Working Scientifically in EYFS, Year One and Year Two

Written by Dan

Exploring and investigating are critical ways of learning in science, and these skills begin developing from a very young age. In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), opportunities to investigate and observe the world around them should be incorporated into everyday experiences.

As children move into Year One and Two, they will ask more questions about how things work and want to carry out more structured experiments.

Teachers must provide guidance and support so children can extend their scientific enquiry skills. Here we outline some key working scientific objectives for each year group.

Asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways

When it comes to scientific exploration, asking simple questions is one of the most crucial skills for children to acquire. At an early age, children should be encouraged to observe their surroundings and ask questions about how things work.

They need to understand that the same question can be answered in various ways depending on the context and type of data used; this helps them develop critical thinking skills that can be applied throughout all stages of scientific enquiry.

Asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered differently is a fundamental concept that should be focussed on when teaching students in primary school through to post-secondary education.

Observing closely, using simple equipment

Observing closely, using simple equipment, is a scientific process that students of all ages should understand and be able to apply in different contexts. From early on in primary school, children can learn the importance of carefully studying an object or situation and recording observations as accurately and precisely as possible with the help of suitable apparatus.

As students progress through the educational system, their understanding of science increases, as does their skill in making detailed observations and measurements.

Working scientifically involves taking risks, asking questions and forming hypotheses based on the collected information.

Learning to observe closely with simple equipment prepares pupils for these higher inquiry-based learning processes, which can aid them in becoming more informed citizens.

Performing simple tests

Performing simple tests is a critical component of scientific inquiry throughout all year levels. Students can begin by observing the properties of a material or substance, then design and carry out a test to investigate how these properties may be changed.

As they work through elementary school, they will slowly develop their understanding of measurement, data collection and analysis, building on previous learning to gain more significant insights into that scientific method.

By mastering this technique in secondary school, students will have gained valuable skills for furthering their scientific pursuits and applying them to everyday life.

Identifying and classifying

Children need to be able to identify and classify objects from an early age. Starting in the Early Years, pupils should be exploring the world around them and beginning to group things into different categories, helping them to understand the world better.

Moving up through Key Stage 1, this skill should still be practised to help children recognise patterns in their environment.

By the time pupils reach Key Stage 2, they should also have acquired the ability to classify objects according to their similarities or differences, an essential tool when approaching scientific questions.

Ultimately, understanding identification and classification leads to a more developed sense of science and prepares young learners for further inquiry-based learning in their later years of education.

Using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions

Guiding students to use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions is a valuable learning activity throughout all levels of education. When students are asked questions about their comments and experiences, they can construct meaningful understanding based on their knowledge.

They can then use this understanding to form an idea or opinion on the topic and make suggestions to help answer the question.

This type of discourse helps them hone their problem-solving skills and encourages critical thinking; furthermore, having their contributions validated compliments positive self-esteem and motivates them to explore the topic further.

We are gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.

Gathering and recording data is an integral part of the scientific process. Students at different year levels should be allowed to learn how to do this accurately and effectively. For younger students, activities like classifying items or sorting by colour and pattern can help them to improve their understanding of gathering information.

In contrast, older ones can be challenged to research a topic to find more facts.

By understanding how to collect and record data, pupils can use this knowledge later in their studies when participating in experiments and observations – skills essential for answering the questions posed by scientific investigations.

For children to progress in their scientific abilities, they need to focus on objectives such as those listed above. Asking questions, observing closely and performing simple tests are vital skills that should be developed early to allow children to thrive in science.

By recognising the importance of this objective, educators can ensure that young students are given the best possible chance of success in their future scientific endeavours.


Working scientifically is an integral part of a science curriculum that helps students to think critically and for themselves. This article will answer some frequently asked questions about the working scientific objectives that need to be taught in science.

What are the working scientific objectives?

The operational scientific objectives are the skills and processes that help students understand how to investigate, test and evaluate scientific ideas.

The aim is for students to develop an understanding of scientific inquiry and a range of practical skills necessary for carrying out experiments safely.

Students should also understand how to assess evidence and make reasoned arguments based on their findings.

Working scientifically can include designing experiments, planning investigations, collecting data, analysing outcomes and concluding.

Why is it important to teach these objectives?

Students need to learn these objectives because they pave the way for future scientific research. Understanding how to investigate and analyse ideas allows students to think critically and independently, which is essential if they wish to pursue a career in science.

Furthermore, teaching these objectives helps cultivate problem-solving abilities by fostering creative thinking techniques within a scientific context.

How do teachers effectively impart these objectives?

Teachers can help their students learn these objectives by providing instruction on fundamental concepts like experimental design, hypothesis development and data analysis. Additionally, providing fun, science experiences with laboratory experiments or real-world challenges can bring the ideas alive for students in meaningful ways.

Teachers should also encourage their students to discuss their work with each other so they can share different perspectives on tackling challenges and collaboratively identify potential solutions or improvements.

Finally, teachers should continuously monitor student progress to provide timely support where needed or recommend more advanced topics when appropriate.

Are there any resources available about teaching working scientifically?

Yes! There are numerous online resources available about teaching working scientifically, such as:

  • 100 Great Science Experiments : A comprehensive guide featuring 100 interesting science experiments designed for different grade levels (K–8).
  • LearnLab: An interactive resource developed by Northwestern University that guides constructing laboratory activities based on the 5E Learning Cycle model (Engage—Explore—Explain—Elaborate—Evaluate).
  • National Center for Improving Student Learning & Achievement: A helpful guide from the National Science Foundation outlines effective practices used by successful secondary school programs when teaching science topics in middle schools (grades 6–8).

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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