Nuffield Combined Science

Nuffield Combined Science was planned as a two-year course for students aged 11 to 13. It could be adapted for use with the whole range of ability. The course was very widely adopted. By 1979 it had been taken up, in whole or in part, by over half of all secondary schools.

The basis for a common course
The organizers set out to capture the unity of outlook and consistency of method belonging to the whole of science. They developed ways of introducing phenomena which enabled young people to play a part in interpreting them.

The course drew selectively on the work of the Nuffield O-level projects. The team picked ten topics to link together the material from the separate courses.

Teaching approach
In line with the general Nuffield approach, the course based the teaching on students' first-hand experience in the laboratory. The intention was that students would draw on this experience to develop an appreciation of how to formulate, test, and modify hypotheses. To do this they were to be given sufficient time and data to develop concepts.

It was recommended that one teacher should deal with each class to enable unification and reconciliation of the wide range of subject matter.

Components
This collection of resources is made up of:
*Teachers' Guide I: covering sections 1-5
*Activities pack I: with activities for sections 1-5
*Teachers' Guide II: covering sections 6-10
*Activities pack II: with activities for sections 6-10
*Teachers's Guide III: with guidance about apparatus, materials, teaching aids and the mathematics in the course.

Background
The Nuffield Foundation’s curriculum work began in 1961 with a decision to develop teaching materials starting at age 11 and leading to O-level in biology, chemistry and physics. At first it had seemed impossible to avoid the traditional division of school science into three subjects.

However it was agreed that a combined science course would be desirable, especially in the first two years of secondary school. By the late sixties the need for a combined course was even greater with the move to comprehensive schools. As a result the course not only combined three science subjects but also prepared for the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) as well as for GCE O-level work.

Resources

Teachers' Guide I

This Nuffield Combined Science Teachers’ Guide covers the first five sections of the course which were planned to be taught to students aged 11-12.

Contents
Section 1: The world around us
Section 2: Looking for patterns
Section 3: How living things begin
...

Activities Pack I

This Nuffield Combined Science activities pack provided student booklets; one for each of the first five sections of the course. These booklets were not intended to be used as ordinary text books.

Purposes
Activities were to be used to:
*start students thinking about a...

Teachers’ Guide II

This Nuffield Combined Science teachers’ guide covers the sections five to ten of the course which were planned to be taught to students aged 12-13.

Contents
Section 6: Water
Section 7: Small things
Section 8: Earth
Section 9: Insects
Section 10: Energy...

Activities Pack II

This Nuffield Combined Science Activities Pack provided student booklets; one for each of the last five sections of the course. These booklets were not intended to be used as ordinary text books.

Purposes
Activities were to be used to:
*start students thinking about a...

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Comments

Mary Whitehouse

The teachers guides have far more detail about the thinking behind the teaching than most modern teaching schemes.
A useful resource for use while planning a KS3 scheme.

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