Friday, 30 May 2014

My Ideal Scheme of Work (1) Giving it Purpose

It is not a secret that I love the Segue schemes of work. My ideal schemes of work would be built on the some of the same principles from the Cracking Science manifesto of Tony Sherborne.

Please see:

Through experience I agree with the idea of having big ideas as themes through schemes of work; adding to the ideas of the students, nudging and supporting them in building their ideas about science. I want to go back to the 'Principles and Big Ideas of Science Education' document on the ASE website to work out what those big ideas are. I was not always confident that the 5 big ideas of the old key stage 3 strategy are the best choices. However, I did always use them in my teaching, e.g. student study particles in Year 7, develop this in the Solutions topic, recover the basics again in the sound and heating topics in Year 8 and again in the pressure topic of Year 9. This only scratches the surface, the ideas interweave throughout science and this revisiting of the ideas can only help students to remember and understand ideas about science.

Using these key ideas it is possible to help students make links between the concrete knowledge of the student to abstract ideas, allowing them to use what they know to explain things they don't. As real scientists do.

In the cracking science manifesto, Tony Sherbone mentions the term 'backwards design'. It is something that I am familiar with. When working with a team in London in February we outlined what we want from key stage 3. We need to work back from this to ensure that the opportunities for students to develop the skills (knowledge was only a small proportion) are part of the schemes.

Following this starting point, Ed Walsh (leaning heavily on the work of Robin Millar) has convinced me that having a 'working scientifically' objective alongside the content objective is the best way to teach the skills and knowledge that students need from science education. This is what the upd8 schemes have.

I also agree that the teacher has to motivate the learners. In science this is important to inspire the next generation of scientists.

  • We have achieved Motivation To Learn when students find meaning and purpose in science. Unfortunately, it is clear from research into students' attitudes (as well as low uptake of science subjects) that too many view science as 'important, but not for me'.
Emotionally engaging the student in the learning journey, either by helping them overcome a challenge or through relevant activities and contexts. I like the question asked 'why should I care?' Actually, "because it will help you get GCSEs in the future and this is a compulsory subject" isn't helpful, because we have to do more, we have to help students to see that science is an important part of their lives, because it is!

I like the 5/7E lesson cycle, I believe that it has the potential to engage students both intellectually and emotionally in their work. The idea of engaging students with a question in context helps students to engage in the lesson and give it purpose. Starting with an engaging problem also helps to give the end of the lesson clarity. The elaborate section is my favourite bit, the plenary of the lesson and it usually gives the chance to assess the student formatively and build their literacy skills.

I have written about it before. In my ideal world all my lessons would be structured this way, but it takes time to think about it especially when it also needs to be fitted to the GCSE curriculum. However, I don't see why my KS3 lessons can't have this structure, upd8 wikid and segue prove that it is possible.

The criticism of the wikid schemes was that the students got too wrapped up in the stories. In my ideal scheme of work I would try to make the 'story' more real. It may curb the excitement, but hopefully it will help students find out more about real science discoveries.

I also want to think about how new technology can change the way that students will learn. Our students will have an iPad each. (Or should have). Watching videos, researching using the web, working on collaborative documents, answering online quizzes, writing blogs, creating graphics, auras and videos should all be possible. Alongside developing future scientists and scientifically literate young people I have the added responsibility of helping students get to grips with ICT, and using it to help them learn. I want to develop a scheme of work that also makes the most of this new technology.

I want to develop a scheme of work that

a) starts with the end in mind,
b) interweaves the big ideas of science throughout, building a progression in understanding from concrete to abstract models in these areas
c) has learning objectives that reference working scientifically and knowledge for each lesson
d) is emotionally engaging for students by including a context and/or story for lessons or sets of lessons
e) is made up of lessons that are structured using the 5E lesson cycle
f) makes use of new technologies to support the learning of students and helps them develop ICT skills
g) most importantly helps students to see that science is relevant to their every day lives and is a subject worth following as it is for everyone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment