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Science Education for the Gifted

Gifted learners in science education

An interest in gifted science education arose from a concern that within the English National Curriculum (with its heavy content load, and assessment focus), it was difficult for teachers to really engage, challenge and inspire the most able students in science classes.

This led to APECS: the Able Pupils Experiencing Challenging Science Project in collaboration with Prof. John Gilbert (Emeritus Reading) and Prof. Mike Watts (then Roehampton, now Brunel), and the Cambridge seminar series on Meeting the Needs of the Most Able in Science. A book developed form the seminar series was published by Routledge: Science Education for Gifted Learners

Work supported by SEP (Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme) has looked at the nature of science as a suitable theme for challenging gifted learners:

Teaching Ideas and Evidence at KS3 project - this project led to information on the government's KS3 Strategy website, and an SEP CDROM with materials developed at Cambridge and four other Universities

ASCEND: Able Scientists Collectively Experiencing New Demands - this project led to Enriching School Science for the Gifted Learner (Book with CDROM Published by SEP)

  • A 'Challenging Science Conference' was held for Y9 pupils (14 years olds) in seven local schools in June 2007.

Dr Taber is currently involved with colleagues in editing materials on science and STEM education provision for gifted learners for publication by Routledge.


Writing related to the theme of science education for gifted learners

Some of Dr Taber's writing most relevant to the theme of gifted education in science is listed here.

  • Taber, K. S. (2015). Developing a research programme in science education for gifted learners. In N. L. Yates (Ed.), New Developments in Science Education Research (pp. 1-27). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
  • Taber, K. S. (2014). Once upon a time, there were no acids: Teaching science intuitively and learning science creatively. In J. Piirto (Ed.), Organic Creativity in the Classroom: Teaching to intuition in academics and the arts (pp. 45-58). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press Inc./National Association for Gifted Children.
  • Taber, K. S. (2012). Meeting the needs of gifted science learners in the context of England's system of comprehensive secondary education: the ASCEND project. Journal of Science Education in Japan, 36(2), 101-112.
  • Taber, K. S. (2011). Patterns in nature: challenging secondary students to learn about physical laws. Physics Education, 46(1), 80-89.
  • Taber, K. S., & Cole, J. (2010). The CREST awards scheme: Challenging gifted and talented students through creative STEM project work. School Science Review, 92(339), 117-126.
  • Taber, K. S. (2010). Challenging gifted learners: general principles for science educators; and exemplification in the context of teaching chemistry. Science Education International, 21(1), 5-30.
  • Taber, K. S. (Editor) (2007) Science Education for Gifted Learners, London: Routledge. ISBN: 9780415395335 / ISBN-10: 041539533X / ISBN: 9780415395342 / ISBN-10: 0415395348 (264 pages).
  • Taber, K. S. (2007) Enriching School Science for the Gifted Learner, London: Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme. (ISBN 978-1-901351-68-2) (59 pages + CDROM)
  • Taber, K. S. & Johnson, S. (2007) Developing science activities for gifted science students, Education in Science, No. 222, p.18.
  • Taber, K. S. & Riga, F. (2006) Lessons from the ASCEND project: able pupils’ responses to an enrichment programme exploring the nature of science, School Science Review, June 2006, 87 (321), pp.97-106.

(Link to a more comprehensive list of Keith Taber's publications.)


Enriching School Science for the Gifted Learner

A pdf of the text of Enriching School Science for the Gifted Learner may be downloaded here: Enriching School Science for the Gifted Learner.

Please note that the booklet is copyright Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme, and is made available here with permission.


International Collaboration on Science Education for the Gifted

Routledge have commissioned several new books looking at science education and STEM education for gifted learners. See the provisional list of contributions for this international collaboration on science education for the gifted.