SPACE Research Reports
The Primary SPACE reports comprise a series of 10 research reports produced by the Primary Science Processes and Concepts Exploration project. The reports were published between 1990 and 1998 by Liverpool University Press and arise from a research project based jointly at the University of Liverpool and King’s College London, directed by Wynne Harlen and Paul Black. The main research, carried out between January 1987 and 1990, was conducted in collaboration with teachers. It investigated in depth primary students' ideas about some science concepts and was extended after the introduction of the National Curriculum to cover each of the concept areas included. (The work on Forces is an exception, in having been carried out in 1996/7 and involving some secondary teachers and pupils as well as primary).
Aims and objectives
The SPACE research addressed the following questions:
•what ideas did students hold about aspects of the world around them?
•how did they come to form these ideas?
•what were the possibilities of helping students to modify their ideas, to bring them closer to the more useful, scientific ones?
The results were used to give teachers descriptions of what they were likely to find if they explored the ideas of their students. The findings were also used to develop trial materials which helped teachers to plan activities to take students' ideas as a starting point in classroom work. The evidence from the trials provided the basis for the aims proposed and the methods suggested in the Nuffield Primary Science teachers’ guides.
The SPACE research was carried out in classrooms with the help of teachers, so that materials relevant to finding out students' ideas in everyday work could be produced. The classroom work took place in phases: elicitation of children’s ideas, in which children engaged with selected activities relating to the concepts being explored; intervention, where teachers used the information gained about their students' ideas as a starting point for activities designed to extend these ideas; and a post-intervention phase to explore the students' ideas particularly in the themes addressed during the intervention.
For the purposes of the research a random sample of students from the classes involved was interviewed by researchers before and after classroom intervention, whilst the teachers adapted the methods used by the researchers to collect ideas less formally from all the students. The range of data collected included interview responses, field notes of classroom visits and teachers’ meetings, video recordings and students' work. Interview data was used to generate response categories which were then used to code the responses of the interview sample.
The results of the research were used to develop materials in the form of the Nuffield Primary Science teachers’ guides which helped teachers to plan activities to take children’s ideas as a starting point in classroom work.
HEALTH and SAFETY
Any use of a resource that includes a practical activity must include a risk assessment. Please note that collections may contain ARCHIVE resources, which were developed at a much earlier date. Since that time there have been significant changes in the rules and guidance affecting laboratory practical work. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.
Resource by: Nuffield Foundation