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Science capabilities planning deck

Developed by Rosemary Hipkins with Lorraine Spiller and Sandy Robbins of NZCER.

The Science capabilities planning deck is a practical resource to support teachers to use the science capabilities as they plan learning across all levels of the curriculum.

The resource uses the same format as our Remixing the Key Competencies: A curriculum design deck, which has proved popular, practical, and very adaptable. The Science capabilities planning deck offers similar supports and benefits for creative curriculum thinking and planning.

The cards in the Science deck use a series of statements of specific aspects to unpack each of the five science capabilities from the Nature of Science.

Using the deck helps teachers design rich learning tasks that strengthen students' science capabilities at the same time as building their science knowledge.

Teachers and students can describe the potential they see in the idea of capabilities to make science relevant and engaging, and these cards can unlock that potential. 

"Focusing on science capabilities enables me to not worry about being an expert in the content strands of the curriculum and so I do more science with my class." Primary teacher

"Using skills of looking at models helped me see that this isn't new learning, just a different way of looking at something I already knew." Level 2 NCEA Chemistry student

"Using questioning techniques that are inherent in science capabilities, enables me to create student agency for my learners because they explore their own directions within the science idea we are learning." Secondary science teacher

Further resources

You might like to talk about how the aspects of capability described would need to be adapted and scaffolded if you work with students of different ages. The idea of science capabilities is quite new so there is – as yet - only limited evidence to help and support this conversation. The following resources could help when deciding which aspects you will foreground and how you will shape classroom talk around them:

Science capabilities for citizenship

The following TKI pages outline ways in which learning experiences that support the development of science capabilities are likely to get more demanding as student move to higher curriculum levels.

Bull A. (2015).  Capabilities for living and lifelong learning: What’s science got to do with it? Wellington, New Zealand Council for Educational Research. This research report describes a small study that explores the nature of progress in developing science capabilities in Years 1- 10.