Importance of science in primary school education

Importance of science in primary school education

Forty percent of the questions in a PSLE science paper require pupils to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific facts, concepts, and principles. However, scoring an A needs more work, as pupils need to tackle the remaining 60 percent of questions that require them to apply concepts and principles to new situations. Let's take a look at the importance of science as a subject and why is it so tough to tackle.

Fluency in English :

The first hurdle that children need to overcome is to be able to read and comprehend exactly what the questions asked. Secondly, they must know how to arrange their answer sensibly, in a logical sequence, and with the correct scientific keywords. Science is based on facts, and it is important that facts, inferences, and conclusions must be expressed in a concise, coherent manner.

Scientific methods of observation :

The scientific method is based on the process of formulating a question, coming up with a hypothesis, making predictions, running tests, and then analyzing the results. Science also involves the skills of making relevant observations, recording those observations (such as in drawings, tables, or graphs), and applying knowledge to new situations.

Children can learn such scientific skills, but these take time to teach. Children need to be trained to attain these skills. With the acquiring of these skills comes the ability to understand and answer science questions. However, because there is usually not enough time to teach such skills, kids don't understand the intent or expectations of certain questions, leading to inaccurate or incomplete answers, and the tendency to take the easy way of memorizing model answers.

Knowing what each question requires :

Understanding whether a question requires a simple fact as an answer, or a longer explanation takes practice. Students need to gauge how much to write based on the number of marks as well. Knowledge of the scientific method also helps here to follow a set thinking routine.

Now, what do we do to help our students excel anyway?

Help your children learn to think scientifically :

Talk to your children about what they did in science class every day. Help them feel comfortable in talking about what went right, what went wrong, especially with test questions.  Ask yourself what your child missed out, and why that was important. While some schools can be too rigid about mark schemes, most teachers are willing to help if the parent's approach is to guide the child into thinking scientifically, and not to nit-pick about the marking scheme. 

Avoid worrying that your child's self-esteem would be affected by getting his questions marked wrongly, but empower them with the necessary skills to reason scientifically, because these skills will carry them throughout their life, not just at PSLE science tuition Singapore

Start revision early :

With a packed curriculum, primary school science teachers may find it difficult to recap topics learned in P3 and P4 or even P5. So your kid must consistently revise his work, otherwise, he may struggle with topics learned earlier. Practice good time management: two minutes for each question in MCQ, two to three minutes for each question in Section B. 

What's even more important is to set goals that are personalized. Help your children identify concepts that they need to work on and revise. Set targets for them to reach, like a weekly goal, a threshold test score, or you can even play a quiz with them to help them remediate.

Use scientific language at home :

Help your children understand how to use observations to come up with inferences. Train them to know the difference between factual analysis and conjecture. Once they get used to thinking that way, they will find it much easier to answer science questions.