Ideas about science
People need more than an understanding of the major Science explanations if they are to be informed consumers of scientific knowledge.
They also need to be able to reflect on scientific knowledge itself, including:
- the practices that have produced it;
- the kinds of reasoning that are used in developing a scientific argument; and
- on the issues that arise when scientific knowledge is put to practical use.
The GCSE Science course explores these aspects of science so as to prepare young people to deal with issues such as childhood vaccinations, air quality, and mobile phone safety as they arise.
We have grouped the ideas that help us to understand and think critically about science into these broad categories:
- Data and its limitations;
- Correlation and cause;
- The scientific community;
- Making decisions about science and technology.
All of this is called ‘How Science Works’ in the National Curriculum and ‘Ideas about Science’ in the GCSE Science course of Twenty First Century Science.
The introduction to Appendix F in the 2006 OCR specification for GCSE Science expands on these categories. It gives a clear portrait of science that we wish to convey to students.