Science case study: Transition activity using data loggers
- Date: 2001
- Programme: Transfer and transition
- Focus: Building on progress made during science at Key Stage 2
- Number in series: 2
- Phase: Secondary
- Key stage: Key Stage 3
- Local authority: Kent
- Reference number: n/a
Activities undertaken, and materials and resources used
The bridging activities that were devised for Year 6 and Year 7 both used data loggers to measure temperature change and were set within units from the QCA Scheme of work. The Year 6 activity was chosen from the QCA unit Key Stage 2 6D Reversible and irreversible changes. This involved using data loggers to measure the temperature changes when two different irreversible reactions took place. The linked Year 7 activity came from QCA unit 7I Energy resources. The Year 7 pupils used the data loggers to measure the temperature change when different fuels burn beneath a sample of water.
Further details about the Y6 and Y7 activities
The Year 6 activity was taken from: Key Stage 2 QCA Unit 6D Reversible and irreversible changes.
The teacher demonstrated some irreversible reactions to help remind the children of prior learning. The pupils then:
- used data loggers to measure the temperature of some vinegar
- added some magnesium ribbon and recorded temperature change
- added some washing soda to vinegar and recorded the temperature change
- as an extension they investigated what happened when the amount of magnesium added to the vinegar increased
- used Junior Insight software to analyse their data and draw graphs
Pupil worksheets and teachers’ notes were produced (worksheets are available on request to the author). The Year 6 teachers were given training in this activity at the beginning of the summer term, and similar training has since been given to other groups of Primary teachers. Evaluations suggest an increased confidence among Primary teachers in both carrying out scientific investigations and using ICT in science.
The Year 7 activity was taken from: Key Stage 3 QCA unit 7I Energy resources.
The teacher built on the pupils’ existing knowledge of chemical change and introduced the idea that chemical reactions (irreversible reactions) always involve energy changes. This leads onto the idea that fuels are good sources of energy.
The pupils then:
- carried out an investigation into what makes a good fuel
- used data loggers to record the temperature changes of water when different types of fuels are burnt underneath the water. (Examples of worksheets were provided, but it was left to each school to customise these.)
- used Insight2 software to analyse their results
About half the pupils in each secondary school carried out the bridging unit using the data loggers to measure temperature changes. The other pupils in the school completed the investigation in different ways without the support of ICT.
After the Year 7 pupils had finished their fuels investigations, the four attitude questionnaires were again completed and analysed. Year 7 teachers were trained at the end of the summer term 2001. They were given some coaching in the use of data loggers and shown the Year 6 activity, to help raise their awareness of the extent of science taking place at Key Stage 2.