CogSciSci2018/Adam Boxer

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This year, the JCoSS science department have instituted a new, knowledge-based science curriculum. Buttressed by findings from the cognitive sciences, Adam will be presenting on the general approach and their findings so far


Adam wanted to increase specificity and remove "someone etse's crap" (ie their "best lessons"). Lessons should be content-led not resource-led.

Definitions are really powerful. And you have to give students good definitions. But rather than just reciting definitions, get students to answer questions. However insist that these answers are word-perfect. ie graphite conducts electricity because "it contains delocalised electrons" (1) "that move throughout the structure" (1)

Give core questions, not just core facts.


KS3 Issues

  • Increased rigour at GCSE - questions are difficult.
  • Build foundations
  • KS3 spec is not well defined - needs to be coherent (consistent language).
  • Assessments need to match the material.
  • Resource-led not content-led
  • Lesson schemes are unteachable - "Ofsted" lessons

  • Why knowledge organisers?
  • Enable answers to known.
  • e.g. Why do giant-structures have high boiling points. As a fluent answer.
  • Quizlet - Q&A - if you learn the questions and answers you'll do really well.
  • Answers are word perfect, but can they apply?
  • KS3 The scheme not enough from government so they added them.

  • Generator question-answers miniquizzes
  • Tailormade assessments.
    • CQ from KO.
    • Plus Qs from KS3 assessments from board.
  • New lesson structure :
  • Design principles:
    • what do most teachers want do most
    • Put glue here
  • Model questions and answers
  • Practicals come later:
    • Practical IKEA instructions.
  • Research Tasks
    • e.g. How do other mammals breathe
  • How science works
    • Built unit - dedicated language
    • Sequenced


  • How to ensure consistency: persistance.
  • How to keep independent teachers happy: teach the curriculum (CQ) how you like.
  • Meeting time: Get people on board first (previous year). Does everyone need to hear it? Meeting, or go round individual?
  • Science is knowledge? How do you get students to understand HSW? Seems clinical? (It's not - teach it well - this is just the curriculum).
  • But it's about coherent knowledge not consistency of lessons.

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