APU Science Report for Teachers 8: Planning Scientific Investigations at Age 11

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This APU report for teachers focuses on students’ planning of investigations. Although considered important in several respects, Report for Teachers 1 found that little emphasis was given in primary schools to students designing investigations or even planning parts of investigations such as identifying variables and making tests ‘fair’.

In the assessment framework, planning investigations was divided into two sub-categories: planning whole investigations and planning parts of investigations. The first required some extended writing and so only a few of these items were included in each survey.

The results for two such items are included in this report. For planning parts of investigations, several types of question were used dealing with decisions about variables, how to ensure valid measurements, identifying the problem under investigation from an account of the investigation, using results to decide the answer to a problem.

The results suggested that students’ experience of planning was limited and this was confirmed by results from teachers’ questionnaires.

Contents

 1. Introduction

2. The importance of planning

3. Assessment of planning in the APU surveys

4. Planning a whole investigation

5. Planning parts of investigations

6. Performance in various part of devising a plan

7. Some implications for teaching APU Science Publications APU Steering Group on Science

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