Enabling students to understand and analyse contemporary issues in science and technology

Learning skills for science

What is LSS?
Learning Skills for Science (LSS) is a programme of activities designed to teach learning skills explicitly within the context of a science course.

Learning Skills for Science aims to enhance the quality of science learning and so improve student attainment by providing teachers with:

1. Strategies to identify and deconstruct learning skills relevant to science education
2. Activities which develop students’ learning skills in the context of science
3. Resources that can be integrated into a variety of scientific subjects.

Why is LSS relevant for Science in Society?
Science in Society A level emphasises the applications and implications of science. Student-centred teaching and learning approaches are also encouraged in the activities and style of assessment, and high-order skills are crucial for these more active processes.

Specific development of these skills recognises the need to prepare students for higher education and employment, by supporting their development as independent learners.

Previously, learning skills for science were acquired through trial and error. The Learning Skills for Science programme helps teachers to integrate these skills into the teaching of scientific content. It provides activities to facilitate explicit, guided, and well-planned learning opportunities that foster skills development.

LSS activities develop skills which will be useful for SiS Unit 2. Tackling some of the LSS activities in the early topics of the course is good preparation for the coursework tasks.

Six skill areas
LSS activities focus on six ‘Learning Skills Areas’:

Skill area 1: Information retrieval
Skill area 2: Listening and observing
Skill area 3: Scientific reading
Skill area 4: Data representation
Skill area 5: Scientific writing
Skill area 6: Knowledge presentation.

Each skill area is further divided into sub-skills. For example, scientific writing provides practice in how to prepare a summary, write an article and construct a bibliography.

Activities are available here to develop all of these skill areas as an integrated part of the Science in Society course.

Learning Skills for Science resources
Originally developed at the Weizmann Institute, Israel, the UK LSS programme for KS4 was funded by the Science Enhancement Programme in collaboration with Nuffield Science and Mathematics Education. The post-16 LSS resource is available through a training programme delivered by the national network of Science Learning Centres. A sample of the activities have been specifically modified for SiS. These are integrated into the topic activities.