What Makes a Good Science Lesson

Science is an integral part of the curriculum and gives children the opportunity to learn valuable and transferable life skills.  Science lessons have the ability to blow minds, but also the ability to go horribly wrong.  It is important that we consider what does make a good a science lesson, in order for us to to ensure that we deliver high quality science which help pupils “develop their interest in, and understanding of, the living, material and physical world.” (Education Scotland, no date, p.1).  We use our knowledge of science daily, to make predictions, analyse and evaluate.  It is important for children to actively recognise when they are applying their science skills in real life situations, in order to build science capital.

Key features of a good science lesson:

  • Teachers being well prepared, enthusiastic and having a positive attitude towards science.
  • Having the pupils actively engaging in the lesson.
  • Teaching pupils relevant skills, as well as knowledge.
  • Having them in groups to discuss with their peers what they understand and what they don’t understand, so that they can explain to one another (constant formative assessment).
  • Learning in different ways: outdoors, trips to science centres etc… by learning in a real-life setting, they’re able to see the relevance of that subject in everyday life.
  • Developing science literacy to understand the basics, so that they can apply knowledge across a variety of areas.
  • Carrying out investigations so that there is a practical essence to their work.
  • Inclusion: providing good examples of science happening locally and of equal gender representation in science.
  • Building on individual’s science capital so that they develop a passion for science and continue it into the senior phase.
  • Working in groups to develop co-operation and communication.
  • Make pupils aware of the Learning Intentions and Success Criteria, so that children know the aim of the lesson and how to achieve it.
  • Use real world examples of science to make it relevant to pupils – how it relates to health and wellbeing, society and the environment.
  • Make science accessible to everyone, regardless of their gender, background or ability.
  • Children understand the impact that they can have on the world with the use of science
  • Demonstrate different aspects of science so children are aware of different careers they could pursue; biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, engineering, etc.
  • The science lesson should be like a ‘story’ – children should not be taught isolated facts but comprehend how science is all linked together to form a ‘bigger picture’.


Education Scotland, “curriculum for excellence: sciences principles and practice”, (No date), Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/sciences-pp.pdf, (accessed 01.02.19).

Education Scotland, “The Sciences 3-18″, (2013), Available at: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/documents/sciences/sci14_sciencescurriculumimpact/sciences-3-to-18-2013-update.pdf, (accessed 01.02.19).

With thanks to Lucy Johnston and Lorna Whillans.

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