Books for science teachers

Essential reads for any science teacher  – the best of the best!

The books below have played an invaluable role in shaping my thinking about science education and education in general. I hope they are useful to you too!


Science-specific books for the beginning science teacher

Learning to teach science in the secondary school. Rob Toplis

This classic text was my bread and butter when I was doing my PGCE, then edited by the fabulous Jenny Frost. The new edition is an indispensable guide with a fresh approach to the process, practice and reality of teaching and learning science in a secondary school. There are also lots of references to the literature if you wish to dig a little deeper.



Secondary Science: Respiration is not breathing! Catrin Green

Respiration is Not Breathing is a book filled to the brim with lots of engaging teaching ideas that can be easily implemented in the secondary science classroom.  This is a how to guide for science teachers and there are also some excellent links to up-to-date further reading for those who want to understand more of the ‘why’. I found the chapters on practical work and the science curriculum especially useful in offering up a fresh perspective on how to best implement these important areas of science education. 

Teaching secondary physics 2nd editionTeaching secondary physics 2nd edition ASE science practice*. David Sang. *Editions also available for Biology and Chemistry too.

These brilliant books from the ASE provide real clarity on how to start teaching the key ideas in Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Chapters highlight common misconceptions, suggest demonstrations and class practicals and propose teaching sequences for each topic. A must read before you begin teaching any new topic! 



Rosalind DriverMaking sense of secondary science: Research into Children’s ideas. Rosalind Driver, Anne Squires, Peter Rushworth and Valerie Wood-Robinson.

This is an excellent book that is easy to read and reviews some of the key prior conceptions students have about core topics in science education. Any teacher will benefit from reading the relevant chapter before they embark on planning and teaching a new topic. I think this is the best of the Driver misconception books.  


Science-specific books for the science teacher

Good practice in science teachingGood practice in science teaching: what research has to say. Jonathan Osbourne and Justin Dillon

This is great book that summarises the key areas of research and scholarship in science education. Well written and very accessible – I use this a lot when trying to find evidence to identify what works and why in the science classroom. 



Chemistry misconceptionsChemical Misconceptions : Prevention, diagnosis and care: Classroom resources,Volume 2. Jonathan Osbourne and Justin Dillon

This excellent book from the RSC provides some easy to use resources to prevent, diagnose and remedy some chemical misconceptions. This book is a great starting point when planning your chemistry lesson



General education books

Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom. Daniel Willingham 

This book is essential reading. It helps you to understand, from a cognitive science perspective, why the things that you know to work in the classroom actually do. It will give you a fresh, theoretical perspective, to think about how students learn, and most importantly, will guide you on how to teach and plan better science lessons! 


Making Good Progress?: The future of Assessment for Learning. Daisy Christodoulou

This is a great little book that will help you to understand the true nature of assessment. What are the aims of assessment? What are the differences between summative and formative assessment and why do these differences matter to teachers? Daisy Christodoulou does a really fantastic job of dispelling assessment myths and gets to the heart of why good assessment matters in schools. 


  1. Why all students should learn science
  2. Next steps for beginning science teachers
  3. Initial science teacher training resources 
  4. How to plan effective science lessons: the EPIBA approach
  5. Essential reads for beginning science teachers
  6. Developing subject knowledge 
  7. A timeline of science education in England
  8. Useful websites for science teachers