The Ethics in science planner is a planning template designed to help teachers plan for and teach ethics in their science programmes.

Why teach ethics in science?

Incorporating ethics in science programmes engages students in science learning and enhances understanding of science concepts as well as the human aspects. Teaching ethics in science also presents students with opportunities to develop their argumentation, critical thinking and decision-making skills and helps them become more ethically aware, knowledgeable and discerning in science. All these act together to increase scientific literacy and the ability of our students to contribute to society as responsible citizens.

Ethics in science has a prominent role in the New Zealand curriculum within the nature of science strand in the science learning area

The planner

Using a subject-specific planning tool supports the development and articulation of a teacher’s pedagogical content knowledge and is particularly useful when teaching in a new area. This planner is specific to ethics in science.

The planning template is a one-page layout that is easy to view but includes the important components for teaching ethics in science. It is intended that teachers complete the planner digitally as they work through it. Some of the components have links to give teachers ideas to consider.

Download the Word files (see links below) for:

  • The Ethics in science planner template
  • An example that illustrates the use of the Ethics in science planner for teaching a level 3/4 unit on the conservation of the takahē.


Cowie, B., Moreland, J., Jones., & Otrel-Cass, K. (2008). The classroom InSiTE project: Understanding classroom interactions to enhance teaching and learning in science and technology in Years 1-8. Retrieved from Teaching and Learning Research Initiative: .

Ryan, B.E. (2011). Teaching ethics in the primary science classroom: Planning support for teachers (Master’s thesis, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand). Retrieved from



Published 12 June 2012