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Knowing The Five Themes In The Primary Science Syllabus

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

Scientific knowledge is crucial to mankind as its application helps to satisfy innumerable human needs and improve the standards of living. Many of the technologies and tools that we have today are products of research and development on the basis of science. It is fair to say that science has shaped the world we live in. All around us, Science is at work. Children are naturally curious as they learn through every interaction and experience. Parents and teachers can help children make sense of the environment and the world by explaining science phenomena that occur in daily activities.

Students in Singapore are first introduced to Science as a subject in Primary Three. At the primary levels, the syllabus sets the foundation for scientific studies at more advanced levels. It highlights the importance of a balance between the acquisition of scientific attitudes, process and knowledge. The wide coverage of fundamental concepts in the physical and natural world is also emphasised on.

Science education should enable students to acquire scientific literacy and competencies relevant to the 21st century. Students must be taught more than just the basic concepts of science. Just like in the subject of Mathematics, students learn more than just basic mathematical concepts. To solve certain Singapore Primary 6 Maths questions, unique strategies called heuristics are employed. In the area of Science, students need to be equipped with the abilities to employ scientific knowledge to recognise questions, and to derive conclusions based on evidence. In this way, they will gain an appreciation of how technology and science can shape our intellectual, material and cultural environments. Last but not least, the right ethics and attitudes have to be inculcated in students so they can engage in science-related matters as reflective citizens in the near future.

Although the primary science syllabus is organised into five themes, the topics under each theme should not be considered as compartmentalised sections of knowledge. Broadly speaking, distinct boundaries do not exist between these themes as there are topics common to different themes, as we can see from PSLE Science questions over the years. The five themes are:


There is an extensive variety of living and non-living things in the world. To gain a clearer understanding of the world in which we live, we strive to organise this great diversity of living and non-living things. To do this, we must identify the common threads and unifying factors that connect them. We can then classify living and non-living things based on their similarities and differences to make better sense of them.


In nature, we can observe repeated patterns of change. The water cycle and life cycles of living things are some examples. With a comprehensive understanding of these cycles, we can make predictions of events and processes. In addition, we can appreciate the Earth as a self-sustaining system.


A system is a whole made up of parts that work together to perform functions. Some examples are the digestive system, respiratory system and electrical system. Understanding how these systems in nature and man-made systems work allows us to know how they operate and how individual parts interact with one another to perform a function.


The advancement of science and technology is the result of human interaction with the environment. Concurrently, science and technology play a significant role in influencing the way humans interact with the environment. By gaining knowledge of these interactions, we can recognise the consequences of our actions towards the Earth.


Movements and changes in everyday life are possible because of energy. Different forms of energy are channelled to different uses. The use of energy is not unique to Man – all living things obtain energy and make use of it to carry out life processes. A firm understanding of this theme will enable students to appreciate the value of energy and the crucial need to conserve it.

The aims of the primary science syllabus are knowledge acquisition, understanding of science concepts and the development of the right attitude towards the practice of Science. Assessment can take many forms. In addition to written tests and exams which students can prepare for adequately using PSLE test papers free Singapore, performance-based assessments are also used. They can include practicals, projects, teacher observations, debates and many other modes.

With a comprehensive science syllabus and teachers as facilitators of the inquiry process in classrooms, students will be well-nurtured as inquirers.

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