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Scientific Enquiry Training Materials

Key Stage Three National Strategy training materials to run a day’s session with science teachers to help them develop an understanding of the key elements of Scientific Enquiry and how it might affect their practice.

*Session 1 Introduction:
How enquiry needs to be taught explicitly in a planned and manageable way, participants explore the varying demands which different enquiries make on students. They use a simple classification system to identify easier and more demanding activities from the QCA scheme of work. The session concludes with a brief consideration of the concepts of evidence.

*Session 2 - Teaching scientific enquiry skills and processes explicitly:
Develops the idea of the importance of developing investigative skills through explicit teaching. Participants use examples from the QCA scheme of work to derive lesson objectives from yearly teaching objectives for scientific enquiry in the Framework for Teaching Science: Years Seven, Eight and Nine. Then they use a strategy for teaching about planning a fair test and dealing with the results (based on posters); and carry out an activity about the value of repeat readings.

*Session 3 - Types of scientific enquiry:
How to identify questions from existing work to meet that range of types if enquiry – including investigations other than fair tests. Participants are given an illustration of the range collated from the QCA scheme of work, and sort a set of enquiry questions into the different categories of enquiry before considering the types of questions that can be constructed in common topics.

*Session 4 - Ideas and evidence in Key Stage 3 science:
Exploration of what science is understood to be. The interplay between ideas and evidence is summarised and participants consider what the National Curriculum programme of study requires by identifying relevant statements in the level descriptions for levels four to seven.

*Session 5 - Some strategies for teaching about ideas and evidence:
Strategies for teaching ideas and evidence concentrating on teaching students to recognise evidence, and around the cycle of hypothesis – prediction – test – new hypothesis Participants look at teaching about analysing evidence using two conflicting ‘theories’ of how we see.

*Session 6 - How scientists work:
How scientists have worked in the past and work today, and how this can be taught – uses the work of Lavoisier, a clinical trial and a list of references.

*Session 7 - Conclusions and follow-up.

These materials consist of:
*Tutors notes – includes Overview of the unit, Unit objectives, Outline programme, Synopsis, Preparing for the unit, Resources needed for each session, Pre-unit task and Evaluation forms.
*Training slides for the session
*Participants resource pack – copies of the slides and handouts used in the training
*Summary of key messages
*Scientific Enquiry planning posters - designed to be printed at AO size.

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