This section gives some examples of how the principles and teaching methods can be combined to teach a particular topic. Since this is designed to be a "pre-A-level" course, the content is that of the National Curriculum (NC).
Important topics, not presently in the NC can be found at:Additional material.
Both sets of aims, developed earlier, are applicable to the serious science pupil:
For sample material use the navigation under the Curriculum: Contents tab.
For pupils to be considered as "scientists" and able to tackle A-level science, they need to be familiar with the main explanatory frameworks" or theories used by scientists. It is essential that new knowledge is built around theory and not as a set of facts.
This table lists the main theories applicable to school and links them to content.
The theories are:
|Atomic theory 1:Particles||particles||treating atoms and molecules as elastic spheres||kinetic motion of gases|
|Atomic theory 2: Bonding||chemical reactions||that chemical bonds are formed by sharing or exchanging electrons||covalent bonding|
|Atomic theory 3: Radioactivity||particles||that some nuclei are unstable and decay||carbon dating|
|Electron flow theory||electricity||that electricity is a flow of electrons||electronics, motors|
|Conservation of mass||particles||that matter is not created or destroyed||the mass of the reactants is the same as the mass of the products|
|Conservation of energy||energy||that energy is not created or destroyed||the energy in a hot object is lost to its surroundings as it cools|
|Cell theory||organisms||living things are made of cells, too small to see||complex organisms have a range of specialist cells|
|Germ theory||human health||many diseases are caused by microscopic organisms||the flu virus, food poisoning|
|Theory of evolution||genetics/biosphere||that new species evolve by natural selection||the variety of life|
|Genetic theory||genetics||that the organism is determined by the structure of its DNA||inherited characteristics, plant breeding, cloning|
|Gaia theory||biosphere||that the Earth's ecosystem is a self-regulating entity||constant level of oxygen in the atmosphere|
|Theory of gravity||forces and motion||that all matter attracts all other matter||evolution of stars and planets.|
|Laws of motion||forces and motion||that the effects of forces is predictable and can be calculated||acceleration, circular motion|
|Big bang theory||planets and the universe||that the origin of the universe was an explosion 14bn yrs ago||red-shift, galaxy formation|
|Plate tectonics theory||planets and the universe||that the surface of the Earth is broken into moving plates||proximity of ocean trenches and volcanoes|
|Wave theory||waves||that energy can travel without a net movement of material||EM spectrum, tsunami|
Reasoning: Too often a "content centered" curriculum fails to build the foundations of a concept and pupils are left learning facts. "Theories" are simple statements which bring together a wide range of facts under a single explanatory story. This mimics the way the brain classifies and stores information. Pupils report : "I didn't have to learn it, because I understood it".
Many excellent teachers "go back to basics" at the beginning of a new topic rather than following the Scheme of Work.
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