Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Primary pupils' science attainments are improved with creative lessons

Thursday, 25 June 2015

A research project led by an Oxford Brookes academic, together with Science Oxford, has found that delivering creative and challenging lessons to primary school children improved their attainment in science by the equivalent of three months learning. The evaluation report of the project, titled Thinking, Doing, Talking Science, was published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) on Friday 12 June. Helen Wilson from Oxford Brookes conducted a year-long trial involving 1500 Year Five pupils across 42 schools in Oxfordshire. Those participating in the trial saw their science scores increase by the equivalent of three additional months and the positive effects of the programme look to be particularly pronounced for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. In addition to the gains in their science knowledge and understanding, the pupils’ attitudes towards science also improved throughout the trial. The programme provided five professional development sessions to two teachers from each school. The teachers were enabled to deliver science lessons that included more creative investigations, class discussions and asking big questions to challenge childrens' thinking, such as ‘how do we know the earth is a sphere?’, or ‘how do we know the person next to us is alive?’. Helen Wilson, Principal Lecturer from the School of Education at Oxford Brookes, said: "I am just delighted that this project has proven that teaching in a creative way, by encouraging the pupils to think, do and talk more in science lessons, results in them enjoying the subject more and also improves their learning." The project was funded by EFF and delivered by Science Oxford and Oxford Brookes University.