The Association for Science Education


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Learning about the nature of science using algae

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Hans G. Edelmann, Thilo Martius, Achim Hahn, Kirsten Schlüter and Stefan H. Nessler

Extract: Enquiry learning and teaching about the nature of science (NoS) is a key element of science education. We have designed an experimental setting for students aged 12–14 years to exercise enquiry-learning skills and to introduce students to the NoS aspects of creativity and imagination. It also illustrates the impact of carbon dioxide on the growth of algae. Students stated hypotheses, planned experiments and analysed the data, becoming familiar with the NoS aspects mentioned above. The sessions consisted of: an initial 2 hour session to propose hypotheses and predictions and to design the experiment; a 3 hour session to establish the experimental set-up; and a 2 hour session for analysis and interpretation. A well-planned and disciplined class timetable is essential.

Stories from the classroom: using pupils’ questions to develop science teachers’ learning

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Jon James

Extract: Pupils’ questions can play a powerful role in helping them to develop conceptual understanding, but can also provide a stimulus for teacher learning. This article presents a series of stories that illustrate the challenges of capitalising on pupils’ questions, given the complexity of decision-making required in the science classroom and the current accountability pressures that teachers experience. The project highlights the crucial role that teacher educators and mentors can play, as ‘critical colleagues’ for early-career science teachers, in encouraging and opening up opportunities for teacher learning in the classroom.

The vital role of basic mathematics in teaching and learning the mole concept

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Alka Mehrotra and Anjni Koul

Extract: This article focuses on the importance of activity-based teaching in understanding the mole concept and the vital role of basic mathematical operations. It describes needs-based training for teachers in a professional development programme in India. Analysis of test results before and after the training indicates that teachers improved their understanding of the concept of the mole and became more confident in teaching this concept and handling mathematical calculations.

Droning on about the weather: meteorological science on a school-friendly scale

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Phil Murphy, Ashley O’Neill and Abby Brown

Extract: Meteorology is an important branch of science that offers exciting career opportunities and yet is not usually included in school curricula. The availability of multi-rotor model aircraft (drones) offers an exciting opportunity to bring meteorology into school science.

Using outdoor adventure settings to teach physics

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Claire Aspinall

Extract: A key challenge when teaching physics is to equip students with the ability to apply the concepts to real-life situations. Students do not learn by information alone; they are affected by their environment, their social setting, how their body and mind feel and the interactions between these different aspects. This may explain why wild places and adventurous activities can lead to transformative learning. It also raises the question of how we can harness this knowledge to teach core physics topics that students may struggle to relate to in a school science laboratory.

Palaeomagnetism or palaeomagic? Misconceptions about rock magnetism

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Phil Murphy

Extract: The study and understanding of paleomagnetism has been pivotal in the development of the theory of plate tectonics. When it is taught in schools there are a number possible misconceptions that need to be addressed. This article attempts to provide an explanation of rock magnetism as well as strategies to avoid reinforcing some commonly identified misconceptions.

Impact of changes to practical assessment at GCSE and A-level: the start of a longitudinal study by OCR

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Frances Wilson, Neil Wade and Steve Evans

Extract: As part of a wider qualification reform at upper secondary level in England, the assessment of practical work is changing, following concerns that the legacy model of assessment was having a negative impact on teaching and learning. The OCR examination board is running a longitudinal survey of teachers’ views on practical work, focusing on the purpose of practical science, the type and quantity of practical science undertaken, challenges associated with practical work, and the impact on assessment. This article introduces the study and presents some initial baseline findings from the year before the reforms were introduced.


Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Reviews published in School Science Review are the opinions of individual reviewers, and are not an official Association for Science Education (ASE) view or endorsement of the resource.

Extract: Publications: - A Little Book About BIG Chemistry: The Story of Man-Made Polymers by Jim Massy - Smart Essentials: The Student Guide to Literacy in Science by W. Haywood and K. Mawson - Student Lab Manual for Argument-Driven Inquiry in Biology: Lab Investigations for Grades 9–12 by V. Sampson, P. Enderle, L. Gleim, J. Grooms, M. Hester, S. Southerland and K. Wilson - Responsive Teaching in Science and Mathematics by Ed. Amy Robertson, Rachel Scherr and David Hammer - A Generation of Radical Educational Change: Stories From the Field Ed. by Richard Pring and Martin Roberts Science App Review: - Sea Hero Quest from Glitchers Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android. Free

Science websearch

Issue: September 2016 362

Author: Please send details of any websites you have found or produced to the Science websearch editor, Sarah Sephton: We would also be interested in hearing about how you have used websites that have appeared in Science websearch in your educational setting.

Extract: ScienceMag The Guardian: Chemistry National Physical Laboratory: Science lectures Future Learn The Physics Classroom Barclays Life Skills: Digital tools for educators Chem1 virtual textbook Médecins Sans Frontières: A-level Biology resources

Contents and Editorial

Issue: June 2016 361

Author: Geoff Auty, Editor, School Science Review

Extract: With no theme in this edition, we have the opportunity to feature a very mixed range of articles from Britain and around the world, all submitted with the attitude of ‘let me share this idea’.

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