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ECP3200 Early Scientific Thinking and Inquiry

Semester 2, 2020 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Early Scientific Think&Inquiry
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Education
Student contribution band : National Priority - Teaching
ASCED code : 070101 - Teacher Education: Early Child
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 26 February 2020


Examiner: Nicole Green


Pre-requisite: EDE3103 and Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: BEDU (Early Childhood) or BEED or BECH
Enrolment is not permitted in ECP3200 if EDX3160 has been previously completed

Other requisites

Students must have successfully completed the entire previous year’s Professional Experience courses in order to enrol in this course. Students must be available for a prescribed period of time to undertake a placement in a school or other approved site as required in this course.

Before commencing this course students will be assumed to have read the full details of Professional Experience particulars and familiarised themselves with the requirements. Please see the Education Placement Professional Experience website and the Professional Experience Book for full details.

State law in Queensland (Australia) requires that all adults working/undertaking professional experience/researching with children under the age of 18, in the state of Queensland must hold a valid Blue Card OR Exemption Card

Provided a blue card renewal application has been submitted at least 30 days before expiry of the current card, the blue card will remain active while the renewal application is processed (details available at

Blue Card Services cannot process a form dated more than 16 weeks prior to lodgement. In addition, a representative of USQ or a Justice of the Peace, must sight the applicant’s identification documents and check the information on the form, before signing and dating the USQ declaration (refer to

Where a student is denied approval for a blue card, enrolment in any initial teacher education program will be withdrawn (refer to

If undertaking Professional Experience outside of Queensland, students are advised to check the Working with Children requirements of the state within which Professional Experience will be undertaken (refer to


Exploring, questioning, inferring, predicting, hypothesising, planning, observing, analysing, communicating, responding and problem solving are essential components of an early years program for young children from birth to eight years. Planning inquiry is a fundamental component of the curriculum documentation (e.g. Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum) with which educators will be engaging. Inquiry and its associated knowledge and understandings, skills and dispositions, prepares children for life-long learning. Integrated programs are powerful in providing age-appropriate opportunities for confident and involved learners who are connected with and contribute to their world. Educators require an in-depth grasp of the knowledge and understanding outcomes of science curricula, well-versed skills for guiding young learners through scientific inquiries, and a repertoire of documentation strategies appropriate for assessing scientific thinking.


This course is designed to investigate the knowledge and understandings, skills and dispositions young children utilise and develop as they connect with their world and continue to grow as active participants in their family, community and society. Pre-service educators will interrogate the three strands of science, in accordance with the Australian Curriculum. The course also draws upon the practice principles and learning outcomes of the national Early Years Learning Framework to present content for infants through to the transition into the early years of school. Pre-service educators will examine pedagogical approaches, theoretical perspectives and research which assist them develop an understanding of what inquiry looks like when planning for and assessing scientific learnings of young children.

A 15-day professional experience placement is attached to this course. For full details of the Professional Experience particulars, please refer to the Professional Experience website and the Professional Experience Book.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course in accordance with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s (AITSL) Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST). On successful completion of this course pre-service educators should be able to:

  1. develop knowledge of science and science as it relates to the everyday cognition of infants and young children in their everyday lives (APST 1.2, 2.1);
  2. design and justify an integrated program of learning experiences aligned with curriculum, and seek constructive feedback from a supervising teacher to improve teaching and learning (APST 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.2,6.3);
  3. organise classroom activities, provide clear directions and implement a range of communication and teaching strategies which promote young children’s engagement in, and learning through, science understanding, knowledge and skills aligned with curriculum (APST 1.5, 3.3, 3.5, 4.2);
  4. link theory with practice by undertaking tasks during professional practice that apply differentiated teaching, learning, assessment and supportive behaviour skills (APST 1.5, 2.2, 4.3);
  5. critically reflect with a supervising teacher about assessment creation, data collection and moderation as processes to better know their students and how they learn, and to plan evidence-based teaching and learning (APST 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 6.3, 7.2);
  6. evaluate ICT and other teaching resources that support the development of the multi-literacies of science (APST 2.5, 2.6, 3.4);
  7. seek and apply constructive feedback from their practicum placement supervisors and teachers to improve their teaching practices (APST 6.3, Professional Experience);
  8. demonstrate professionalism during pre-service teacher placements through observation, practice and assessment of pre-service teacher professional practice (1.1, 1.3, 3.1, 3.6,4.1, 4.4, 5.2, 7.1, 7.4).


Description Weighting(%)
  • Understanding the content, skills, concepts and appropriate assessment of science from a developmental perspective (birth to 8 years)
  • Synergies and continuities between the Australian Curriculum and Early Years Learning Framework
2. Pedagogical frameworks and approaches for authentic and meaningful science learning across early childhood contexts 30.00
3. Planning integrated inquiries for young children to support their understanding of their world through science
  • Curriculum decision making
  • Environment organisation – co-construction with inquirers
  • The role of explanations and directions for learners in science inquiries
  • Proactive communication and teaching strategies to manage challenging behaviour
4. Differentiated teaching, learning and assessment approaches and strategies which promote young children’s learning as they inquire through science 10.00
5. Resourcing inquiries, including ICT 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Fleer, M 2015, Science for children, 4th edn, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Victoria.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 80.00
Private Study 85.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 40 40 20 Aug 2020
ASSIGNMENT 2 60 59 22 Oct 2020
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE 1 1 23 Oct 2020 (see note 1)

  1. Students must successfully complete the Professional Experience to be eligible for a passing grade for this course. A mark of one (1) indicates you have passed the Professional Experience component. A mark of zero (0) indicates you have not passed the Professional Experience component. Professional Experience should be conducted as per the Professional Experience Calendar unless approval has been granted by the Program Coordinator.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them, to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each item in addition to the successful completion of the Professional Experience component. Failure of the Professional Experience component will result in a Fail grade for this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must successfully complete the Professional Experience component and must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course. Failure of the Professional Experience component will result in a Fail grade for this course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments: Referencing in assignments must comply with the APA referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ library's referencing guide. This guide can be found at

  2. Students are required to demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of academic language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, and referencing in all assessment responses. Marks allocated to the aforementioned criteria will be specified in the criteria for assessment of all assessment items.

  3. Students are required to submit ALL assignments to evidence meeting or exceeding the mandatory requirements of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APSTs).

  4. Professional Experience is a compulsory component of this course and integral to completion of the assessment tasks. Dates for each Professional Experience course are selected to support students’ capacity to apply the theory of the coursework in the Professional Experience placement. Students are advised not to select a course that includes Professional Experience in a semester where they are unable to meet the specified requirements of Professional Experience as outlined in the Professional Experience Booklet. Any application for a ‘change of dates’ for Professional Experience placement must qualify for consideration under the conditions of the USQ Assessment Extension Policy. An unsupported application will delay program completion.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement
2. forms part of the Bachelor of Education and is benchmarked against the:

  1. internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review
  2. Queensland College of Teachers
  3. Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL).

Other requirements

  1. Participation: Students can expect it will be necessary to participate in and contribute to a range of learning opportunities in this course including online study activities, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations, group discussions and self-directed study activities in order to apply the coursework that will enable quality assessment tasks to be submitted as evidence of professional development.

Date printed 26 February 2020