Putting ORS modules into action

University partners of the Opening Real Science project have been implementing ORS modules in their teacher education programs.

The role of the ORS modules collectively in promoting and engaging pre-service teachers in authentic mathematics and science is still being articulated, and in particular an evaluation of the explicit role of quantitative skills within scientific inquiry is needed (Matthews, et al., 2012).

Broadly, ORS trialling indicated that the modules are viable, and effective for enhancing pre-service teacher knowledge and inquiry-based skills. However, finely articulated aims concerning approaches to pre-service teacher engagement in authentic scientific problems are essential as the modules become embedded in teacher education programs.

Embedding ORS modules across teacher education programs

Five of the seven ORS university partners embedded the modules in varying ways.


Use of ORS


Macquarie University

ORS material has been embedded into a range of newly designed units approved for teacher education programs. Activities from some of the ORS modules have been embedded into tutorials for primary pre-service teachers in the compulsory science and technology methodology units. Activities from other ORS modules have been adapted for the compulsory secondary pedagogical units.

Consumer Chemistry: Gateway to Numeracy; Smart Budgeting Primary; Statistical Literacy Primary; Discovering Real Science through Big History; Frontiers of Real Science; Clocks in Rocks; Fundamentals of Climate and Weather; Sound

Charles Sturt University

ORS has been material used in a science literacy unit for pre-service teachers.

Discovering Real Science through Big History; Consumer Chemistry; The Living Laboratory

Australian Catholic University

ORS material has been incorporated into two science education units.

Sound; The Living Laboratory; Consumer Chemistry

Western Sydney University

ORS material has been embedded into new and existing undergraduate pathways to teaching units.


The University of Notre Dame Australia

ORS material has been as the basis for a science education unit.

Discovering Real Science through Big History; The Living Laboratory, Statistical Literacy P, Gateway to Numeracy, and Smart Budgeting P

Macquarie University has developed NESA accredited specialisation programs for Primary Mathematics and Primary Science and Technology. These will be supported with specialist (Mathematics or Science and Technology) practicum placements. The key units underpinning the new programs are listed below. These units support students to make the transition from passive to active learners and to take a more self-directed role in communicating Mathematics and Science in the teaching practice.

EDUC109 Science: Today and Tomorrow
This unit provides students with opportunities to challenge their views about the nature of Science, to engage with Science in its many facets and to communicate ideas about Science.

EDUC219 Opening Real Science: Specialisation in Primary Science and Mathematics
This unit promotes students' mathematical and scientific competencies within STEM education.

EDUC258 Mathematics in Schools
This unit is designed for intending primary teachers and intending secondary Mathematics teachers and focuses on the factors affecting school students' learning of Mathematics.

EDUC359 Frontiers in Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) Education
This unit is designed for pre-service early childhood, primary and secondary teachers interested in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and other students preparing to engage in STEM-related and science communication professions.

EDTE433 Science in the Secondary School I
This unit introduces students to modern approaches for the teaching and learning of Science in secondary schools.

EDTE434 Secondary Science II 
This unit examines curricula, resources and instructional strategies appropriate for the teaching of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth and Environmental Sciences for Senior Science in Years 11 and 12.