ARBs and the Science capabilities at Level 1 and 2

Lorraine Spiller, 2018
The science capabilities are weaving tools that help teachers put the Nature of Science into the science curriculum. There are 5 science capabilities, e.g.,  Gather and interpret data, Use evidence, Critique evidence, Interpret representations and Engaging in science. New ARB science resources show ways to use them for weaving Nature of Science into the science curriculum. The table below shows how the science capabilities are related to the four Nature of Science substrands.
NOS diagram.PNG
The new ARB resources model student questions that focus on each capability e.g., 
  1. Gather and interpret data - Is it measurable? What did you see? (observation); What might that mean? (inference), Could there be another explanation for this data? etc. 
  2. Use evidence - How do you know that? What makes you think so? How could you check that? So an example of this would be… Can you think of an example when this wouldn’t work? etc.
  3. Critique evidence - How sure are you of your results? How did you get the data? What were the possible shortcomings of this method? How could you check your findings? etc.
  4. Interpret representations - What does this representation tell us? What is left out? How does this representation get the message across? Why is it presented in this particular way?
  5. Engaging in science - What action will you take? What are the alternatives? etc.
Recent Science Resources at Level 1 and 2
Recent Level 1 and Level 2 science ARBs  show explicitly how the assessment focus on the Nature of Science and the relevant science capabilities. For example,

Nature of Science (NOS) strand


Science capabilities


Investigating in science
students are doing the investigating.

1 and 2

Gather and interpret data
 Students are asked:
  • What do you notice?
  • What pattern do you notice?
Investigating in science
students are doing the investigating.

1 and 2

Using evidence
 Students are asked:
  • Why do you think that?
  • What is it? - to identify a moth or butterfly from the evidence
Communicating in science
students are making meaning from scientific representations.
1 and 2
Interpret representations
Students are asked to interpret meaning from representations, e.g., graphs, evidence.
Participating and contributing
students are recognising an action and making a judgement.

1 and 2

Engaging with science
Students are asked:
  • What problems can you see? Which is the worst problem?
Note: Resources often  include most of the science capabilities but the assessment is specifically focussing on just one or two.