5. Discussion

The scope and sequence presented here is a draft as further teacher input and discussion are required.


During the first year of primary school it is important that children develop their natural sense of curiosity by exploring the world around them.  Accordingly, the entry point is to “Participate in guided investigations and make observations using the senses” (ACSIS011) leading into “Science involves observing, asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events” (ACSHE013).  The second half of the year has more of a science focus using a traditional topic, namely, “Living things have basic needs, including food and water” (ACSSU002).  The final unit paves the way for designing by looking at the properties of materials “Objects are made of materials that have observable properties” (ACSSU003).  The names of these foundational units are (F.1) Investigations, (F.2) Changes, (F.3) Living things and (F.4) Materials.

Year 1

Year 1 starts with a focus on mathematics and making graphs as an introduction to data collection “Represent data with objects and drawings where one object or drawing represents one data value.  Describe the displays” (ACMSP263).  Additional mathematical understanding is explored as the children “Recognise and classify familiar two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional objects using obvious features” (ACMMG022), to develop their spatial awareness and geometric reasoning.  Some physics content in then introduced through everyday phenomena where “Light and sound are produced by a range of sources and can be sensed” (ACSSU020).  Year 1 concludes with a design focus as children “Generate, develop and record design ideas through describing, drawing and modelling” (ACTDEP006).  The names of the Year 1 units are (1.1) Graphs, (1.2) Shapes and objects, (1.3) Light and sound and (1.4) Design.

Year 2

Year 2 starts with an introduction to algebra through the recognition of number patterns "Describe patterns with numbers and identify missing elements" (ACMNA035).  The focus for the second term incorporates ethical understanding which the Australian Curriculum describes as a ‘general capability’ as "People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things" (ACSHE035).  The next focus involves material and tools for constructing design projects where students “Use materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to safely make designed solutions” (ACTDEP007).  Keywords such as data and variables are embedded in the final unit which asks students to “Identify a question of interest based on one categorical variable.  Gather data relevant to the question” (ACMSP048).  The names of the Year 2 units are (2.1) Patterns and algebra, (2.2) Caring for life, (2.3) Construction zone and (2.4) Data and variables.

Year 3

Year 3 commences with a core science topic, namely “Earth’s rotation on its axis causes regular changes, including night and day” (ACSSU048).  Related ideas such as seasons and the heliocentric model will also be integrated during this term using historical stories as part of the Science as a human endeavour science strand.  Classification constitutes the next focus as children explore how "Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from nonliving things." (ACSSU044).  Geometric knowledge is then applied to basic coding challenges where children “Define simple problems and describe and follow a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve them” (ACTDIP010).  The final project involves using elements of the Science inquiry skills science strand to formulate and test various hypotheses. “With guidance, identify questions in familiar contexts that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on prior knowledge” (ACSIS053).  The names of the Year 3 units are (3.1) Night and day, (3.2) Classification (3.3), Coding and (3.4) Questioning and predicting

Year 4

The first outcome for Year 4 is very important but also quite broad as this physics concept could be applied to anything from a rubber duck floating in a bathtub to an asteroid colliding with Jupiter; “Forces can be exerted by one object on another through direct contact or from a distance” (ACSSU076).  Students’ prior knowledge about materials is then combined with their latest understanding about forces to “Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a product or system” (ACTDEK011) in the context of transportation.  Ideation is one of the ultimate goals of STEM education so this concept is introduced in Year 4 with a focus on communication as students “Plan, create and communicate ideas and information independently and with others, applying agreed ethical and social protocols” (ACTDIP013).  Data analysis rounds out Year 4 building on prior knowledge about graphs and variables as children “Recognise different types of data and explore how the same data can be represented in different ways” (ACTDIK008).  The names of the Year 4 units are (4.1) Simple machines, (4.2) Transportation, (4.3) Ideation and (4.4) Data analysis.

Year 5

Year 5 begins with an integrated approach to farming and agriculture as children “Investigate how and why food and fibre are produced in managed environments and prepared to enable people to grow and be healthy” (ACTDEK021).  The mechanical advantages and affordances of simple machines enables children to apply physics knowledge in a design context to “Select appropriate materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques and apply safe procedures to make designed solutions” (ACTDEP026).  Elements of fair tests such as data and variables are formalised in this next unit as children “Decide variables to be changed and measured in fair tests and observe measure and record data with accuracy using digital technologies as appropriate” (ACSIS087).  The Year 4 unit on ideation is further extended into entrepreneurship and innovation as children “Generate, develop and communicate design ideas and processes for audiences using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques” (ACTDEP025) including an introduction to business and finance.  The names of the Year 5 units are (5.1) Food and fibre, (5.2) Fit for purpose, (5.3) Fair tests and (5.4) Innovation.

Year 6

Electric circuits are investigated as the first topic for Year 6 as children learn that “Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources” (ACSSU097).  A focus on René Descartes is then used to “Introduce the Cartesian coordinate system using all four quadrants” (ACMMG143) where Cartesian geometry is presented as a synthesis of algebra and geometry.  The electrical knowledge from Term 1 is extended into robotics as children “Investigate how electrical energy can control movement, sound or light in a designed product or system” (ACTDEK020).  The metric system might seem like an anticlimactic way to conclude the SILO project but the logic behind the metric system combines mathematics and science as children “Convert between common metric units of length, mass and capacity” (ACMMG136).  The key ideas are to understand how the Celsius scale is calibrated around the properties of water and that water is also used to link weight and volume (i.e., one litre of water weighs one kilogram).  The names of the Year 6 units are (6.1) Electric circuits, (6.2) Cartesian geometry, (6.3) Robotics and (6.4) The metric system.


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