School Science Lessons
Science, Maths & Technology


Websites Mathematics and computers

Table of contents

2.5 Biology experiments, artificial and concomitant variation

2.6 Common curriculum elements, Queensland Studies Authority

2.2 Experimental investigations

22.0 Five challenges for science in Australian primary schools
By Dr Rachel Wilson and Simon Crook, first published in The Conversation, 4 June 2015

2.7 PISA, Scientific Literacy

Science Fairs (websites)

1.0 Science, Maths and Technology

2.3 Science / Year Achievement standards, Australian curriculum, Year 7 to Year 10

2.4 The role of inquiry in senior secondary science

2.1 What makes an activity scientific? (Primary)

2.0 Why are hands-on science activities so effective for student learning?

3.0.0 Animal care and protection

6.5.3 Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

6.5.4 Animals in education
Source: Biology Senior Syllabus

6.5.5 Australian code for the care and use of
animals for scientific purposes

3.2.5 Biology experiments, live animals

1.0 Science, Maths and Technology
Science is concerned with gathering information by investigation reorganizing the information to get patterns and regularities looking
for explanations and communicating findings to others.
Finding patterns and regularities simplifies the descriptions of observations.
Observations are information gained by using the senses.
Investigations may be qualitative requiring general observations or quantitative requiring counting or measuring.
Science teachers should conduct investigations so that the students can observe phenomena before listening to interpretations.
The teacher should not say too much but should let the experiment speak for itself.
Effective teachers select content, skills and learning experiences in the subjects they teach that will foster students intellectual and
personal growth.
Teachers should be able to express subject aims and goals for what students should expect to gain from their learning experiences and
organize subject content coherently and at a level that is appropriate to the student group and their learning.
This document contains ideas on practical teaching for the trained science teacher.
After choosing an experiment from this book, the teacher should practice the experiment before demonstrating it to students or before
requiring students to do it.
The teacher has the duty of making the decision about whether the experiment is safe for the children in the class.

2.0 Why are hands-on science activities so effective for student learning?
by Donna Satterthwait, School of Education, University of Tasmania, Australia
Teaching Science, Volume 56, Number 2, June 2010, pp. 7-10
About the author: Dr Satterthwait has been a science teacher educator since 1991 and has a passion for "spreading the word" of
science as a way of making sense of the natural world.
From effective research, there is a general consensus that hands-on experiences help students to learn.
The question that this paper seeks to answer is what it is all about these activities that fosters student learning.
In a review of the literature, three factors have been identified as making a significant contribution to this strategy's success.
They are peer interaction through co-operative learning, object-mediated learning, and embodied experience.
By taking these factors into account, teachers of science can design lessons that explicitly utilize this knowledge.
The experiential value of hands-on activities in science education has long been recognized as significant in engaging students.
Hands-on activities represent a strategy of teaching in which the students usually work in groups, interact with peers to manipulate
various objects, ask questions that focus observations, collect data and attempt to explain natural phenomena.
This is actually the essence of science.
Bredderman reported on the effectiveness of three of the then "new" primary science programs developed in the United States, all of
which were activity-based and showed considerable benefits to participating students because of their emphasis on the use of
hands-on strategies.
In a review of further research on the hands-on learning pedagogy, such activities have been shown to improve children's science
learning and achievement and their attitudes towards science, increase science skill proficiency and language development,
(specifically reading and oral communication), and also to encourage creativity.
The potential for learning through hands-on activities is quite amazing.
Despite each having a different emphasis, seven innovative primary science curriculum projects funded and sponsored by the National
Science Foundation, American Association for the Advancement of Science, or the US Office of Education and various large
universities (e.g. Harvard, University of California), all had the use of hands-on science activities as an essential component of their
project design.
However, not only do these funding organizations, educational researchers, curriculum project leaders and designers know that
hands-on activities promote better student learning outcomes, but from their own classroom experiences, most teachers of science agree.
These teachers incorporate and promote a "hands-on, minds-on" approach in their practice because they believe their students benefit
from the implementation of this strategy.
This style of teaching is also well supported by evidence in other subject areas,
The pedagogy of using hands-on investigations, Involving students working in groups, and manipulating objects has been recognized as
a desired science teaching strategy for almost 200 years, and continues to influence science education curriculum design as seen in the
more recently developed Australian Academy of Science-sponsored Primary Connections modules.
Thus, a question needs to be asked - why is the teaching of science through the provision of classroom hands-on science activities so
It is time to consider this pedagogic practice in light of new research on learning and to link this teaching strategy with some of the
theoretical understandings that have emerged, especially from the domain of cognitive psychology.
This literature review may help to generate discussions and hypotheses that can be investigated in science classrooms.
Understanding of Learning
The processes of learning are highly complex.
To make meaning of these processes, cognitive psychologists categorize what data and evidence they have collected into various
"explanatory models" that provide a convenient way of communicating multifaceted ideas and serve to integrate concepts and research
findings into systems that generate hypotheses and future applications.
In this way, the cognitive psychologists' knowledge of human learning can be advanced and better understood.
However, the considerable progress that has been made in understanding how learning takes place is rarely incorporated into
classroom practice in a deliberate way, but teachers "know" what usually works in their own classrooms, they can predict likely
outcomes of their students' engagement with particular tasks.
Good, experienced teachers have a deep understanding of their students' needs and attempt to address them as best they can to
achieve intended outcomes.
One reason for the disjunct between knowledge about learning among cognitive psychologists and teachers' understanding of their
students' learning is that there are many different cognitive models and psychological explanations of how learning occurs in individuals,
and most have validity for particular instances that are often narrowly defined and contextual.
What happens in the reality of the classroom is so much messier than the variable-controlled investigations of psychologists.
Straightforward explanations are difficult to apply to messy classroom contexts.
The gap that occurs between the psychologist's experimental knowledge and the teacher's classroom nous is widened by the teacher's
difficulty in comprehending the vocabulary of the psychologist, as well as the psychologist's lock of understanding of classroom
Some psychologists may have a naive view of classroom culture because of their long held expectations of how a classroom should
Stereotypical classroom cultural expectations, which rarely reflect reality, also prevail throughout our society.
This gap between teachers and psychological knowledge becomes especially obvious in neurological or brain-based deficit studies,
although recently there has been a deliberate attempt to bridge the divide, as more is being discovered about brain function.
Some neuroscientists are looking at ways in which their "models" can inform classroom learning.
The human brain appears to be highly interconnected and, like a classroom, complex and multidimensional.
Neuroscientific studies provide enticing evidence of plasticity in cellular interactions, establishment of networks and integration of
neurones and neurochemicals.
Doidge gives examples of how different sections of the brain interact and function together and influence thinking, finding that imagining
doing and actually doing both excite the same parts of the brain, imagining one is using one's muscles actually strengthens them.
As even more knowledge about brain function becomes available, new models about learning are likely to be proposed.
The development of these new "brain learning" models, when added to previously proposed cognitive models of learning, make the
time right to re-examine cognition models and classroom practices to gain more insight and attempt to better understand why particular
teaching strategies "work".
A good place to start this process is to call attention to one such pedagogy, the "hands-on activity", a well-regarded science teaching
strategy and examine why this strategy seems to cause students to learn.
Although there may be many attributes that contribute to the apparent success of student learning within this way of teaching, for the
purpose of this paper three factors have been identified that play a significant role in the hands-on practice.
The three factors presented in this paper are:
1. The influence of co-operative learning and social constructivist understandings;
2. Mediated learning through the use of objects; and
3. Embodiment as a way of students gaining understanding and making meaning of their experiences.
Hands-on Experience
Student -----------------------------------------------------------------------> Learning outcomes
Peer Object-mediated Embodied interaction learning experience
The question becomes how each factor contributes to the whole - that is, the students' learning of science.
In this paper, these three factors will be defined and then discussed in light of recent literature from research studies in cognitive
1. Peer Interaction Through Co-operative Learning
Social constructivism theory informs the teacher of the importance of co-operative group work for learning to occur among students.
Effective understanding is closely associated with co-operative learning pedagogy.
As stated by Hattie, ". . . co-operative learning has a prime effect on enhancing interest and problem solving, provided it is set up with
high levels of peer involvement.
The sharing of knowledge, observations and beliefs among peers through dialogue is at the core of social constructivism".
As a translator of theory into classroom practice, Lemke, advocates that students be given an opportunity to engage in "side
conversations", especially those that describe, compare or discuss real objects or events using the scientific terms in a flexible way
appropriate to the situation.
Shifts in understanding need group discussions and / or arguments to enhance the creation of new meaning, so the provision of peer
interactions in the classroom seems to be an especially important prerequisite for establishing thought-provoking conversations.
Numerous studies and reviews have been undertaken and published that demonstrate the key conceptual principle that humans make
meaning of their encounters through the comparison of the current with the previous, that humans need to make sense of what they
experience, and that they share knowledge by exchanging information through interactions with each other, usually in dialogue.
Notions of prior understanding and the discrepant event have greatly influenced how science lessons and units are planned and
Social constructivism theory informs the teacher that if an individual student's ideas are to be changed, new experiences that challenge
prior knowledge need to be provided.
The teacher of science provides opportunities to challenge pseudoscientific beliefs through hands-on group work; research has
demonstrated that the creation of cognitive dissonance can promote considerable knowledge transformation, to address and challenge
2. Object-mediated Learning
Some of the most productive, and common, science activities are those that involve the manipulation of objects.
This factor plays a significant role in motivating and focussing our students on the learning of science through the use of objects in an
activity in which they are to be engaged.
Lev Vygotsky, the educationalist often identified with social constructivism, viewed tools ("technical tools" in terms of objects, or
"psychological tools" as symbols or signs), as defining and shaping human activity, not merely facilitating it.
Similarly, object- mediated learning contributes to students' learning by causing them to question or seek explanations of the effects of
an object's use in particular contexts to bring about results, which at times are surprising.
It seems as if the objects themselves possess attributes that by their very nature implicitly "instruct" their usage.
What is it about the object that contributes to how it is used and what is learnt through its usage?
Children have been observed to alternate between playing with objects and learning from objects, alternating between "What can I
do with this object, and "What does this object do?"
Manipulations of three-dimensional things deliver an event reality that is in itself intriguing and triggers curiosity among the students.
It is this physical connection to the object and the characteristics of the object that allow manipulation, and thus learning, to occur.
Often, during lab activities, students "play" with equipment in ways that are testing the object's design, construction or purpose!
As well, students are more likely to remember things that elicit a positive emotional response.
Students enjoy laboratory activities, they enjoy manipulating equipment and observing the changes they cause.
Students of Chemistry ranked interest in chemistry classroom investigations over demonstrations, films, discussion or lectures, and
students had even more positive attitudes towards chemistry when they participated in genuine inquiry activities, rather than more
traditional "recipe" practicals.
2. Embodiment
The third factor, embodiment, is closely linked to object-mediated learning since object manipulation requires movement of the human
Embodied learning can be defined as how we humans make sense of our perceptions and actions as we negotiate our journey
through our surroundings.
By being present, interacting with others and using equipment, an experience is created and understood through this physicality.
For example, recent data indicate that the brain is modified by the use of tools: . . . that the use of tools can change the pattern of
movement because the body schema has changed.
This comment was based on a study that provided direct evidence that using tools changes the way in which
the brain detects our body parts.
The mind and the body are not separate entities, as had been thought by many philosophers, most famously, Descartes.
Rather the mind and body work synergistically to build a repository of understandings expressed in brain structure and abstract ideas.
The structure and function of the body are represented within the neural networks of the brain, and the formation of these networks is
a prerequisite to being able to remember and imagine experiences.
From our varied experiences, our ability to create and imagine develops and grows as the neural network in our brain develops.
Strick, Dum and Fiez, discuss neurological data that show how the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that has long been associated
with thinking processes, links with the cerebellum, the recognized area of motor regulation.
They conclude that, ". . . the cerebellum plays a functionally important role in human cognition and affect".
It appears that the brain's anatomy and function are interconnected to all human endeavours, including learning, thinking and moving.
Perception has been shown to be intimately linked to culture.
Nisbeft and Masuda, showed that cognitive differences exist in how East Asians and Westerners.
Additionally, this is expressed in commonly used phrases that influence how we conceptualize ideas.
Language usage is indicative of the close association between understanding, experiences and brain development.
How humans move is how humans learn is how humans experience.
Implications for the science classroom
How then can we as teachers of science incorporate these research findings into our classroom practice to enhance our students'
learning experiences?
Listed below are a few possible ideas that can readily be implemented with science hands-on activities.
These suggestions are not necessarily new to the practise of science teaching, but they are those practices that have been shown to
enhance learning:
1. Find out what students know before the lesson sequence begins, especially to identify any misunderstandings they might have and
then attempt to address these through co-operative learning group science activities.
2. Foster conversations among the students that involve asking and responding to good, thought-provoking questions, set up situations
where the students can play the devil's advocate.
As well, you could write a different question on a slip of paper for each science activity group.
The group discusses it and then presents their response to the class.
Other students would then be invited to agree or disagree with the response.
3. Require students to manipulate objects in usual and unusual ways and to collect this information as part of their investigation.
Perhaps include the students' ideas on how the equipment should be arranged and used, and let them try their own ideas rather than
giving them a predetermined diagram or procedure.
4. Attempt to include lessons in which exploration is promoted.
When safe and appropriate, encourage students to "play" with the materials to help them identify properties (or limitations), of the
objects for themselves.
Think of other ways in which we could see (or imagine), what would happen if the objects were used differently.

All three of these factors, co-operative learning, object manipulation and embodiment, contribute to the underlying efficacy of
hands-on activities in science education.
New ideas about how neural networks interact and integrate the totality of human experiences in the gaining of knowledge call for
teachers to plan for the learning experience as a whole, rather than as smaller parts.
Teachers of science have evolved a powerful teaching strategy, the hands-on activity, that characterizes this
more holistic model of learning.
Typical hands-on activities incorporate dialogue through co-operative group work, the manipulation of objects and the collection of
embodied sensory inputs in conjunction with the neurobiology and aesthetics of the mind, all of which create opportunities for students
to make meaning of the natural world.
Further analysis of hands-on science group work may result in a better understanding of how teachers can sustain engagement and
learning among our students.
Science educators should recognize their contribution towards enhanced teaming through the implementation of the hands-on strategy.
Becoming explicitly aware of factors that characterize hands-on teaching and their potential to cause student learning, teachers of
science can make explicit decisions that enhance and strengthen such learning opportunities.
These factors, along with teachers' observations of students' actions in information collection and processing, allow teachers of science
to make meaning of their pedagogy and to design even more productive learning activities within which our students can engage in
For references see: Donna Satterthwait, School of Education, University of Tasmania, Australia.

2.1 What makes an activity scientific?
Students identify questions that can be investigated scientifically.
They plan fair experimental methods, identifying variables to be changed and measured.
They select equipment that improves fairness and accuracy and describe how they considered safety.
Students draw on evidence to support their conclusions.
They summarize data from different sources, describe trends and refer to the quality of their data when
suggesting improvements to their methods.
They communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations.
Based on UNESCO source book for science in the primary school by Wynne Harlen and Jos Elst-geest
A checklist for reviewing activities
The following questions can be applied to any practical activity.
1. Handling and using objects and materials?
2. Observing events and materials closely and carefully?
3. Using senses other than sight?
4. Trying different things with the materials to see what happened?
5. Sorting and grouping the materials according to their similarities and differences?
6. Discussing what was being done?
7. Making some kind of record of what was being done?
8. Communicating to others what was done and found?
9. Comparing what was found with what others found?
10. Being busy and absorbed in the activities for most of the time?
11. Raising questions about the materials and the investigation?
12. Puzzling over something that was found?
The answer is probably "yes" to most, whichever activity you had in mind.
This means that you had experience of observing and manipulating materials, discussing and communicating about what you were doing
and trying to understand what was found.
However, these things happen in many practical activities that are not necessarily scientific.
Answering "yes" to most of these questions shows that there was potential for scientific activity in what was experienced and to evaluate
whether or not the potential was realized to some extent probing further is necessary.
So far the questions refer to processes of observation and communication and attitudes that are common to many practical activities.
These processes and attitudes are desirable, and necessary, for scientific activity but they are not specific to it.
To identify more specific aspects, those that distinguish scientific activity from other activity, other questions need to be posed.
Ask yourself whether at some point in the activity you were involved in:
13. Raising a question that could be answered by further investigation?
14. Suggesting a hypothesis to explain something?
15. Devising a test about the question being investigated or to another question arising during the investigation?
16. Identifying and controlling variables that had to be kept the same for a fair test?
17. Deciding what was to be compared or measured?
18. Attempting to make measurements using appropriate instruments?
19. Taking steps to refine observations using instruments where necessary?
20. Applying scientific knowledge or ideas?
21. Recording findings in a table, graph, bar chart or in another systematic way?
22. Seeking patterns or regularities in the results?
23. Drawing conclusions based on the evidence?
24. Comparing what was found with earlier ideas?
25. justifying the conclusions by reference to the evidence?
26. Repeating or checking results?
27. Recognizing sources of error or uncertainty in the results?
28. Trying, or at least discussing, different approaches to the investigation or to part of it?
These further questions show some aspects that are characteristic of scientific inquiry.
They go further than the previous list by asking about how the materials were manipulated, rather than just whether they were handled.
What reasons there were for doing various things?
How systematic and controlled was the investigation?
Were steps taken to obtain precise and reproducible results?
Were scientific ideas and knowledge were being used and advanced?
Using the check list for children's activities
Now look back on the activity or activities you have done with children and ask questions 1 to 12 in relation to what the children did.
It is quite possible that you did not find so many "yes's" as you did for your own activity.
If this is the first time the children have been given an opportunity to work with materials, then quite a few "no's" would not be very
An important purpose of using the check list is to diagnose problems and improve learning opportunities.
The following suggestions about possible reasons for a few "noes" may help:
1. What was happening?
Children not handling materials
Possible reasons: Were there enough materials?
Did the children realize that they could touch and use them?
2. What was happening?
Very restricted observing:
Possible reasons: Were the children really interested in the problem given?
Were they distracted by something else going on?
3. What was happening?
Few questions raised:
Possible reasons: Was more time needed for children to become absorbed and to realize what sorts of things
they can find out through their own actions?
4. What was happening?
Not much discussion:
Possible reasons: Were they used to sitting quietly in class and being told most things?
Several of these problems require more time to be spent in practical activity and for children to be encouraged to use their own ideas.
It helps, however, if the investigation is introduced in a way that motivates and interests them.
It can be related to a real problem, e.g. the importance of using safe fabrics for babies' clothes.
It is very helpful to have an area of the class where a few things can be put for children to observe, play with and wonder about in
their free moments.
The teacher can encourage children to bring in items for this collection and can add to it materials and objects that set the scene for
topics to come.
The aspects represented in questions 13 to 28 will not all be found in every activity, but they should become increasingly common in
children's experience as they become more capable of scientific thinking and inquiry.
It should not be a matter for surprise or dismay if rather few of the answers to questions 13 to 28 were "yes" in relation to children's
first attempts at scientific investigation.
There are no quick answers that will change everything at a stroke; indeed the whole purpose of this book is to help in this matter.
Purposes of the check list
The intention behind suggesting the check list as we have just done is not to pass judgement on an activity or experience, but rather to
diagnose what aspects of scientific activity are present and what requires to be developed.
There are several other uses for the check list and we will refer to it often in later discussion.
Some examples of other uses follow:
In relation to any activity undertaken by children it can be the basis for review and helping to answer the question: "To what extent is
this activity?"
In general the more "yes's" the more chance for learning in science to be taking place.
Where science is part of integrated studies or topic-based, it is all too easy for it to remain at the level of "look and tell" or even for
activities such as reading about science to be mistaken for scientific activity.
Scanning the work done by the children in terms of the check list will indicate the extent of scientific activity.
In selecting activities, the list can be used whilst mentally scanning what would be involved when children were carrying them out; it can
help in a decision concerning how worthwhile activities are in terms of their potential for learning science.
In devising or adapting activities, the items indicate the sort of opportunity that has to be planned for inclusion in classroom work.
Selecting and adapting activities
In science there is always a dual purpose in any activity: the development of children's scientific skills and attitudes, and the
development of their scientific ideas.
Since skills can be used on any subject matter, they are not a basis for selecting subject matter.
The choice of content depends on the ideas or concepts that are to be developed.
The particular selection of concepts is often determined by the syllabus to be followed.
Although syllabuses vary, there is a core of ideas that are widely accepted as basic and always included.
Concepts about air are among these, so we take an example from this area.
First, carry out this activity, which involves making a parachute.
It is presented as it appeared on a worksheet for children.
Parachute lesson
1. Cut a 35-cm square from sturdy plastic.
2. Cut four pieces of string 35-cm long.
3. Securely tape or tie a string to each corner of the plastic.
4. Tie the free ends of the four strings together in a knot.
Be sure the strings are all the same length.
5. Tie a single string about 15-cm long the knot.
6. Add a weight, e.g.
a metal washer, to the free end of the string.
7. Pull the parachute up in the centre.
Squeeze the plastic to make it as flat as possible.
8. Fold the parachute twice.
9. Wrap the string loosely around the plastic.
10. Throw the parachute up into the air or from a veranda or drop it from a height
The parachute opens and slowly carries the weight to the ground.
The weight falls first, unwinding the string because the parachute, being larger, is held back by the air.
The air fills the plastic, slowing down the rate of descent.
If the weight falls too quickly a lighter object must be used.
Now apply the items of the check list to what you did.
How many items did you tick?
The exact number will depend to some extent on the context in which rig, but it is probably four or five from items 1 to 12 and none
the list.
Why is the activity in opportunities for learning?
It could be the starting point for discussing gravity, balanced and unbalanced forces,
speed and acceleration, air resistance and the properties of different materials.
How can the activity be modified to make it a potentially greater learning experience?
Here is a suggestion.
It starts in the same way as before.
Thereafter the questions and suggestions might be introduced orally by the teacher rather than on a worksheet.
Parachute lesson, Steps 1. to 10.
What happens?
Does everyone's parachute do the same?
What is the same about the way all the parachutes fall?
What is different?
Why do you think that is?
If you throw up a weight not attached to a parachute, does it fall as quickly as the one attached to the parachute?
Try it.
Discuss with others in your group why this might be.
Do you think that if the parachute is bigger, or smaller, it will make a difference?
Decide how you will compare how quickly different parachutes fall.
Keep a record of how quickly the different sizes fall.
Try each one several times.
Look at your results and at what other groups have found.
Do you see any patterns (one thing appearing to be related to another), in the results?
What about other shapes?
Some have holes in them.
Some are made of different materials.
Try some of these suggestions and see how well the parachutes fall.
Plan your investigation before you start.
Think carefully about what you mean by how well the parachute falls.
Is speed the only consideration?
Think what parachutes are usually used for.
How will you measure this?
How will you make sure that the investigation is "fair", i.e. if you are investigating different materials, that any differences are due only
to the material.
Report what you have found to other groups.
After listening to what they have done, can you think of how you might have improved your plan to obtain more accurate results?
Put your heads and your results together and suggest how to make a parachute, which falls very slowly but goes straight down without
swaying sideways.
What else might make a difference to the parachute's fall?
Think about different weather conditions and find out how your parachutes would behave in wind or rain.
Try out any other ideas that you have.
Now use the check list in relation to these revised parachute activities.
It will probably be found that a very large proportion of the questions can be answered with a "yes".
This analysis should answer the objection that the time taken for the revised activities is so much longer than for the original.
The point is that the learning taking place is also very much greater.
More wet, several activities of the original type will never provide opportunities for the kind of experiences required for learning
A change in quality is needed, not more of the same.
The learning time for activities of the revised kind is not more but probably less when several such experiences are considered,
(a), many learning objectives are being met at the same time,
(b), what is learned in terms of knowledge is learned through
exploration and testing in practice - it is supported by evidence from real things and so is with understanding.
Of course, because fewer of these kinds of activities can be encountered in time, it means that they have to be carefully selected to
provide maximum learning opportunity.

2.2 Experimental investigations
Investigation: "The process of examining or inquiring into something with organization, care and precision." Queensland Studies Authority.
Hypothesis-based inquiry
Inquiry process
Define the question.
Gather information and resources.
Form hypothesis.
Do experiment and collect data.
Analyse data.
Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypotheses.
Publish/present results.
Set down the topic being investigated and the objectives for studying the topic.
Establish and refine the hypothesis as a statement or question.
Gather and analyse data relevant to the hypothesis.
Synthesize and evaluate data relevant to the hypothesis.
Confirm or reject the hypothesis and establish generalizations or conclusions.
Determine the best way to present the outcomes of the data gathering, testing and conclusions.
If the hypothesis is rejected, reflect on possible modifications.
Decide on the research issue:
Identify the topic or issue
Locate a range of sources
Frame a research question or hypothesis and select the research techniques.
Conduct the research:
Gather data, collect evidence
Analyse and evaluate evidence
Produce findings.
Make judgements:
Make decisions or draw conclusions
Evaluate and justify.
1. Rates of reaction, e.g. mass loss of calcium carbonate reacting with acid, calculate initial rate of reaction, change concentration of acid or initial temperature.
2. Effect of temperature on the solubility of a salt, changes of the solute, different temperature ranges.
3. Charles' Law experiment, measuring the circumference of a balloon at different temperatures to calculate volume.

Report on an experimental investigation that requires development of experimental procedures including the collection of first-hand
data that you can interpret and analyse.
Phase 1 - Planning and experimenting
1. State the problem you are investigating.
Choose a topic that has a dependent variable that can be quantitatively measured.
Discuss the proposed problem in class before continuing further.
2. Gather relevant background information on the topic from appropriate sources, e.g.
information on the product packaging, company websites, advertisements and consumer websites.
Include copies of this information (secondary data sources), in the Appendix 2.
3. Choose a particular aspect of the topic to investigate and state the purpose of the investigation.
4. Develop a hypothesis.
5. Determine the independent variable and state how it will change in the investigation.
6. Determine the dependent variable and explain how it will be measured.
7. List the variables that may affect the investigation and explain how they will be controlled to make a fair test.
8. List the equipment you will need for the investigation.
9. Describe the experimental procedure using a step-by-step outline.
It must be detailed enough to allow others to repeat the experiment.
It should show that the variables have been controlled to make a fair test and that the accuracy of the data gathered has been ensured.
10. Draw a blank data table to record the first hand data you will gather from the investigation.
11. Explain how the safety risks will be managed in the experimental procedure.
(The method and safety procedures must be approved by the teacher before any experimenting is undertaken.)
12. Get teacher approval before continuing with the investigation.
13. Conduct some preliminary trials to determine if there are any problems with the experimental procedure.
Discuss any modifications that were necessary to address these problems.
14. Carry out the investigation, collect the first hand data and record it in the data table.

Phase 2 - Report
Communicate the findings by preparing a written report.
Use the following report format and checklist to make sure to include the required information.
Report format and checklist
15. Title Page (Name, Partners, Teacher, Grade, Subject, Due date, Topic, Clip art or pictures),
16. Table of Contents
17. Introduction
17.1 Statement of the problem.
Why is it relevant and important?
17.2 Background information and research on the topic (include in-text referencing).
18. Aim
18.1 Purpose of the investigation
18.2 Hypothesis
19. Materials and method
19.1 List of all equipment.
19.2 Step-by-step outline of how the investigation was conducted
19.3 Photographs, pictures or diagrams of experimental procedures.

20. Results
20.1 Organization of first hand data, e.g. tables and graphs
20.2 All tables and graphs have titles and are labelled (e.g.
Table 1, Figure 1), 21. Discussion
21.1 Start with a statement of what the results indicate about the answer to the problem you are investigating.
21.1 Compare the results with the hypothesis.
21.2 Link the results with the background information and research related to the topic (include in-text referencing).
21.3 Explain any weaknesses in the experimental procedures or difficulties in measurement.
Discuss sources of error: experimental technique, equipment, limitation of reading, variability in outcome.
21.4 Explain how you could improve the investigation to reduce error.
21.5 State any further investigations suggested by the results.

22. Conclusion
22.1 State the findings by relating the results to the aim.
22.2 State whether the data supported the hypothesis or rejected it, i.e. whether you accept or reject the hypothesis.
Some scientists set out deliberately to reject their hypothesis.

23. Bibliography
24. Acknowledgements
List the people who helped you and how they helped you.
25. Appendix 1: Phase 1: Planning & Experimenting
26. Appendix 2: Copies of secondary data sources used to provide background information.

2.3 Science / Year Achievement standards, Australian curriculum, Year 7 to Year 10
Year 7: Students describe situations where scientific knowledge from different science disciplines has been used to solve a real world
They explain how the solution was viewed by, and impacted on, different groups in society.
Students identify questions that can be investigated scientifically.
They plan fair experimental methods, identifying variables to be changed and measured.
They select equipment that improves fairness and accuracy and describe how they considered safety.
Students draw on evidence to support their conclusions.
They summarize data from different sources, describe trends and refer to the quality of their data when suggesting improvements to
their methods.
They communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations.
Science enquiry skills
1. Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge.
2. Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring
safety and ethical guidelines are followed.
3. In fair tests, measure and control variables, and select equipment to collect data with accuracy appropriate to the task.
4. Construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys and models to represent and analyse patterns or relationships,
including using digital technologies as appropriate.
5. Summarize data, from student's own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships
and draw conclusions.
6. Reflect on the method used to investigate a question or solve a problem, including evaluating the quality of the data collected, and
identify improvements to the method.
7. Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to evaluate claims.
8. Communicate ideas, findings and solutions to problems using scientific language and representations using digital technologies as

Year 8: Students identify and construct questions and problems that they can investigate scientifically.
They consider safety and ethics when planning investigations, including designing field or experimental methods.
They identify variables to be changed, measured and controlled.
Students construct representations of their data to reveal and analyse
patterns and trends, and use these when justifying their conclusions.
They explain how modifications to methods could improve the quality of their data and apply their own scientific knowledge and
investigation findings to evaluate claims made by others.
They use appropriate language and representations to communicate science ideas, methods and findings in a range of text types.
Science enquiry skills
1. Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge.
2. Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring safety
and ethical guidelines are followed.
3. In fair tests, measure and control variables, and select equipment to collect data with accuracy appropriate to the task.
4. Construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys and models to represent and analyse patterns or relationships,
including using digital technologies as appropriate.
5. Summarize data, from student's own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships
and draw conclusions.
6. Reflect on the method used to investigate a question or solve a problem, including evaluating the quality of the data collected, and
identify improvements to the method.
7. Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to evaluate claims
8. Communicate ideas, findings and solutions to problems using scientific language and representations using digital technologies.

Year 9: Students design questions that can be investigated using a range of inquiry skills.
They design methods that include the control and accurate measurement of variables and systematic collection of data and describe
how they considered ethics and safety.
They analyse trends in data, identify relationships between variables and reveal inconsistencies in results.
They analyse their methods and the quality of their data, and explain specific actions to improve the quality of their evidence.
They evaluate other methods and explanations from a scientific perspective and use appropriate language and representations when
communicating their findings and ideas to specific audiences.
Science enquiry skills
1. Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically.
2. Plan, select and use appropriate investigation methods, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data;
assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods.
3. Select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to systematically and accurately collect and record data.
4. Analyse patterns and trends in data, including describing relationships between variables and identifying inconsistencies.
5. Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence.
6. Evaluate conclusions, including identifying sources of uncertainty and possible alternative explanations, and describe specific ways
to improve the quality of the data.

Year 10: Students develop questions and hypotheses and independently design and improve appropriate methods of investigation,
including field work and laboratory experimentation.
They explain how they have considered reliability, safety, fairness and ethical actions in their methods and identify where digital
technologies can be used to enhance the quality of data.
When analysing data, selecting evidence and developing and justifying conclusions, they identify alternative explanations for findings
and explain any sources of uncertainty.
Students evaluate the validity and reliability of claims made in secondary sources with reference to currently held scientific views, the
quality of the methodology and the evidence cited.
They construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for
specific purposes.
Science enquiry skills
1. Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically.
2. Plan, select and use appropriate investigation methods, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data;
assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods.
3. Select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to systematically and accurately collect and record data.
4. Analyse patterns and trends in data, including describing relationships between variables and identifying inconsistencies.
5. Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence.
6. Evaluate conclusions, including identifying sources of uncertainty and possible alternative explanations, and describe specific ways to
improve the quality of the data.
7. Critically analyse the validity of information in secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems.
8. Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using
appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations.

Topic 2.5 Biology experiments, artificial and concomitant variation
1. The method of artificial variation.
Manipulate one variable to note the effect on the other variable, e.g. What is the effect of temperature (the manipulated or
independent variable) on the enzyme digestion of starch (the dependent variable)?
2. The method of concomitant variation, a correlation method.
A naturally occurring variation in some condition (Variable 1) is correlated against another condition (Variable 2).
Nature has manipulated the variables but you can class one variable as dependent and one variable as independent.
Examples include the following:
2.1 Do young leaves have the same density and distribution of stomata as older leaves?
2.2 How does temperature in a natural environment affect stoma opening?
You do not need you to control the environmental temperature, but you do need to measure the dependent variable at different
The problem is the control of other potentially influential variables, e.g. humidity.
One way to address the confounding variables, e.g. humidity, is to collect data on the other variable as well.
So call the stoma / temperature data Part I, and call the stoma / humidity data Part 2, then run the statistics on each pair separately.

Topic 2.6 Common curriculum elements, Queensland Studies Authority
The numbering system given for the testable Common Curriculum Elements is that used within the Testing Unit.
Readers should not be perturbed to find that, while the list is in numerical order, there are numbers missing.
All 49 elements appear in the list.
1. Recognizing letters, words and other symbols
2. Finding material in an indexed collection
Examples of an indexed collection are as follows:" a dictionary, an encyclopaedia, a database, a library catalogue, a road map, an art
catalogue, an instruction booklet, a share register, an advertisement column.
3. Recalling / remembering
Assumed knowledge
An elementary level of general knowledge, and a knowledge of vocabulary and mathematical operations at a level of sophistication
consistent with a sound general Year 10 education
Basic arithmetic operations involved in calculation, also, include fundamental mathematical concepts such as simple algebra, percentage,
ratio, area, angle and power of ten notation.
4. Interpreting the meaning of words or other symbols
5. Interpreting the meaning of pictures / illustrations
6. Interpreting the meaning of tables or diagrams or maps or graphs
7. Translating from one form to another
Expressing information in a different form.
Translation could involve the following forms: verbal information (in English), algebraic symbols, graphs, mathematical material given in
words, symbolic codes, e.g. Morse code, other number systems, pictures, diagrams
8. Using correct spelling, punctuation, grammar
9. Using vocabulary appropriate to a context
10. Summarizing / condensing written text
Presenting essential ideas and information in fewer words and in a logical sequence.
Simply listing the main points in note form is not acceptable, nor is "lifting" verbatim from the given passage.
11. Compiling lists / statistics
Systematically collecting and counting numerical facts or data
12. Recording / noting data
Identifying relevant information and then accurately and methodically writing it down in one or more predetermined categories.
Examples of predetermined categories are as follows: female / male, odd / even, mass / acceleration.
13. Compiling results in a tabular form
Devising appropriate headings and presenting information using rows and / or columns
14. Graphing
Students will be required to construct graphs as well as to interpret them (see CCE 6)
15. Calculating with or without calculators
16. Estimating numerical magnitude
Employing a rational process, e.g.
applying an algorithm, or comparing by experience with known quantities or numbers, to arrive at a quantity or number that is
sufficiently accurate to be useful for a given purpose
17. Approximating a numerical value
Employing a rational process, e.g. measuring or rounding, to arrive at a quantity or number that is accurate to a specified degree
18. Substituting in formulae
19. Setting out / presenting / arranging / displaying
20. Structuring / organizing extended written text
21. Structuring / organizing a mathematical argument
Generating and sequencing the steps that can lead to a required solution to a given mathematical task.
22. Explaining to others
Presenting a meaning with clarity, precision, completeness, and with due regard to the order of statements in the explanation
23. Expounding a viewpoint
Presenting a clear convincing argument for a definite and detailed opinion
24. Empathizing
Appreciating the views, emotions and reactions of others by identifying with the personalities or characteristics of other people in
given situations
25. Comparing / contrasting
Comparing displaying recognition of similarities and differences and recognizing the significance of these similarities and differences.
Contrasting displaying recognition of differences by deliberate juxtaposition of contrary elements
30 Classifying
Systematically distributing information/data into categories that may be either presented to, or created by, the student
31 Interrelating ideas / themes / issues
32 Reaching a conclusion which is necessarily true provided a given set of assumptions is true
33 Reaching a conclusion which is consistent with a given set of assumptions inferring
34 inserting an intermediate between members of a series interpolating
35 Extrapolating
Logically extending trends or tendencies beyond the information/data given
36 Applying strategies to trial and test ideas and procedures
37 Applying a progression of steps to achieve the required answer
Making use of an algorithm (that is already known by students or that is given to students) to proceed to the answer.
38 Generalizing from information
Establishing by inference or induction the essential characteristics of known information or a result.
41 Hypothesizing
Formulating a plausible supposition to account for known facts or observed occurrences.
The supposition is often the subject of a validation process.
42 Criticizing
Appraising logical consistency and/or rationally scrutinizing for authenticity/merit.
Also, critiquing - critically reviewing
43 Analysing
Dissecting to ascertain and examine constituent parts and/or their relationships
44 Synthesizing
Assembling constituent parts into a coherent, unique and/or complex entity.
The term entity includes a system, theory, communication, plan, set of operations.
45 Judging / evaluating
Judging applying both procedural and deliberative operations to make a determination.
Procedural operations are those that determine the relevance and admissibility of evidence, whilst deliberative operations involve
making a decision based on the evidence.
Evaluating assigning merit according to criteria
46 Creating/composing / devising
48 Justifying
Providing sound reasons or evidence to support a statement.
Soundness requires that the reasoning is logical and, where appropriate, that the premises are likely to be true.
49 Perceiving patterns
Recognizing and identifying designs, trends and meaningful relationships within text.
50 Visualizing
Examples of aspects of this element that might be tested include visualizing spatial concepts, e.g. rotation in space, visualizing
abstractions in concrete form, e.g. kinetic theory - the movement of molecules, visualizing a notion of a physical appearance from a
detailed verbal description.
51 identifying shapes in two and three dimensions
52 Searching and locating items / information
This element as it occurs in syllabuses usually refers to field work.
As these conditions are plainly impossible to reproduce under QCS Test conditions, testing can only be performed at a
"second order" level.
In the sense of looking for things in different p/aces, "searching and locating items / information" may be taken to include quoting, i.e.
repeating words given in an extract in the stimulus material.
53 Observing systematically
This element as it occurs in syllabuses usually refers to laboratory situations.
As these conditions are plainly impossible to reproduce under QCS Test conditions, testing can only be performed at a
"second order" level.
55 Gesturing identifying, describing, interpreting or responding to visual representations of a bodily or facial movement or
expression, that indicates an idea, mood or emotion.
This element as it occurs in syllabuses refers to acting and other forms of movement.
It is possible to test only the interpretation of movement and expression.
lt is understood that there are cultural variations relating to the meanings of particular gestures.
57 Manipulating / operating / using equipment
Displaying competence in choosing and using an implement (in actual or representational form) to perform a given task effectively
60 Sketching / drawing
Sketching executing a drawing or painting in simple form, giving essential features but not necessarily with detail or accuracy.
Drawing depicting an object, idea or system pictorially, such as in a clearly defined diagram or flow chart.
Sketching / drawing does not include the representation of numerical data as required in CCE 14 and CCE 15.
More information
If you would like more information, please visit the QSA website, http//, and search for "QSC Test".
Alternatively, phone 3864 0394 or email

2.7 PISA, Scientific Literacy
(PISA, Programme for International Student Assessment)
PISA, Scientific Literacy, 2012 "In PISA, scientific literacy is defined as: an individual's scientific knowledge and use of that knowledge
to identify questions, to acquire new knowledge, to explain scientific phenomena, and to draw evidence-based conclusions about
science-related issues, understanding of the characteristic features of science as a form of human knowledge and enquiry, awareness
of how science and technology shape our material, intellectual, and cultural environments, and willingness to engage in science-related
issues, and with the issues of science, as a reflective citizen (OECD, 2009, p.14).
Scientific literacy relates to the ability to think scientifically and to use scientific knowledge and processes to both understand the world
around us and to participate in decisions that affect it.
Increasingly, science and technology are shaping our lives.
Scientific literacy is considered to be a key outcome of education for all students by the end of schooling, not just for future scientists,
given the growing centrality of science and technology in modern societies.
The skill of being able to think scientifically about evidence and the absence of evidence for claims that are made in the media and
elsewhere is vital to daily life.
The assessment framework for science includes three strands:
Scientific knowledge or concepts constitute the links that aid understanding of related phenomena.
In PISA, while the concepts are familiar ones relating to physics, chemistry, biological sciences, and Earth and space sciences,
students are required to apply the content of the items and not just recall them.
Scientific processes are centred on the ability to acquire, interpret and act upon evidence.
Three such processes present in PISA relate to:
1. describing, explaining and predicting scientific phenomena,
2. understanding scientific investigation, and
3. interpreting scientific evidence and conclusions.
Situations and context relate to the application of scientific knowledge and the use of scientific applied.
The framework identifies three main areas: science in life and health, science in Earth and environment, and science in technology.
Scientific Literacy in PISA 2006.

3.2.5 Biology experiments, live animals
Biology experiments have special ethical and practical problems.
See: 2.1.0 Microbiology safety
1. Students and the local community may be upset if they think animals suffer during experiments, e.g. fish and frogs.
2. Human saliva, human cheek cells, human whole blood from a hospital source, and human teeth scrapings may transmit diseases.
The use of body fluids for secondary school experiments is not favoured nowadays so many laboratory experiments are now being
done with artificial solutions.
Do not take blood samples from staff or students.
3. Studies of living mosquitoes may risk transmission of malaria and other diseases.
4. Most animals can inflict bites so handle them with great care.
Animal bites may transmit infections and animals may carry human parasites.
5. Treat dissection material as if it is contaminated.
Dissecting instruments must be sterilized before use.
See: Dissection, (Commercial)
6. Vermin and the insects are attracted to animal food.
Mouldy and decaying animal food and animal wastes may be health hazards because of the presence of bacteria and other
7. The teacher must answer the following questions about using live animals:
7.1 Is it essential for live animals to be kept?
7.2 Have alternatives to animal experiments been investigated?
7.3 Has the number of animals been kept to a minimum?
7.4 Will the animals be housed under appropriate conditions?
7.5 Who will take responsibility for feeding and caring for animals during holiday periods?
7.6 Have procedures been established for the safe handling of animals to reduce the risk to staff and students of being bitten or scratched?

6.5.3 Animal Care and Protection Act 2001
Animal welfare
The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 and the accompanying Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2002 govern the treatment
and use of all animals in Queensland.
The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (PDI&F) is responsible for enforcement of the legislation.
The purpose is to prevent animal suffering, to improve the welfare of animals and to ensure all use of animals for scientific purposes is
justified, open and accountable.
"Scientific purposes" is defined to include activities for the purposes of demonstration and teaching.
The legislation covers animals described as "any live vertebrate, including live prenatal or prehatched creatures in the last half of
gestation or development" and includes amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles.
It does not include the eggs, spat or spawn of fish, nor invertebrates such as octopus, squid, crab, crayfish, lobster and prawn.
Further details of the categories covered by the legislation can be obtained from the PDF website:
under "Using animals for scientific purposes" and "What is an animal?"
The Act also requires compliance with the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.
The current version is the 7th edition 2004, which can be downloaded from
The Code defines an animal for the purposes of use in teaching as "any live non-human vertebrate, that is, fish, amphibians, reptiles,
birds and mammals, encompassing domestic animals, purpose-bred animals, livestock, wildlife, and also cephalopods such as octopus
and squid".
National codes of practice are available for most livestock industries, and outline acceptable standards of husbandry and management.
There are also Model Codes of Practice covering areas such as transporting livestock, sale yards and abattoirs.
In Queensland, the national livestock codes are used as the minimum standard.
These Model Codes of Practice are available from the CSIRO website:
If you intend to use animals for scientific purposes (which includes teaching), in order to comply with the Act:
1. you (or your employing institution) must register with the PDF and nominate the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) that will assess your
animal use
2. you must ensure all animal use is approved by the AEC before the activity
3. you must provide an annual report to the PDF of activities where animals are used.
An employer may register with the PDF as a "user of animals for scientific purposes" to cover employee activities requiring the use of
animals for scientific purposes.
An animal ethics application must be made to the AEC for each "use of animals" or "type of use of animals" for a series of similar events.
AECs may approve activities that are frequently repeated in a school program.
Approval can be sought for a three year period but activities must be reported annually to the AEC.
The Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee (QSAEC) is required to meet and assess written applications for every educational
activity that involves using animals for scientific purposes in Queensland schools.
The QSAEC is a cross sector committee linking Education Queensland, Queensland Catholic Education Commission and Independent
Schools Queensland, and includes members drawn from the scientific and wider community to bring a diversity of knowledge, values
and beliefs to the committee.
Animals must not be used for scientific purposes in any Queensland school without written approval from the QSAEC.
The QSAEC meets once a term - usually during the third week of each term.
There are at least four meetings of the QSAEC each year.
The main task of the members of the Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee is to weigh up the benefits and costs of using
animals in schools.
The QSAEC members decide whether the proposed activities have justified the use of animals and that the welfare of those animals has
been considered.

More information on the QSAEC and its activities can be found at:
Employing authorities are currently considering ways they can support schools to comply with requirements.
You should check with your employing authority for the details of any guidelines or processes in place to assist you to meet the
requirements of the legislation.
Further information and resources on animal ethics can be found at:

6.5.4 Animals in education, Source: Biology Senior Syllabus
The State of Queensland (Queensland Studies Authority) 2004, Amended 2006
Teachers and scientific investigators in Queensland schools that use animals:
* Are directly responsible for the welfare of the animals in their care.
* Must submit applications to the Queensland Schools Animal Ethics Committee (QSAEC) and have those applications approved
before any animal-use activities can be undertaken in their school.
* Must apply to the QSAEC for any variation/s to the approved EQ applications and gain QSAEC approval for this variation prior to
undertaking the animal-use activity.
* Must comply with the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for
scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, and any requirements requested by the QSAEC.
* Must ensure appropriate animals in minimal numbers are used.
* Must ensure that pain and stress are minimized.
* Are responsible for monitoring and record keeping of the animals on their site.
* Must report any unexpected adverse events that may occur with any animals for which they are responsible.
What is animal ethics?
The ethical use of animals for scientific purposes and teaching is a legal obligation in Australian educational institutions.
The use of animals in Queensland schools falls under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 which aims to:
* Provide standards for animal care and use
* Protect animals from cruelty
* Safeguard the welfare of animals used for scientific purposes
* Ensure that the animal use is justified, humane and considerate of animals' needs
* Provide responsible animal care and use.
Compliance with the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 and the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for
scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, is a legal obligation of all Queensland educational institutions.

Animal welfare
Here are some quotes from the Code about Animal Welfare:
An animal's quality of life based on an assessment of an animal's physical and psychological state as an indication of how the animal is
coping with the ongoing situation as well as a judgement about how the animal feels.
Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, p.3.
1.16 Animals should be transported, housed, fed, watered, handled and used under conditions that meet species-specific needs.
The welfare of the animals must be a primary consideration in the provision of care, which should be based on behavioural and
biological needs.
Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, p.6.
1.14 Investigators and teachers who use animals for scientific purposes have personal responsibility for all matters relating to the welfare
of these animals.
They have an obligation to treat the animals with respect and to consider their welfare as an essential factor when planning or
conducting projects.
Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, p.5.
3.1.1 Investigators and teachers have personal responsibility for all matters related to the welfare of the animals they use and must act
in accordance with all requirements of the Code.
This responsibility begins when an animal is allocated to a project and ends with its fate at the completion of the project.
Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th Edition 2004, p. 21.
The general principles of using animals in education are: Seek alternatives to using animals whenever and wherever possible.
Students are encouraged and provided with opportunities to discuss ethical, social and scientific issues that relate to the use of animals
in both educational and agricultural systems.
Whenever and wherever possible encourage the use of non-animal models to achieve educational outcomes.
Vocational training aspects that involve procedures that cause adverse impacts on animals that students carry out must be justified to
the QSAEC.
This page was last reviewed on 10 Jan 2013.

6.5.5 Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes
8th edition (2013)
Summary information
Publishing date: 2013
Status: Current
Reference number: EA28
ISBN: 1864965975
Available in print: No - PDF only
Further information:
The purpose of the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition 2013 (the Code) is to promote
the ethical, humane and responsible care and use of animals used for scientific purposes.
The ethical framework and governing principles set out in the Code provide guidance for investigators, teachers, institutions, animal
ethics committees and all people involved in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

The Code encompasses all aspects of the care and use of animals for scientific purposes where the aim is to acquire, develop or
demonstrate knowledge or techniques in any area of science, for example, medicine, biology, agriculture, veterinary and other animal
sciences, industry and teaching.
It includes their use in research, teaching associated with an educational outcome in science, field trials, product testing, diagnosis, the
production of biological products and environmental studies.
The Code provides an ethical framework and governing principles to guide the decisions and actions of all those involved in the care
and use of animals.
It details the responsibilities of investigators, animal carers, institutions, and animal ethics committees, and describes processes for
The Code applies to the care and use of all live non-human vertebrates and cephalopods.
It applies throughout the animal's involvement in activities and projects, including acquisition, transport, breeding, housing, husbandry,
the use of the animal in a project, and the provisions for the animal at the completion of their use.
The Code is endorsed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council, the
Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization and Universities Australia.
It replaces the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th edition 2004.
Compliance with the Code is a prerequisite for receipt of NHMRC funding. NHMRC expects Administering Institutions to be working
towards compliance with the 8th edition of the Code following its release on 24th July 2013.
From 1 January 2014, the NHMRC Funding Agreement will reflect the need for compliance with the 8th edition of the Code.
HTML and PDF versions of the Code
HTML version of the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013) Australian code for the
care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013) (PDF, 566KB) NHMRC working committees involved with the
development of the Code Information on the NHMRC working committees involved with the development of the Code can be found
here (PDF, 446KB).

Further information
New resources will be added as they become available.
Please refer to this site frequently to keep apprised of new information.
Index - Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013) (PDF, 80KB) Mapping 7th and 8th
editions (PDF, 426KB)
Overview of major changes 7th and 8th editions (PDF, 469KB) Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes
8th edition (2013) - Presentation to ANZCCART Conference 25 July 2013 (PDF, 353KB)
Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 8th Edition (2013) - Major changes (PDF, 971KB)
Public consultation
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22.0 Five challenges for science in Australian primary schools
By Dr Rachel Wilson and Simon Crook, first published in The Conversation, 4 June 2015
Science education has been in the spotlight after federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne recently proposed to make science
and maths education compulsory through to year 12.
While this is welcome news, such a proposal needs to include long-term plans for improving the status of science in primary
schools and ensuring teachers have the requisite support.
Here we outline some of the challenges faced as the new science curriculum is implemented across the country.

1. The Australian curriculum is not a 'national curriculum'
Many people in education are somewhat bemused that the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority's
Australian Curriculum is not national.
Every state and territory is implementing the curriculum in their own way.
This is most noticeable in NSW.
Primary school teachers have to follow the NSW syllabus, which combines an additional "technology" component along with

2. Primary Connections: one size does not fit all
Primary Connections is a program developed to support the teaching of the Australian science curriculum.
It has been overtly promoted and endorsed by the Australian Academy of Science plus the science panel on Q&A in 2014, which
included Chief Scientist Ian Chubb, Professor Suzanne Cory and Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt.
Primary Connections does provide a wealth of ideas, activities, background knowledge and safety considerations.
However, it also has several issues.
While Primary Connections is free to all schools via the online platform Scootle, many schools are still spending money to get it via
the Primary Connections website, to which the Australian Academy of Science website points all those interested.
Primary Connections is essentially just a bunch of PDFs, which is a long way from an inspiring instructive for teachers to get kids
interested in science.
Many schools are also implementing Primary Connections in its entirety, which might not be consistent with their state or territory
This will not allow for a personalised journey into scientific inquiry.
In some Australian states, relying solely on Primary Connections would make a school non-compliant with the requirements of the state
For example, Primary Connections does not cater for the technology knowledge and skills in the NSW syllabus.

3. Science is a high-anxiety, low-confidence subject for many primary teachers
As a primary school teacher once told us, "primary teachers are expert generalists".
Most lack the training and experience to teach science, and a deep understanding of the subject and experimentation.
Many feel under-confident in science.
The declines in science participation are longstanding and will have fed into the teaching profession.
So, increasingly, teachers will not have studied science at upper secondary school or university.
Only around 50 percent of teachers teaching science in 2013 had received training in teaching methods for science.
There are also issues in secondary schools.
One in five teachers in science classes teaches out of their area of specialisation.
The introduction of the new curriculum adds to the challenges teachers face.
It may lead some to cling onto any resource they find - even if it does not cover all of the curriculum needs.

4. Time demands on primary schools
When primary teachers face disruptions due to impromptu assemblies, excursions (reported as causing serious disruption in
Australian schools in particular) and extra-curricular activities, they have to choose what to chop from their teaching.
This has been demonstrated to impact most on subjects that the teachers themselves are least comfortable with.
This is traditionally mathematics, where teachers are under-confident and often have limited content knowledge.
While mathematics is assessed in NAPLAN, there is currently no comprehensive national assessment of science.
Thus, despite (or perhaps because of) the new emphasis on science, science is at risk of being the new sacrificial lamb of choice.
NSW mandates that six-10 percent of curriculum time is spent on science in primary schools - that's 1.5 to 2.5 hours a week.
There is substantial variation in the time devoted to science across states and schools.
Many schools are operating on only one hour a week, which could easily become 45 minutes when you factor in "pack-up time"
at the end of the day and other interruptions.

5. Specialist teachers an unlikely dream
Ian Chubb recently wrote about aspiring to something magnificent with science in Australia.
He said: "Every primary school ought to have a science teacher with continually updated knowledge."
This is a noble dream.
However, it also raises several issues.
First, there are enough problems recruiting specialist science teachers into secondary, let alone primary schools.
And what happens to those students already in school during the hiatus to train up specialist primary science teachers?
Second, in a large primary school, only one science specialist would not be enough.
They would not be able to get to every class for the recommended curriculum time.
Teaching science, as with any subject, is the responsibility of all primary teachers.
With science being somewhat neglected historically in pre-service training, how are we going to train up all of the incumbents?
There are some wonderful primary teachers out there who openly admit they need help with teaching science.
However, national, state and school structures currently conspire to make this more difficult and less enjoyable than it should be.
To benefit the national economy, we need to raise the profile of science and develop a long-term plan to nurture it in schools and
Educational attainment in science is linked to national economic growth and competitiveness.
These high stakes prompted the UK Royal Society to develop a 20-year plan and a follow-up UK government strategy.
Here, Australia's Chief Scientist has outlined the need for such planning.
Central to this is the need to support teachers in schools, because, in the words of Ian Chubb: ". . . every child needs to love science
to thrive."