Primary Connections: Linking science with literacy
Primary Connections is a flagship primary school science program from the Australian Academy of Science, linking the teaching of science with the teaching of literacy.
Primary Connections is an approach to teaching and learning science shown to enhance primary school teachers' confidence and capacity for teaching science. The history of Primary Connections demonstrates an ongoing commitment to renewal, supporting the evolving needs of teachers.
Offering educative curriculum resources and professional learning, Primary Connections is comprehensive, draws on contemporary science education research, as well as teacher feedback and evidence, to produce a practical program that supports teachers to implement strategies and pedagogies for inspiring and engaging science learning. The Primary Connections approach centres on the development of students’ knowledge, understanding, and skills in both science and literacy, framed by the 5E model of guided-inquiry.
We value learning.
We value learners and educators.
We value high quality.
We value the importance of scientific literacy.
We value science as a way of knowing, thinking, and communicating.
The Primary Connections approach
1. Guided inquiry framed by the 5E model
The Primary Connections approach is framed by the 5E model of guided-inquiry. There are 5 phases, each with a specific purpose, in a sequence of learning. Trial teacher feedback and evidence suggests that every phase in the 5E model is important for optimal learning of science.
2. Link literacy with science
Literacy is central to the way in which students develop their understanding of science concepts and processes. It is a key feature in all Primary Connections resources and professional learning. For example, literacy foci are embedded in every curriculum unit to assist students to use literacy skills to learn science in context. Students are supported to demonstrate their understanding of science concepts, process and skills throughout science inquiry by creating representations that draw on and strengthen literacy development.
3. Align with the Australian Curriculum
Primary Connections curriculum resources are fully aligned with the Australian Curriculum: Science. Curriculum units address the three interrelated sub-strands—Science Understanding, Science as a Human Endeavor, and Science Inquiry Skills. Primary Connections resources also align with many Content Descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics, Technologies, and English, and the General Capabilities and the Cross-Curriculum Priorities as they relate to Science, Mathematics and English.
4. Student investigations
The Primary Connections approach situates student investigations so that they are phase-appropriate, actively engage students in learning, provide an opportunity to learn the skills and processes of investigating, provide students with an authentic experience of science, while helping students develop an understanding of scientific evidence and of the nature of science. This is achieved when students plan and conduct multiple hands-on investigations across their inquiry to test their predictions, collect and analyse data, as well as represent, evaluate and communicate their observations of phenomena.
5. Embedded assessment
Primary Connections supports teachers to make evidence-based judgements that inform student assessment, and guide teaching and learning. Suggested assessment is informed by the 5E model, embedded throughout inquiry, and guides teachers’ ongoing monitoring, review and adjustment of learning experiences.
6. Collaborative learning
Students engaged in collaborative learning observe and consider multiple perspectives, take on different roles in investigations, and contribute to evidenced based discussions that lead to shared understanding.
Guided by the Primary Connections approach, resources are developed to support teachers to facilitate evidence-based science education. Resources include classroom strategies and pedagogies, an approach to STEM, assessment guides, editable student resource sheets, an Indigenous Perspectives Framework, and classroom displays. A suite of curriculum units for Foundation to Year 6, based on the 5E model, exemplify how teachers could implement the Primary Connections approach. Each unit has been trialled by classroom teachers and provides clear and practical guidance including comprehensive teacher advice and student resources.
Primary Connections professional learning program is designed to grow teacher confidence and improve student learning outcomes in science and literacy. It focuses on the pedagogical, evidence-based principles underpinning Primary Connections, and demonstrates how these are easily applied in the classroom. Teachers develop their pedagogical content knowledge, and explore how to effectively use, adapt, extend or create engaging science learning experiences to suit their students' needs.
All resources are based on contemporary research and extensively trialled by Australian teachers. Primary Connections has undergone substantial trialling and independent evaluation. Read more here.
Director-Education: Claudette Bateup
Program Manager: Nicola Dziadkiewicz
Project Officer: Jennifer Lawrence
Stakeholder and Community Engagement: Allison Hornery
Education Administration Officer (Finance): Amy Lee
Primary Connections is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian Government Department of Education.