Consumer and financial literacy: Science

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The Australian Curriculum: Science has an important role in developing consumer and financial literacy in young people. Science supports the development of the dimensions of consumer and financial literacy as shown in the diagram below.


Approximate proportion of dimensions addressed in Science

Science makes a significant contribution to the development of responsible decision-making and enterprise. Students develop enterprising skills through initiating and participating in science investigations. Science enables students to critically analyse scientific findings and claims and to determine the impact of consumer choices on self, others, the community and the environment. For example, students might consider the economic and environmental benefits of recycling, the financial impact of energy conservation and its influence on sustainability, the effect of scarcity on prices, or the effectiveness and financial cost of products. As they consider the effects of consumer choices, students learn a range of skills that will help them make sound, informed and ethical consumer and financial decisions throughout their lives.

Becoming responsible and ethical consumers is underpinned by the appreciation students’ gain about the influence and use of science. The understanding students acquire in the sub-strand science as a human endeavour, combined with the skills of processing, evaluating and communicating scientific information, enable students to apply their learning to a range of real-world consumer and financial contexts. For example, students might be asked to assess the financial impact of scientific inventions and discoveries on individuals and their broader community, identify existing and emerging careers in science and engineering or evaluate the scientific claims made by media and advertising.

The content descriptions relevant to consumer and financial literacy have been drawn primarily from the science inquiry skills and science as a human endeavour strands. Apart from content descriptions in the biological sciences sub-strand that relate to understanding that all living things have needs, the scientific understanding strand has not been included in this mapping. However, there are opportunities to include aspects of this strand in the teaching and learning of consumer and financial literacy. For example, when studying chemical sciences, students might analyse the properties, use, cost, safety, advertising and marketability of certain materials.

Moneysmart for teachers provides a number of interdisciplinary units and interactive activities that either focus on or include aspects of the Science curriculum. Access a   list of relevant resources that link to the Australian Curriculum: Science using the right-hand menu.


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Use and influence of science

Solutions to contemporary issues that are found using science and technology, may impact on other areas of society and may involve ethical considerations (ACSHE120)

People use science understanding and skills in their occupations and these have influenced the development of practices in areas of human activity (ACSHE121)

Questioning and predicting

Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically (ACSIS198)

Planning and conducting

Plan, select and use appropriate investigation types, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data; assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods (ACSIS199) 

Select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to collect and record data systematically and accurately (ACSIS200) 

Questioning and predicting

Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (ACSIS124)

Planning and conducting

Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring safety and ethical guidelines are followed (ACSIS125)

Measure and control variables, select equipment appropriate to the task and collect data with accuracy (ACSIS126)