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More practical science lessons needed.

More practical science lessons needed.

Practical science lessons are often overshadowed by a mountain of facts and an emphasis on maths and English, writes the chief executive of the British Science Association

What is science? Is it a body of facts, to be memorised and regurgitated? Or is it a method for finding out facts and testing and refining ideas? Most philosophers of science would argue it is the method, rather than the facts, that is science’s distinctive feature. The generation of testable hypotheses capable of being refuted by evidence is what underpins modern life.

Currently – and correctly – the curriculum requires children to learn how to "think scientifically", learning the skill of applying the scientific method when faced with a problem to solve.

But how do we learn how to think scientifically and, perhaps more importantly, how do we teach it? Other subjects emphasise experiential learning – getting your hands dirty and finding out through trial and error what approach works best in a given situation.

No-one believes that you learn to play football, for example, by reading a textbook day after day – you get outside and play. Even at a young age, when their skill levels are still very low, children are encouraged to play music, act, draw and write stories.

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