern how to plan. It uncovers the reasoning behind making decisions. Another component of the think aloud is describing and analyzing positive and negative experiences as they surface. This can be a therapeutic and valuable tool that can be accomplished on one’s own or in conjunction with individuals from the mentoring team.


Reflective Journal:

This is a process of recording and analyzing events in a prescribed manner and it can be a productive strategy to foster reflective thinking. The journaling process may be formal or




informal. It can be a description of a significant event or an aspect of teaching on which a teacher intern is asked to focus.


Competency Continuum:

Think about the areas in teaching identified in the performance standards on the evaluation form. Select an area and rank yourself on a continuum from most competent to least competent. Begin to identify the factors that inhibit your ability to be more competent and identify what would be most helpful to gain more competencies. Use this continuum as a tool for discussion and action planning between you and your mentoring team.


Data Collection/Action Research:

Consider a problem area such as student motivation that concerns you. Intentionally design a procedure for collecting information (data) to learn more about the problem. Use this data to further analyze the situation, to act on the problem, or to reevaluate.


Video/Audio Tape and Reflective Analysis:

View or listen to the tape for the purpose of analyzing your instruction and student response. The video or audio tape may be used as a tool for reflective dialogue between the teacher intern and individuals from the mentoring team. It could be combined with a journal entry.


Written Self-Evaluation:

This is a structured self analysis. In Pakistan, usually it is used in ISSB (Inter Services Selection Board) when the candidates who come for their selection in Pakistan army, navy, air force, or join civil services, etc. It is written at midterm and at the end.


Use of the Problem Solving Process:

This six step process may be used for any problem situation in or out of the classroom setting. It is intended as a tool for collaborative or individual problem solving and reflective thinking as well as a design for action.

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Generate possible solutions
  3. Evaluate the solutions
  4. Design as action plan
  5. Implement the plan
  6. Evaluate the results


Coaching and Conferencing Process:

This is a process that occurs on a regular basis during the student teaching experience. It provides an opportunity to talk about teaching and learning and should be a natural flow of conversation that includes sharing ideas, giving and receiving formative feedback. This process may be ongoing and informal, or scheduled and structured. It may or may not include an observation. The intent of the process is to engage in an activity that




promotes dialogue about teaching effectiveness, and encourages reflective thinking about teaching, learning, and performance.


Development of a Professional Portfolio:

The process of creating and selecting documents for inclusion in the portfolio requires a significant amount of reflective thinking about yourself as a teacher and your growth related to the performance standards for student teaching. It is an opportunity to talk about your experience and performance with the individuals who form your mentoring team. It can be one of the most intensive processes for reflection.


Activity 3.3

  1. Think back to your own days at school and recall educational experiences preferably in science which you remember and give Why was that a successful learning experience for you? You may find it helpful to first think of the qualities of your science teacher and then the teaching-learning process.
  2. The second task is to repeat the above activity No. 1 but this time focusing on an educational experience which failed to engage or motivate you. Compare your comments with your fellow




  • Teachers as a Classroom Based Researcher

The purpose of action research is to solve practical problems through the application of the scientific method. It is concerned with a local problem and is conducted in a local setting. It is not concerned with whether the results are generalizable to any other setting and is not characterized by the same kind of control evident in other categories of research. The primary purpose of action research is the solution of a given problem. Whether the research is conducted in one classroom or in many classrooms, the teacher is very much a part of the process. It is, therefore, necessary to involve the teachers in research training programs that the research produces valid results.


It is a mean by which teachers and concerned school personnel can attempt to improve the educational process within their environment. There is no doubt about it that action research provides immediate answers to problems that cannot wait for theoretical solutions.


As you know that there are loads of things you can do by yourself which reveal plenty about you as a teacher – your attitude to your work and your students, your role in the classroom, your management techniques, your lesson planning abilities, etc. The first thing you need to do is, think about which aspect of your lessons you want to research.


  • How effectively do you present new grammar structures?
  • How helpful are your techniques for explaining new vocabulary?
  • Do you provide adequate feedback on students’ performance?
  • Do you set up and conclude activities in a logical and engaging way?

Action research can be as simple as testing a new teaching method, or it can answer far more complex questions about curriculum, school management, or other large, multidimensional issues.


  • Action Research (Definition)

According to Gay (1987) action researches are solely conducted to solve the classroom problems through the application of scientific method.


Action research is the process of systematically testing new ideas in the classroom or school, analyzing the results, and deciding to implement the new idea or begin the process again with another idea.




  • Classroom Action Research
  • Begins with a question, such as “Why don’t my students take better notes?”
  • Proposes a classroom-based practice (intervention) to change the identified problem, such as “Will using a graphic organizer to teach a concept improve note- taking skills?”
  • Uses a systematic approach to testing and analyzing the idea or intervention (Did it improve their skills? How?
  • Is teacher or practitioner directed?
  • Has an end goal of improving a teaching practice or other educational process ?
    • Reasons to Conduct Action Research
  • Many teachers argue that the problem with theory is that it ignores practice. Theory is often tied to large-scale research projects designed and conducted by educational researchers, with little or no teacher input.
  • Of course, formal research occupies an important place in the field of education; yet, it can be difficult to translate its findings into new practices. Action research allows teachers to pursue critical inquiry to activate change, on their own terms. Teachers may want to take formal research findings and translate them into their own action research question.
  • We offer a list of five compelling reasons to undertake an action research project this
  • It will help you build a reflective practice, based on proven
  • It allows you to try out new ideas and reliably assess their
  • It will build confidence in your instructional
  • It contributes to the professional culture of teaching at your
  • It can create meaningful and lasting change in your practice, your students’ learning, and your school.


  • Three Levels of Action Research

There are typically three different levels of action research.

  • The first level is conducted by an individual to test methods for implementation in the
  • The second level is undertaken by a group of teachers testing a method for use department or grade.
  • The third level involves teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders; its purpose is to affect change in the larger school


  • Conducting Action Research (A Simple Methodology)

In order to conduct your research systematically, you need to choose an action research method. There are many available, some more rigorous than others. Here we offer a simplified set of steps that are included in most action research projects.




  1. Identify the question, issue, or problem

This is always your starting point. You may need time to determine the right focus for your question. Action research provides immediate answers to problems that cannot wait for theoretical solution.

  1. Define a solution.

The solution will be a new instructional technique, strategy, new environment, or new material that you feel has potential to correct the problem.

  1. Apply the technique and collect data.

Here you will need to define how you will apply the technique and the method you will use to collect your data. If possible, it is helpful to have at least two groups that you can use for your research, one acting as the test group and one for the control group (the group that doesn’t use the strategy or technique). You will need to define in advance how you will record reactions to your intervention.

  1. Analyze your

Determine whether the solution had an impact on learning. This is where having a control group to compare your test groups can help you determine whether the technique has caused a desirable change, an undesirable change, or no change at all.

  1. Take action.

This can be either in the form of revising your intervention and returning to Step 2 to test another intervention, or by changing your practice to reflect a successful new technique.


Key Points

  • Action researches are conducted to solve the classroom problems through the application of scientific method.
  • Action research helps the teacher to build a reflective practice, based on proven
  • The results of action research provide confidence to the teacher in his instructional
  • It contributes to the professional culture of teaching at his
  • Action research can create meaningful and lasting change in your practice, your students’ learning, and your



  1. Take a problem and keeping in view the procedure given in the article 3.4.5, conduct an action research to solve your classroom
  2. You are teaching science to class say VI. You observe that a child who is passive (active) in the class but his performance in the examination is well (not well). Try to explore it.




SAQ 3.4


Suggested Answers



Part A                 (c), (d), (d), (d), (c)

Part B                  See the 3.1 part of the unit.


SAQ-3.2             See the 3.2, part of the unit.


SAQ-3.3             See the 3.3, part of the unit.


SAQ-3.4             See the 3.4, part of the unit.





  • Government of Pakistan. (2006). National Curriculum for General Science (Grade IV-VIII, 2006). Ministry of Education,



  • Safdar, M. (2010). A comparative study of Ausubelian and Traditional methods of Teaching Physics at secondary school level in Pakistan. Unpublished Ph.D Level National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.


  • (1996). The Use of an Information Processing Model to Design and evaluate a physics undergraduate laboratory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Glasgow: Glasgow University.






































Written by:       Dr. Muhammad Safdar Reviewed by:    Dr. Iqbal Shah

Arshad Mehmood Qamar






Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………. 89

Objectives…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 89

4.1                    Learning…………………………………………………………………………………… 90

4.1.1              Outcomes of Learning………………………………………………….. 91

4.1.2              Theories of Learning…………………………………………………….. 92

4.2                    Reception Learning…………………………………………………………………… 95

4.3                    Relational Learning…………………………………………………………………… 97

4.4                    Rote Learning…………………………………………………………………………… 97

4.5                    Meaningful Learning……………………………………………………………….. 100

4.6                    Constructivists Approach to Learning………………………………………… 105

4.7                    Children’s Misconceptions in Science………………………………………… 107

4.7.1              Implication for Teachers……………………………………………… 107





The simplest form of learning is imitation because the students change their behaviour without any risk of being wrong. Learning occupies a very important place in our daily life. It provides a key to structure our insight and behaviour. The process of learning starts from the child’s birth rather in the womb of the mother. Observation and sense experience, (direct or indirect) play a vital role in shaping and moulding the behaviour of the individual from the very early stage (sensory motor stage as Piaget said). When a child touches a hot-pot he gets burnt. Next time, when he comes across a hot thing, he withdraws his hand within no time. With this experience, he has learned to avoid all burning things and reaches on the conclusion that if someone touches a hot body, one gets burnt. In the same way from other experience, he concludes, for instance, “Man is mortal”, “truth is evergreen”, and “a stitch in time saves nine”, etc. All these conclusions derived from experiences either direct or indirect, bring about a change in the behaviour and insight of the individual. These changes are brought about by experience are commonly known as learning.


In this unit we will study what learning is and how it takes place effectively and efficiently in classroom and science laboratory.



After studying this unit you will be able to:

  • Define and understand the meaning of
  • Know about the outcomes of
  • Understand reception and relational
  • Differentiate between rote and meaningful
  • Apply meaningful learning model in the class
  • Know and understand the constructivist approach to
  • Gain insight about misconceptions in




  • Learning

The term “learning” has not been always interpreted in the same way by the numerous thinkers, educationists and psychologists. In the view of Safdar (2010), Learning involves many skills and experiences, which are possible in science classroom and laboratory situation. The simplest form of learning is imitation that is producing things as a copy of the real one. In the views of Shah (2004), imitation is useful form of learning especially in the laboratory situation. It encourages one to grow and pretend freely without risk of being wrong or embarrassed.


In the view of Kingsley and R. Garry (1957) “learning is the process by which behaviour is originated or changes through practice and training”.   Kimble (1961) states, “learning is relatively permanent change in behavioural potentiality that occurs as a result of reinforced practice”.


Learning may be more formally defined as a relatively permanent change in the potential behaviour resulting from experience. Bigge (1982) stated that learning in contrast with maturation, is an enduring change in a living individual that is not heralded by his genetic inhabitance. It may be considered a change in insight, behaviour, perception or motivation or a combination of these. Learning is a change in human disposition or capabilities, which can be retained, and which is not simply ascribable to the process of growth.


Learning involves change which is concerned with the acquisition of habits, knowledge and attitudes. The sense of learning according to Gagne (1977) is simply the development of capabilities that are the outcomes of learning. These include: a) verbal information (b) Intellectual skills (c) Cognitive Strategies (d) Attitude (e) Motor Skills.


In the view of above definitions the term learning is put to multiple uses: (1) The acquisition and mastery of what is already known about something, (2) the extension and clarification. It is difficult to summarize learning in a single phrase or sentence, which will encompass all situations. Here learning will be seen as active, goal directed construction of meaning. Learning involves experience that will change the behaviour and attitude.


It is used to describe learning as; a product (the emphasis is on the outcomes of the experience), a process (the emphasis is on what happens when a learning experience takes place), and a function (the emphasis is on certain important aspect like motivation which help product learning).


  • Factors affecting learning

There are so many factors, which influence learning in one way or another but the major factors affecting learning are:

  1. Learner’s intention to learn (saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him “deeds are based on intentions”)




  1. Interest of the learner towards learning something
  2. Motivation
  3. Attitude (personal likeness or dis-likeness toward something, phenomena, subject,
  4. Poor communication in the learning situation
  5. Remembering and forgetting (mental tendency or capacity)
  6. Difficulty in learning material
  7. Teaching and learning strategies


Learning is not a passive absorption of learning material (rote learning) but active mental process (meaningful learning). In the view of Zaman (1996), “Learning is a flow of information from perception filter to working memory space here it reshapes and organizes according to the pre-knowledge exists in the cognitive structure of the individual and then it goes into the long term memory in the form of chunks for further retrieval”.


School learning cannot take place in the absence of considerable mental processing activity, conscious and deliberate or otherwise, on the part of the person who learns. Learning always involves (mental) doing. When we go about activities such as working, playing and learning, we use our mind and our senses in consistent ways, we have acquired preferred patterns of perceiving, remembering, thinking and problem solving. Complex cognitive strategies of structure and control are at working that enables us to deal successfully with the stimuli that come our way.


  • Outcomes of Learning

Learning, as a useful process, may result in the following outcomes:

  1. Bringing desirable changes in Learning is a process of bringing changes in behaviour. It can help in introducing desired changes in the behaviour of a learner, in all its three domains i.e. cognitive, conative, affective.
  2. Attaining of teaching-learning objectives. The teaching-learning objectives and teaching learning situation can be effectively reached through the help of learning and consequently a child can be made to acquire essential knowledge, skills, application, attitudes and interests etc.
  3. Attaining of proper growth and development. Learning helps in reaching one’s maximum in terms of growth and development in various spheres namely physical, mental, emotional, social, moral, language and
  4. Attaining balanced development of Our educational efforts are directed to bring an all-round development in the personality of a child. Learning result in bringing such an all-round development in personality.
  5. Attaining proper adjustment. Adjustment is a key to success in life. Learning helps an individual to get adjusted himself to the
  6. Realizing of the goals of Every person has his own philosophy of life and tries to achieve the goals of his life. Learning process helps an individual to realize his goals.




In this way the process of learning results in varying outcomes which can be said to contribute significantly in the overall improvement and progress of the learner for helping him to achieve the concept of “satisfying life”.


In most of the countries of the world and in Pakistan also, in science classroom or laboratory courses, the learning outcomes, which are tested, are those, which are the easiest to measure by pencil-and-paper tests. Greater emphasis is placed upon students’ ability to describe experimentation rather than upon their experimental skills, on the production of ‘right answers’ than on critical thinking, on correct conduct of experiments rather than experimental design or planning.


  • Theories of Learning

What goes into the process of learning? How does an individual learn a set of facts and figures, skills, habits, interests, attitudes, and similar other things in life? Such questions have always been a subject of inquiry and investigation for psychologists and, as a result, a number of theories have come into existence.


Bigge (1982) and Mangal (2005), provides the simplest grouping that is classifying theories into two families: (1) Stimulus-Response (S-R) or connectionist or conditional theories of the behaviorist family and, (2) Cognitive theories of the Gestalt-field family.


Merriam and Caffarella (1991) classify learning theories into four orientations: “(1) behaviorist, (2) cognitive, (3) humanist, and (4) social learning.” Romiszowski (1986), proposes a similar model, but uses the following categories: “behaviorist, cognitive, developmental, humanist, and cybernetic.”


The table shown below builds on a table from Merriam and Caffarella to include Romiszowski’s cybernetic orientation, and also expanded Merriam and Caffarella category of social learning to include situated learning as well.


Five Orientations to Learning Theories


Behaviourist Cognitivist Humanist Social/Situated Learning Cybernetic
Theorists Thorndike, Pavlov, Watson, Guthrie, Hull, Tolman,

And Skinner.

Koffka,Kohler, Wertheimer, Lewin, Reigeluth, Piaget,Ausubel, Bruner, Gagne. Rousseau, Pestaloozzi, Froebel, Neill, Rogers and Maslow. Bandura, Rotter, Vigotsky, Brown, Argyris, Lave and Wenger, Brandsford,

Collins & Duguid.

Weiner, Shannon, Miller, Gibson, Landa, Pask.
Views of the learning process Change in behaviour. Defined by Internal mental process (Including insight, A personal Act to fulfill potential. Interaction with and observation of others in a social context. Systemic and defined by capacities of memory,





perception, information processing, and memory. throughput, and feedback loops. Learner is ‘wired’ into the environment
Locus of Learning Stimuli In the External


Internal Cognitive Structure. Affective & cognitive needs. Interaction of person’s behaviour, and environment. Feedback And self Regulating Systems in a complex Environment.
Purpose of instruction Produce Behavioural Change in desired


Develop capacity and skills to learn better. Become self- actualized, Autonomous Model new Roles and behaviour. Develop the learner as ‘information processor’.
Role of the Designer Design stimuli to elicit desired response. Structure content of learning activity. Meaningful and logical arrangement of contents. Facilitate development Of the whole person. Present models of new roles and behaviours. Design Systems that accept student

inputs and provide meaningful feedback.


Table 4.1 Source:


Key Points

  • Learning is the act or experience of an individual that learns; knowledge or skills that are acquired by instruction or study; modification of a behavioural tendency by
  • Learning is not passive absorption of content but an active mental
  • From an educational perspective, learning involves helping people along the learning processes, and learning includes all the things that we do to make it
  • Learning occurs when people take newfound information and incorporate it into their
  • Learning theories may be classified into four orientations: (1) behaviorist, (2) cognitive, (3) humanist, and (4) social learning.


Activity 1

Indicate whether the following ideas about learning are true or false.

  1. Learning is the acquisition of knowledge by
  2. Learning is the relatively permanent change in behavior brought about by
  3. Learning is the sudden or slow acquisition of insight into the rules governing certain relationships in the




  1. Learning is the discovery of new facts and relating them to those already






  • Reception Learning

In reception learning, the information is provided directly to the learner and it does not involve discovery. He considered that both discovery and the reception learning method could be classified either as meaningful or as rote learning. El-Banna, (1987), states that in reception learning, the content is presented to the students, either by teachers or by written materials, in its final form. All that students have to do is to incorporate this content in to their cognitive structure to learn it and remember it.


Ausubel proposed the idea of a subsumer as a point of attachment for new knowledge. According to Novak (1978), “any concept, principle or organizing idea that the learner already knows and that can provide association or anchorage for various components of new knowledge is a subsumer.”


Subsumption does not occur in the basic stage of development but rather results from growing differentiation and integration of relevant concepts in cognitive structure. Zaman (1996), says, “New knowledge is linked to especially relevant concepts or propositions and this process is continuous. Major changes in meaningful learning occur, not as a result of a stage of cognitive development, but rather as a result of growing differentiation and integration of specifically relevant concepts in cognitive structure.” If the subsumers or anchoring ideas or concept were there (in the pupils’ cognitive structure) the pupil was effectively ready to absorb the new coming ideas.


Ausubel’s view of readiness/subsumer is close to that of Gagne. Ausubel was in fundamental agreement with Gagne in that the key to readiness was pre-requisite knowledge. During the process of subsumption both the anchoring concept and the new knowledge are modified but retain their separate identities. As a result of the continuity of modification and elaboration in the learner’s cognitive structure, meaningful learning occurs.


The great emphasis of Ausubel et al. (1968) was in their clear way of distinguishing from rote memorization from what they call meaningful learning. In addition, they separated these very clearly from the reception-discovery learning axis. The figure given below gives clearer picture which is derived from the Ausubel et al (1968).

Reception-discovery and meaningful-rote learning axis

Figure 4.1  (Safdar (2010)




Ausubel states that people acquire knowledge through reception rather than through discovery. Concepts, ideas, principles are presented understood not discovered. The more organized and focused the presentation, the more thoroughly the individual will learn.


Key Points

  • Reception learning involves provision of direct information in finished
  • It is opposite to the discovery learning in which the students work like a scientists and discover knowledge rather than receive it.
  • Reception learning is also distinguished from rote
  • Much school-based learning in science in Pakistan is Rote-Reception.





  • Relational Learning

Relational learning is a way of being with students from a social constructionist perspective where those involved in education. Students, mentors/teachers learn from each other through the sharing of ideas and together create the learning/teaching world. Relational learning is practices that invite both students and teachers to enter into a dialogue about learning. The involvement of multiple parties in the task of learning deconstructs the hierarchy within the traditional teaching relationship and opens space for more collaborative experiences.


Most students come to the classroom or university with the traditional model in mind, as this is the way in which they have been taught to interact within a classroom their entire lives. While there may be a place and time for a teacher-centered model, the relational approach lends itself to the active process of co-constructing knowledge not only in the classroom but outside in the world.


The students are asked by the teacher to change these verbs into nouns. The students do this and relate these words. Similarly, in science, the students relate the already learnt concept with the concept to be learned, e.g. if a student has already learnt the concept of Weight and later he relate the concept with Force, the resulting learning is called relational learning.


In other words relational learning is a way of being with students from a social constructionist perspective where those involved in education— students, mentors, and professionals— learn from each other through the sharing of ideas and other create the learning/ teaching world.


Relational learning is the practices that invite both students and teachers/professors to enter into a dialogue about learning. The involvement of multiple parties in the task of learning deconstructs the hierarchy within the traditional teaching relationship and offers space for more collaborative experiences. Most students come to the classroom with the traditional model in mind, as this is the way in which they have been taught to interact within a classroom throughout their entire lives. While there may be a place and time for a teacher centered model, the rational approach lends itself to the active process of co- constructing knowledge not in the classroom but outside the classroom that is outside in the world.


  • Rote Learning

Today’s public educators look down on rote learning and consider this form of learning as to be “out of style,” “boring” and even “mindless.” “Having to spend long periods of time on repetitive tasks is a sign that learning is not taking place.




According to the Noah Webster’s Dictionary (1850) “rote” means “to fix in memory by means of frequent repetition.” That certainly is the essence of what we mean by rote memorization. So rote means to use memory with little intelligence or repetition carried out mechanically or unthinkingly.


Rote memorization is not only the easiest way but sometime it is the only way to learn something. Below are just a few examples where rote learning plays an important role.

  • A child whose ability to discriminate between left and right has not been automatized will confuse letters like b and d, or when writing, or confuse 17 and
  • There is no substitute for rote memorization in learning the arithmetical facts. Children learn mathematical tables through memorization that help them to solve the multiplication, division and other mathematical problems
  • The child’s lifelong access to the intellectual treasures of centuries depends on his mastery of twenty-six abstract symbols in an arbitrarily fixed order, e. the alphabet. His ability to organize and retrieve innumerable kinds of information from sources ranging from encyclopedias to computers depends on his having memorized that purely arbitrary order.
  • Children learn poem, verses of the sacred books, national anthem by rote

In rote learning the students just absorb the material in a parrot fashion, and may give the wrong impression of having understood what they have written or said. In Pakistan, it is strongly discouraged in the new curriculum of science and mathematics and first time the standards are set. Standards specifically emphasize the importance of deep understanding over the mere recall of facts, which is seen to be less important. The advocates of traditional education have criticized the new standards as slighting learning basic facts and elementary arithmetic, and replacing content with process-based skills.


Basic sciences must include the mastery of concepts instead of mere memorization and the following of procedures. It must include an understanding of how to make the learning material meaningful and to use the scientific equipments in the laboratory to arrive meaningfully at solutions to problems, to verify laws, principles.


The advocates of traditional methods argue that rote learning is the only way to learn material in a timely manner. For example, when learning the English alphabet, the vocabulary of a foreign (second or third) language, there is no inner structure or their inner complexity is too subtle to be learned explicitly in a short time.


Rote learning is a learning technique which focuses on memorization. Alternative to rote learning include associative learning and active learning.


Brevity is not always the case with rote learning. For example, many Muslims learn by heart and can recite the whole Holy Quran. Their ability to do so can be attributed, at least in some part, to having been assimilated by rote learning.






Rote learning is prevalent in many religious schools throughout the world. For example, Jewish use this approach when teaching children Torah and Muslim Madrasas utilize it in teaching of Holy Quran. It is used in various degrees, at a younger age, the main purpose being to memorize and retain as much textual material as possible, to prepare a student for a more analytical learning in the future.


Key Points

  • Rote learning is a learning technique which focuses on
  • Rote memorization is a necessary step in learning some basic For example in the subject of chemistry, the students learn the symbols of elements by rote.
  • The memorization of Alpha-Bets of any language is a first step, and one that provides a foundation for the deep understanding that follows at a latter
  • Rote learning is quick and easy method to learn basic skill (learning of the verses of the Holy Quran, mathematical tables, definition of nouns, verbs, )
  • Rote Learning is boring and extremely limited. (No one is going to learn the subtleties of Spenser’s use of Allegory with Rote Learning).
  • In Pakistan, rote learning is strongly discouraged in the new curriculum of science and


Activity 2

There are five concept/facts in mathematics course (1-5). The students learn these as per the following figure. Explain this and it is what type of learning?

1                                  2                                    3                                    4                                    5






  • Meaningful Learning

Two of the most important educational goals are to enhance retention and to promote transfer (which, when it occurs, indicates meaningful learning). Retention is the ability to remember material at some later time in much the same way it was presented during instruction. Transfer is the ability to use what was learned to solve new problems, answer new questions, or facilitate learning new subject matter (Mayer & Wittrock, 1996). In short, retention requires that students remember what they have learned, whereas transfer requires students not only to remember but also to make sense of and be able to use what they have learned. Stated somewhat differently, retention focuses on the past; transfer emphasizes the future. After reading a textbook lesson on Ohm’s Law, for example, a retention test might include questions asking students to write the formula for Ohm’s Law. In contrast, a transfer test might include questions asking students to rearrange an electrical circuit to maximize the rate of electron flow or to use Ohm’s Law to explain a complex electric circuit.


Consider three learning scenarios. The first exemplifies what might be called no learning, the second, rote learning, and the third, meaningful learning.


No Learning

Shabana reads a chapter on electrical circuits in her science textbook. She skims the material, certain that the test will be a breeze. When she is asked to recall part of the lesson (as a retention test), she is able to remember very few of the key terms and facts. For example, she cannot list the major components in an electrical circuit even though they were described in the chapter. When she is asked to use the information to solve problems (as part of a transfer test), she cannot. For example, she cannot answer an essay question that asks her to diagnose a problem in an electrical circuit. In this worst-case scenario, shabana neither possesses nor is able to use the relevant knowledge. Shabana has neither sufficiently attended to nor encoded the material during learning. The resulting outcome can be essentially characterized as no learning.


Rote Learning

Zaineb reads the same chapter on electrical circuits. She reads carefully, making sure she reads every word. She goes over the material, memorizing the key facts. When she is asked to recall the material, she can remember almost all of the important terms and facts in the lesson. Unlike Rifet, she is able to list the major components in an electrical circuit. However, when Zaineb is asked to use the information to solve problems, she cannot. Like Shabana, she cannot answer the essay question requiring her to diagnose a problem in an electrical circuit. In this scenario, Zaineb possesses relevant knowledge but is unable to use that knowledge to solve problems. She cannot transfer this knowledge to a new situation. Zaineb has attended to relevant information but has not understood it and, therefore, cannot use it. The resulting learning outcome can be called rote learning.




Meaningful Learning

Amen reads the same textbook chapter on electrical circuits. She reads carefully, trying to make sense out of it. When asked to recall the material, she, like Zaineb, can remember almost all of the important terms and facts in the lesson. Furthermore, when she is asked to use the information to solve problems, she generates many possible solutions. In this scenario, Amen not only possesses relevant knowledge, she also can use that knowledge to solve problems and understand new concepts. She can transfer her knowledge to new problems and new learning situations. Amen has attended to relevant information and has understood it. The resulting learning outcome can be called meaningful learning.


Meaningful learning occurs when students build the knowledge and cognitive processes needed for successful problem solving. Problem solving involves devising a way of achieving a goal that one has never previously achieved; that is, figuring out how to change a situation from its given state into a goal state (Mayer, 1992). Two major components in problem solving are (a) problem representation, in which a student builds a mental representation of the problem, and (b) problem solution, in which a student devises and carries out a plan for solving the problem (Mayer, 1992).


Ausubel’s cognitive learning theory has been found to be useful guide for learning events. The key concepts involved in the theory are a guide for teachers to improve teaching and learning. According to Ausubel (1967), “Meaningful learning occurs when the learner’s appropriate existing knowledge interacts with the new learning.”


As an educational psychologist, Ausubel was concerned with prior knowledge as a factor influencing learning. According to Ausubel (1978), “the most important factor influencing learning is the quantum, clarity and the logical organization of a learner’s present knowledge. This present knowledge which is available to the learner at any time is referred to as his cognitive structure”. (A cognitive structure consists of stable organization of concepts, facts, rules, theories and the raw perceptual data, arranged hierarchically, with the most generic concept at the apex and increasingly specific concepts toward the base.)


Ausubel (1968) stated that if I had to reduce all of educational psychology to just one principle; “I would say this: the most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows”. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly. Novak (1980) agreed that Ausubel’s theory is applicable and more powerful for teaching science education than the developmental psychology of Piaget.


Both Ausubel and Piaget have offered some key insights for sciences. Forgotten is caused mainly by the connections between the ideas being lost so that the persons can find their way in their long term memory to retrieve the answer they want.


According to Ausubel (1978), “A primary process is learning subsumption in which new material is related to relevant ideas in the existing cognitive structure on a substantive,




non-verbatim basis. Cognitive structures represent the residue of all learning experiences; forgetting occurs because certain details get integrate and lose their individual identity.”


The major pedagogical strategy proposed by Ausubel (1963) was the use of advance organizers. It is the job of the organizers to: “Delineate clearly, precisely, and explicitly the principal similarities and differences between the ideas in a new learning passage, on the one hand, and existing related concepts in cognitive structure on the other.” Ausubel (1963) states, “advance organizers are different from overviews and summaries, which simply emphasise key ideas and presented at the same level of abstraction and generality as the rest of the material. Organisers act as a subsuming bridge between new learning material and existing related ideas.”


According to Shah (2004), “Optimal learning generally occurs when there is a potential fit between the student’s schemas and the material to be learned. To foster this association, Ausubel suggests that the lesson always begin with an advance organizer- an introductory statement of a relationship of high-level concept, broad enough to encompass all the information that will follow. The function of the advance organizers is to provide scaffolding or support for the new information. It is a conceptual bridge between new material and a student’s current knowledge.”


Prior knowledge is the most important factor in learning. This means that learning primarily depends on what the learner already knows. Ausubel (1968) describes meaningful learning (as distinct from rote learning) as; non-arbitrary, substantive, non- verbatim incorporation of new knowledge into a cognitive structure.” He claims that meaningful learning occurs when the learner’s appropriate existing knowledge interacts with the new learning. On the other hand, rote learning of new knowledge occurs when no such interaction take place.” Ausubel’s theory consists of three principles of expository teaching: (1) the concepts are meaningful only when the student can visualize (i.e. elicits an image in the content of one’s consciousness) them and subsume them in the cognitive structure. (2)When teaching a concept, proceed from the most generic concepts to the most specific ones (i.e. the most general ideas of the subject should be presented first and then progressively differentiated in terms of detail and specifics). (3) Students’ readiness (which includes current knowledge, stage of cognitive development, and predominant mode of intellectual functioning) and integration of guest and host ideas through comparisons and cross-referencing of new and old ideas.


Scope and Practical Application

Ausubel (1968), indicates that “his theory applies only to reception (expository) learning in school setting. He distinguishes reception learning from rote learning and discovery learning; the former because it does not involve subsumption (i.e. meaningful material) and the latter because the learner must discover information through problem solving.”


People think that they acquire knowledge primarily through reception rather than through discovery. He is in the favour that concepts, principles and ideas are presented and




understood, not discovered. The more organized and focused the presentation, the more thoroughly the individual will learn.”


Ausubel believes that “learning should progress deductively – from the general to the specific, and not inductively, as Bruner recommended (from specific to general). He supports the use of direct instructional methods (lecture), and argues that large bodies of knowledge are best obtained through this type of learning.”


Direct instructional methods are much more than lecture. It can involve worksheets, textbooks, web-cites as well as teaching with questioning. The key thing is that the instruction is directed by the teacher. This theory can help teachers as;

  1. We need to remember that inputs to learning are
  2. Learning materials should be well organized.
  3. New ideas and concepts must be potentially meaningful to the
  4. Anchoring new concepts into the learner’s already existing cognitive structure will make the new concepts


Ausubel (1960), proposed his expository teaching model to encourage meaningful learning rather than rote reception learning. In his approach to learning, teacher presents material in the carefully organized sequenced and finished form. Students receive the most usable material in the most efficient way. It is most appropriate when we want to teach about the relationships among several concepts. Another consideration is the age of the students. This approach requires students to manipulate abstract ideas; this means expository teaching is more developmentally appropriate for students of elementary and secondary stages.


Key Points

  • In meaningful learning prior knowledge is the most important This means that learning primarily depends on what the learner already knows.
  • Optimal learning generally occurs when there is a potential fit between the student’s schemas and the material to be
  • Meaningful learning (as distinct from rote learning) as; non-arbitrary, substantive, non-verbatim incorporation of new knowledge into a cognitive
  • Cognitive structure means the stable organization of concepts in the human




Activity 4.3

There are five facts in math course (1-5). The students learn these facts and stored in the mind in relational manner. Explain this and it is what type of learning?

1                                  2                                  3                                  4                                        5






  • Constructivist Approach to Learning

Constructivism is a theory which regards learning as an active process in which learners construct and internalize new concepts, ideas and knowledge based on their own present and past knowledge and experiences. Hence the knowledge is constructed rather than received.


There are two types of constructivism: (1) cognitive constructivism and (2) social constructivism. Although both share common characteristics such as the view that knowledge is constructed through reflective abstraction, through the learner’s cognitive structures and processing, through active participative learning, and through a recognition that learning is not fixed and inert. Learning moves away from the behaviourist paradigm to the ongoing development of conceptual understanding. The learner actively constructs meaning rather than passively accepts meaning.


Cognitive constructivism owes its genesis largely to Piaget and is concerned with thinking and learning. Social constructivism owes much of its derivation from Vygotsky. For Vygotsky learning is social, collaborative and interactional process. He further suggests that the teacher must provide the necessary ‘scaffolding’ in developing and accelerating students’ ability to think for themselves, control and take responsibility for their own learning.


Teacher can provide scaffolding in a variety of ways: by asking questions, by providing reminders, by guiding towards the solution of a problem, by demonstration, further scaffolding requires the provision of rich feedback on learning to students.


Scaffolding is not only provided by teacher. Small group of children can provide scaffolding for each other. This emphasizes Vygotsky’s point of view that learning is social as well as individual activity. Collaborative learning enhances learning, as students talk about the issues involved with each other, as well as with the teacher.


Vygotsky give the concept of ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) which is used to delimit the sphere of learning. It is defined as the distance between the actual development of the individual and the level of potential development as determined by the social interaction (that is by adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers. In social constructivist learning the community (e.g. of learners, parents, teachers, other adults both in school and outside the school) is important and provided much learning meaningful which is the key element of the theory. The school reaches out of its confines to the outside world and the outside world reaches into the school. We know that for the last three four decades the teaching and learning have moved from instructivism to constructivism.


From the above discussing we reach on the conclusion that constructivism is the development of:

  • Situated learning
  • Meta-cognition




  • Higher order thinking
  • The social basis of learning
  • Movement from didactic to teaching
  • Student-centered learning
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • The emphasis on the process of learning rather than on

In terms of implications for teaching and learning, we see that the constructivists have different approach which is different from the conventional, traditional classroom. There are certain principles which you must know before teaching by using this approach:

  • Encourage and accept students’ initiative and autonomy;
  • Follow students’ responses to learning and prepare yourself accordingly to meet students’ needs;
  • Check students’ understanding of concepts;
  • Enter into dialogue with students about their learning;
  • Ask thought-provoking, open-ended and higher order questions;
  • Ask students to elaborate on their initial responses;
  • Challenge students’ thinking, ideas and assumptions;
  • Promote students’ curiosity and enquiry;
  • Engage students in meaningful and relevant problem-solving;
  • Seek out students’ values and concepts;
  • Use diagnostic and formative assessment to guide learning;
  • Reduce grading and standardized





  • Children’s Misconception in Science

Misconceptions can be referred to as a preconceived notion or a conceptual misunderstanding. These are cases in which something a person knows and believes does not match what is known to be scientifically correct.


A lot of people who hold misconceptions do not even know that their ideas are false or incorrect. When they are told they are wrong, they often have a hard time giving up their misconceptions, especially if they have had a misconception for a long time.


The irritating thing about misconceptions is that people continue to build knowledge on their current understandings. Possessing misconceptions can have serious impacts on an individual’s learning. Misconceptions generate more mistakes because they are incorrect representations of conceptual relationships (Strike, 1983). This means that a student’s preconceptions or existing associated misconceptions (ACs) hinder effective concept learning in the future.


  • Implication for Teachers
  • Provide children of all ages with lots of hand-on activities to help them to clarify/rectify their (Make sure they predict what they think will happen).
  • If an idea is derived from a narrow range of evidence then provide more
  • If testing a prediction based on an idea could help challenge the child’s existing idea then help the child to make that prediction and consider the challenge. This should assist children in fair testing and using process
  • To rectify the misconceptions, and make the lesson more meaningful, clarify the concepts with the help of examples and non-examples.
  • Develop a scientific dictionary, word bank
  • If children have a locally correct idea about a phenomenon in one situation but do not recognize that the same explanation holds in different situations they need to be helped by the teacher to make links between the This may mean repeating experiments, for example, evaporation through clothes, water in a dish, a jar on the play ground. Each strategy helps the teacher support the child in extending their conceptual understanding.


What do we know about rectifying students’ misconceptions? (Empirical support) This study was undertaken as an assignment in a Junior Science Methodology course as part of a Graduate Teacher training program. As such it was more of a learning exercise rather than a true research project. The objectives of the study were to define three scientific concepts and identify for each some of the misconceptions that students




commonly have. Six students of different ages were interviewed, using a predetermined set of questions and activities for each concept and their responses recorded,  in an attempt to discover what the students’ misconceptions were, how they acquired them and whether the exercises, combined with discussion, helped to modify any such misconceptions. Three examples of science concepts and their associated misconceptions are given in Table 4.2.




Three examples of science concepts and their associated misconceptions Scientific Concepts Associated Misconceptions


Scientific concepts Associated misconceptions
1.        Whether something sinks or floats depends on a combination of its density, buoyancy, and effect on surface tension.


2.        Clouds contain very small particles of water or ice that are held up in the air by the lifting action of air currents, wind and convection. These particles can become bigger through condensation and when they become too heavy to be held up in the air they fall to the earth as rain, hail or snow.


3.        An animal is a multi-cellular organism that is capable of independent movement.

·      Things float if they are light and sink if they are heavy.




·      Clouds contain water that leaks out as rain.






·      An animal is a land mammal other than a human being. Insects, birds and fish are not animals.

Table 4.2


Six students, ranging between 6 and 15 years old were interviewed, to test both the misconceptions themselves, and whether they changed with the age of the students (Table 4.3).

The students could be roughly split into three age groups: (a) 6 to 7 years old, (b) 10 years old and (c) 14 to 15 years old.

Age demographic of students interviewed


Student Age












Table 4.2





Three different approaches were used for the interviews. For Misconception 1, students tested the question using practical activities. For Misconception 2, students had to give verbal responses. For Misconception 3, a questionnaire was used (adapted from Dawson, 1997), in which, having been asked the question, students ticked off their answers on a worksheet. The aim of using three different approaches was to make the interviews: a) more fun for the students, b) more informative for the interviewers, and c) allow a range styles for presenting results. In all cases, probing and clarifying questions were used in an attempt to identify the bases for the students’ responses.

Student interviews: The student interviews were divided into four parts.

  1. Students were asked a question or series of
  2. Students were asked to answer or test the question(s).
  3. Students’ answers or discoveries were discussed with the
  4. Students were asked to answer further, or test discoveries again. The approaches for the student interviews were as


Misconception 1: Things float if they are light and sink if they are heavy.

  1. Why do some things float and some things sink?
  2. Feel these two items. (Metal and plastic spoons of the same size) Which is heavier? Will they float or sink? Why? Test this to see whether you were right. Why was it so?
  3. What about these two items? (Small metal pin/drawing pin and large plastic spatula/chopstick) Will they float or sink? Why? Test this to see whether you were

Why was it so?

  1. What about these two items? (Metal lid and plastic animal Will they float or sink? why? Test this to see whether you were Why was it so?
  2. What about these two items? (Two plastic animals of the same size) Will they float or sink? Why? Test this to see whether you were Why was it so?


Misconception 2: Clouds contain water that leaks out as rain.

  1. What is a cloud?
  2. What makes up a cloud and how does it form?
  3. How does rain get out of clouds?
  4. What happens to the cloud when it rains?


Misconception 3: Birds, fish and insects are not animals.

  1. What is an animal?
  2. Look at the worksheet and tick whether you think each thing listed is an animal, plant or something
  3. How did you decide on these answers?
  4. Would you change any of your answers?






Misconception 1: Things float if they are light and sink if they are heavy


Why do some things float and some things sink? In response to the initial question of why some things float and some things sink, four out of six of the students initially explained sinking and floating in terms of weight. However, most had some understanding that shape or other factors could influence this, but found it difficult to describe. The eldest student (age 15) had a clear and accurate understanding while the youngest (age 6) had some vague notions of water and air pressure deciding what would sink or float.


Experiment 1: Heavy metal and light plastic. A plastic and a metal spoon of same size and shape but markedly different weights were tested. Three out of five students (there was one missing response for this section) predicted that on the basis of weight alone the metal spoon would sink. The youngest student made the same decision but on the basis of the materials the spoons were made of. While the eldest wouldn’t commit to whether the metal spoon would sink or float as he couldn’t predict its ability to break surface tension.


Experiment 2: Light metal and heavy plastic. A plastic spatula (Sue)/toy (Fiona) and a metal pin (Sue)/drawing pin (Fiona) of markedly different shape, size and weight were tested. Despite the large weight difference, two of the students thought that the pin was heavier (less than 1g) than the spatula (15g). The eldest child (age 15 years) felt that the pin would not break surface tension and would therefore float. One student thought that the drawing pin would float because it was boat shaped and that the toy would sink as the plastic was rough. Two of the children quickly recognised that their first explanation had been incorrect as testing showed that the drawing pin, although lighter sank, while the toy floated. The others in general continued to insist that they were right even after observing results to the contrary). For example, even after careful weighing, one student (age 10 years) still maintained that the pin was heavier than the spatula.


Experiment 3: Metal and plastic of differing surface areas (plastic lighter than metal but smaller surface area). Some of the students predicted that the plastic would float (one justified this on the basis that it was less dense). Two students thought the plastic toy would sink because it was heavy. Most of the students thought the lid would float. Various reasons were given but many related, eventually, to the shape of the lid, the youngest (age 6 years) acknowledging that the lid needed to be placed carefully for this to occur. The eldest child (age 15 years), despite having used surface tension as his argument throughout the interview, did not recognize that here was actually a case for demonstrating surface tension and actually expected the lid to sink, which he attributed in this case to its density.


Experiment 4: Two plastic toys of approximately the same weight and shape. Three of the five students (there was one missing response for this section) based their answers on the experience of the plastic toy used in Experiment 3 and thus predicted that both would




sink. Two students were correct in their conclusions although it was hard to see how they determined the differences.


Misconception 2: Clouds contain water that leaks out as rain. What is a cloud?

All four younger student described clouds in terms of their visual appearance on a fine day. The 7 year old described clouds as ‘steam-like’, analogous to the steam generated in the bathroom after showering. The eldest student (age 15 years) described clouds as water vapour floating above the dew point, while the 14 year old described them as water mixed with air that stays together.


What is a cloud made of and how do they form? Three of the students said that clouds were made of water or water vapour. Two said they were made of gas (undefined) and one that they were made of undefined crystals. In terms of how they form, two students (ages 10 and 14 years) stated that they had no idea and left it at that. Three children (ages 7, 10 and 15 years) talked about evaporation of water; two of them (ages 7 and 15 years) additionally defined the ocean as the source of the water. The youngest (age 6 years) described clouds as coming from the sky.


How does the rain get out of a cloud? Three of the students (ages 7, 10 and 15 years) had a general concept of water (or clouds) getting heavier until it rained. Three did, however, have strong misconceptions:

Age 6: “Clouds melt”

Age 10: “Clouds bump together and the rain gets squeezed out”

Age 15: “Too much evaporation gets into the clouds until they fill up and burst open and drain out. Like too much water in a balloon that then bursts.”


What happens to a cloud when it rains? Before describing the answers to this question it has to be acknowledged that it was not a good question as there is no clear answer. We originally designed the question to direct the students to the idea that clouds are made of water, not just contain it. Most of the students felt that the cloud would go away or at least diminish in size as it rained. The youngest (age 6 years) thought that clouds get bigger when it is raining (which is admittedly true in one sense).


Misconception 3: An animal is a land mammal other than a human being, and birds, fish and insects are not animals


An animal is a land mammal other than a human being. Four of the students had no general misconceptions about what an animal is and classified them correctly in the survey. The other two (ages 7 and 10 years) initially felt that humans were not animals but corrected that idea following some discussion. The 6 year-old correctly classified all of the animals but also included trees in this category. He had been taught the definition of an animal at school just three weeks prior and had decided that trees also fitted into that criterion, based on the idea that animals were alive, ate and could grow. During discussions, it did however, become apparent that despite getting the responses correct, student descriptions of defining features for being an animal included such things as




having a heart, a brain, eating meat and having a digestive system, thus showing some degree of misconception.


Birds, fish and insects are not animals. Only one student had a misconception in classifying birds, fish and insects as animals. Despite an initial reluctance to participate in the classification exercise, she eventually classified all animals correctly except for insects, which she intimated were not animals as she had been taught that at school. She had been recently studying insects and learning the definition of an insect, and felt therefore that this separated them from animals.


Key Points

  • In constructivism theory the knowledge is constructed rather than
  • Misconceptions can be referred to as a preconceived notion or a conceptual
  • To make the lesson more meaningful, clarify the concepts with the help of examples and non-examples.
  • The irritating thing about misconceptions is that people continue to build knowledge on their current




Main Points


  • Learning defined as a change in behavior. (1960s—1970s)
  • Learning is approached as an outcome, the end product of some
  • By definition, rote learning hindered comprehension, so by itself it is an ineffective tool in mastering any complex subject at any
  • Cognitivist view learning as the relatively permanent change in the behavior of the learner due to some educational experience. It is the connection between Stimulus and Cognitivists see learning as the transmission and processing of knowledge and strategies, while constructivists believe in the personal discovery and experimentations of the individuals.
  • Learning may result in the following outcomes: Bringing desirable changes in behavior, Attaining of teaching-learning objectives, Attaining of teaching-learning objectives, Attaining balanced development of personality, Attaining balanced development of personality, Attaining proper adjustment.




  • In reception learning, the content is presented to the students, either by teachers or by written materials, in its final form. All that students have to do is to incorporate this content in to their cognitive structure to learn it and remember it.
  • Rote learning occurs when there is no logical relationship between the ideas and the concepts are placed in the mind separately.
  • Meaningful learning occurs when the learner’s appropriate existing knowledge interacts with the new
  • Constructivism is a theory which regards learning as an active process in which learners construct and internalise new concepts, ideas and knowledge based on their own present and past knowledge and experiences. Hence the knowledge is constructed rather than received.
  • In reception learning, the goal of the teacher is to select learning materials that are appropriate for students and then present it in well organized lessons that progress from general to specific in
  • Misconceptions can be referred to as a preconceived notion or a conceptual These are cases in which something a person knows and believes does not match what is known to be scientifically correct.
  • Han cock defined a “misconception as any unfounded belief that does not embody the element of fear, good luck, faith or supernatural




Suggested Answers


Activity 4.1 T, F, T, T
1.      SAQ-1 See the 4.1 and 4.1.1 and 4.1.2part of the unit.
2.      SAQ-2 See the 4.2, parts of the unit.
Activity 4.2 rote learning
3.      SAQ-3 See the 4.3, 4.4 parts of the unit.
Activity 4.3 meaningful learning
4.      SAQ-4 See the 4.5 part of the unit.
5.      SAQ-5 See the 4.6, 4.7.1 parts of the unit.
6.      SAQ-6 See the 4.7, 4.7.1 parts of the unit.





  • Ausubel, D (1968). Educational Psychology: A Cognitive View. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.


  • Crow, L.D. and Crow, A. (1963). Science Instruction in the Middle and Secondary Schools, London: Charles E Merrill Publishing


  • Gagne, R.M. (1977). The condition of learning, 3rd edition new youk: Holt Rienfant and Winston.


  • Government of Pakistan. (2006). National Curriculum for General Science (Grade IV-VIII, 2006). Ministry of Education,


  • Gupta S. K. (1989). Teaching Physical Sciences in Secondary Schools. Delhi: Sterling Publishing Ltd.


  • Gupta V. K. (1995). Teaching and Learning of Science and Technology. Delhi: Vikas Publishing House Pvt


  • Johnstone, A. H. (1986). A working model applied to Physics Problem Solving. International Journal of Science Education. 15(9). 663-684.


  • Kumar A. (1995). Teaching of Physical Sciences. New Delhi: Anmol Publications Pvt


  • Louis Cohen, Lawrence, M. Keith,(2000). A Guide to Teaching Practice (5th ed). New Routledge Falmer.


  • Piaget, (1964). The Psychology of the Child. New York: Barbel Inhelder.
  • Safdar, (2002). Cognitive Learning Style Field Dependence / Field Independence in the Secondary School Physics Laboratories. Islamabad: Unpublished M.Phill Level Thesis. Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad.


  • Safdar, M. (2010). A comparative study of Ausubelian and Traditional methods of Teaching Physics at secondary school level in Pakistan. Unpublished Ph.D Level National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.


  • Shah, (2004). Making University Laboratory Work in Chemistry more Effective.

Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Glasgow: Glasgow University, Scotland.




  • Smith, M. (1993). Learning how to learn. Buckingham: Follett Publishing Company.


  • (1996). The Use of an Information Processing Model to Design and evaluate a physics undergraduate laboratory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Glasgow: Glasgow University.
































Written by:       Dr. Muhammad Safdar Reviewed by:    Dr. Iqbal Shah

Arshad Mehmood Qamar





Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………….. 119

Objectives…………………………………………………………………………………………… 119

5.1                    Strategies as Guidelines for Teaching………………………………………… 120

5.2                    Teacher-Centered Strategies……………………………………………………… 124

5.3                    Student-Centered Strategies…………………………………………………….. 129

5.4                    Individualized Strategies………………………………………………………….. 133

5.5                    Effective Use of Direct Instruction……………………………………………. 135

5.6                    Teaching Science by Inquiry…………………………………………………….. 140

5.7                    Problem Solving Method of Teaching………………………………………… 144

5.8                    Hands-on, Minds-on Science Teaching………………………………………. 148

5.9                    Play Way Method……………………………………………………………………. 151

5.10                Five-E Model………………………………………………………………………….. 152

5.11                Demonstration Method……………………………………………………………. 155

5.12                Questioning Techniques…………………………………………………………… 156

5.13                Learning in the Science Laboratory……………………………………………. 162

5.14                Some Teaching/Learning Devices……………………………………………… 165





You have studied in unit 4 about the learning process, the difference between rote, reception and meaningful learning that is how students learn. In this unit you will study how teachers teach their students by using different teaching strategies and method to make the learning more meaningful to them.


Teaching is a dynamic and well planned process. Its major is objective to acquire maximum learning experiences. In order to achieve this great objective, various teaching strategies, methods and techniques based on psychological researches are used. The concept of strategy will give us a useful look at the various issues which are discussed in this unit. In essence, strategies are the ways of achieving goals.


Teaching Strategy is a generalized plan for a lesson which includes structure, desired learning behavior in terms of goals of instruction, and an outline of planed tactics necessary to implement the strategy. So, two things are very common in any teaching strategy; (1) generalized plan for the presentation of a lesson, and (2) desired learning behavior in terms of goals of instruction.


Teaching strategies can be classified as autocratic strategies (teacher centered) of teaching strategies and permissive / democratic strategies (student centered) of teaching strategies. Autocratic styles involves the following strategies; lecturing, lesson demonstration, tutorials, and programmed instruction while permissive strategies involves discussion, project, problem solving, role playing, assignment, discovery, inquiry, independent study, etc.


Teaching method is a style of the presentation of the content in the classroom. Method refers to the formal structure of the sequence of acts commonly denoted by instruction. Teaching methods are the well accepted procedure over time and have some psychological theory in its support. So, method is the way of teaching and influencing the behaviours of the individuals.



After studying this unit you will be able to:

  • Define teaching strategy, method, technique, and tactics;
  • Differentiate between teaching method and teaching strategy;
  • Know about teacher centered and student centered strategies;
  • Differentiate between small group and large group strategies;
  • Apply direct instruction as a teaching strategies in the classroom;
  • Apply problem solving method in the laboratory and science classroom;
  • Use teaching-learning devices (concept map, V diagram) to make the learning more meaningful to the learners;




  • Use the science lab effectively;
  • Apply the questioning answering technique effectively in the classroom;
  • Apply 5E Model of teaching science to promote Active, Collaborative, Inquiry- Based
  • Apply play-way and demonstration methods to make the science concepts more understandable to the learners.
  • Apply different teaching methods and techniques to achieve the desired learning


5.1   Strategies as Guide Lines for Teaching

Strategy means the art/skill of war. It is the science or art of planning and directing large military movements and operations. It is very clear that the strategy is such planning which is related to the working system. Although the word ‘strategy’ is being used with reference to wars but for the last few years it is also being used in social planning and teaching.


Strategies are the ways of achieving goals. These are the repeatable acts chosen and maintained in logical relationships with one another to serve long term objectives. Strategies provide guide lines for teaching in the classroom and outside the classroom, and help in answering the questions:

  1. Why to teach? (Teaching Objectives): The answer is that we have some predetermined teaching objectives and we want to achieve these objectives through teaching-learning
  2. What to teach? (Curriculum): The answer is curriculum/content that is to achieve the predetermined objectives we teach the students a specific content to achieve that objectives. For example, if our objective is to produce good citizen, we should teach social studies, sociology, Similarly, the content about life sciences should be taught at secondary level if we want someone to become a doctor.
  3. When to teach? (Time management): Answer of this question is related to the time/age/level of the learner. This question provides us the opportunity to think that what content and how much content should be taught at what level and at what time during the learning time span of an
  4. How to teach? (Methodology): Teaching strategies guide us in selecting suitable teaching methods to achieve the teaching objectives at the optimum. Teaching method is a style of presenting the content in the class. Different teaching methods are used for the teaching of different subjects. Method is a systematic way of doing something having orderly basis. It is well accepted procedure over time. It has a definite It has any psychological theory in its support.

Some teaching methods are student-centered and some are teacher-centered. In sciences, mostly, those teaching methods are used in which students are active and the teacher’s role is as a guide/mentor.

  1. To whom we teach (pupils/ inexperienced persons)? To answer this question we see the developmental level of the Piaget says that learning is the function




of development. That is, learning depends on the mental development of learner. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the teacher to teach his students according to their developmental level.


Piaget (1969) divided intellectual development into four broad stages. Long periods of development can be subdivided into periods of shorter lengths to analyze and conceptualize development more efficiently. Each child normally passes through these scientific stages of cognitive development before being capable of abstract or formal thinking. These stages with examples of behaviours associated with each stage are as under:

  1. The stage of sensory motor intelligence (Aspects of sensory motor stage: 0-2 years)
    1. Mainly directed by stimuli outside the (Stimulus-bound and unable to initiate thought)
    2. Pre-verbal (no language).
  • Thought proceeds from
  1. Learns to perceive and identify
  2. By the end of the period child distinguishes parents, animals, and knows
  3. Rudimentary sense of direction and purpose appears late in
  • Time (present-and limited to the duration of their )
  • Space (immediate – and is limited to the area in which children )


  1. The stage of pre-operational thought (Aspect of pre-operational stage: 2-7 years)
    1. Performs operations-combining, separating, grouping, ordering, seriating, multiplying, dividing, substituting, and reversible
  • Aware of
  1. (The child develops classification ability).
  2. Limited hypotheses are
  3. Understanding of space and time are greatly
  • The child develops conservation
  1. The child develops the ability to apply logical thought to concrete


  1. The stage of concrete operations (Aspects of concrete operational stage: 7-11 years)
    1. Performs operations – combining, separating, grouping, ordering, seriating, multiplying, dividing, substituting, and reversible
    2. Analysis
  • Aware of
  1. Limited hypotheses are
  2. Understanding of space and time are greatly




  • The child develops conservation
  1. The child develops the ability to apply logical thought to concrete


  1. The stage of formal operation (formal operational stage: 11-15)
    1. Performs hypothetical and prepositional

ii..     The child develops abstract and reflective thinking (evaluates his thinking process).

  1. The child controls
  2. Understands
  3. Does ratios, proportions and combinational


The child’s cognitive structures reach their greatest level of development and the child becomes able to apply logical reasoning to all classes of problem (Gupta, 1995).


Figure 1: Piaget’s four stages of mental development

Source: Piaget, J. (1969, p.11)


The chronological ages during which children can be expected to develop behaviour representative of a particular stage are not fixed. The age spans suggested by Piaget are normative and denote the time during which a typical or average child can be expected to display the intellectual behaviours that are characteristic of the particular stage. The age at which the stages occur can vary with the nature of both an individual’s experience and his or her heredity. Progress through stages is not automatic.


  1. To what extent we have achieved (assessment/evaluation)? Strategy provides the teacher an opportunity to allocate and use the resources (human material and financial) accordingly, and to achieve the instructional objective to the optimum. Assessment and evaluation techniques/procedures (tests, etc.) help the teacher to




evaluate teaching objectives, teaching methods, teaching content and the major purpose is to improve the teaching-learning process


Teaching strategy is an overall plan for a lesson which includes structure, desired learning behavior in terms of goals of instruction and an outline of planned tactics to implement the strategy. Good strategy provides guide lines in allocating the effective and efficient use of time, choosing appropriate methods of instruction, and building a productive learning environment.


Key Points

  • Teaching strategy is an overall plan for a lesson which includes structure, desired learning behavior and an outline of planned tactics to implement the
  • Strategies provide guide lines for teaching and learning in the classroom, and help in answering the questions.
  • Strategies answer the questions like; why, how what, when,
  • Piaget says that learning is the function of development, and divides the development into four


  • Self Assessment Exercise


Q:    Answer these questions

  1. Keeping in view the different stages of educational process, explain how teaching strategy helps to provide guide lines to
  2. Learning is the function of development, keeping in view this statement presented by Piaget, explains the stages with examples of behaviour associated with each stage.


Q:     Choose the best

  1. Strategy mean:

a).     Art of teaching (b) science of teaching (c) art of war     (d) relatively permanent change in behavior through experience

  1. According to Piaget 11-15 years stage is called:
    • Sensory motor stage (b) pre-operational stage

(c) Concrete operational stage (d) formal operational stage

  1. According to Piaget 0-2 years stage is called:
    • Sensory motor stage (b) pre-operational stage

(c) Concrete operational stage (d) formal operational stage

  1. According to Piaget 2-7 years stage is called:
    • Sensory motor stage (b) pre-operational stage

(c) Concrete operational stage (d) formal operational stage

  1. According to Piaget 7-11 years stage is called:
    • Sensory motor stage (b) pre-operational stage

(c) Concrete operational stage (d) formal operational stage




  • Teacher Centered (Large Group) Strategies


The main focus of teaching is to bring about desirable change in the behavior of the learners. There are number of teaching strategies used to achieve the desired objectives. Some strategies are for large group (e.g. lecturing) and some are for small group (e.g. discussion, cooperative and collaborative learning). In this section we will talk about lecturing as teacher centered strategy and in the next section you will learn about “discussion” as small group teaching strategy”.


Presentation (Lectures)

Lecturing some time called presentation teaching and generally described as teacher- centered teaching strategy involving one way procedure. Lecturing is a formal discourse between an experienced person and comparatively inexperienced persons. Some of the characteristics of experienced person are depth of knowledge in a subject, ability to expose and explain the concepts in a coherent manner, use of apt language, wit and humour, skill of drawing the attention of the students/pupils/audience, etc. These characteristics are necessary for the success of lecturing. However, all lectures are not effective and interesting. There are number of drawbacks of lecturing as pointed by educators.


Students, think of all the lectures you have heard in your lifetime. You can remind that some were stimulating, leaving you eager to learn more about the topic; other may have been boring, causing you to struggle to stay awake. Some lecture may have been humorous but you did not learn very much. You may remember some explanations that were very concise and clear, while others were ambiguous and confusing.


  1. Make a list of the essential characteristics of the best lectures you have ever heard.
  2. Make a similar list of the characteristics of the worst lectures you have ever


Lecturing by teachers comprise one-sixth to one-fourth of all classroom time but in Pakistan this time is almost more than three-fourth. The amount of time devoted to presenting and explaining information increases at the higher grade levels of elementary school. Some educators have argued that teacher devotes too much time to talking and there is a need to decrease the amount of teacher talk and making instruction more student-centered. Nonetheless, lecturing remains a popular teaching strategy.


The popularity of presenting and explaining is not surprising, since the most widely held objectives for education at the present time are those associated with the acquisition and retention of knowledge/information. Specifically in Pakistan, curricula in school are structured around bodies of information organized as science, mathematics, English,




Islamic studies, and social studies. Consequently, curriculum standards, textbooks, and assessment techniques routinely used by teachers are similarly organized. Further, direct questions are asked even in basic sciences in the many exams that students are required to take.


Psychological principles of lecturing

Like other teaching strategies, lecturing is also based on some psychological principles and the teacher must know in order to plan his lesson.


  • The lecturing in its pure form is one way communication and if learning has to take place, it ought to be an active. The learners should meaningfully react to the stimuli of the teacher’s teaching so that learning takes place.
  • The teacher should be aware of the need of the students and the variety of the techniques and tactics he can adopt to suit to different subjects and students’ need.
  • The teacher’s concern should be the learning rather than
  • In lecturing the information is given through auditory medium. This information is converted into schemas (mental images) in the students’ mind. The teacher should, therefore, give pause to build these mental
  • The language used by the teacher should be according to the cognitive level of the The use of language depends on factors such as difficulty level of vocabulary, suitable examples, fluency, pronunciation, rate of speaking, etc.
  • Teacher must present the summary of the lecture (lesson) on the
  • If the lecture is linger on it begins to be boring, so the teacher should keep up the interest by providing some humorous comments.
  • The teacher should have a realistic idea of his own teaching ability and the learning capacity of his students under the existing condition. So an unbiased assessment of his learning outcomes is essential for growth and progress in the lecturing


Although, only lecturing is ineffective in the teaching of science yet it may be effective if used in some modified form such as lecture-cum-demonstration, lectures with interposed questions and lecture-cum-discussion.


Overview of lecturing/deductive teaching/expository teaching/presentation teaching To make the lecturing more effective and student-centered the model presenting by David Ausubel is being adopted now a days in most of the countries. This strategy requires a highly structured environment characterized by a teacher who is an active presenter and students who are active listeners.


This strategy requires a teacher to provide students with advance organizers before presenting new information to make special efforts during lecturing and following a presentation to strengthen and extend student thinking. There are two reasons to use this strategy in the classroom, and I recommend that this strategy is effective particularly in the Pakistani situation. The first reason is that this strategy is compatible with current




knowledge from cognitive psychology about the way individual require, process, and retain new information.


The outcomes of this strategy is very clear: (1) to help students acquire, assimilate, and retain new information; (2) expand students’ conceptual /cognitive structure (more or less stable organization of the concepts in the human mind); (3) and develop particular habits of listening and thinking about information.


Lecturing or presentation is a teacher-centered strategy consisting of four phases:

  1. The flow proceeds from the teacher’s initial attempt to clarify the aims of the lesson and get students ready to learn, through;
  2. Presentation of an advance organizers;
  3. Presentation of the new information; and
  4. Interaction aimed at checking student understanding of the new information and extending and strengthening their thinking


When using this strategy/model, the teacher strives to structure the learning environment tightly. Except in the final phase of the model, the teacher is an active presenter and expects students to be active listener. This strategy requires a physical learning environment that is conducive to presentation and listening, including appropriate facilities for the use of instructional technology (computer, multimedia/ A. V. aids etc.).


Alternative Teaching Strategies

The other large group teaching strategies frequently used in the teaching of science are:

  1. Gagne’s general learning hierarchy with eight types of learning

Type 1:      signal learning

Type2:       stimulus response learning Type3:         chaining

Type4:       verbal learning

Type5:       discrimination learning Type6:         concept learning Type7:        rule learning

Type8:       problem solving


Gagne urges educators to analyse their learning outcomes and then to construct their learning hierarchy to guide the instructional sequence. He claims that if the primary objective of the learning is stated in behavioural terms, it is possible to identify a set of learning tasks that will increase the probability that the student will attain this primary objective. Gagne says that the teachers/educators must state learning outcomes in behavioural terms. Gagne provides educators a simple-to- complex learning ladder.


  1. Jerome Bruner’s teaching strategy of concept/discovery learning

Bruner has made two major contributions to science education; (1) concept learning and

(2) discovery learning. Both focus on the active aspect of learning. His work on concept learning stresses the importance  of helping students to organize objects and  events.




Bruner’s work on concept learning stresses the importance of helping students to organize objects and events, which permits them to reduce the complexity of the environment.


Bruner has hypothesized four benefits of discovery learning:

  • The increase of intellectual potency,
  • The shift from extrinsic to intrinsic reward,
  • Learning the heuristics of discovering, and
  • The aid to memory


  1. Teaching strategy of Jean Piaget (psychological developmental)

Piaget asserts that learning is a function of development. He claims that cognitive development, intellectual development and development of intelligence are more or less synonymous.


Piaget’s theory of intellectual development has two components, one cognitive and other affective. Piaget (1964) saw cognitive acts as “acts of organization and adaptation to the environment.” Piaget asserted that, “the basic principles of cognitive development are the same as that of biological development. From the biological point of view, organization is inseparable from adaptation; these are the complementary processes of a single mechanism, the first being the internal aspect of the cycle and adaptation constitutes the external aspect.” For Piaget “intellectual activity could not be separated from the “total” functioning of the organism.”


The process responsible for cognitive development is assimilation and accommodation. In the process of assimilation which is the cognitive process, the individual integrates new knowledge (factual, conceptual, procedural, motor) into existing knowledge or schemata or patterns of behaviour. When a child confronted with a new stimulus, he can create a new schema into which he can place the stimulus or he can modify an existing schema so that the stimulus will fit into it.


Accommodation involves modification or change in some elements of an old scheme or learning a new scheme, which is more appropriate for the new object. Accommodation accounts for development (a qualitative change), and assimilation accounts for growth (a quantitative change); together they account for intellectual adaptation and the development of cognitive structures.


In the view of Siann and Denis (1985), “learning takes place through the interaction of ‘assimilation’ and ‘accommodation’. An intelligent behaviour requires a balance between assimilation and accommodation, and is called equilibrium.” According to Piaget (1964), “a state of “equilibration” between assimilation and accommodation is as necessary as the process itself. Equilibrium is a self-regulatory mechanism necessary to ensure the developing child’s efficient interaction with the environment.” Piaget viewed cognitive development as “having three components: content, function, and structure.” For Piaget, “all knowledge is physical knowledge, logical-mathematical knowledge, or social




knowledge.” For conceptualizing cognitive growth, Piaget (1969), divided intellectual development into four broad stages. Long periods of development can be subdivided into periods of shorter lengths to analyse and conceptualize development more efficiently.


Key Points

  1. Lecturing sometime called presentation
  2. The lecturing in its pure form is one way communication and if learning has to take place, it ought to be an active. The learners should meaningfully react to the stimuli of the teacher’s teaching so that learning takes place.
  3. Lecturing or presentation is a teacher-centered strategy consisting of four phases: The flow proceeds from the teacher’s initial attempt to clarify the aims of the lesson and get students ready to learn, through; Presentation of an advance organizers; Presentation of the new information; and Interaction aimed at checking student understanding of the new information and extending and strengthening their thinking
  4. Learning takes place through the interaction of ‘assimilation’ and ‘accommodation’.
  5. Bruner has hypothesized four benefits of discovery learning: The increase of intellectual potency, the shift from extrinsic to intrinsic reward, learning the heuristics of discovering, and the aid to memory processing.


  • Self Assessment Exercise


  1. Write the Psychological principles of
  2. Write four advantages and four drawbacks of lecturing as teaching
  3. How we can make lecturing more effective?
  4. Write four benefits of discovery
  5. Enlist Gagne’s eight types of


Choose the best:

  1. Lecturing is sometime called:
    • presentation teaching (b) activity based teaching

(c)     Cooperative teaching (d) deductive teaching

  1. Learning takes place through the interaction of ‘assimilation’ and:
    • Organization (b) Accommodation

(c)     Equilibration (d) Chunking

  1. In lecturing the information is given through medium
    • visual (b) audio (c) audio-visual (d) non of a, b, c
  2. For Piaget all knowledge is:
    • Physical knowledge (b) Logical-mathematical knowledge

(c)     Social knowledge   (d) a, b, c, all

  1. According to Gagne how many types of learning are:

(a)     2       (b) 4              (c) 6                 (d) 8




  • Student-Centered Strategies

Lesson organized around teacher-centered models are generally characterized by task structures by which teacher work mainly with the whole class or the students work individually to master academic content. These goal and reward structures are mostly based on individual competition and effort. In contrast, in student-centered strategies, the major focus is on the social aspect instead of individual tasks.


  • Cooperative Learning

The cooperative learning strategy is characterized by cooperative task, goal, and reward structures. Students are encouraged to complete the task with their cooperation and coordination with one another. The cooperative learning environment sets the stage for students to learn very valuable collaboration and social skills that they will use throughout their lives.


The learning outcomes (the three instructional goals) of cooperative learning are:

  1. Academic achievement;
  2. Tolerance and acceptance of diversity; and
  3. Development of social


Cooperative learning lessons can be characterized by the following features:

  • Students work in teams to master learning goals;
  • Teams are made up of high, average, and low achieving students;
  • Whenever possible, teams include a racial, cultural, and gender mix;
  • Reward systems are oriented to the group as well as the

Cooperative learning is equally affected both low and high-achieving students who work together on academic tasks. Higher achievers work as tutor for low achievers, thus providing special help from peers who share youth-oriented interests and language. In this process, higher achievers gain academically because serving as a tutor requires thinking more deeply about the relationships of ideas within a particular subject.


A second important effect of cooperative learning is wider tolerance and acceptance of people who are different by virtue of their race, culture, social class, or ability. Cooperative learning presents opportunities for students of varying backgrounds and conditions to work independently on common tasks and, through the use of cooperative reward structures, to learn to appreciate each other.


The third and important goal of cooperative learning is to teach students skills of cooperation and collaboration. These are critical skills in a society in which much adult work is carried out in large, interdependent organizations and communities are becoming more culturally diverse and global in their orientations. Yet, many youth and adults equally lack effective social skills.




Phases/steps involved in cooperative learning

  1. The lesson begins with the teacher going over the goals of the lesson and get students to learn;
  2. This phase is followed by the presentation of information, often in the form of text rather than lecture;
  3. Students are then organized into study teams;
  4. In this step, students assisted by the teacher, work together to accomplish inter- dependent tasks;
  5. This phase includes presentation of the group’s end product or testing on what students have learned; and
  6. Recognition of group and individual


The learning environment for cooperative learning is characterized by democratic processes and active roles for students in deciding what should be studied and how. The teacher may provide a high degree of structure in forming groups and defining overall procedures, but students are left in control of the minute-to-minute interactions within their groups.


  • Discussion as student centered (Small Group) Strategies

It is a process in which a small group (from 5-10 students) assembles to communicate with each other by using speaking, listening and non-verbal communication in order to achieve predetermined instructional objectives.


The salient features of this strategy are as under:

  • The discussion occurs in small groups;
  • The group member perform two roles:
    1. As leader/moderator (mostly the teacher)
    2. Participants (students)
  • Group members have different influence over one another therefore learning of each student is affected/influenced by the other;
  • Participant use the available time to communicate with each other;
  • Group members communicate by speaking, hand gestures, and facial expressions while other receive by listening and by seeing;
  • The processes of speaking, listening, observing are the features of this

Bridges (1979), states that discussion method has advantages over other methods. It encourages young children and illiterate adults to express their ideas and to learn new one because they cannot read or write.


The exercise of communication skill involved in the method develops more abstract learning process. A good discussion motivates the students to engage to further inquiry and provide the teacher with feedback on students’ progress.




Discussion may be organized in three ways: (1) in groups with teacher; (2) in groups without teacher; (3) one-to-one teaching.


In groups with teacher there is step by step discussion and this discussion is controlled by the teacher. In free group discussion or in groups without teacher, the role of the teacher is non-directive. In one-to-one teaching this approach may take the following forms; individual tutorials, student counseling, and student-to-student counseling.


Techniques of leading discussion

  • The teacher must relate the discussion with the
  • Teacher may also pause during his small lecture and invite questions on some important topics.
  • He may also use questioning technique (what is your opinion about the issue/problem? What do you think about this reason? )
  • Pose questions about the missing
  • Throw the question to the students and inviting their


Drawbacks of discussion

  • Students often distract from the main issue of
  • Topic may not be interested by the
  • Low motivational level of the
  • There may be some angry remarks by some students.
  • There may be low participation or over participation or complete withdrawal of the students from the discussion.
  • If the teacher has no command or have little knowledge about the issue/problem, misconception may


In the process of discussion, the teacher starts first, identifies fair and foul, sets the time for discussion, delimits the boundaries for discussion, when students deviate, the teacher takes them on the right path and provides feedback where necessary.


Key Points

  1. The cooperative learning environment sets the stage for students to learn social skills that they will use throughout their
  2. The learning outcomes of cooperative learning are: Academic achievement; Tolerance and acceptance of diversity; and Development of social
  3. Cooperative learning is equally beneficial for both low and high-achieving
  4. In cooperative learning higher achievers work as tutor for low achievers, thus providing special help from
  5. Higher achievers gain academically because serving as a tutor requires thinking more deeply about the relationships of ideas within a particular subject.




  1. The discussion strategy occurs in small groups; and the group member perform two roles: As leader/moderator (mostly the teacher) Participants (students)
  2. The processes of speaking, listening, observing are the features of the discussion
  3. In the process of discussion, the teacher starts first, identifies fair and foul, sets the time for discussion, delimits the boundaries for discussion, when students deviate, the teacher takes them on the right path and provides feedback where necessary.


  • Self Assessment Exercise
  1. Write the techniques to lead discussion
  2. Write four advantages and four drawbacks of discussion as teaching
  3. What are the three major goals of cooperative learning?
  4. Write six phases of cooperative learning


Choose the best:

  1. The goals of cooperative learning is:
    • Development of intelligence (b) development of physical culture

(c)     Development of social skills (d) development of mind


  1. The learning outcomes of cooperative learning :
    • Academic achievement (b) acceptance of diversity

(c)     Development of social skills (d) a, b, c all


  1. Cooperative learning is effective for:
    • Lower achievers (b) higher achievers

(c)     Average students (d) a and b both


  1. How many phases there are in cooperative learning:
    • Two (b) four (c) six (d) eight


  1. The process of cooperative learning is:
    • Autocratic in nature (b) democratic in nature

(c)     Dictatorship in nature (d) individualized in nature




  • Individualized Strategies

All students do not learn and master skills uniformly. That is why, in order to maximize potential of each student, individualization is required. Individualization becomes significant when there are students from different backgrounds and varying abilities. There are three basic techniques for individualization:

  1. Individualized instruction
  2. Independent study
  • Mastery learning


At this level, only individualized instruction will be discussed.


Individualization is a type of instruction in which the student engages in activities uniquely appropriate to his learning. This type of instruction promotes independence; provides opportunities for study beyond the regular curriculum and permits maximum use of instructional resources. The goal of individualization is not a tutorial situation but an appropriate instructional content for each learner.


The benefits of individualization are enormous and address the learner characteristics and are an endeavor to work according to the learning styles. Far greater flexibility is the prerequisite of individualization which is too much expensive. The problem of individualization cannot be solved by single sole approach but need to be addressed by several approaches.


  1. Individualized Instruction


Individualized instruction can take several forms. Ideally in individualized instruction, students are engaged in learning tasks according to their interests, needs and abilities. Accordingly, teachers might vary one or more of the following:

  1. The learning pace
  2. The instructional objectives
  3. The learning method
  4. The learning materials Here is detail of these factors:
  1. The Learning Pace

All students do not learn at the same pace. Some students need more time to attain understanding. Hence, one and simplest methods to individualize instruction is that of permitting students to work on the same assignments at their own pace. This task is done by breaking down the instructional material into a series of short and




related activities or lessons. The faster students or high achievers can move through the lessons rapidly without having to wait for classmates to catch up. Whereas students experiencing difficulty can move through the materials at a slower pace, reworking troublesome areas, and seeking assistance when unable to master the material.

  1. The Instructional Objectives

Another technique that can be used for individualized instruction is varying objectives. If teacher take a pretest on intended learning outcomes (objectives), he/she may find that some students have already mastered these outcomes. Hence, instead of insisting that all students work on the same outcomes, teacher can tailor activities to the needs and abilities of different students or groups of students. Low ability students might need to work on all objectives, whereas better students might need to work on small objectives and related activities to accommodate his type of individualization

  1. The Learning Method

Vary the method used in accomplishing the desired outcome is also one of the individualization techniques. Even when students are working on the same outcomes, they can use different means of achieving mastery. Some student may rely on a textbook, whereas another may work with tutors. Other students with learning difficulties may need to work with special teachers. Self instructional packages, learning centers and computer assisted instruction (CAI) are other possible methods that could provide individualized instruction.

  1. The Learning Material

Varying the materials used to accomplish objectives can also lead to individualized instruction. As just noted, textbooks can be used in individualized instruction. Some students, however, may read at lower reading levels than their classmates. In fact, some may have severe reading problems, which would hamper the use of any textbook. If reading is problem, textbooks at different levels can be made available, as can other modes-such as films, audiotapes, video tapes, simulations, demonstrations, overheads and models.


Research projects, science projects, essays are also excellent way of individualizing instruction. They allow students or small groups of students to pursue areas of interest. For example, assays can be assigned on board topics such as new scientific discoveries, nuclear technology, whereas research projects can be given in such areas as creating an air car, building classroom models, or writing and /or performing a play. Research projects are more challenging than essays; however students involved in research often gain needed practice in finding and developing material.


Group organizational structures-sometimes referred to as cooperative or team learning- enable and encourage students to learn and to assist each other. Students often learn and retain more when taught by peers. Thus, groups can be formed so that a range of ability levels and skills is represented within the groups. Also, student’s assistants can be assigned to work with specific groups on problems, to lead seminars, to demonstrate equipment or to direct instruction.




  • Effective Use of Direct Instruction

The terms direct instruction or explicit instruction usually refer to whole-class expository teaching techniques (sometimes less flatteringly called “chalk and talk”). Common forms of direct instruction include lectures and demonstrations. They are teacher-centered approaches in which the teacher delivers academic content in a highly structured format, directing the activities of learners and maintaining a focus on academic achievement. When used effectively, direct instruction has the following important features:

  1. The learning outcomes are clear to students.
  2. The teacher controls the time for various instructional
  3. The teacher organizes and controls the sequencing of lesson
  4. There is an emphasis on academic
  5. The teacher carefully monitors
  6. Feedback to students is academically


Lectures and demonstrations have been very popular approaches to teaching for many years. Even though student-centered approaches to teaching have become more popular in recent years, there are two main reasons why many teachers still used direct instruction.


  1. Because it gives them maximum control over what, when and how students learn. That is why this approach is intuitively attractive to many
  2. Because it has strong research support: If you read some of this research you will find that much of the research support for direct instruction comes from studies of student achievement on standardized tests, and in skills-based subjects such as Reading and
  3. Because in some circumstances, it is simply the most appropriate strategy to use. For example, when students are being introduced to a new area of study it may be useful to develop their basic knowledge and skills through direct instruction techniques before giving them a more active role in knowledge-seeking through strategies such as problem solving or experimentation.
  4. Sometimes it is better for teachers to explain and demonstrate things directly rather than leaving learners to discover knowledge of their own. This does not mean that direct instruction excludes the use of constructivist approaches to teaching; it simply emphasizes that sometimes students need careful guidance in their
  5. Because direct instruction is used so often (particularly in the form of lectures), it has a reputation of being a dull and boring technique used by teachers who are stern, authoritarian, dominant or This does not have to be the case. The control and structure that characterize direct instruction can be achieved in interesting, warm, concerned and flexible ways so that a positive classroom climate is maintained and students enjoy learning. Like all other teaching strategies, its success depends primarily on the teacher’s efforts.


Direct instruction teaching model aimed at helping students learn basic skills and knowledge that can be taught in a step-by-step manner. This model does not have the




same name. Sometimes it is referred as active teaching. The rationale and procedure underlying this model was probably used by adults to teach to drive a car, brush your teeth, write a research paper, or solve algebraic equations. The direct instruction model is straightforward and can be relatively short time.


Briefly, direct instruction was designed to promote mastery of skills (procedural knowledge) and factual knowledge that can be taught in step-by-step fashion. This model is not intended to accomplish social learning outcomes or higher level thinking.


Direct instruction is a teacher-centered strategy that has five steps. (1) Establishing set, (2) explanation and/or demonstration (3) guided practice, (4) feedback, and (5) extended practice. A direct instruction lesson requires careful orchestration by the teacher and a learning environment that is task oriented. The direct instruction learning environment focuses mainly on academic tasks and aims at keeping students actively engaged.


There are three theoretical traditions that provide the rationale for contemporary use of direct instruction: behaviorism, social learning theory, and teacher effectiveness research.


  1. Behavioral theories (behaviourism) maintain that humans learn to act in certain ways in response to positive and negative Behaviourists are interested in studying observable human behaviour rather than things that cannot be observed, such as intension (thought), cognition. B. F. Skinner’s work is of great importance for teachers that how a particular behaviour is encouraged through reinforcement.
  2. Social learning theory suggests that much of what humans learn comes through the observation of Bandura (1977), argued that classical behaviorism provide a limited view of learning and study observable human behaviour, while social learning theory helps to study the unobservable aspects of human learning, such as intention(thinking) and cognition. This theory makes distinctions between learning (the way knowledge is acquired) and performance (the behaviour that can be observed). He further goes onto say that most human learning is done by selectively observing and placing into memory the behaviour of others.


According to Bandura (1986), observational learning is three-step process: (1) the learner has to pay attention to critical aspects of what is to be learned; (2) the learner has to retain or remember the behaviour, and; (3) the learner must be able to reproduce or perform the behaviour. Practice and rehearsals used in direct instruction are processes that help learner retain and produce observed behaviours. The principles of social learning translate into the following teaching behaviour:

  • Use strategies to gain students’
  • Ensure that the observation is not too
  • Link new skills to students’ prior
  • Use practice to ensure long-term




  • Ensure a positive attitude toward the new skill so students will be motivated to reproduce or use the new


  1. Teacher effectiveness research is an approach to studying teaching that looks at the relationship between teachers’ observable behaviour and students’


The empirical evidence for direct instruction model comes from many studies conducted during 1975-1990. All most all the researches produce the same results that the teachers who had well organized classrooms, structured learning experiences, and higher student time-on-task, higher students achievement than teachers who used traditional and less teacher directed approach.


Conducting Direct Instruction Lesson

Experienced teachers learn to adjust their use of direct instruction to fit various situations; most direct instruction lessons have five essential phases or steps. The lesson begins with the rationale for the lesson, establishing set, and getting students to learn. This motivational phase is then followed by presentation of the subject matter and demonstration of a particular skill. The lesson then provides opportunities for guided students practice and feedback on students’ progress. In the practice-feedback session, teacher must provide opportunities for students to transfer the knowledge/skills learned to real life situation. In the last phase of this model, lesson concludes with extended practice and the transfer of skill. The five phases of this strategy is shown below in table 3.2.


Phases of Direct Instruction Model


Phases Activities/teacher behavior
Phase-I: Clarify goals and establish set. Teacher gets students ready to learn by going over goals for the lesson, giving background information, and explaining why the lesson is important.
Phase-II: Demonstrate knowledge or skill. Teacher demonstrates the skill correctly or presents step-by-step information.
Phase-III: Provide guided practice. Teacher structure initial practice.
Phase-IV: Check for understanding and feedback. Teacher checks to see if students are performing correctly and provides feedback.
Phase-V: Provide extended practice and transfer. Teacher sets conditions for extended practice with attention to transfer of the skill to more complex


Table 5.2


When should direct instruction be used a teaching strategy?

  • In general, academic learning is influenced by the amount of time that students spend engaged in appropriate academic activities.
  • Learning is easier for students when their teachers carefully structure new Teachers should help students to relate new information to what they already know.




  • Teachers should monitor student feedback and provide corrective feedback. All of these things are possible through direct instruction, and often it is the most appropriate way to achieve
  • Direct instruction can be used to help students achieve many types of learning outcomes, particularly those that are based on knowledge and attitudes / values. Direct instruction can also be used to demonstrate skills, but skill development requires practice by the learners. Some of the advantages of direct instruction and some of the situations in which it is likely to be an appropriate choice of teaching strategy are:
  • Direct instruction can be an efficient way to introduce students to a new area of study by giving them a broad overview that defines key concepts and shows how they are interrelated. This helps students to develop the foundational knowledge that they need for later learning (possibly using student-centered strategies). This is particularly useful if important information (including relevant examples and results of recent research) is not otherwise readily available to
  • Direct instruction allows the teacher to highlight important points or possible difficulties for students so that their exposure to these things is not left to
  • Direct instruction can be equally effective with small and large groups and with students from most


Generally, direct instruction allows teachers to create a non-threatening environment for students. Those who are shy, not confident, or not knowledgeable are not forced to participate and become embarrassed. But after getting feedback, teacher can take measures to modify the behaviours of such type of students through different motivational techniques.


Key Points

  1. Individualized strategies include individualized instruction, independent study, mastery learning, and drill and practice.
  2. They represent techniques tailored to fit student’s needs and
  3. Individualization can be provided by students working at their own pace on different objectives, working with different materials, and working on essays or
  4. In individualized instruction, students are engaged in learning tasks according to their interests, needs and abilities.
  5. Direct instruction refers to whole-class expository teaching
  6. Direct instruction can be equally effective with small and large groups and with students from most


Five phases of direct instruction are: Clarify goals and establish set, demonstrate knowledge or skill, provide guided practice, check for understanding and feedback, provide extended practice and transfer.




5.4    Self Assessment Exercise


  1. What is individualized instruction? How a teacher can make its teaching effective by using this strategy specifically when teaching slow
  2. What is direct instruction? Describe its five phases along with teacher’s
  3. When should direct instruction be used as teaching strategy?
  4. Give one similarity and one difference of direct instruction and individualized


Choose the best:

  1. The phases of direct instruction are:
    • two (b) three (c) four (d) five


  1. Direct instruction is a:
    • Teacher-centered (b) student-centered

(c) Non of a, b                (d) both a, b,


  1. Social learning theory suggests that much of what humans learn comes through:
    • Personal experiences (b) the observation of others

(c)     Social interaction               (d) b and c


  1. The last phase of direct instruction is:
    • Provide guided practice (b) Clarify goals and establish set

(c)     Demonstrate knowledge or skill (d) Provide extended practice and transfer.


  • The Direct instruction can be effective with:
    • Small group (b) large group

(c)     Both large and small group             (d) individualized




  • Teaching Science by Inquiry

Scientific Inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Inquiry also refers to the activities of students in which they develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world.


To a scientist, inquiry refers to an intellectual process that humans have practiced for thousands of years. However, the history of inquiry in American science education is much briefer. Until about 1900, science education was regarded as getting students to memorize a collection of facts. In fact, many of today’s teachers and students can confirm that this approach is still with us.


In Pakistan, much teaching (which can be described as traditional) is based on teacher- centered, lecture presentations to students where the role of the learners is the recording of what the teacher says and its accurate memorization. Credit is given of the correct recall of as much as possible in formal tests and examinations. This approach does not occur in all countries and education systems but is a particular feature of much Pakistani education and in many other countries.


In 1910, John Dewey criticized this state of affairs in science education. He argued that science should be taught as a way of thinking. According to this view, science should be taught as a process. During the 1950s and 1960s, educator Joseph Schwab observed that science was being driven by a new vision of scientific inquiry. In Schwab’s view, science was no longer a process for revealing stable truths about the world, but instead it reflected a flexible process of inquiry. He characterized inquiry as either “stable” or “fluid.” Stable inquiry involved using current understandings to “fill a … blank space in a growing body of knowledge.” Fluid inquiry involved the creation of new concepts that revolutionize science.


To help science education reflect the modern practice of science more accurately, Schwab advocated placing students in the laboratory immediately. In this way, students could ask questions and begin the process of collecting evidence and constructing explanations. Schwab described three levels of openness in laboratory instruction. At the most basic level, the educational materials pose questions and provide methods for students to discover relationships for themselves. At the second level, the materials again pose questions, but the methods are left to the students to devise. At the most sophisticated level, the materials present phenomena without posing questions. The students must generate their own questions, gather evidence, and propose explanations based on their work. This approach stands in contrast to the more typical one, where the teacher begins by explaining what will happen in the laboratory session.


In the late 1950s and the 1960s, Joseph Schwab published articles on inquiry (or enquiry, his preferred spelling). Schwab laid the foundation for the emergence of inquiry as a prominent theme in the curriculum reform of that era (Schwab, 1958; 1960; 1966).




In1958 he grounded in science itself his argument for teaching science as inquiry: “The formal reason for a change in present methods of teaching the sciences lies in the fact that science itself has changed. A new view “Teaching Science as Inquiry concerning the nature of scientific inquiry now controls research.” According to Schwab, scientists no longer conceived science as stable truths to be verified; they were viewing it as principles for inquiry, conceptual structures revisable in response to new evidence. Schwab distinguished between “stable” and “fluid” inquiry. These terms suggest the distinction between normal and revolutionary science as made popular by Thomas Kuhn in his classic of 1970, The Structures of Scientific Revolutions. Stable inquiry uses current principles to “fill a…blank space in a growing body of knowledge” (1966), while fluid inquiry is the invention of conceptual structures that will revolutionize science.


Schwab observed that teachers and textbooks were presenting science in a way that was inconsistent with modern science. Schwab in 1966 found that science was being taught “…as a nearly unmitigated rhetoric of conclusions in which the current and temporary constructions of scientific knowledge are conveyed as empirical, literal, and irrevocable truths.” A “rhetoric of conclusions, then, is a structure of discourse which persuades men to accept the tentative as certain, the doubtful as the undoubted, by making no mention of reasons or evidence for what it asserts, as if to say, ‘this, everyone of importance knows to be true.’” The implications of Schwab’s ideas were, for their time, profound. He suggested both that science should be presented as inquiry, and that students should undertake inquiries.


In order to achieve these changes, Schwab argued in the year 1960, science teachers should first look to the laboratory and use these experiences to lead rather than lag behind the classroom phase of science teaching. He urged science teachers to consider three levels of openness in their laboratories. At the primary level, the materials can pose questions and describe methods of investigation that allow students to discover relationships they do not already know. Next, the laboratory manual or textbook can pose questions, but the methods and answers are left open. And on the most sophisticated level, students confront phenomena without questions based in textbooks or laboratories. They are left to ask questions, gather evidence, and propose explanations based on their evidence.


Schwab also proposed an “enquiry into enquiry.” Here teachers provide students with readings, reports, or books about research. They engage in discussions about the problems, data, role of technology, interpretation of data, and conclusions reached by scientists. Where possible, students should read about alternative explanations, experiments, debates about assumptions, use of evidence, and other issues of scientific inquiry.


Joseph Schwab had a tremendous influence on the original design of instructional materials—the laboratories and invitations to inquiry—for the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS). Schwab’s recommendation paid off in the late 1970s and early 1980s when educational researchers asked questions about the effectiveness of




these programs. In 1984 Shymansky reported evidence supporting his conclusion that “BSCS biology is the most successful of the new high school science curricula.”


In 1964 F. James Rutherford observed that while in the teaching of science we are unalterably opposed to rote memorization and all for the teaching of scientific processes, critical thinking, and the inquiry method, in practice science teaching does not represent science as inquiry. Nor is it clear what teaching science as inquiry means. At times the concept is used in a way that makes inquiry part of the science content itself. At others, authors refer to a particular technique or strategy for bringing about learning of some particular science content. Rutherford (1964) presented the following conclusions:


  1. It is possible to gain a worthwhile understanding of science as inquiry once we recognize the necessity of considering inquiry as content and operate on the premise that the concepts of science are properly understood only in the context of how they were arrived at and of what further inquiry they
  2. As a corollary, it is possible to learn something of science as inquiry without having the learning process itself to follow precisely any one of the methods of inquiry used in science.
  3. The laboratory can be used to provide the student experience with some aspects or components of the investigative techniques employed in a given science, but only after the content of the experiments has been carefully analyzed for its usefulness in this


The Process of Scientific inquiry

Inquiry has four objectives. The first is to help students understand the basic aspects of scientific inquiry. Science proceeds by a continuous, incremental process that involves generating hypotheses, collecting evidence, testing hypotheses, and reaching evidence based conclusions. Rather than involving one particular method, scientific inquiry is flexible. Different types of questions require different types of investigations. Moreover, there is more than one way to answer a question. Although students may associate science with experimentation, science also uses observations, surveys, and other non- experimental approaches.


The second objective is to provide students with an opportunity to practice and refine their critical-thinking skills. Such abilities are important, not just for scientific pursuits, but for making decisions in everyday life. Our fast changing world requires today’s youth to be life-long learners. They must be able to evaluate information from a variety of sources and assess its usefulness. They need to discriminate between objective science and pseudoscience. Students must be able to establish causal relationships and distinguish them from mere associations.


The third objective is to convey to students the purpose of scientific research. Ongoing research affects how we understand the world around us and provides a foundation for improving our choices about personal health and the health of our community.




Some Examples of Inquiry

If I think back to those aspects of my early education that have meant the most to me, I associate all of them with struggling to achieve an understanding that required my own initiative: writing a long report on “The Farm Problem” in seventh grade in which I was forced to explain why our government was paying farmers for not growing a crop; being assigned to explain to my eighth-grade class how a television set works; or in ninth grade grappling with the books on spectroscopy in the Chicago public library in order to prepare a report on its uses in chemistry.


What I mean by teaching science as inquiry is, at a minimum allowing students to conceptualize a problem that was solved by a scientific discovery, and then forcing them to wrestle with possible answers to the problem before they are told the answer. To take an example from my field of cell biology: the membrane that surrounds each cell must have the property of selective permeability—letting foodstuffs like sugars pass inward and wastes like carbon dioxide pass out, while keeping the many large molecules that form the cell tightly inside. What kind of material could this membrane be made of, so that it would have these properties and yet be readily able to expand without leaking as the cell grows? Only after contending with this puzzle for a while will most students be able to experience the pleasure that should result when the mechanism that nature derived for enclosing a cell is illustrated and explained.


Classroom research with long-term follow up shows that students are more likely to retain the information that they obtain in this way—incorporating it permanently into their view of the world. But there is much more. Along with science knowledge, we want students to acquire some of the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists, as well as a clear understanding of the nature of science as a distinct type of human endeavor. For some aspects of science knowledge that are more accessible to direct study than is the nature of the cell membrane, we therefore want students not only to struggle with possible answers to problems, but also to suggest and carry out simple experiments that test some of their ideas. One of the skills we would like all students to acquire through their science education is the ability to explore the natural world effectively by changing one variable at a time, keeping everything else constant. This is not only the way that scientists discover which properties in our surroundings depend on other properties; it also represents a powerful general strategy for solving many of the problems that are encountered in the workplace, as well as in everyday life in our society.


Some Thoughts of a Scientist on Inquiry

As an example, a set of fifth-grade science lessons developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science concentrates on giving students extensive experience in manipulating systems with variables. In this case, eight weeks of lessons come in a box along with a teacher’s guide with instructions on how to teach with these materials (1993). The class starts by working in groups of four to construct a pendulum from string, tape, and washers. After each group counts the number of swings of its pendulum in 15 seconds with results that vary among pendulums, the class is led to suggest further trials that eventually trace the source of this variability to differences in the length of the string. Hanging the pendulums




with different swing counts on a board in the front of the room makes clear the regular relation between pendulum length and swing rate, allowing each group to construct a pendulum with a predictable number of swing counts. This then leads to graphing as a means of storing the data for reuse in future pendulum constructions. A teacher could also exploit this particular two week science lesson to acquaint students with the history of time keeping, emphasizing the many changes in society that ensued once it became possible to divide the day and night into reliable time intervals through the invention of pendulum clocks (Boorstin, 1985).


Contrast this science lesson with more traditional instruction about pendulums, in which the teacher does all of the talking and demonstrating, the students displaying their knowledge about which variables—length, weight, starting swing height—affect swing rate by filling in a series of blanks on a ditto sheet. A year later, the students are unlikely to remember anything at all about pendulums; nor have they gained the general skills that are the most important goal of the hands-on experience: recognition of the power of changing one variable at a time; the ability to produce graphs to store and recall information; the realization that everyone can carry out interesting experiments with everyday materials.


  • Problem Solving Method of Teaching

In school and college students learn concepts, rules, principles and laws. These learning rules and principles help them to learn higher order rules and principles in future. Learning rules and principles help in solving problems (e.g. principle of lever help us to solve the problem of lifting heavy load with the minimum effort, similarly, Archimedes principle solve the problems of how ships float on the surface of water, Flaming right hand rule / left hand rule help in finding the direction the current etc., in the circuit). Problem solving may be viewed as a process by which the learner discovers a combination of previously learned repulse (to make somebody feel strong dislike) which can be applied to achieve a solution for a novel situation (Gagne, 1976)


Problem solving is not simply a matter of applying learned rules but a process that yield new learning. The learners are placed in a problematic situation. They recall previously acquired rules in the attempt to find not only the solution of the problem but also learn something new.




Solution to problems is not an easy or sudden process. Students may encounter difficulties in achieving a solution to problems. Problem-solving behavour involves a process of overcoming difficulties that appear for the solution of the problem.


Steps in Problem Solving

There are many view point regarding the steps of problem solving. But the major steps are:

  • A felt need; the problem solver must feel the difficulty and speculate the probable
  • Locating /recognizing/defining the problem; after the difficulty is felt, the next step is to locate or understand the nature of the problem. The more clearly an individual can state the nature of the problem, the more likely he is to solve it. In locating the problem, the teacher may help students save time.
  • Data collection; gathering data to solve a problem is not an easy job. The teacher must instill in students a respect for factual knowledge. The pupils must find out what others have done with the same or similar problems. The students must be encouraged to make a brief record of sources of
  • Formulation of hypothesis; a hypothesis is simply a theory or a tentative/possible The worth of the possible solutions depends on the originality and intelligence of the problem solver.
  • Testing of hypothesis; after some tentative solutions are accepted, the pupils can be asked to try or test the possible solutions and their Thus, this is the step of judging and predicting. The pupils may test the possible solutions either in an actual situation or in the laboratory or through group discussions. This testing whether theoretical, situational or experimental, gives additional information or data about the problem. The new information may result in an alteration of the hypothesis.
  • Making a generalization; testing the hypothesis is often the final step in the solution of the problem. However, higher form of reasoning demand stills another step-making a The final step is an attempt to consolidate the conclusion in order to conserve the meaning. It is a verbal description of the salient information that has been obtained. The teacher must take the responsibility for impression upon students the value of making sound generalizations. Making a generalization will help the students in solving other problems in future.


However, these steps are not too difficult for children at the beginning of their school experience. Elementary level students may not find out correct solution to problems. But they can feel the problem. They can gather data. They can make partially correct solution. They can evaluate the solutions and their knowledge. It is, therefore, requested to the teacher to remember that the correct solution is not important than the process and the interest involved.




Teaching Problem Solving in School

There are different viewpoints regarding the major purposes of teaching problem solving in school. These are:

  1. Acquisition of knowledge of wide applicability;
  2. Learning and using the techniques of problem solving;
  3. Learning and transfer of skills, concepts, principles , and
  4. Development of the ability to transfer the skills acquired through problem solving in schools to the solution of personal and community/societal problems.


Whatever may be the purpose of teaching problem-solving, the teacher must know the following points in providing instruction for problem solving:

  1. The teacher must describe what the problem is, and what constitute the solution. The teacher will not tell the students how to solve the problem but guide them towards the solution.
  2. While presenting a problem the teacher must assess the pre knowledge of the students that will be required in solution of the
  3. The teacher should help the students to recall the relevant concepts, principles and also help them to apply these concepts, principles in the solution of the By providing advance organizers (demonstration, question etc.) the teacher can help students apply the relevant information in the problem situation.
  4. After trying and solving the problem the students should be required to give a full demonstration of the problem solution. In order to test their real understanding of problem solving the teacher should use their problems of the same kind and verify their learning and understanding.


Key Points

  1. In Pakistan, much teaching is based on inquiry teacher-centered, lecture presentations to students where the role of the learners is the recording of what the teacher says and its accurate memorization.
  2. Scientific Inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural
  3. Inquiry has three main objectives: To help students understand the basic aspects of scientific inquiry; to provide students with an opportunity to practice and refine their critical-thinking skills; to convey to students the purpose of scientific
  4. Problem solving may be viewed as a process by which the learner discovers a combination of previously learned repulse (strong dislike) which can be applied to achieve a solution for a novel
  5. The  steps    involved    in    problem   solving    are:    A    felt    need;    Locating

/recognizing/defining the problem; Data collection; Formulation of hypothesis; Testing of hypothesis; Making a generalization;




5.5 Self Assessment Exercise

  1. Do you think that in Pakistan, much teaching is based on inquiry or teacher- centered, lecture presentations to students where the role of the learners is the recording of what the teacher says and its accurate memorization.
  2. What is problem solving approach? Write the steps involved in problem solving
  3. Differentiate between inquiry and problem solving strategies with the help of an


Choose the best:

  1. The first step involved in problem solving is:
    • Data collection (b) Formulation of hypothesis

(c)     a felt difficulty/need (d) data analysis


  1. Inquiry has three main objectives:
    • To help students understand the basic aspects of scientific inquiry;
    • To provide students with an opportunity to practice and refine their critical- thinking skills;
    • To convey to students the purpose of scientific (d) a, b, c, all


  1. Hypothesis is:
  • A tentative solution of a problem (b) a declarative statement
  • An intelligence guess (d) a, b and c all


  • The objective of scientific inquiry is:
    • To learn by heart (b) To provide an opportunity to students to practice and refine their critical-thinking skills

(c)     To demonstrate knowledge or skill  (d) To provide extended practice and transfer.


  • The science teaching in Pakistan is primarily:
    • Reception (b) meaningful

(c)     Discovery              (d) inquiry




  • Hands–On, Minds –On Science Teaching
  • Hands-On: Students are actually allowed to perform science as they construct meaning and acquire
  • Minds-On: Activities focus on core concepts, allowing students to develop thinking processes and encouraging them to question and seek answers that enhance their knowledge and thereby acquire an understanding of the physical universe in which they


In the teaching and learning of science, this approach allows students to fully participate in the learning process. It encourages full involvement of learners. Now- a-days along with traditional teaching, technology becomes an additional tool, supporting the learning process as students seek new knowledge and understanding. Therefore for educators, it becomes a challenge to define the new approach for teaching and learning with adequate clarity.


At lower grades and also to some extent at higher grades (9 to 12) in Pakistan, science instruction lacks a clear focus; therefore, students are not very well prepared with science content. Therefore, the natural curiosity of children, readiness to understand their surroundings, is often reduced by instruction that lacks or discourages inquiry and discovery. In the higher grades, science instruction becomes increasingly textbook- centered. Even though the curriculum at higher grades contains laboratory experiences (or demonstrations), students are rarely encouraged to use scientific methods to solve problems relevant to their perception of the world.


The typical pedagogical pattern reflects an authoritarian, didactic approach to classroom management. The reason may be that many teachers have never encountered a learning experience in which they constructed meaning from the experience. Similarly, the professional preparation of most administrators has not provided experience with this type of learning. It is little wonder, therefore, that many classrooms present an environment in which students learn by rote and repetition from teachers who exercise authoritarian control over the learning process.


Many educators who would like to change this approach lack the support of colleagues, administrators, and parents, who only remember a more traditional approach.


The comparative performance of America’s children on science achievement tests clearly demonstrates the failures of the current delivery system. Without significant transformation of the curricula, strategies, and methods used in our classrooms, science learning will not improve. Moreover, the reform of science education must address the needs of all children, but it will do so only with the support of teachers, administrators, policymakers, business and community leaders, and the general public.


Many of those working to improve science education have collaborated to create a challenging vision for instructional design. Their vision builds on these beliefs:




  • Thinking skills, especially higher-order skills, must be learned through
  • A curriculum based on constructivist theory is well-suited to the teaching and learning of
  • Learning assessment must be built into the process of
  • All students should have access to meaningful, engaged learning in


  • Take advantage of every opportunity presented to engage in the process of “doing”
  • Develop the skills needed to seek information and solve
  • Keep an open and questioning mind, and constantly seek new knowledge and
  • Learn to work with others, to share responsibly for acquiring new knowledge and understanding with peers, and to value new experience as an opportunity to inquire and learn.


Parents and Community Members

  • Support teachers by establishing high expectations consistent with those required for successful learning. Demand high standards for learning and achievement for schools and students.
  • Encourage and nurture the natural curiosity that children have about
  • Provide opportunities for learning in the home, allowing students to participate in activities that stimulate inquiry and
  • Ensure that all expected “homework” is completed, providing support and assistance as needed and
  • Create partnerships between schools and community facilities and resources that provide students with access to knowledge and experiences that extend and complement learning experiences in schools (e.g., museums, zoos, natural life preserves, science centers, aquariums, planetariums, botanical gardens).



  • Commit to a professional development program that will enable you to change instructional strategies, adapting them to new methods for teaching. A thorough understanding of constructivist approaches to learning should be part of that
  • Create more opportunities for students to engage in science learning that is authentic and patterned after the methods that scientists
  • Understand the standards established for curriculum, instruction, and assessment and use them as guidelines for making instructional
  • Establish high achievement standards for all students and be certain that every effort is made to provide effective learning opportunities for each




  • Model attitudes that foster inquiry, acquisition of new knowledge, and lifelong
  • Seek ways to relate the learning of science to other disciplines and use technology to enhance and extend classroom


School administration

  • Become informed about the change process that will be needed to create a science classroom that provides active, hands-on, minds-on, authentic learning for
  • Help restructure time and facilities, the acquisition of resources, and the professional development of teachers.


Establish supervision systems that expect and support teacher performance that is consistent with the principles of active, engaged learning for all students in every science classroom.



  • Create policies and laws that enable significant reform of the structure and organization of schools (e.g., length of school day and year, greater flexibility in accreditation, encouragement and support for innovation).
  • Exercise patience in pressing for
  • Provide funding for resources and training to implement reform.
  • Do not impose mandates that amount to “tinkering” rather than

Implementation Pitfalls:

Under the new vision of science teaching and learning, teachers must alter significantly the types of instruction that they have used in the past. First, they must understand that simply “studying the content of science” is not the same as learning science. While knowledge of facts is important, facts must be learned within the context of authentic experience. Science teachers must rethink their traditional role as “knowledge deliverer” and accept a new responsibility as facilitator, coach, and coordinator of experiences. Science teachers will need more planning time and more instructional time than is usually allocated to make these changes.


One of the benefits of this new type of science learning will be the opportunity to learn principles and processes without being limited by traditional subject matter boundaries. Those who make policy regarding the accreditation of learning for promotion and admission to higher levels will have to adjust their thinking away from traditional subject/credit practices. New criteria will be needed. Such a change will help establish the new model, and without it, traditional patterns will prevail.


Text material will always be needed to support science instruction. However, teaching based on this new view will require instructional materials that are far different from most of those currently available. These materials will not all be delivered through print media. Publishers must encourage the preparation of materials that foster inquiry,




describe authentic problems, and incorporate technology. Until such resources are readily available, practitioners will have to seek out nontraditional materials.


Administrators, parents, and community members must accept this reform as a better way of learning science. Without informed support, the needed policy changes, organizational restructuring, and greater emphasis on science learning will not be realized. The transformation of science education will require major commitments from all sectors of the greater school community.


  • Play-Way Method

Play is the natural need of the child. Through play he/she enacts many roles of the adults of his world as he/she sees them; the child cast himself in those roles with which he seeks identification. The child’s choice for play is selective and carries emotional attachment. The emotions may be positive one of love, or a negative one of fear/anger. The child who assume the role of a doctor/ pilot/soldier administering shots may be reducing the fear he feels as the doctor sticks the needle in him/the paratrooper jump from the air craft/ the soldier wounded by a bullet, he may be assuming the role of the one who wishes to imitate. Child is learning while playing.


Learning don’t come from listening and seeing only but also more understandable from actions, from doing and from personal experience. Play-way method is a means of training individuals as individuals and a wonderful technique of making school education interesting and practical. It is our common observation that the child who learns best is one who takes interest and start the activity/work with purpose and sees significance in what he does.


Principles of play-way method

The play-way method is based on the following principles:

  1. Learning process to be conducted through playful activities because they are soothing, purifying and interesting;
  2. Learning should be taken place in an atmosphere of freedom without any restraints (act of controlling).
  3. Method of imparting should be informal and natural to suit the interests and needs of
  4. Teachers’ attitude should be such as to encourage free expression on the part of the
  5. Enough opportunities should be provided to children for
  6. Children should fully enjoy the learning They should be active participant in it and responsible for their own progress and development.




  • Five-E Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate)

5E Model of teaching science helps to promote Active, Collaborative, Inquiry-Based Learning.

Engage:     learners become interested, raise questions, and focus attention on target concepts.

Explore:    learners interact with materials and each other.

Explain:    learners develop explanations that represent their understandings of target concepts.

Elaborate: Learners apply understandings to a new situation.

Evaluate: Learners review and assess what they have learned and how they have learned it.


5E Instructional Model to Promote Inquiry-Based Learning


Lesson and Learning Focus Topics Covered and Major Concepts
1:     Inquiring Minds

Engage: Students become engaged in the process of scientific inquiry.

Scientists learn about the natural world through scientific inquiry.

•        Scientists ask questions that can be               answered through investigations.

•        Scientists design and carry out investigations.

•        Scientists think logically to make relationships between evidence and explanations.

•        Scientists communicate procedures and explanations.

2:  Working with Questions

Explore: Students consider what makes questions scientifically testable. Students gain a common set of experiences upon which to begin building their understanding.

Scientists ask questions that can be answered through investigations.

•        Testable questions are not answered by personal opinions or belief in the supernatural.

•        Testable questions are answered by collecting evidence and developing explanations based on that evidence.

3:     Conducting a Scientific Investigation Explain: The Explain lesson provides opportunities for students to connect their previous experiences with current learning. Scientific explanations emphasize evidence.

•        Scientists think critically about the types of evidence that should be collected.

Elaborate: In Elaborate lessons, students apply or

extend      previously      introduced      concepts     and experiences to new situations.

Scientists analyze the results of their investigations to produce scientifically acceptable explanations.
4: Pulling It All Together

Evaluate: Students deepen their understanding of scientific inquiry by performing their own investigation and evaluating one performed by another student.

•  Scientists communicate their results to their peers

Scientific inquiry is a process of discovery.

•        It begins with a testable question.(hypotheses)

•        Scientific investigations involve collecting evidence.

•        Explanations are evidence based.


Source: Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry (2005)




What the Teacher Does?


Stage That is consistent with the BSCS 5E Instructional Model That is inconsistent with the BSCS 5E Instructional Model
Engage •          Stimulates students’ curiosity and generates interest

•          Determines students’ current understanding (prior knowledge) of a concept or idea

•          Invites students to express what they think

•          Invites students to raise their own questions

•            Introduces vocabulary

•            Explains concepts

•            Provides definitions and answers

•            Provides closure

•            Discourages students’ ideas and questions

Explore •          Encourages student-to-student interaction

•          Observes and listens to the students as they interact

•          Asks probing questions to help students make sense of their experiences

•          Provides time for students to puzzle through

•            Provides answers

•            Proceeds too rapidly for students to make sense of their experiences

•            Provides closure

•            Tells the students that they are wrong

•            Gives information and facts that solve the problem

•            Leads the students step-by-step to a solution

Explain •          Encourages students to use their common experiences and data from the Engage and Explore lessons to develop explanations

•          Asks questions that help students express understanding and explanations

•          Requests justification (evidence) for students’ explanations

•          Provides time for students to compare their ideas with those of others and perhaps to revise their thinking

•          Introduces terminology and alternative explanations after students express their ideas

•            Neglects to solicit students’ explanations

•            Ignores data and information students gathered from previous lessons

•            Dismisses students’ ideas

•            Accepts explanations that are not supported by evidence

•            Introduces unrelated concepts or Skills

Elaborate •          Focuses students’ attention on conceptual connections between new and former experiences

•          Encourages students to use what they have learned to explain a new event or idea

•          Reinforces students’ use of scientific terms and descriptions previously introduced

•          Asks questions that help students draw reasonable conclusions from evidence and data

•            Neglects to help students connect new and former experiences

•            Provides definitive answers

•            Tells the students that they are wrong

•            Leads students step-by-step to a Solution

Evaluate •          Observes and records as students demonstrate their understanding of the concepts and performance of skills

•          Provides time for students to compare their ideas with those of others and perhaps to revise their thinking

•          Interviews students as a means of assessing their developing understanding

•          Encourages students to assess their own progress

•            Tests vocabulary words, terms, and isolated facts

•            Introduces new ideas or concepts

•            Creates ambiguity

•            Promotes open-ended discussion unrelated to the concept or skill


Source: Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry (2005)




Key Points

  1. Learning don’t come from listening and seeing only but also more understandable from actions, from doing and from personal
  2. Play-way method is a means of training It is a wonderful technique of making school education interesting and practical.
  3. Children will fully enjoy the learning process if they are the active participant in the learning process and responsible for their own progress and
  4. 5E Model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate) of teaching science helps to promote Active, Collaborative, Inquiry-Based
  5. Steps of 5-E model are: inquiring mind, working with questions, conducting a scientific investigation and putting it


5.6    Self-Assessment Exercise


Play-way method is more effective at elementary level. Do you agree this with statement? What are the principles which the teachers use to make play-way an effective teaching strategy?

  1. What the word 5-E stands for?
  2. Prepare a lesson plan with the help of 5-E model from the 4th/5th class
  3. What teacher can do during each stage of 5-E model?


Choose the best

  1. The 4th stage of 5-E model is:
    • Evaluate (b) engage        (c) elaborate     (d) explain


  1. 5E Model of teaching science helps to promote:
    • Active learning (b) Collaborative learning

(c)     Inquiry-Based learning     (d) a, b, c all


  1. The first principle of play-way method is:
    • Learning process to be taken place in an atmosphere of freedom
    • Learning process to be conducted through playful activities
    • Enough opportunities to be provided to children for expression
    • None of a, b, c


  1. Play-way method is a means of training individuals through:
    • listening (b) seeing  (c) doing                (d) observing


  1. Steps of 5-E model are:
    • Inquiring mind (b) working with questions

(c)     Conducting a scientific investigation         (d) a, b, c




  • Demonstration Method

In science instruction, demonstration can be very effective teaching strategy. It provides excellent ways to introduce science units and lessons. Demonstrations are concrete experiences that can be considered advance organizers for structuring subsequent information and activities into a meaningful, instructional framework for students. Effective demonstrations can focus student’s attention, motivate and interest them in lesson, illustrate key concepts and principles and initiate inquiry and problem solving. When used discriminately they enhance the learning environment. When used indiscriminately or as a substitute for laboratory work, their purposes can be defeated.


Functions of demonstrations

Demonstrations can be used in many ways in science instruction, each of which makes its own special contribution. They can be used to initiate student thinking and to formulate problems. They can be planned to illustrate a point, principle, or concept or to answer a particular question. They are also useful for reviewing and reinforcing an idea. They are excellent to use to introduce a lesson or a unit of study.


  1. Initiate thinking

There are many science demonstrations when presented for the first time to a group of students, will leave them searching for an explanation. It can stimulate interest and curiosity.

  1. Illustrate a concept, principle ,or a point

Demonstrations provide concrete experiences that can be used to illustrate a science concept, principle or point. To illustrate a concept, for example, some teachers first state the concept and then parallel the statement with a demonstration that illustrates the data. This is direct and explicit way to clarify and explain ideas. This approach is used only to illustrate the concept, law, or principle and not to develop the idea.

  1. Answering a question

Students sometimes ask questions that can be answered with a demonstration. These situations usually occur spontaneously and require teachers to have a large repertoire of demonstrations from which to draw. Such demonstrations should not be conducted spontaneously unless the teacher is assured that the demonstration will be presented successfully and that the materials for an unplanned demonstration can waste class time. Perform the demonstrations the next day if presented is a problem.,

  1. Reviewing ideas

Demonstrations can be the center of excellent review sessions when combined with oral recitations. They can be performed to reinforce important ideas that were previously addressed during a lesson or laboratory exercise.

  1. Introducing And Concluding Units

Carefully planned demonstrations can be used to introduce new topics and provide stimulating introductory discussions. They can promote creative thinking on the part of the students by presenting them with a related or an apparently unrelated




event for explanation. Interesting and exciting demonstrations are excellent ways to conclude units of study. They can serve as a climax as well as summary of the high points of a unit. They can also motivate and interest students in further study.


  • Questioning Techniques

In our daily lives we ask many questions but most of us are not skilled for asking proper questioning which a sophisticated art is. Research have proved that questioning is second only to lecturing in popularity as a teaching method. Teachers spend most of their instructional time for conducting questioning sessions. The following are the reasons for which teachers ask questions:

  1. to assess the previous knowledge of students
  2. to summarize lesson
  • to asses achievement of objectives
  1. to motivate the students
  2. to develop the interest of students
  3. to develop critical thinking skills
  • to evaluate students’ preparation
  • to have check on homework


Questioning is an important element of teaching learning process. It enables teachers and students to establish what is already known, to use and extend this knowledge, and then to develop new ideas. Questioning is important to developing reflective thinking. Questioning helps students to reflect on their understanding which can bring changes and improvements in thinking and learning and ultimately in teaching.


Good questioners must be skilled in formulating good questions: questions must be asked at the appropriate level, they must be of appropriate type, and, above all, they must be worded properly.


The art of questioning requires mastery of techniques for follow of student’s responses-or lack of responses o questioning. The kinds of questions asked the way they are asked, and the responses given affect both the self esteem of the students and their participation.


Levels of questions

There are two main classifications of questions:

  1. Convergent /divergent
  2. Mental operation students


Here is the detail of each of the above mentioned categories.


  1. Convergent and divergent

Convergent questions allow for only a few right responses. Such questions require students to recall and integrate or analyze information for determining “one expected” correct answer. Moreover alternate response questions such as yes/no, true /false would




be classified as convergent. The divergent questions allow for may correct responses. Divergent questions encourage a broader response and engage students in learning process.

Example of convergent question:

What is 3+4?

What is formula of water?


Example of divergent question:

  1. What are the causes of using unfair means in the exam?

Certain questioning techniques can enhance the quality and increase the quantity of student’s responses. Here are few questioning techniques which can be helpful in teaching learning science.

  1. Mental operation questions

Moore (2001) has developed the mental operation system for the classification of questions. This classification is based upon the work of J.P Guilford and Benjamin Bloom. The following are the categories of mental operation questions:


  1. Factual

Factual questions test the students recall or recognition of information learned by rote.

  1. Empirical

Empirical questions require that students integrate or analyze remembered or given information and supply a single, correct predictable answer. Such questions may require quite a lot of thinking, but once thought out, the answer is usually a single, correct answer. Such questions are also narrow.

  1. Productive

Such questions do not have a single correct answer, and it may be impossible to predict what the answer will be.

  1. Evaluative

Such questions require the students put a value on something or make some kind of judgment. Such questions are special cases of productive questions in that they are often too open ended.


Questioning Techniques

Dear students, in the preceding discussion, you have read the levels of questions. In order to increase the quantity and quality of questions, certain techniques are associated with asking questions. The following discussion, you will find useful techniques for questioning.


  1. Redirecting

It is the technique which is effective for increasing the participation of students. Being teacher you can draw students into a discussion by asking them to respond to a question in light of a previous response from another student. This technique requires several correct responses to a single question. The question asked must be divergent, productive or evaluative.




Here is an example of how you might redirect a question:

Teacher:   we have just discussed Newton’s third law. Let’s take an example, if we remove the thread of a balloon, can you give some examples of action and reaction forces?

Ali:            When we untied the balloon, air will move in the forward direction, it will be action force and balloon will move in the backward direction, it will be due to reaction force

Teacher:    Mohsin?

Mohsin: Walking is an example of action and reaction Teacher: Khalid, what is your opinion

Khalid:      ………………


You have noticed, using redirecting correctly, you do not react to the student’s responses. You simply redirect the question to another student. Due to this technique the participation of student’s can be increased. They will involve more and as a consequence learning will be greater and increased interest.


This technique is also helpful for non volunteer students. Teacher can involve such non volunteers as much as possible because it will stimulate their interest and increase learning. It should be remembered that non volunteers must not be forced to answer; instead they must be given the opportunity to contribute to the discussion. Moreover, non volunteer must be given ample time to consider a response. This time required for students in considering their responses to questions is referred to as wait time.


Here is detail of appropriate use of wait time in questioning.


  1. Wait time

To answer the questions of teachers, students need to think and ponder their responses. According to Rowe (1074a, 1974b, 1978) as quoted by Moore (   ), teachers on the average wait only about one second for students to give an answer. The research of Rowe has revealed that when teachers learned to increase wait time from 3-5 seconds, the following were the finding:

  1. The response time of students increased
  2. Failure to respond tend to decreased
  3. Students ask more questions
  4. Unsolicited responses tend to increase
  5. He confidence of students increased


There are two types of wait time:

  1. Wait time 1

It is the time provided for the first student response to question

  1. Wait time 2

Total time a teacher waits for all students to respond to the same question or for students to respond to each other’s responses to a question. It may involve several minutes.




If teacher is engaging students more in lessons, he/she must learn to increase his/her wait time tolerance, so that students may have more opportunities to think their answers.


Usually the questions answer session in class has the following pattern: Teacher                          student A

Teacher                                       student B Teacher                                             student C


In this pattern teacher ask question to one student and then move to next student and so on. Students get less time (or no time) to think over their answers and the answers of their class fellows. In this kind of session, usually lower level questions are asked. Therefore this is also another drawback of this question answer session. The questi