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NSW Syllabuses

Science K–10 - Stage 3 Working Scientifically


A student:

  • ST3-4WS

    investigates by posing questions, including testable questions, making predictions and gathering data to draw evidence-based conclusions and develop explanations


  • Students question and predict by:
  • with guidance, posing questions to clarify practical problems or inform a scientific investigation (ACSIS231, ACSIS232)
  • predicting what the findings of an investigation might be (ACSIS231, ACSIS232) L
  • applying experience from similar situations in the past to predict what might happen in a new situation CCT
  • Students plan investigations by:
  • with guidance, planning appropriate investigation methods to test predictions, answer questions or solve problems including surveys, fieldworkresearch and fair tests (ACSIS086, ACSIS103, ACSHE081, ACSHE098)
  • deciding which variable should be changed and measured in fair tests while keeping everything else the same (ACSIS087, ACSIS104) CCT
  • collaboratively and individually selecting suitable methods for gathering data and information first-hand and from reliable secondary sources LPSCWE
  • Students conduct investigations by:
  • working individually and collaboratively in conducting a range of appropriate investigation methods, including fair tests, to answer questions or solve problems PSCWE
  • using suitable equipment and materials, checking observations and measurements by repeating them where appropriate
  • using equipment and materials safely, identifying potential risks (ACSIS088, ACSIS105) PSC
  • accurately observing, measuring and recording data, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS087, ACSIS104) ICTL
  • using formal units and abbreviations for measuring and recording data N
  • suggesting improvements to the methods used to investigate a question or solve a problem (ACSIS091, ACSIS108) CCT
  • Students process and analyse data and information by:
  • constructing and using a range of representations, including tables, graphs (column, picture, line and divided bar graphs) and labelled diagrams NL
  • using numerical techniques to analyse data and information, including calculating the means and percentages of small sets of data N
  • drawing conclusions and providing explanations based on data and information gathered first-hand or from secondary sources CCT
  • comparing gathered data with predictions, and using as evidence in developing explanations of events and phenomena (ACSIS218, ACSIS221, ACSHE081, ACSHE098) CCT
  • reflecting on their gathered evidence in relation to: CCT
  • the process used to gather, process and analyse their data and information
  • their own prior knowledge as well as accepted scientific explanations
  • their own and others' conclusions
  • Students communicate by:
  • constructing and using a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data including using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS090, ACSIS107) NICTLCCT
  • using a variety of ways to honestly and accurately communicate ideas, explanations and processes, including multi-modal texts, labelled diagrams, as well as written and oral factual texts as appropriate (ACSIS093, ACSIS110) LEUNICT

Background information


In Stage 3 students develop their skills in applying the processes of Working Scientifically through planning and conducting a range of types of investigations. They increase their understanding of the importance of undertaking scientific investigations honestly and accurately to develop shared evidence-based understandings. They further develop their understanding of the relationship between evidence and the process undertaken, reflecting on their evidence in relation to the process used. Students are more self-reliant in asking questions and in planning and conducting their investigations. They pose testable questions relating to simple cause-and-effect relationships and consider fairness and ways to check observations and measurements. They bring a greater understanding of scientific explanations to their work. Students select and refine their application of the investigation methods encountered in previous stages, by considering data and information from secondary sources, comparing field observations made at different sites or times and using systematic approaches to exploration. Students employ additional methods for recording, processing and communicating their findings, consistent with their stage-appropriate progression in literacy and numeracy, including using at an introductory level, the language of science and graphical representations. They select and use digital technologies where relevant to gather, organise, process and communicate information and/or data from a variety of sources for identified purposes and audiences.

In Stage 4 there is an emphasis on planning and conducting investigations in which variables are controlled (fair tests). The terms independent and dependent variables are introduced. Students move into specialised school laboratory environments and learn to use laboratory equipment safely and effectively. They refine their skills in planning and conducting investigations, processing data and/or information and communicating findings. They further develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving and the use of creativity and imagination in investigating scientifically.