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Context-Based Learning in Physics. “New” processes for students Note: These skills may be new to Physics classes but they are not necessarily new to students.

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Presentation on theme: "Context-Based Learning in Physics. “New” processes for students Note: These skills may be new to Physics classes but they are not necessarily new to students."— Presentation transcript:

1 Context-Based Learning in Physics

2 “New” processes for students Note: These skills may be new to Physics classes but they are not necessarily new to students. –Transference Taking skills and knowledge from one context (or subject) and using them in another This must be explicitly encouraged within Physics (e.g. through key concepts) and between subjects (e.g. mathematical skills, writing bibliographies). –Report writing skills –Communicating in a variety of genres (e.g. power point, argumentative essay, persuasive essay)

3 “New” processes for students –Time and project management –Creative thinking –Critical thinking About sources of data About results and conclusions About their own work

4 Characteristics of a good context –Physics content –Teacher familiarity –Student familiarity –Assessment opportunities –Availability of resources –Suitability to school and student population –Examples: Good: “Cars" Bad: “The Bomb”

5 Resources –Own interests –Staff from other faculties e.g. Music, PE, Technology –Parents/Friends –Internet –Magazines –Text books

6 Designing a Course –Choose 6 – 8 contexts –Identify key concepts for each context –Check key concept coverage –Identify suitable assessment tasks –Put contexts in order considering: Development of concepts from simple to complex Arrangement of assessment items External factors e.g. exam blocks, verification etc.

7 Developing a Unit Plan –Choose assessment task(s) –Identify 3 or 4 contextual foci –For each focus, identify the key ideas that are: a)essential b)possible –Identify possible learning experiences and match these to key ideas –Arrange key ideas with learning experiences in order from simple to complex –Position assessment task(s). These will be the primary learning experiences.

8 Management tips –Intersperse time spent on assignments with other (relevant) learning experiences –Set challenging projects but provide scaffolding and support –Always start with the context, even if briefly

9 Assessment Tasks Extended Response Tasks –Make the tasks valid. Can you imagine anyone performing this task in a non- learning situation? Could anyone other than you be interested in the finished product? –Design the task so that it requires students to make a decision of some sort Makes plagiarism more difficult Encourages higher order thinking skills Provides a focus for holistic assessment –Attitudes and Values General Objective is a good source of ideas

10 Assessment Tasks Extended Experimental Investigations –Investigations should highly structured at first. –Have students perform their own risk assessments This is part of a ST exit standard –Perform a literature review. –2 phases of experimentation. Start with a simple “recipe-style” experiment Vary the conditions of this experiment, improve on it or perform a more complex experiment with a related purpose. –Introduce more elaborate report structures (e.g. abstract, appendix, bibliography etc.)

11 Management of assignments Threats –Plagiarism (esp. from internet) –Inappropriate levels of assistance from family/friends –Copying rather than collaboration –Late submission –Non-submission

12 Management of assignments Strategies –Make tasks specific and novel rather than general and generic. –Use log books –Set and monitor checkpoints Approximately 1 week apart to maintain momentum. Use checkpoints to signpost significant steps in the research cycle. Have both student and teacher keep a record of the checkpoints met.

13 Management of assignments Strategies –Collect and keep work (e.g. annotated bibliography, draft) before the due date. Treat this as the finished product in the case of non-submission. –Drafting Allow 1 draft only, to be submitted by a particular date Expect significant modification between the draft and the final copy Give at least some of your advice verbally only

14 Management of assignments Strategies –Use “Management of Research Task” as a limiting criterion Do not give a top result to an assignment that appears “from nowhere”. –Have students perform similar, simpler tasks under exam conditions. –Encourage students to acknowledge all the assistance that they have received.

15 Holistic marking “The whole is sometimes greater (or less) than the sum of its parts.” Key questions –How well has the student fulfilled the purpose of this task? –What are the features of a good response to this task? Are a number of these present?

16 Criteria Sheets –Start with the task What are the discriminating features of a good product? –Use the exit standards to define your expectations Label each criterion for simple reference Use similar language but simpler statements Each syllabus descriptor can convert to 1 or 2 assignment criteria Use past tense to refer to achievements that have been demonstrated, e.g. “Trends and patterns in the data have been identified.”

17 Criteria Sheets –Develop a comprehensive criteria sheet for each assessment type (i.e. EEI, ERT, WT). If necessary, cross out criteria that do not apply to a particular task (esp. in Year 11). Develop more specific sheets for each task as you become more familiar with it. Use a separate sheet to record information about oral presentations.

18 Written Tests –Marks are not forbidden but must be handled with care Can be used to assist holistic decision making –Complexity involves depth and scope. Marks are useful in tasks that assess the scope of understanding. –Break tests up into logical sections (e.g. short answer, multiple choice) and treat each as a complex situation –Don’t rely on the numbers to make the decision for you. If the result is close, check the student’s work and make a decision.

19 Action Plan 1.Contexts 2.Assessment tasks 3.Criteria sheets 4.Resources

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