The developers of the Nuffield 11-13 course chose to place the emphasis on the processes by which scientists advance our knowledge, and the ways in which science is used by society. Their ambition was to counteract a perceived negative view of science as a ‘body of depersonalised knowledge’.
Aims of the project
The objectives of the course were:
*To develop the students’ images of scientists as people doing a special job with a long and interesting history.
*To develop the students’ images of technologists as multiple solution problem-solvers.
*To develop the students’ understanding of the interaction of science with society through technology.
*To develop the students’ understanding of some of the processes and methods of science and technology.
*To develop the students’ skill in the use of some basic scientific techniques.
*To develop the students’ knowledge of some basic scientific vocabulary and some basic observational facts.
*To develop the students’ understanding of some basic scientific ideas and patterns.
In Nuffield 11-13 resources there is a focus on practical work, with guidance and equipment lists provided. The first year of the course focuses on how scientists work, while the second year shifts towards science in action and so to help prepare children for later learning. The teaching approach places emphasis on discussion. It is designed to encourage young people to develop their literacy in the context of science through talking and writing.
The course materials have a strategy for covering complex and abstract topics such as energy. Such topics are introduced using a range of experiences in different contexts without attempting detailed explanation, but to provide a basis for later explanation when the student is older.
The titles given to the two years of the Science 11 -13 programme seem prescient when compared with the criteria for GCSE Science from 2006. Year 1 was called ‘How Scientists Work’ and Year 2 was called ‘How science is Used’
The Nuffield 11 to 13 project provided a book for students and a Teachers’ Guide for each year of the course together with a file of Worksheets. The student books were not conventional textbooks. Less space than usual was given to exposition and factual information. The main aim was to generate interest using case...
The second year of the Nuffield 11-13 course is divided into more traditional units geared towards an understanding of science in everyday life, and in its relation to society. The title ‘How science is used’ for the second year book conveys both the continuity and change.
A concern for processes maintains...
The Nuffield 11-13 file of Worksheets includes photocopiable sheets covering both years of the programme. As well as supplementing the activities in the textbook, the worksheets are designed to do several jobs:
*to provide copiable of pages of information or graphics which teachers might reproduce as permanent...