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Engaging science, creating sustainable cities

Working Scientifically

Working Scientifically (or Enquiry Based Science Education) involves the processes of science, including understanding the sorts of questions that are the province of science; the design of experiments; reasoning and arguing with scientific evidence; and analysing and interpreting data.

Urban Science is structured around a model of scientific enquiry drawn from Enquiring Minds:

Stage 1: eliciting the knowledge, interests, ideas and motivation of pupils. The teacher’s role is to help pupils draw on their own lives and experiences to discover things that interest them, make them excited, curious and want to ask questions.

Stage 2: shaping, defining and focusing an idea or question, and making plans to research it further. The teacher’s role is ensuring pupils can advance their inquiries meaningfully; providing frameworks and learning so that pupils can organise their research.

Stage 3: pupil’s research, design and construct in order to make a contribution in their chosen enquiry, during which pupils engage in a variety of tasks depending on the nature of their enquiry. The teacher’s encourage pupils to manage their time, identify clear goals and monitor their progress.

Stage 4: pupils communicate, share and present their new knowledge and understanding with others.

There is a lot of excellent practical research regarding enquiry-based learning worth exploring further:

ASE Best Practice

Guidelines on scientific enquiry looking at primary to secondary transition of science enquiry.

Science Capital

Understanding how to increase participation in science learning.


The SAILS project shows how inquiry approaches can be used for teaching a range of scientific topics, and has helped science teachers become confident and competent in the assessment of their students’ learning through inquiry.


MASCIL is aimed at promoting a widespread use of inquiry-based science teaching (IBST) in primary and secondary schools.