#SciTeachJC (22nd May) – Designing Curriculum Materials

It’s hard to tell whether the fairly low attendance was due to the good weather or colleagues watching Eurovision. Aren’t you all glad we don’t need a note from your mothers…

The paper discussed was about using the 5Es model to design a science curriculum and the materials for it. This follows on from the concept of ‘backward design’, where the starting point is how we will measure success before producing activities to prepare our students. Due to general incompetence on my part – and having to work from my in-laws’ place – I had to moderate from my own account rather than @SciTeachJC, but the session went well.

1 How do your stu­dents demon­strate (or when unsuc­cess­ful, fail to demon­strate) the three prin­ci­ples of learn­ing sug­gested by pre­vi­ous research? How do you try to ensure your teach­ing ful­fils the require­ments of address­ing these?

It was agreed that some mis- and pre- conceptions are common; as well as Driver’s work, referenced in the paper @Alby shared a list of frequent issues according to the C3P project (no, I don’t know either). Following a reminder from @A_Weatherall about the availability of the National Strategies I’ve also found this from the National Strategies and this summary from the GTCE (now stored at the TLA). Clearly identifying misconceptions – and how to address them – is key to helping our students make progress in science. While looking around I’ve found this American site which has some very interesting ideas, reflecting those in the paper about inspiring cognitive conflict – see 2: Dos and Don’ts for example.

2 What are the biggest chal­lenges of apply­ing the 5Es model (more expla­na­tions by @hrogerson here and NASA here) to your cur­ricu­lum design process, for exam­ple new schemes of work? With­out com­plain­ing about exam boards, Ofsted or the Depart­ment for Edu­ca­tion, how might we improve our use of this model?

Most people liked the model and several had found it very helpful already. Applying it in the classroom on a lesson by lesson basis is fairly straightforward, but greater gains can be seen by being more systematic. Now, at a point in the school year when we may be examining schemes of work, seems a good time to bear it in mind. (I’m planning a quick guide to the model for the next week or so, if that helps.)

@DrDav: Not revolutionary. Think they help to make good teaching explicit, and can be useful framework for planning. Ideas are simple enough to sum up quickly. Although could also spend several days getting to grips with them! (2 tweets combined.)

@hrogerson: I think 5E is similar to CASE, so it won’t be “new” to many. But I can remember 5Es, concrete prep anyone….

3 How might we repli­cate the col­lec­tion of evi­dence about stu­dent learn­ing in the UK school sys­tem? What changes if any might we need to make to the meth­ods to accom­mo­date our sys­tem (with sum­ma­tive exams at the end of the 9–11 time period)?

This question wasn’t really addressed during the session, perhaps because we focused more on how we might use the 5/7Es process. @snapshotscience suggested that as Wikid uses this model, we might look at the results compared to other schemes. This data has been collected, it will just be about collating it. The TEEP scheme which has some similar methodology has been evaluated – thanks to @DrDav for the link.

4 It is inter­est­ing to see teacher learn­ing addressed in the same con­text as that of stu­dents. How might we best share these ideas more widely with pro­fes­sional col­leagues — both dur­ing ITT and as CPD — assum­ing that we chose to do so?

This is of course a regular issue, and those colleagues who spend time doing things like #SciTeachJC are unlikely to be the same ones sitting reluctantly at the back of a staff meeting reacting to a new idea with a cynical “That’ll never work.” This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t engage with them, and this approach is perhaps one of the easier ones to be enthusiastic about – perhaps because for many of us it is a modification of the ‘standard’ structure. I must confess that I don’t recall reading about it before in so many words, but the idea of these stages fits in well with the planning I already do. @DrDav pointed out that TEEP follows a similar constructivist structure, for example.

I suggested that it would not be hard for each of us to talk for 5-10 minutes at a staff meeting about using the 5Es while lesson planning, and sharing the ideas and summaries while colleagues write or adapt schemes of work. @snapshotscience suggested that @hrogerson’s presentation would work very well for this.

So if we think it’s a worthwhile approach, maybe we should try it out. Why not use the comments section to feedback about your use of the 5/7Es, either in lesson planning, SOW writing or sharing with colleagues?


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