Curious Learners in Primary Maths, Science, Computing and DT
Publication Year: 2016
Curiosity is a fabulous thing. Curious children explore, investigate, experiment, build their own understanding, share their findings with others and want to know more. Curious teachers learn as they teach, reflecting on their practice and following new routes to enhanced teaching and learning. Curiosity has the potential to enhance learning in all curriculum subjects but it has a special connection with scientific thinking. A curious approach can open up learning in science, computing, design technology and mathematics. This text explores how teachers can harness the power of curiosity in their classroom. Full of practical teaching ideas for engaging learners and making lessons more exciting, this text highlights the ways in which STEM subjects can be taught together.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Curious learners in primary mathematics
- Chapter 3: Ways to enhance curiosity in primary mathematics
- Chapter 4: Curious learners in primary science
- Chapter 5: Ways to enhance curiosity in primary science
- Chapter 6: Curious learners in primary computing
- Chapter 7: Ways to enhance curiosity in primary computing
- Chapter 8: Curiosity in primary design and technology
- Chapter 9: Ways to enhance curiosity in primary design and technology
- Chapter 10: Harnessing curiosity across a whole school
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© 2016 Alan Cross, Alison Borthwick, Karen Beswick, Jon Board, Jon Chippindall
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Library of Congress Control Number: 2016940060
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN: 978-1-4739-5237-9 (hbk)
Editor: Amy Thornton
Production Editor: Chris Marke
Marketing Manager: Lorna Patkai
Cover Design: Wendy Scott
Typeset by: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd, Chennai, India
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
The authors would like to thank the pupils and staff of the following schools:
Chapel Break Infant School, Norfolk
Cringleford Primary School, Norfolk
Crumpsall Lane Primary School, Manchester
Hevingham Primary School, Norfolk
Lionwood Junior School, Norfol
Mauldeth Road Primary School, Manchester
Wesley Methodist Primary School, Bury
West Earlham Junior School, Norfolk
Thanks for her valuable assistance – Charlotte Morton.
Thanks for the photograph of Alan Turing's statue – Tim Chippindall.
About the Authors
About this Book[Page ix]
Curiosity has the potential to enhance learning in all curriculum subjects. This book is about curiosity and how it impacts on four primary school subjects, which can be grouped under the abbreviation of STEM; these are science, technology, engineering and mathematics (see www.stem.org.uk). In this book we have chosen to include science, mathematics, computing and design and technology. These four subjects all rely very heavily on qualitative values or numbers. Of course, curiosity manifests itself in all subjects, for example, in the study of English, English literature, the arts and the humanities. Sadly, we don't, in this book, have space for all primary subjects. This book considers the teaching for learning of our identified four Primary STEM subjects, which like all subjects require a degree of curiosity. Or perhaps it is better to say that these subjects benefit from learners and teachers who display curiosity?Structure of the Book
Following the introduction, the book is divided into pairs of chapters in which the first chapter sets out the meaning of curiosity in the particular subject and how the subject can enhance a learner's curiosity. The authors consider examples of individuals, who through their curiosity have been leaders in their field. They include references to the National Curriculum (DfE, 2013). They will refer to relevant literature including Ofsted and other reports. The second chapter will then draw on case study and other exemplary material, which will mean that by the end of each pair of chapters readers will:
- understand the relevance of curiosity to that subject;
- know which aspects of the subject are most influenced by curiosity;[Page x]
- see how curiosity in teachers can enable curiosity in learners in the subject;
- appreciate a wide range of ways to develop curiosity through examples given.
The introductory chapter reviews the thinking of writers and researchers who have considered curiosity in people and younger learners. Chapters on mathematics, science, design and technology and computing then follow.
In the mathematics chapters we will see how curiosity is linked to mathematics in terms of content, aims (fluency, problem solving, reasoning), skills and the attributes of mathematical thinkers (DfE, 2013). It will show that at its very heart mathematics itself is curious about number, proportionality, geometry, etc. This chapter will refer to the beauty and romance of mathematics through approaches such as a mathematically curious classroom. It will also consider how Stephen Hawking exploited curiosity to seek answers to some of the most complex questions in the universe.
In science, curiosity is seen as the key driver which leads to scientific questions and in some cases profound questions and answers. It will refer to the National Curriculum (DfE, 2013) and the place of curiosity within ‘Working Scientifically’ and in relation to science ideas and phenomena in the world. It will provide examples and draw from evidence including Ofsted's Maintaining Curiosity (2013) and consider the degrees of curiosity which might be observed in different children. The chapter will use Mary Anning as an example of a person who was curious about the interestingly shaped rocks she found on the beach.
Computing is the newest subject to the curriculum (DfE, 2013). Computing will be presented as a medium/world for exploration through programming or coding, debugging and computer networks. It will include simple approaches such as exploring algorithms in ‘computing unplugged’ through to more complex programming with a range of languages such as Scratch Junior, Scratch, Python, Logo, etc. There will be clear reference to tinkering with code, debugging and how internet searches occur.
Curiosity about design and technology is about curiosity in the man-made world of artefacts where children confidently build and display curious behaviours (e.g. exploring the strength of materials, observing how doings work, how things are made/ assembled). It will link to the National Curriculum (DfE, 2013) and to ideas about design and technology. It will consider lessons for the psychology of learning (e.g. schema, when do children start to display this behaviour?) and link to Kimbell et al.'s (1991) [Page xi]interaction of hand and mind in design and technology. It will consider aesthetics and the different responses of individuals to problems and design briefs.
The final chapter of this book will consider how the four (primary) STEM subjects can be used in an integrated and immersive way, and offers a different pedagogical style of teaching and learning which fuels curiosity and curious learners.[Page xii]
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