To my mind the task as written in the scheme of work is not structured enough. However, it isn't that much harder than what is asked in GCSE questions. And the less structure the less scope for saying a point of view is right/wrong.
I plan to show the students how the marks for an individual science GCSE are divided up. The explain that 5% of those marks are for a "skills" question. Then I plan to give the students the "how science works" questions from the specimen OCR gateway paper, and allow the class to work on it in groups for a short period. Allowing them to see that this is a difficult topic and involves them being able to apply their skills in a variety of contexts.
This will be the focus for the next couple of weeks in lessons. (I only have them once per week). In the first lesson I plan to only use my questioning to help structure the ideas of the students and see how imaginative and logical the students are for themselves. This will give me an idea of where the students are struggling and areas of strength to base our interventions on.
The previous piece of my post was written before the lesson.
During the lesson the students attempted the past paper question and found it very difficult. They weren't best pleased by the questions and the vagueness of them. I would say that they are very hard to comprehend.
I gave them a set of data that could give rise to a variety of conclusions and each group had to make a different conclusion. They were happy to have a go at the task and come up with a variety of points of view. In order to do this they drew on their scientific knowledge and showed a good grasp of the science they have learned. However, very few were naturally looking to the data to help back up their claims.
When moving through the room and questioning the students about patterns in the data they struggled to break down then information into small enough chunks they could process and draw conclusions from. Only a few students could pick out general patterns and link them to a conclusion.
My task now is to develop activities to help these students and future year groups develop their data interpretation skills, ready for their GCSEs and for the rest of their life.
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