Improving Science Education 5-14

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2.02.2005 - The Highland Science Sacks can now be referenced via the last columns of the Planning Spreadsheet. Thanks to Robert English, Staff Development Co-ordinator, for granting permission for these to be used.

Hi, I'm Dessy - are you curious?Dessy the Curious Duck is star of the show - Premiere at the ScottishPower Planetarium, Glasgow Science Centre

25.01.2005 - By all accounts the update pack for the ISE 5-14 Exemplar materials have now been produced and are being sent out to schools and interested parties. As luck would have it we have not received our pack yet!

However, we have managed to get oor hands on a pack and have started adding some of the extras to the ISE 5-14 website. Have a look at the excellent photo collection on Plants taken by  Ginger Franklin of the Edinburgh Academy. This has spurred us into creating a new section akin to the SSERC 5-14 Clip-Art Collections which we have called the ISE 5-14 Photos.  This section will expand in the fullness of time. Any contributions would be gratefully received. All photos may be used freely within schools but permission has to be sought from us if they are to be included in derivative publications, software or on the web.

21.01.2005 - Developing Understanding through mapping by Jim Murdoch  added to ISE 5-14.
These materials derive from a project to investigate the classroom use of a range of mapping techniques by pupils in the age range 5 to 14. The original project was led by Dr Johanna Carrie, and involved the following teachers and schools:
  • Margot Gillies, St Mary's RC Primary School, Edinburgh
  • Ian Haining, Tynecastle High School, Edinburgh
  • Leslyanne Jollie, Nether Currie Primary School, Currie
  • Teresa McErlean, Fox Covert RC Primary School, Edinburgh
  • Pam Williams, Craigroyston Community High School, Edinburgh
Additional materials were added by a further study in two secondary schools:
  • Helen Celnik, Kincorth Academy, Aberdeen
  • Carole Thomson, Banff Academy, Banff

conducted by Dr Jim Murdoch, formerly Head of Curriculum Studies in the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen.

The two project leaders collaborated to produce the final materials. Both have delivered training to teachers in the classroom use of mapping techniques, and Jim currently leads the Science team in a European project (ELISE) investigating the use of ICT in the delivery of training to teachers. As part of this project, the team has produced am interactive course on Concept Mapping in Secondary Science teaching.

These materials are also available as Word files on this part of the website. The files can be printed.

The project was supported by funding from the Improving Science Education 5 to 14 Project through the Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre (SSERC).

concept logo

Web design was undertaken by Jim Murdoch - CONCEPT Education and Training.

Although funding for this project was provided by the Scottish Executive, through the ISE 5-14 project, the responsibility for the information herein, and any opinions or views expressed, lies solely with the authors.

Planning Spreadsheet now has P1-P7 & S1/2 Renfrewshire Assessment files
11.01.2005 - Science & Technology Equipment News No. 32 now available online

Let there be light and Fungus features

6.01.2005 - We have been kindly been given permission by Bill Fleming to create online links to the Assessment (Word) files for S1 and S2 which were aimed originally at the codification within the Renfrewshire Science Pack. Go to the Planning Spreadsheet for the necessary links to the relevant targets as they are arranged within the Framework for Planning. P1 to P7 Assessment materials will follow in due course.
The exemplar materials which appeared on the recently launched ISE 5-14 Curriculum Support CD have now been added to relevant Resources sections of the Target menus. See also ISE 5-14 Support Materials - Overview Advice.
Titanic pics - No Kate, Celine or Leonardo! Reforms aim to improve Scotland's schools - Scottish Executive
Science & Technology Equipment News - NEW online versions for Nos. 28, 29, 30 & 31
26/08/2004 15:37 by Ian Birrell
Come along to the SETT seminars at the Glasgow Science Centre and learn more about ISE 5-14. If you register with LTS you can tell me face-to-face what I should be doing with the site! Sycophants welcome also. and
19/08/2004 14:01 by Ian Birrell
Welcome back to the old routine folks. Has Scotland sunk yet? To simplify the presentation and get away from preaching that particular targets should be taught at certain ages, I've removed most of the obvious references to year groups in the Framework for Planning and associated pages. If they are still important to you they remain on the Planning Spreadsheet and as part of the URLs of pages.

PS - If you want to check up on whether there is a deluge round the corner go to the "Rainfall Radar" link on the ISE 5-14 Home Page (underneath the "larger text" menus or directly at :-
16/08/2004 12:41 by Ian Birrell
You can view all the old threads (including those greater than 3 months old) if you click on the "Show options" tab when you first enter the ISE 5-14 Forum. Click on the middle drop-down menu and select "All threads in the archive".

Hey presto - all the threads from way  back now appear in your list.

Similarly you can restrict the view to those posted in the last week or even the last two days. This allows you to see what's new.
09/08/2004 16:42 by Ian Birrell
I've put a new column on the Planning Spreadsheet which gives you are direct link from the target code straight to the safety elements of the targets within the groups of the Framework for Planning. Look out for the wee square glasses on the technician - click on these icons to link.
03/08/2004 13:02 by Ian Buchanan
It's in the papers it must be true!

The ' balloon and coat hanger ' is not the only questionable demonstration that we have found in publications, there are a couple on investigating light. One uses a glass bowl filled with water, the bowl is placed on a sunny window. A mirror is placed in the bowl at an angle of about 45 degrees, a sheet of A4 paper is set up opposite the mirror, eureka, a rainbow is formed on the paper. The second is even simpler, on the same sunny windowsill place a glass of water with the base just over the edge of the sill. A sheet of A4 paper is placed on the floor so that the light from the glass is captured on the paper, you have guessed, as a rainbow. Our advice would be if you want to split light into colours use a prism, they are not expensive and can be had from most suppliers of primary equipment. Again if you have had success with any of the foregoing we would like to hear from you but if you are having trouble with an investigation from published work or the web we are here to help, this is one of  SSERC's main function.
We have been surprised at the number of times both teachers and technicians e-mail/'phone to ask advice on health and safety matters from published materials produced by authoritative sources. On a SSERC personal note it is strange that the ISE 5-14 website is rarely/never mentioned in those same sources.
Virgin boss, Richard Branson announces space tourism bid - BBC News
Round 2 of the Small Grants Scheme begins on the 1st September. This way for more info (pdf file).
This way for is the latest ISES (Institute for Science Education in Scotland) CPD quarterly bulletin covering Oct. - Dec. 2004
The Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn & Titan has arrived at its destination. This link will take you to the NASA site.
20/05/04 - I'm looking for help in finding out and thereafter solving what problems Apple Mac users may be having with the ISE 5-14 web site.

Our network here is a mix of PC's and a couple of Acorn RISC Pc's (remember them!). We had a Mac on the network but had to remove it as it was causing conflicts with the Edinburgh University network.

Now I've just been up the stairs to our friends in the Moray House science faculty and had a look at the ISE site on one of their Macs. I spotted that the drop-down and larger menu links on the Home Page didn't seem to work. If this is the case with Mac users generally then I need to solve the problem. The curious thing is that I asked someone recently to check out the operation of the drop-down menus on a Mac they said that all was OK.

If you do have similar or other problems please note down the URL of the page you are on (from the address box), the Mac operating system used, the browser (Explorer, Netscape etc.) you are using along with the nature of the problem and send the details to [email protected] or preferably use the Smartgroup where everyone can compare notes.
12/05/04 - Just a wee note to ask you what you think of the ISE 5-14 website these days. We have been making an effort to make the pages more accessible to those viewers with some visual impairment. We would like some feedback as to whether we are heading in the right direction.

Are you using the Planning Spreadsheet as is or adapting it in some way to suit your local needs? We would like to hear from you about how it is helping - or not.

We've asked this before, but I'll ask again - are there any developments you would like to see on the ISE 5-14 website?

Can anyone manage to access the SSERC Forums?

If you have any questions you would like to share with the ISE Smartgroup then please reply to this message.
ISE 5-14 CPD News Number 2 has been added to the Local Links drop-down menu on the Home Page
Spreadsheet Developments - Progression pathways now built into the spreadsheet structure - just follow the arrows on the Planning Framework. Each Target Group can now be accessed directly from the spreadsheet via a numbered link.

Most of the main headings now have explanatory comments - look for the wee red triangles at the top right of the cells.

Made a start on cross-referencing the Glasgow 5-14 material and included references to the SAPS Biotechnology Scotland Project Trial materials for Groups 32 & 33 (Biotechnology & Cells)

I've completed the cross-referencing of the Borders materials (Word files) to the targets etc. in ISE 5-14 - the coverage of all topics by Borders is by no means comprehensive.


Earth Science Teachers’ Association
Conference and Course 2004
17-19 September 2004
Based at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh                                                     pdf  booking form               
New Forums - Until we get our ISE 5-14 Forum fully up and running we will continue to use the ISE 5-14 Smartgroup in parallel.
I have now cross-referenced the 5-14 Science - Hodder/Gibson publications to the target codes in ISE 5-14. See the Planning Spreadsheet on the Home Page. Remember this file is over 900 K so will take a little while to download on systems with a b#g-standard modem.
New Forums - When teachers etc. register their interest with ISE 5-14 they will also receive separately, a username and password to partake in the ISE 5-14 Forum. This supercedes the functions of the ISE 5-14 Smartgroup which will be gradually phased out. Remember - this will be different to the username and password for entry to the "members" areas of the ISE 5-14 website.  The ISE 5-14 Forum will give you exclusive access to the latest news and developments as well as offering a platform for you to have your say.
With reference to the website access, I hear that today, Friday 13th, the University network will experience disruption from 1.00 pm - no info for how long.
Our web server is routed through the Edinburgh University network. Recently our websites have been unavailable whilst Edinburgh Yooni have carried out maintenance work or the like. We have no control over when this happens. If you cannot access any part of the ISE web site then this is likely to be the case. If you can get to the Home Page and not access the members material then we need to look again at the problem.

A useful check would be to see if you can access when the ISE site appears to be down. We have had one or two folk saying the members part of the ISE site was unavailable when they tried to download the Planning Spreadsheet from the Home Page. Remember this file is over 900K and will take some time to download on bog-standard modems. So be patient and Excel and the file will eventually appear.
In case you hadn't noticed - there are links to the contents of the 5-14 Teacher Support CD - Gathering & Interpreting Evidence: Social Subjects from the Interactive Guidelines.

Click on the Attainment Level you require for Social Subjects from the Home Page - then follow any of the NGfL links you see next to the relevant target - click on the "commentary" for more information.
The Starting Science and Spotlight Science 5-14 Science schemes are now completely cross-referenced to the attainment targets on the Planning spreadsheet and on the Resources sections of the relevant target menus.

In a short time we will have complete cross-referenced risk assessments fot the practical activities in Spotlight Science - at present they include references to the CLEAPSS Handbook etc. Watch this space.
Happy New Year to one and all. The Home Page has been re-jigged and the information laid out in (we think) better order. More material has been added to the Planning Spreadsheet - The targets are now cross-referenced to Thinking Science (CASE), Concept Cartoons and Starting Science. The Starting Science referencing in particular may be more accurate than the spreadsheet "Checklist" put out by Oxford University Press.
At the 2003 Science and the Parliament event the Scottish Executive announced the publication of its Science Education 3-18 website. This new site describes a number of Executive supported projects and initiatives, including ISE 5-14. On the 3-18 site there is also an announcement of new NESTA administered Awards Scheme to support cross-sectoral working across primary and secondary.
SAPS Scotland materials from the Astra Zeneca sponsored Applying your Science CD - Lungs, Pollen, Asthma and Allergies now added to Resources & Teachers' Guides (TG).

 e.g. LT-D2.1 (TG also), ES-C3.4, ES-F3.2 & LT-D2.5 (Tg also)

You will see that the Home Page design has been changed slightly with the links which used to live at the bottom now linked via the :-

Local Links drop-down menu (Latest Links). Another new link which has been added to this is Correlation with National Curriculum etc. This table may be a help when reviewing resources for Science 5-14 when looking at ideas from materials designed for the National Curriculum and American materials from the web such as NASA teaching materials. See also

NEW - The planning framework Excel spreadsheet, first introduced at the Crieff conference and posted in the folder on the Smartgroup, has now been developed further and incorporated as a Workbook into the website with a link on the Home Page or directly at :-

As you'll see, it is in the members' area so be prepared to give your username and password.

There are 2 sheets so far :-

Framework for Planning based on the revised framework after the consultation exercise

Renfrewshire Science Pack Framework or the Planning Framework as it was before.

I have worked my way through the Renfrewshire 5-14 Assessment Pack and referenced the assessment codes to both the Planning Framework and the Renfrewshire Science Pack. You may notice the system adopted for the Planning Framework Target Codes do not correspond with those in the Renfrewshire Assessment Pack folder. The former adopts the system:

Attainment Outcome (ES, EF or LT) - Attainment level (A,B,C,D,E or F), Attainment Strand (1, 2 or 3), Target number (1....) or see :-

e.g. LT-C2.3 (Living Things at Level C, second strand, third target)

So, please refer to the Planning Spreadsheet mentioned above for any cross referencing of the target codes used in this website - either to the Renfrewshire materials or the current Planning Framework.

You will also see that cross referencing of the science targets with CASE materials and Concept Cartoons is now complete. Thanks are due to the Renfrewshire team for all the original hard work setting out these two sets of linkages. I have also made a start on cross curricular links with the other Attainment Outcomes in Environmental Studies as well as Maths, Music and Art.

Please let me have some feedback on how this is progressing and whether you find it useful or not.

NEW - Magnets and their Uses - Word file (an example of a formative assessment strategy - other contexts can easily be identified)

to 3/09/03 - NOW AVAILABLE to registered users - SSERC Clip-Art Collections - takes you to over 700 samples of clip-art which is in PC wmf ( Windows Metafile Format - a vector based format good for Microsoft Word. You should be able to scale these up or down without the losses in quality associated with GIF and JPEG bit-image formats (Right mouse click on the graphic you want then Copy. You can Paste the figure straight into Word).


to 4/08/03 - The Interactive Guidelines - Strands & Targets on the Home Page now has all the elements of Environmental Studies 5-14. Maths will be added in due course. Why have we added all the other elements when we are only about "improving science"? Well the idea is to tie in all the relevant resources and target references to areas other than strictly science when activities are undertaken. Therefore the science is seen within a wider context and not treated in isolation - if you can chalk off other targets whilst the children are doing a science activity then the science is made relevant and what is seen as a vast "curriculum" is made more manageable. Have a look in the Resources section of the Target Menus to see what we mean. To date we are up to P3 Group 6 in the Revised Framework for Planning.

The old Framework for Planning will remain on the site for the next couple of months - will be removed end of September '03. All development is shifting to the Revised Framework for Planning and the old one will be deleted.

Each Target Group now has a "Future Learning" section with links to Target Groups within the Framework for Planning where progression occurs or to the relevant curricular areas of the Standard Grade sciences. There is a round up on the Home Page of how all the Standard Grade sciences articulate with the Framework for Planning.

Briefing pack sent to Local Authorities -

, ISE Development Officer has posted on a folder in the ISE 5-14 Smartgroup a number of Word files from a Briefing Pack which has been issued through LTS and explains to the Local Authorities the :-

  • aims and purpose of ISE 5-14
  • roles and remits of LTS and SSERC
  • type of ‘support materials’ the project will develop
  • benefits to everyone involved in the project not only in terms of curriculum development but also personal professional development
  • approach to grouping attainment targets which provides one way of describing a coherent and progressive route through the national guidelines. Enclosed in the pack is an example of a ‘Framework’ through the national 5-14 Guidelines: Science illustrating links within the Attainment Outcomes and to further learning in terms of progression to Standard Grade and/or Intermediate 1.

    ISE 5-14 recognise that many Local Authorities have developed their own programmes of work and we would encourage these Authorities to engage with the project so that the materials developed are of use to as many Scottish schools as possible.

The pack contains :-

  • description of the rationale, aims and outcomes of ISE5-14
  • description of the Roles & Remits of those involved in the national project
  • descriptions of the benefits to schools, staff and Local Authorities of being involved with the development phase of ISE 5-14
  • overview of the 3 day residential conference for those staff involved with the development of the support materials
  • an illustration of a ‘pathway’ through the guidelines with accompanying ‘key questions’ challenging the big ideas behind the grouping of attainment targets
  • examples of assessment in skills and KU that challenge pupils’ misconceptions along with a general checklist of the main components that should be considered in the development of the curriculum support materials.
  • extract from the ‘Framework for Planning’. Full version is on an included CD-ROM which was enclosed with the pack

Please print off as many copies of the files as you feel is appropriate.

The ISE 5-14 Team hope that the enclosed information will assist your discussions with staff who would like to participate in this project. If, however, you would like to discuss the project further with a member of the ISE 5-14 Team or have them meet with potential developers then please do not hesitate in contacting us so that we can arrange a meeting.

We hope that once you have had time to review the materials within the pack and talk things through you will be in a position to indicate if you will be able to be involved with the project. Please indicate your preferred area of involvement on the attached response sheet.

We would also like to thank those authorities who have already responded. This information has enabled us to begin our mapping exercise.


Interactive Guidelines for the Knowledge & Understanding for the Strands/Targets in ICT now accessible from the top of the Home Page. We are heading towards providing interactive access to all the attainment targets in Environmental Studies and not just Science. We will then directly cross-reference these in the relevant areas of the Target Menus
i.e. Teacher's Notes, Resources etc. The wider relevance of any ostensibly Science activities will therefore become more transparent.

Revised Framework for Planning - now installed as a drop-down menu on the Home Page. All pages associated with this have the orange/pink background. Target menus for the Revised Framework are accessible via the red/green buttons.

Number of Target Groups - reduced from 36 to 33. You can still access the old framework via the drop-down menu at the bottom of the Home Page.

Interactive Guidelines for the Knowledge & Understanding for the Strands/Targets in Social Subjects now accessible from the top of the Home Page. Each target has a link (the NGfL logo) to exemplar material produced to support teachers in "gathering and interpreting evidence in classroom assessment".

Articulation with Standard Grade Units - from the Home page you can link to a page which details articulation of S.G. Units with the relevant attainment targets in Environmental Studies 5-14.

Target pathways - There are three Word files showing pathways through each of the three Attainment Outcomes.

If you have any comments about any of the new developments then please reply to the Smartgroup. If you experience any problems then E-mail me or post your comments on the Smartgroup.

PIPS2 (Partnership in Primary Science) Project - this has now wound up and Dr. Susan Rodrigues is putting together a package with details of all the homework materials created by the merry band of teachers who participated (pipettes?). I attended the last two meetings and was inspired by the enthusiasm and ideas shown. Welcome to any former PIPS2 teachers who have now joined this Smartgroup. I've already put some of the homework materials on site but I'll wait a spell until Susan produces the full, refined product before putting up the rest. Meanwhile, if you want to see what PIPS have been sown so far simply type "PIPS2" - no quotes, on the Search facility from the Home Page.

Rock On Scottish Geology Festival 2003
Scottish Ice Age Animals
Primary School Competition - see Website

Earth in Space 5-14
CPD for Teachers (P1-S2)

Course developed by SESEF and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. Pilots in West Lothian and Edinburgh during 2003 with expansion to more local authority areas for the school year 2003/04. See Contacts below :-

If your school or local authority is interested having this innovative package delivered e-mail (Visitor Centre Manager, Royal Observatory Edinburgh)
If you are interested in becoming a deliverer of Earth Science CPD in your area contact Hamish Ross

Hi, the ISE have it, ... a  Smartgroup  online community that is. This has been set up to support your ISE 5-14 Project and registered users should be getting an E-mail invite soon. Unfortunately our in-house E-mail server drive zapped a number of the ISE 5-14 registered E-mail addresses - so if you haven't already received an invite and applied for registration between Nov. 2002 & May 2003 please bear with us and (usernames & passwords still apply).
TES articles online - food for thought? Use the  Smartgroup  to start a discussion.
Illuminating Science   Primaries still have too much to cover

Revved up to learn science    Another shot in the dark   Secure teachers spark creativity

The reports of our being an ex-project are greatly exaggerated

You may have seen various references recently to the above national programme in august journals such as the Times Educational Supplement Scotland (TESS). If so, you might be forgiven for thinking that the programme was, stalled, ceased-to-be, or moribund (aka “deid”). This is not so, although we were saddened and disappointed that Bill Fleming had resigned his post as Project Manager at the turn of the year. He will be, indeed is, sorely missed.

SSERC, however, continues to work closely with the two national Development officers who remain in post and a new implementation group should be up and running shortly. Now, in addition to looking after the ISE 5-14 website SSERC is about to finalise an agreement with the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) to facilitate those elements of the overall programme which are relevant to practical activities and the continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers.

Learning Teaching Scotland is, we understand, to manage other aspects of the overall programme such as development of formative assessment tools and homework activities. See also Assessment is for Learning Newsletter (pdf).

In pursuing our own programmes of work we intend collaborating closely with a wide range of partners including: the Scottish Local Authorities; Science Centres and their outreach programmes; other relevant visitor centres such as observatories and botanic gardens; the Scottish Universities; industry and commerce; research centres and government bodies, the major science education trusts and  others. Currently we are looking at a number of proposals and models for the provision of CPD for teachers through practical activities. Ideally, we should like to see up to four centres of activity in various locations across Scotland and are working towards assisting with the setting up at least two such centres in early course.

Primary Science Curriculum Software Workshop - LT Scotland Tech. Centre, Glasgow - 4th June 2003 - £65+vat
For comment - Deep & crisp & even better than the literacy hour  by Bob Fletcher 24/02/2003 - TES Scotland. What did you do when the snow fell?
- an extra day off or an opportunity for fun learning?

Curriculum overload by Raymond Ross 10/01/2003 - TES Scotland
Heads target 5-14 by Neil Munro 10/01/2003 - TES Scotland
Do you agree with the opinions of the primary headteachers?
How can this site help you - .
Land of Giants?Here's a weird picture I took today - apart from the fact I'm in it and the Scottish Parliament building is above ground level!

Am I a giant or have the vehicles & the parliament shrunk in the rain? Gives a whole new perspective on life. Click on thumbnail to get bigger pic.

CALLING ALL BUDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS - How many of you got a digital camera for Christmas? photees which we can all use (and can only be taken at this time of year) to illustrate (y)our web site e.g. for LT-A2.2, ES-B3.1, ES-C3.4, ES-D3.1, ES-D3.3, & EF-D1.1.

January in the Pentlands - click for bigger pic  January in the Pentlands - click for bigger pic   January in the Pentlands - click for bigger pic  January in Dunning Glen - click for bigger pic Snowy on Ben Lawers - click for bigger pic

The Improving Science Education 5-14 (ISE 5-14) project has been established as a partnership project with the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED); Scottish Science Advisory Group (SSAG) representing Local Authorities; Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre (SSERC) and LT Scotland.

Its objective is to address the relevant priorities identified within the HMI report Improving Science 5-14 (1999) and the Science Strategy for Scotland (2001).

Together with the Development Officers - and we are moving on to the next phase of on-line support for 5-14 Science Education.

We now have new section on an Investigative Approach to Science. This will be expanding with more examples of investigations.

An interactive HTML version of the Revised 5-14 Guidelines Guide for Teachers and Managers is now available on-line - see above for a drop-down menu which gives easy access to all the main areas. As well as the exemplars contained therein we'll provide links to a Provisional Framework for Planning for P1 - S2 and other exemplar material e.g. the SSERC Primary Newsletters. You can now search ISE and check out some great sites in Good Web Sites. Former WSOTW can be seen in Past Masters.

Be aware that all files are under continuous development and are subject to adaptation of content and web addresses.

Click on Refresh to make sure you are looking at the latest version of a page.

Ian Birrell at SSERC with any comments about the ISE 5-14 development site.




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