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O. Glikasa, L. Karule

Liepaja University (LATVIA)
Nowadays learning involves both mental processes and thinking development and the development of individual's experience in interaction with the natural environment and society. It creates the basis for a person to conduct a purposeful cognitive activity, practically assess of the environmental objects and topical situations, develop certain attitudes, as well as plan and implement the activities. In the 21st century the competence-based approach implies: the individual's readiness for life in the changing world, the ability to apply the acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes when solving problems in different life situations, the ability to use the learning outcomes in relation to a specific sphere of life and a possible future profession.

The psychological and physical characteristics of basic school pupils allow doing it because this age is characterized by manifestations of activity - curiosity, interest in the meaning and usefulness of surrounding subjects, tendency towards practical activity – creation, handwork. It is a concrete operational stage, when the child is also able to solve the material problems. In this context, the main directions for studying natural sciences are:
1) familiarity with the diversity of natural elements;
2) understanding the interdependence of natural elements and their role in natural phenomena and processes;
3) clarification of how the natural elements and processes influence human life and activities;
4) developing skills for acting in real situations in the natural environment;
5) developing a responsible attitude towards the natural environment,
6) developing competence for purposeful gathering of information from different sources and from research activities. It can be achieved using diverse methods both in lessons and extra-curricular activities, involving parents and improving interdisciplinary cooperation.

The aims of this article:
• to explore the pupils' ability to assess the acquisition of competences during lessons of natural sciences, expressing their attitude towards various natural objects and valuing the importance of the acquired knowledge for daily life and the future profession;
• to explore the teachers' opinion about the competence development in natural sciences lessons at the basic school;
• to develop a methodology for implementation of the topic in the basic school learning process and extra-curricular activities.

The pedagogical research includes both pupils' perceptions on competences acquired during the lessons of natural sciences and the attitudes of teachers and parents towards the need to apply the competence-based approach in the natural science lessons. The research results show a sufficient understanding about the role of different natural elements in the nature and human life, however, often not related to specific situations in pupils’ lives. In the future, in methodology of natural sciences, a greater emphasis must be put on observation (including self-observation), research, visits to objects of economic and scientific activity, understanding of positive and negative manifestations of human -nature interactions, solving topical daily problems, understanding about personal and social responsibility when acting in the natural environment.