Introduction (5 min)

In the last lesson, we questioned the practice of basing the curriculum too closely on the exam specification. So how should the curriculum be designed? In the video, we propose that the assessment objectives are a good place to start rather than the content.

Thinking processes & skills (20 min)

We've suggested that the more challenging GCSE assessment objectives, which require problem solving with knowledge, represent worthwhile outcomes for secondary science. So if we're going to design a curriculum that prepares students for these, we need to understand what is involved in applying and analysing.

Let’s do this by examining some demanding GCSE questions - ones that ask that students solve unfamiliar problems. Teachers usually find this a very useful activity, which they rarely have time for.

Your task is to look at each question and identify the thinking process - apply or analyse - and any skills -investigation and maths - required. The sheet gives a working definition each.

This activity is on page 2 of your Workbook. Download the Workbook  

You will also need the set of past questions to examine. Download exam questions

Do as many as you need to get a good grasp of the requirements. When you've done, compare your answers to ours. Download answers.

From these questions you can see that problem solving requires more than just recalling facts. But what is it that enables some students to apply their knowledge solve, while others' struggle? Let's move on to look at experts and novices.