Science in the Environment
The Science in the Environment project was run by members of the University of York Science Education Group. The team produced resources to enable post-16 students to broaden their programmes of study to include some rigorous science applied to real contexts. Students used the resources to gain various qualifications including advanced-level certificates based on a specification from the OCR awarding organisation.
Purposes of the resources
The resources were intended to be suitable for use with a wide variety of post-16 students. Use of the materials was expected to facilitate broadening of post-16 programmes by:
*providing science courses for students who wished to follow a broad and balanced study of science but did not want to specialise in one or more of the separate science disciplines,
*complementing and enhancing the programmes of students who were specialising in the sciences.
The revised versions of resources were published in 2000 in eight packs. The first four packs provided the basis for an AS level course and the rest of the packs supported the full A level course.
In each pack the science content was covered in a series of ‘science notes’ tailored to suit the needs of the students, many of whom were likely not to be specialising in science subjects. These science notes were clearly written in plain language and are highly interactive, containing short tasks at intervals throughout the text, and more extensive tasks and questions covering broader aspects of the topic at the end of each set of notes.
Teaching and learning
The application of science to environmental situations was achieved through a large variety of activities. The course did contain laboratory work, but less extensively so than in courses designed for students intending to specialise in science. Other activities included interpretation of numerical and non-numerical data, researching literature on a particular topic, report-writing and oral communication and design. The activities provided students with opportunities to develop the skills they would need alongside their knowledge and understanding of science in order to make sense of scientific issues outside the classroom and in later life.