Thinking Skills Through Science


May 2005


Thinking Skills Through Science is a resource for secondary science teachers to create challenging science lessons built on science thinking skills. Teaching science using thinking skills activities will develop transferable learning skills through interaction and independent learning.

You can now purchase the entire Thinking Through Series for the reduced price of only £149 - normally £318! Find out more about The Thinking Through Series.


Thinking Skills for SEN Learners contains three sections that will:

  • help you develop your pupils’ thinking skills so that they achieve a higher level of attainment
  • provide you with all of the material that you need to support your pupils
  • give you practical activities to develop pupils’ communication skills
  • inform continuing professional development within your staff.

Summary of contents

Thinking Skills Through Science combines thinking skills with subject-specific understanding. It consists of a series of science activities appropriate for Key Stage 3, which can also be adapted for older or younger pupils across a whole range of abilities. The activities deal with the study of: cells, interdependence, energy, force and particles. Each of the 18 exemplars are reports of actual lessons and can be used in a variety of teaching situations.

Thinking Skills Through Science links comfortably with CASE and generates CASE style cognitive conflict, but also moves on to develop specific thinking and learning skills. The thinking skills are those defined in the National Curriculum: information processing, enquiry, reasoning, creative thinking, evaluation, as well as sequencing and hypothesising. It also sits well with the Science Strand of the National Strategy (KS3). The authors and the series editor have played an influential role in this Strategy and, as such, fully appreciate the rewards of linking better acquisition of science subject knowledge with the development of thinking and learning skills. This approach is proven to have a positive impact in all types of school.

The structure of the book

Exemplars are based on the now familiar format of the three part lesson: Introduction; Group work and Plenary. Each covers: brief overview of the exemplar; pupils’ prior knowledge and skills; links to QCA scheme of work, thinking skills and key scientific ideas; lesson objectives (thinking skills AND science); context; preparation including classroom organisation and required resources; introduction to the lesson; group work (what you might see and hear); plenary - how to manage this part of the lesson and some possible outcomes; follow-up; useful references; teacher sheets and pupil sheets (which are also on the CD-Rom). As well as photocopiable pupil pages, all exemplars are included on the accompanying CD-Rom for use via the school intranet.

Chapter breakdown

Introduction – what this book is about

Teaching thinking
How to use this book
Background and Methodology                                         
Links with CASE                                                 
Teaching thinking can affect pupils’ learning                           
Reflective process and assessment                                    
Thinking skills and the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3              
CASE influence on lesson structure                                  
Teacher behaviours                                               
Definition of terms                                                
Challenge and support                                             
Adapting the exemplars                                            
Lesson Structure                                                    
Group work                                                     
Plenary (Debriefing)                                              
Developing activities of your own                                   
Table 1: Summary of Exemplars                                        
Table 2: Summary of Exemplars                                        

2 Developing Thinking in Teaching Science

Professional Development                                            
Classroom observation                                            
Curriculum Planning                                                
Long term planning                                              
Short/medium term planning                                      
Planning checklist                                               
Examples based on conflict category                                 
Examples based on specific exemplars                                
Cognitive Conflict                                                  
Science process                                                 
Understanding argument                                          
Visual thinking and memory                                       

3 The Exemplars

Exemplar 1 Alternative Science Theories                           
Exemplar 2 A Burning Candle                                    
Exemplar 3 The Carbon Cycle                                    
Exemplar 4 Climate Change                                      
Exemplar 5 Diagram from Memory                                 
Exemplar 6 Elements, Compounds and Mixtures                      
Exemplar 7 Energy Transformations                                
Exemplar 8 Evaluation of an Experimental Account                   
Exemplar 9 Floating and Sinking                                  
Exemplar 10 Food Webs                                          
Exemplar 11 Imagine You Are a Sperm Cell                          
Exemplar 12 The Solar System                                    
Exemplar 13 Three Chemical Mysteries                             
Exemplar 14 Variation in Humans                                 
Exemplar 15 What is Science?                                    
Exemplar 16 What Might Have Happened?                          
Exemplar 17 Which Antacid Tablet is the Best?                      
Exemplar 18 Why Did the Dinosaurs Die Out?                       

4 References 


Spiral bound, 225 x 297, 172 Pages, Published 2004


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