I’ve written a lot about the problems we have faced in KS3 Science and what we have done about it. How Science Works has been a stalwart of KS3 science for a very long time but, in my experience, there were serious problems with the way it was taught. We built our own unit and you can find the whole thing free to download here.
A few things to note:
- We have used Core Questions to build the unit. Please see here for more on how that works.
- I used the ASE’s maths in science document quite a bit. I haven’t been totally faithful to it but I found it very helpful.
- We teach this at the beginning of year 8, so once the students actually know some science. Traditionally, HSW is either taught at the start of year 7 or ad-hoc throughout the the three years of KS3.
- Each lesson does not represent an hour. It represents however long it takes the material to be taught. The content dictates the pace, not the bell.
- I have used a couple of canonical examples throughout. These are concepts which the students already have strong knowledge of (interdependence and conservation of matter) and we use those as a springboard to discuss the relevant “skills.”
- As the unit goes on we introduce more ideas that they might not know yet, but we keep them pretty simple.
- Obviously I have simplified. I’ve tried to make things as coherent and consistent as possible. Please do not nitpick over me not using your particular favourite word to describe something. Feel free to adapt to your own use however you like.
- If you are looking for a massive inquiry unit, this isn’t it. If you want to know why, you may find this interesting.
- I haven’t actually had the chance to teach this yet, so (with point 6 in mind) if you have some honest feedback for me please do pass it on. If you have any philosophical problems with the way we have done things then feel free to raise them below the line or on twitter, provided you are interested in genuine exchange.