The 1st law of mastery


In the last lesson, we argued that the science curriculum should make students expert at problem-solving. What does that involve? It's time to introduce 'the first law of mastery'. The video highlights an important distinction that allows experts (ie the best students) to solve problems that novices (the rest) cannot.



The video argued that what matters more than how much knowledge you have is whether the knowledge is organised around the fundamental principles of the subject. This is what we call a big idea. This structured knowledge allows an expert at physics to recognise that an unfamiliar problem should be analysed in terms of energy conservation. Whereas a novice might just recognised the individual features: key words, numbers and variables.  
The notion of a 'big idea' is critical to our curriculum approach, so it's worth reading some more about it:


What is a big idea?

This is an illuminating article by an influential educator on curriculum design.

Read more


Page 135-137 summarises principles for a curriculum for understanding.

Read more


Time to stop and reflect. What do you think of the ideas and their implications so far?
Why not post a message on Twist in this thread.
Questions? You can message us directly on Twist.


What do big ideas mean for how you organise the curriculum? The video will discuss some implications.


Now try this short quiz (4 questions) to consolidate what we've discussed about big ideas.

After you click submit, you can view your score and the correct answers. 

So far, we've looked at the overall structure of the curriculum. Now let's dive down into an individual topic.
Onward to the 2nd law of mastery.