Preparing students for GCSE extended writing.
At GCSE, students will need to tackle questions with less scaffolding, and compose and order their own extended answers for 4-6 marks. Students are required to genuinely apply, analyse and evaluate when discussing ethical issues or scientific method. As a starting point, this list of resources offers a variety of curriculum-linked opportunities for students to practice these skills.
Links and Resources
Although students will now be required to analyse and evaluate the work of scientists and the effects of scientific developments on society under the new assessment objectives, they are often unfamiliar with the real world of scientific research and can lack the knowledge of different points of view that is essential for a well written answer . Articles from Catalyst can help to bridge this gap. This booklet, with editable student worksheets and teacher's notes, gives six examples of how articles published in Catalyst could be used to help students develop their ideas and writing. The areas of science, common to most exam boards, covered by the activities are: • Developing and testing a question • Testing an idea • Gathering and interpreting data • Using scientific theories and models • Science’s impact on the wider world • Working as a scientist.
In this catalyst article, several ethical frameworks are described which can help students think constructively about some complicated ethical issues in science. These frameworks could provide very useful scaffolding for students, with some practice, to produce quality extended answers to exam questions - helping them to write balanced arguements for and against the use of science rather than simply saying 'It's wrong' or 'I don't believe in that.' The frameworks can be used in class with virtually any topic that has a related ethical question. The article could be given directly to higher ability students, or made into worksheets to support extended writing for lower ability students.
A resource that could either be given directly to students, or used by teachers as a source of ideas and information for a lesson. The resource also contains an extensive selection of news articles related to age and IVF which could be used, together with the ethical frameworks described in 'The Ethical Maze' listed above, to help students formulate a coherant ethical argument for a group presentation, extended piece of writing or a class debate. Intended for post 16, this resource would be equally suitable for higher ability KS4 students following on from work on IVF treatment.
This excellent resource is the first of two lessons in which students learn about biofuels, the advantages and disadvantages of these different types of biofuels and some of the ethical issues arising from biofuels. It will allow students to see what kind of issues should be considered when writing about the advantages and disadvantages of any new technology. These materials are based on the Nuffield Council on Bioethic's 2011 report:' Biofuels: ethical issues' and the resources were developed by a team of teachers at Graveney School in South London. The lessons are fast-paced but demanding, with short YouTube clips to gain students attention, dragon's den style group work, 'post-it races' and voting by moving around the room. Students are able to argue for and against by analysing the effect of introducing biofuels in different countries. A little preparation is required to cut up the sets of cards.
This is the second lesson in the biofuels resources produced by teachers at Graveney School in South London.
Medicine, Ethics and Me is a versatile resource that uses the issue of infertility and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to explore ethics in medicine. Two approaches to ethics are looked at: rights based, where the rights and wrongs decide an issue, and consequences-based, where the effects on everyone involved in a decision are taken into consideration. Additionally, inherited disorders, including Huntington's and Thalassaemia, are considered. The resource includes lesson plans, teacher's notes and worksheets for both KS3 and KS4 lessons. Some preparation is required to make the information cards.
This resources gives students the opportunity to prepare for challenging questions that require the ability to weigh up conflicting evidence, detect bias, question the validity of sources and present their own considered view point. The materials contain teacher guidance, student information and a range of activities that promote discussion. Students could be asked to practice writing an extended answer on the ethical implications of stem cell research after the activities or for homework.
In this activity students examine data, perform a risk assessment, and see how risks are sometimes reported in the media. This resource for teachers consists of an overview of the topic of pesticide residues in food, teacher guidance, a presentation and student activity sheets. It is aimed at GCSE students and allows them to use data to evaluate risk.
There are eighteen KS4 lessons, of which six are Biology, in this teaching resource which aims to link ‘data, evidence, theories and explanations’ to ‘applications and implications of science’. Each lesson is supported by a complete set of resources, lesson plans, technical advice, worksheets and assessment materials. .
This KS4 upd8 activity helps students to build an understanding of key concepts, such as evidence and validity, by evaluating claims that a chocolate bar is good for your heart. The activity takes 2-3 hours and is linked to AQA Unit B1.1, Gateway Module B1a or 21st Century Science Module B2.3.
This upd8 activity for KS4 students is based on the card game 'Cheat' and is intended to introduce the concept of 'validity' in the design of scientific experiments, which students may be expected to discuss at GCSE level. It may require some preparation in advance if you laminate the sets of cards.
In the activity students consider whether animals should be used for research by carrying out an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages (costs/benefits). During the discussion students are encouraged to decide whether the views expressed are based on evidence or opinion. The activity is aimed at KS4 students, and should help to equip them with more reasoned arguments for and against animal research, rather than the standard 'its cruel' response that is often seen, as well as helping them to learn how to structure extended answers on ethical issues.
The 'Big Picture' provides a comprehensive discussion of genes and health, including an overview of the human genome, the development of DNA sequencing and the genetic basis of disease. The resource then looks at some of the ethical issues connected with genetic testing. This article would be a good resource to help students formulate their own opinions in preparation for a class debate or piece of extended writing. It could also be used as part of an information pack for a student research task , or a classroom display on ethics.
This resource provides an opportunity for students to practice examining both sides of an argument critically. There is also a very useful set of web links to resources that explain different view points on cloning, which students could explore in groups in order to find arguements to support each side and structure either a short speech or a piece of writng.