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Friday, June 7 • 11:15am - 12:30pm
Children's Scientific Questioning - are we nearly there yet FULL
Limited Capacity full

This seminar project spotlights the scientific skill of child-led questioning. Wellcome (2017) suggest that child-led and child-designed investigations are undertaken ‘occasionally’ or ‘never’ in 47% of schools. Children’s question posing and devising investigations to answer them has been the basis of curriculum reform since Science 5/13 (1972). Although an intention in many curricula, evidence suggests that children still have limited opportunity for such activity (Biddulph, 1986; OFSTED 2013) Systematic evaluation of classroom-based science teaching and learning, drawn from SEERIH's (University of Manchester) Deep Dives Project (2013-current) offers strong evidence of need for a power-shift in primary classrooms as the flow of talk in the classroom is predominantly directed by the teacher and based on their levels of confidence, interests, and that which links most directly to pre-prepared resources and worksheets. Children’s ideas and questions are rarely authentically elicited and responded to as drivers for scientific investigations (OFSTED 2013). Recent evidence from the 'Great Science Share for Schools' national campaign showed that this offered increased opportunity for children to investigate their own scientific questions. The seminar explores current learning, experience and challenges to adopting this pedagogy in the primary classroom.

Talk 1 Dr Lynne Bianchi 
This introductory talk will explore the issue of child-led learning from a constructivist theoretical perspective. Drawing on a range of academic and professional publications, including that focusing on wonder-filled science education (Bianchi, 2013a and 2013b) as well as evidence drawn from direct experience working with in-service teachers on 'Deep Dives', the talk will set the scene - including perspectives, issues and challenges arising from this approach. 

Talk 2 -  Dr Amy Bonsall
This talk will focus on reviewing four principle papers guiding the research and development study into children’s scientific questioning. These papers form the basis for the QuSmart 2-year project, funded by the Primary Science Teaching Trust, and lead by SEERIH at The University of Manchester. In particular, this talk explains the themes emergent from these papers and also the process through which practitioners have been supported to engage with research in the development of practice.

Talk 3 - Bryony Turford
In this talk, the issues and practicalities of exploiting child-led questions, and the means by which to 'build' or develop them is explored in a hands-on way.  Participants will be invited to draw alignment with the approach and the national curriuclar.  This third talk in the seminar challenges us to think how a child-centred approach to scientific questioning can be taken from theory to practice prompting participants to discuss and consider the potential pedagogic and assessment implications.

Chaired by Sue Luke

BIANCHI L (2013a) 'The keys to Wonder-rich Science Learning' in: EGAN K (Eds) Wonder-full Education, Imaginative Education Research Group, Vancouver with Open University Press. BIANCHI L (2013b), Working Wonders, Primary Science Journal, Association for Science Education, May/June, 128, 19-22) DEEP DIVES, Science & Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub Professional Learning Programme, http://www.fascinate.manchester.ac.uk OFSTED (2013) Maintaining Curiosity: A Survey into Science Education in Schools, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/379164/Maintaining_20curiosity_20a_20survey_20into_20science_20education_20in_20schools.pdf WELLCOME TRUST (2017) State of the Nation Report of UK Primary Science Education, https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/education/research/aspires/ASPIRES-final-report-December-2013.pdf

avatar for Dr Amy Bonsall

Dr Amy Bonsall

SEERIH Research Associate, The University of Manchester
I am a research associate working with Dr Lynne Bianchi at SEERIH, part of The University of Manchester. We research and innovate within the field of science and engineering education.
avatar for Lynne Bianchi

Lynne Bianchi

Director, SEERIH, University of Manchester
Dr Lynne Bianchi is a specialist in curriculum development, innovation and research in primary science and engineering education. From being a primary school teacher in North Manchester she moved into Higher Educations where she held a range of leadership roles. She is now a Senior... Read More →
avatar for Bryony Turford

Bryony Turford

Professional Development Consultant, Primary Science Geeks
Bryony Turford has been delivering high quality professional development for leaders, classroom practitioners, trainees and ECTs for over 20 years. She is a Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach) and has a CPD Mark as a lead facilitator. Bryony co-authored the recently published ‘100... Read More →