Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Primary/Elementary School Science Curriculum Projects

  • Wynne Harlen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_169-2

The first projects to publish materials to support science education in the primary school (students aged 5–12) began in the 1960s. Since that time many hundreds of curriculum projects in primary school science have been developed in countries across the world. The ideas and materials produced in many of these projects can be traced to certain influential projects, which are the focus of discussion here. These key projects occurred in two main waves, the first ones beginning in the 1960s and the second about 25 years later.

Projects of the 1960s

In the USA three science projects for primary school students began working at the same time in the early 1960s. They differed in structure and were based on contrasting views of science and learning. The Elementary Science Study(ESS 1966) provided a range of activities that enabled students to work scientifically, based on the argument that children are by nature questioning and enjoy solving problems. The activities they described...


Science Concept National Curriculum Primary Teacher Elementary Science Connection Project 
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Further Reading

  1. Harlen W, Simon S (2001) Elementary school science and the rise and rise of primary science. Sch Sci Rev 82(300):49–57Google Scholar
  2. Jenkins EW, Swinnerton BJ (1998) Junior school science education in England and Wales since 1900. Woburn Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Karplus R, Thier HD (1967) A new look at elementary school science. Rand McNally, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  4. Osborne J, Simon S (1996) Primary science: past and future directions. Stud Sci Educ 27:99–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Wellcome Trust (2008) Perspectives on education: primary science. www.wellcome.ac.uk/perspectives

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of BristolBristolUK