2. Aims of Science education

The previous page, Strand 1: What is Science?, considered the nature of Science. The aim of a Science education, therefore, should be to pass these methods and conclusions of Science on to the next generation.

Consensus opinion

Every child has the right to:
  • receive knowledge which will help them remain healthy, safe and aware of their multiple-dependencies on the environment.
  • develop the skills that will enable them to assess whether the information they receive from the media, advertisers, journalists and politicians is reliable and evidence-based.
  • engage with ideas that help them to philosophically consider their own place in the Universe.

The aims of a Science education for all (from age 11 to 16) are:

  • to excite and enthuse children with a sense of awe and wonder at the natural world.
  • to develop an appreciation of how science has contributed to the historical and cultural development of our society.
  • to give practical experience of how scientists make observations of the natural world, come up with hypotheses and do experiments to obtain evidence to support or disprove these hypotheses.
  • to cause children to understand the importance of evidence when making decisions and to be able to judge whether the claims of the media, advertisers, politicians, journalists, etc, are evidence-based and reliable.
  • to give pupils enough evidence-based knowledge to be able to make informed personal judgements in order to lead healthy, safe, comfortable and environmentally sustainable lives.
  • to develop awareness of the conclusions of important scientific theories in a concrete and accessible way.

Some young people must also be prepared for possible future science-based study and careers:
Every child who both has the ability and wants to take science at A-level or who wants the chance to follow a science-based career has the right to:
  • receive knowledge sufficient to take access the A-level course.
  • develop the skills to carry out experiments and analyse data
  • be taught in a way which maximises their chances of understanding science concepts.

Additional aims of a Science education for future scientists/doctors/engineers/etc are:

  • to develop pupils' understanding and experience of the scientific method, to understand its value and limits, and to enable them to apply the method.
  • to be proficient at practical work, use of scientific equipment and appropriate maths.
  • to know, understand at an abstract level, and be able to apply important scientific theories.
  • to have a sufficiently wide knowledge of the 'facts' that science has collected together to be able to progress to study science subjects at A-level

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