The Association for Science Education


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An astronomical journey: one school’s experience

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: Michael Gilbert and Bernie Tedd

Extract: Raising the profile of physics is particularly important in girls’ schools. Here we describe a range of astronomical activities and observations that we have used, which we hope will inspire teachers at other schools to do likewise.

Cosmic rays and research in schools: one school’s experience

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: Andy Chaffer and Bernie Tedd

Extract: The High School Project on Astrophysics Research with Cosmics (HiSPARC) is an international project in which secondary schools and academic institutions join forces to form a network of detectors to measure cosmic rays with extremely high energy. We present results of research done by students at the King Edward VI High School For Girls, Birmingham, UK, and highlight the benefits of such projects in raising the profile of physics in schools.

Microsco-pi: a novel and inexpensive way of merging biology and IT

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: Harry R. Kent and Jonathan P. Bacon

Extract: It is well known that schools and colleges often have budget limitations that can hamper the effectiveness of practical education. This article looks at how cheap, off-the-shelf components can be used to produce a simple DIY digital microscope, and how this provides novel opportunities to integrate biology, physics, design technology and computer science in a fun and hands-on way.

Nutrition labelling: applying biological concepts and reasoning to socio-scientific issues

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: Yeung Chung Lee

Extract: Nutrition labelling, which helps consumers to make informed choices, can be used as both a context and a vehicle for students to consolidate and apply their knowledge of food and nutrition to improve health. It also facilitates students’ ability to negotiate socio-scientific issues from scientific and other perspectives. This article reports a series of hands-on and minds-on activities designed to achieve these goals.

An inquiry-based science activity centred on the effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: Diana Boaventura, Elsa Guilherme and Cláudia Faria

Extract: We propose an inquiry-based science activity centred on the effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems. This activity can be used to improve acquisition of knowledge on the effects of climate change and to promote inquiry skills, such as researching, reading and selecting relevant information, identifying a problem, focusing on a research question, making predictions, planning experiments, observing and registering data, drawing conclusions, developing explanations and communicating findings to class. The activity is suitable for 8- to 13-year-old students and can be used in the classroom.

When more of A doesn’t result in more of B: physics experiments with a surprising outcome

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: Paraskevi Tsakmaki and Panagiotis Koumaras

Extract: Science education research has shown that students use causal reasoning, particularly the model ‘agent–instrument–object’, to explain or predict the outcome of many natural situations. Students’ reasoning seems to be based on a small set of few intuitive rules. One of these rules quantitatively correlates the outcome of an experiment with the characteristics of objects involved, suggesting that an increase in one quantity should bring about an increase in a related quantity. In this article we present and discuss five simple experiments to engage students and illustrate that an increase in one property doesn’t always lead to an increase in another.

Helping lower secondary students develop conceptual understanding of electrostatic forces

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: Richard Moynihan, Paul van Kampen, Odilla Finlayson and Eilish McLoughlin

Extract: This article describes the development of a lesson sequence that supports secondary- level students to construct an explanatory model for electrostatic attraction using a guided enquiry method. The students examine electrostatic interactions at a macro level and explain the phenomena at the atomic level. Pre-tests, post-tests, homework assignments and classroom observations were used to develop lessons and investigate how students’ understanding of charged–neutral body interactions developed. We found that students initially over-rely on the rule ‘opposites attract and similar charges repel’ in situations unfamiliar to them, and generally struggle with the concept of induced charge on a neutral body.

Subject knowledge enhancement courses for creating new chemistry and physics teachers: the students’ perceptions

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: Richard Tynan, Robert Bryn Jones, Andrea Mallaburn and Ken Clays

Extract: Subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses are one option open in England to graduates with a science background whose first degree content is judged to be insufficient to train to become chemistry or physics teachers. Previous articles in School Science Review have discussed the structure of one type of extended SKE course offered at Liverpool John Moores University, and its impact on outcomes for students. This article focuses on the qualitative responses collected from the anonymous exit questionnaire surveys returned by chemistry and physics SKE students about to continue on to their science Postgraduate Certificate in Education course. The main positive course characteristic cited was student support. The main positive outcomes perceived were improved subject knowledge and skills and increased confidence.

Optimal learning in schools – theoretical evidence: Part 1 Piaget’s theoretical background

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: John Crossland

Extract: The research questions a teacher would ask of neuroscience require answers researched within a typical classroom context. Unfortunately this research has rarely been available. The Education Endowment Foundation recently set up six projects applying evidence from neuroscience and educational studies to the classroom context. Most of the evaluation reports will be available in 2017. In the meantime, this four-part series of articles about recent research from neuroscience linked to concepts and models from cognitive psychology will provide evidence-based guidance towards more optimal learning strategies in the classroom.

It’s time to stop believing scientists about evolution

Issue: December 2016 363

Author: James Williams

Extract: Evolution is not, contrary to what many creationists will tell you, a belief system. Neither is it a matter of faith. We should stop asking if people ‘believe’ in evolution and talk about acceptance instead.

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