What specific curriculum area, subject or aspect did you intend to have impact on?
How did you intend to impact on pupil learning?
The intention of the development was to find ways of getting pupils more involved with their learning in Science. The decision was made to explore the use of models. It was felt that by incorporating the effective use of models into schemes of learning it would make pupils’ experience of learning in Science more consistent.
It was also felt that if pupils had the opportunity to use models and were able to manipulate them and develop models of their own they would be more engaged in their learning and that the effective use of models would lead to the use of a wider range of lesson activities.
What were your success criteria?
- Pupils scoring higher marks on tracking and summative assessments
- Pupils with a positive attitude and disposition towards Science
- Pupils feeling able to explore ideas and take the risk of responses being wrong
- Teachers being able to adapt any model to use with any teaching group
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What information or data did you use to measure progress towards your success criteria?
- Observation outcomes
- Periodic teacher assessment
- Pupils' work
- Test results
What did you do? What teaching approaches (pedagogy) did you use to achieve the intended impact?
- Assessment for Learning (AfL)
- Collaborative group work
- Self assessment and peer assessment
- Use of pupil talk for whole-class teaching
- Use of thinking skills
Describe the teaching approaches you used
The Science department decided to participate in the 'Level 6 & Beyond' project running in Surrey LA. Of the possible themes, the one of 'modelling' was selected as it was felt that improving practice in this area would have a positive impact on a number of outcomes.
Teachers in the Science team were encouraged to identify instances in which they used models in lessons and reflect on their effectiveness. Schemes of learning were reviewed by pairs of teachers and a greater variety of learning activities incorporated; one of the outcomes of this review was to identify and share good practice by building it into plans, thereby reducing the variation between lessons. A number of the activities were designed to facilitate outcomes at a range of levels. Examples included the particulate model of matter, cellular processes in plants and the oxygenation of blood.
As well as being incorporated in the lesson plans, staff were encouraged to use models in response to questions arising in lessons and where additional explanations were needed. This therefore developed a 'toolkit' that teachers could draw upon to respond to pupils’ needs and interests.
An example of a lesson that was enhanced by using a modelling activity was a Y10 lesson on genetic engineering. Part of this lesson had a focus upon pupils understanding how genetically modified insulin is made. This involved them in using scissors, donuts and strawberry laces to represent (respectively) restriction enzymes, plasmids and the insulin gene. As the pupils have to physically insert the insulin gene into the plasmid it is an effective way of learning how the process works. Furthermore it then allows questions such as:
- Why was this a good model?
- What did you learn from it?
- How is it unrealistic?
- In what ways can you improve it?
This enables the lesson to have a focus on the process of modelling as well as on genetic engineering.
The lesson plan and the presentation used with the pupils are included in this case study.
As the development has continued, a great range of models has been added to and integrated with the department's schemes of learning. This now includes:
- 'Tails', in which pupils gather tails from each other to show what (or who) they have eaten, progressing from year 7 (showing how habitats works and introducing the idea of competition by acting out different scenarios) to year 11 (depicting the predator/prey relationship which brings the graph to life. They also then devise their own scenarios to show "what happens if…").
- Particle model by looking at pictures of a football stadium and seeing how the particles relate to spectators at a football match, or, thinking about a shopping centre to model the idea of density (on a hot summers day not many shoppers – low density but on Christmas Eve when no-one has done their shopping – high density).
- Circulatory system, which uses coloured boiler suits and hats to represent oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. Pupils are then encourage to take the route of blood around the body going from the heart to the lungs and to the muscles. At each stage pupils are to swap their boiler suits to model the process of gaseous exchange occurring at the different organs.
What did you do? What approaches to CPD and learning for adults were used?
- Lesson observation
- Lesson study
- Partnership teaching
Describe the CPD approaches you used
The development work on the scheme of learning was undertaken by pairs of teachers, who were nominated by the subject leaders to combine complementary strengths and build in quality assurance. The revisions were designed to identify and share a range of active teaching strategies.
Many teachers were making some use of models in their lessons so progress could be made by identifying good practice. They were often using approaches they’d developed themselves, so there was the opportunity for the sharing of effective practice and strengthening collaboration and a sense of shared enterprise in the team.
Draft plans were circulated for comment; staff were encouraged to feedback on ideas and make suggestions having tried out the scheme. They were encouraged to “drop in” to each others’ lessons and the (joint) subject leaders modelled this approach. At each team meeting effective practice was shared and at a whole school CPD event a group of Science teachers led an input, exemplifying how the team worked to develop and implement active learning approaches.
It was considered important for the meetings to have a positive ethos and to focus on what was working well.
What CPD materials, research or expertise have you drawn on?
Progressing to Level 6 and beyond in science: http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/182090
Who provided you with support?
- External agency
- Middle leader
- Senior management
- Subject leader
How were you supported?
The LA Science Consultant supported the developments by providing feedback on classroom practice, encouraging the sharing of effective practice and referencing the work with parallel developments in other schools.
The 'Progressing to Level 6 & Beyond' materials were used and good practice shared at the local network meetings. At these meetings teachers from schools brought along examples of effective practice and discussed how they had implemented change.
- Genetic engineering lesson plan [ doc : 95 KB ]
- Genetic engineering lesson presentation [ ppt : 254 KB ]
- Pupils developing a particle model to explain why heating a mixture of liquids will cause some of them to evaporate first [ jpg : 192 KB ]
- Pupils planning their presentation of plasmid modification [ jpg : 563 KB ]
- Pupils preparing a model showing how atoms (the coloured balloons) are rearranged when a chemical reaction occurs [ jpg : 555 KB ]
- Pupils using donuts and strawberry laces to model plasmid modifications [ jpg : 538 KB ]
- The modified plasmid [ JPG : 1.5 MB ]
- Download all [ 2 MB ]