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Upper Primary Workshop

Untitled Document

Investigative Case-Based Learning (ICBL):
Teaching Science While Developing 21st Century Competencies

This course is designed to

  • Introduce teachers to the ICBL approach for teaching primary level science
  • Illustrate the use of investigations, models, online resources and demonstrations linked to the cases.
  • Demonstrate how using cases help to develop 21st century competencies through student questions, explorations, and final products.
  • Support teachers in the design, implementation, and assessment of an ICBL module


Investigative Case Based Learning is one teaching strategy that supports these key 21st Century Competencies described below by the Ministry of Education:

  • Civic Literacy, Global Awareness & Cross-cultural Skills

“Our society is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan and more Singaporeans live and

work abroad. Our young will therefore need a broader worldview, and the ability to

work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, with different ideas and

perspectives. At the same time, they should be informed about national issues, take

pride in being Singaporean and contribute actively to the community.”

  • Critical and Inventive Thinking

“To be future-ready, our young need to be able to think critically, assess options and

make sound decisions. They should have a desire to learn, explore and be prepared

to think out of the box. They should not be afraid to make mistakes and face

challenges that may at first appear daunting.”

  • Information and Communication Skills

“With the Internet Revolution, information is often literally just a click away. It is

important that our young know what questions to ask, how to sieve information and

extract that which is relevant and useful. At the same time, they need to be

discerning so that they can shield themselves from harm, while adopting ethical

practices in cyberspace. Importantly, they should be able to communicate their

ideas clearly and effectively.”

Upper Primary Workshop Schedule

Times Tuesday 26 July MOE Primary Curriculum Objectives Resources
9-9:30 Introductions, Overview, Website
9:30-10:30 Case 1: Racing Rosie

Using a computer simulation

Know/Need to Know Answers


  • Systems


  • Human respiratory system
  • Identify the organs
  • Recognize the integration of different systems

10:30 Break
10:45 – 11:30 Small groups

Lab activity: experimental design

Collecting data


  • Formulating hypotheses, observing, using apparatus and equipment, inferring


  • Investigation

Ethics and Attitudes:

  • Show objectivity by seeking data and information to validate observations and explanations
  • Variety of equipment

Participant Group Photos

11:30-12 Small groups


  • Hypothesis
  • Description of Experiment
  • Data
  • Inferences/ Conclusion

  • Communication, evaluation

Instructions for the Miniposter

  • Poster paper and marking pens
Lunch Global Awareness:

1-1:45 Present posters


Discussion and application of 21st century competencies


  • Communication

Participants Posters:

Hold Your Breath

Take My Breath Away

Exer CO2 ise

Ali’s Breath

Ah Ha

How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?

Impact of Exercise on Breath Holding


1:45 – 2:45 Case 2: The Salmon Challenge

Collect data and make a graph

Theme: Interactions


  • Identify the factors that affect the survival of an organism
  • Discuss the effects on organisms when environment becomes unfavorable
  • Give examples of Man’s impact on the environment

Skills and processes:

  • Observe, collect and record information, communicating (graphical)

Ethics and Attitudes:

  • Show concern for Man’s impact on the environment
  • Value individual effort and teamwork.

Try websites below if you are having trouble getting to the Salmon Challenge

  • Salmon Challenge website3

  • Graph paper
2:45 Break
3-3:45 After case activity:

Carbon footprint for travel to work

Other questions to explore?

3:45-4 Tools for Data and Text Visualization


Please email to:

  • brief description of one activity that you use with seeds in the classroom
  • one rubric for a science activity you are currently doing

Wrap up

Additional Resources and simulations:

Some simulations for pollution effect on environment:

Developed in 1999, you can change values for weather, population, and pollution generating sources to see effects on air quality index. Simple to use, but uses Farenheit and the range of temps is 80-120 (30-45 C?). Good educational background info

This website from the USA’s space agency has some fun games on energy, weather and such. Good for primary

Greenhouse effect simulation to explore impact of clouds, pollution, and to examine properties of different greenhouse gasses. Interesting. Maybe use in combination with Worldmapper

Sampling streams for organisms that indicate pollution levels. FUN
Additional Links for 21st Century Competencies:

Times Wednesday 27 July MOE Primary Curriculum Objectives Resources
9-10:00 Case 3: Seedy Pup

Forensics analysis of evidence

  • Explore seedlings and plant materials to answer your case questions
  • Compare and contrast plants to develop characteristics that can be used as evidence

  • Cycles


  • Living things reproduce
  • Seed germination
  • Compare and contrast plants


  • Investigate the ways plants reproduce, observation, compare and contrast, working with equipment

Ethics and Attitudes:

  • Show curiosity in exploring surrounding plants and animals and question what they find
  • Value individual effort and team work
Know/Need to Know Chart

Workshop Participants:

10-10:30 Sharing seed activities

  • Chia vs Quinoa seeds
  • Your activities will be posted online
Instructions for Seed Activity
10:30 Break Chia fresca?
10:45 – 11:30 Discussion of your rubrics:

  • How to modify learning activities to fit 21st century competencies
  • How cases can help

11:30-12 Wrap up of what you are expected to do after lunch

  • Small group formation.
Components of a Case Module
Lunch Consider discussing afternoon project ideas over lunch
1- 2:45 Adapt one of the three cases used during this workshop for your own classroom setting Please email your Word document

Your group should provide a Word document with the following case adaptations:

  • case scenario
  • two to three resources
  • sample assessment
  • two student products
  • two possible activities
  • 21st Century Competencies

Participant Groups Presentations

  • 5 minutes
  • 2 minutes (questions)

Fish farms Case Study

ScruffyCase-based Learning

case study – Gotcha

the river challenge

What the fish!

3:30-4 Wrap up and evaluation

Issues Oriented Science Teaching Strategies:

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