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.
Year 3 – The house of needs and wants
Year 5 Never too young to be Moneysmart with clothes
Year 6 The fun begins: Plan, budget, profit!
Year 7 Should I drink bottled water?
Year 9 – smart consumers 4 a smart future – My eco-kitchen rules
Year 10 smart consumers 4 a smart future – Decisions by the stars
Use and influence of science
Solutions to contemporary issues that are found using science and technology, may impact on other areas of society and mayinvolve ethical considerations(ACSHE135)
People use science understanding and skills in their occupations and these have influenced the development of practices in areas of human activity(ACSHE136)
Processing and analysing data and information
Construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys and models to represent and analyse patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS144)
Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions based on evidence (ACSIS145)
Reflect on scientific investigations including evaluating the quality of the data collected, and identifying improvements (ACSIS146)
Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to evaluate claims based on evidence (ACSIS234)
Communicate ideas, findings and evidence based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS148)
Questioning and predicting
Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (ACSIS139)
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 (ACSIS140)
Measure and control variables, select equipment appropriate to the task and collect data with accuracy (ACSIS141)