Transcript of investigating science
Speaker: Vatché Ansourian
Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's Adobe Connect session for Investigating Science. So, like we've done for all the other science courses we're having a look at the intent of each of the courses. So the intent of Investigating Science, similar to all the other science courses, is really looking at a focus of working scientifically. So those skills, the outcomes we have at the front of the syllabus, are really the bread and butter that we use as science teachers and they're really the drivers for the content and the context in terms of which we teach. There is a change in pedagogy for all the science courses for introduction in 2017. And we're seeing a shift more towards the inquiry model of science. So a lot of student exploration, a lot of student engagement and again, very student-focused in terms of what we're doing within the classroom.
We've introduced this slide for all the courses just to give you a quick run-down in terms of how to read the syllabus. So the new wording that we have for these new courses are around the words 'including', 'not limited to' and 'for example'. When the word 'including' is seen, then the indication is that all items after that are required to be programmed. So an example of a content descriptor there in Investigating Science is "Examine the types of models that may be used in science, including diagrams, physical replicas, etc." So in this case everything after 'including' would need to be programmed as students will be learning that in class. 'Not limited to', which normally comes with 'including' - so 'including' and 'not limited to' - means that all items after 'including' will need to be programmed. However, 'not limited to' does allow for other points or examples to be chosen that are there to broaden the learning for students. And there's opportunities there to choose things that may be of teacher interest or things that may even be of student interest.
So the content descriptor there, Compare emotive advertising with evidence-based claims, including but not limited to health claims and claims about the efficacy of a product." The indication here is that you can bring other examples. Where you see 'for example', the indication here is that you can choose one or two of the examples or you can complete all of them depending on how many examples there are. But there are opportunities to be able to bring in appropriate examples as well. So if you look at the content descriptor, Carry out a practical investigation to record both quantitative and qualitative data from observations. For example, burning a candle floating, the behaviour of slaters, the Bernoulli effect, strata in rock cuttings." The indication here is that they are examples that you can use. However, you can bring other ones that may even be more appropriate to your students' learning in class and that may relate to their context. So we talk about Investigating Science.
So with the revision of the science courses for Stage 6 a brand-new course has been created and that's Investigating Science. It was introduced to allow students to engage in the processes and methods of science to inquire and explore key concepts and phenomena across all the science disciplines. Senior Science has been discontinued and as such will see its last HSC exam in 2018. While Investigating Science has been introduced in lieu of the Senior Science course, it does not act to replace the course in any way. Investigating Science is still intended to be academically rigorous, which allows for students to engage in depth of knowledge and inquiry, and similar to all the other science courses, allows for differentiation of content and skill. The course sits on par with other science courses including the rules of enrolment, and as such, Investigating Science can also be taken as a stand-alone science subject as well.
We'll have another slide that will show the patterns of study or examples of patterns of study in terms of what students can take. Investigating Science can be taken as a complement to other science subjects including biology, chemistry, earth and environmental and physics. And the course is designed for all students. Students who enrol in Investigating Science will study for years 11 and 12, unless they choose to withdraw from the subject at the start of Year 12, and this is in line with other Stage 6 subjects as well. So the same rules do apply for all our subjects. All science courses, including Investigating Science - just for clarification - are Category A subjects. The criteria for Category A courses are academic rigour, depth of knowledge and the degree to which the course contributes to assumed knowledge for tertiary studies and the coherence with other courses included in the ATAR calculations. So all the science subjects that we have are all Category A subjects and that also includes the current gamut of science courses that we teach now as well.
So similar to the revised science courses and again, talking more about the purpose of Investigating Science, Investigating Science allows for exploration of key concepts through inquiry and practical investigations. The reduced prescriptions and the open-endedness of the subject allows for teachers to differentiate learning for students in the class, and again, also being able to bring in practical investigations that may be primary or may be secondary sources as well. And that may include also research, simulations that students make or even simulations that they can interact with and watch online. The open-ended nature of the course allows for student differentiation in years 11 and 12. So students are able to engage with inquiry questions at a number of different levels to meet the knowledge, understanding and skill outcomes of the course. Additionally, as prescribed contexts have been removed, teachers can program the course and introduce local contexts and authentic learning experiences to meet the needs of their students. So the big push here in Investigating Science is that students can bring in very local issues, very local contexts, and things that relate to their students - so experiences that are very authentic to their class.
Investigating Science brings in examples across the four science disciplines - so biology, chemistry, earth and environmental, and physics. So when you do see content descriptors, the examples there or what's under 'including' will include different examples from across those disciplines as well. So students will have that breadth of knowledge and they are able to develop a breadth of knowledge across all the science disciplines while still being able to heavily engage in the processes of science and as the subject implies, Investigating Science. The next two slides that we have here are examples of patterns of study in Year 11. So there are numerous patterns of study which students can undertake in year 11 and 12 which include Investigating Science as a 2-unit subject. The nature of the subject allows the exploration of the scientific method and the processes of science and again, this would benefit students in other subjects as well, including English, history and HSIE subjects. Students can choose to study Investigating Science to complement the study of other science subjects or choose to study Investigating Science as their only science option - so, again, as a stand-alone. And what you can see there are just four examples - four very broad examples - of how students can take Investigating Science either as a stand-alone, as being the only science subject, or again, in line with other science subjects as well.
And again we have some examples of patterns of study for Year 12. Students studying any science course including Investigating Science may choose to enrol in Science Extension in Year 12. So there's a reason why we've brought you this example here with the advent of Science Extension coming in as well. As the Investigating Science course focuses around the nature and influence of science, including scientific methods and scientific processes such as collecting evidence, it can be seen to favourably complement the study of Science Extension. So all the science subjects that are on offer now - biology, chemistry, earth and environmental, physics and Investigating Science are all valid pathways for students to be able to pick up Science Extension in Year 12. And that subject will be introduced in 2018 in term four in line with the introduction of the Year 12 course. So we're just going to break down the modules across the two years, Year 11 and Year 12. So Year 11 Investigating Science is considered foundational for Year 12 and allows students to use the knowledge and skills they've developed to engage in the Year 12 modules. And the Year 12 modules allows them to look at science with a much broader lens.
So remembering that in Investigating Science, students are required to undergo a minimum of 30 hours of depth studies. So what you'll see in Year 11 are those starting...building blocks, if you will, of students being able to develop those processes of science and then taking those into Year 12 where they can further develop the skills that they've learned, and again bring in multiple contexts to be able to engage them in what they're doing. What you won't see with Investigating Science compared to the other science courses is that there are no Australian Curriculum codes in the syllabus. And that is because Investigating Science is a course that is very unique to New South Wales. So I'll hand it over to Cherine at this point. Cherine will take you through the eight modules - the four modules in Year 11, the four modules in Year 12 - just going through and breaking down what they are, what you can do with them, and even give you some examples of what can be done in lessons.
Speaker: Cherine Spirou
OK, good afternoon, everybody. As Vatché said, this is a very new course and so we are also learning with you. So we're going to try and answer any questions, but we're just going to go through the modules with you, the first one, obviously, being Cause and Effect and Observing. Because Vatché mentioned before, it's a practical course and it's a practical base and open-ended nature, this module actually allows students to delve more closely into the reasoning behind why observation is crucial in scientific investigations. As it's a practical subject, the students will gather and process data. Now, if you have looked at the curriculum consultation for the Extension Science course this would lead perfectly into the Extension Science course assumed knowledge of what data is and how it can be used.
So Investigating Science is a real... And what Vatché showed you in the slides before where we actually look at Investigating Science as being a pre-knowledge or pre-module subject for Extension Science. The students will be focusing on hypothesis and how they can formulate scientific investigations to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Now, you know, we teach these students from years 7 to 10 in Stage 4 and Stage 5 on scientific investigations, but I think from now on we need to use the terminology we use in Stage 6 to actually prepare our students for all these Working Scientifically outcomes and all the courses, not just Investigating Science.
The second module, which is module 2, is also on Cause and Effect, which is what we're all basing all our experiments on anyway - what happens and why it happens and what's the follow-on from that. The next one's on Inferences and Generalisations. So if you have a look at the subtopics there, it's all about observing patterns and use of data and the developing of inquiry questions. So this follows on from the first module in that it takes into account all that has been developed in the first module of observing and students now looking to engaging in data, both primary and secondary-sourced data, which may assist them in conducting the investigation themselves. Students here will have the opportunity to develop inquiry questions that make generalisations and assumptions. And this is where the hypothesis comes into it as well. Do we teach the students in Year 7 what an actual hypothesis is? And do we actually build on that and develop their knowledge and understanding in years 7-10 so they can actually develop more deep understanding in this section here?
Students also have the opportunity to discuss why roles in scientific investigation are important and learn to identify these roles and responsibilities. One of these is that they can use research projects developed by companies to discuss how roles are used and their importance. And for me personally, I think this could be used as a depth study as well in terms of where, you know, students can take the research and look at peers and how they're developed and what sort of roles they play and just basically look at scientific investigation as a whole. The third module, Scientific Models. Now, from years 7 to 10 we talk about scientific models. We talk about the model of the atom, we talk about the universe, we talk about a whole lot of them. So we are looking at contextual learning. The module will develop the students' understanding of what a scientific model is and why they are necessary for actual deeper understanding of the science concept. For an example, if you want to use the chemistry and physics perspective, an example would be the model of the atom and how it was developed.
Now, if you were at the physics Adobe the other day, we really looked... One of the new aspects of that course is a module called From the Universe to the Atom. And that basically delves into the structure of the atom and the model of the atom. So how can we use the model of the atom to actually learn about how... Why are they accurate, why are they applicable? Has the science community actually gone through a peer review of these? This is how the Bohr model and the Rutherford model eventuated. Another example would be the model of the universe and model of the solar system. You know, how did they come up with the heliocentric? How did they come up with the model...what we use now?
So when we do the module you just basically focus on designing and evaluating investigations to actually collect the data and to apply scientific modelling to it. All these modules, if you look at them properly, they actually go from one to another. So they're actually developing as the student goes along. The fourth one, Theories and Laws. What is the difference between the two and what are the similarities between the two? And the example I've put there I think about now is the theory of evolution and the Newton's laws of motion. Other ones you can do is... I'm going to call it climate science. Is it a theory, is it a law? And what leads to a theory to be developed? So the climate science, or climate change, I use as an example 'cause it is a big option...it is a big module in earth and environmental science now. We look at "Is this a theory? Will it be developed into a law? And why are they actually... What's the difference?" And how can students actually engage in developing their understanding of what these two are? So in the modules, they also evaluate data to solve problems. And communication.
Now, this... Like, the first one is Observing, the second one is Cause and Effect - this is Year 11 - the third one is Scientific Models and then the fourth one goes into Theories and Laws. So you can actually see the... the way it's actually moving towards the deep knowledge of scientific investigations. That is Year 11. Now, when we go into Year 12 we start looking at actual scientific investigations. Now, there is a section in between Reliability and Validity and Reporting into the subtopics, but it's called Student Investigations. Now, there's only two content descriptors there in that section and basically it talks about giving the students...giving the students an opportunity for them to consolidate their learning in the previous modules and design their own investigations. Now, we know that this is a practical subject, but this part of the top...not the topic, the course, actually allows the students to design their own. And as we do have IRPs in Stage 4 and Stage 5, this one would actually be I think a more deeper understanding of how a scientific investigation works and how they can actually build on that.
And I'll say once again, I think we need to start looking at how we teach Stage 4 and Stage 5 for our IRPs and actually start building their knowledge from then and program according to what we are...preparing our kids for Stage 6. And the other one is it develops an understanding of how scientific investigations are structured and why. And I think one of the reasons here is that we are trying prepare the students for real STEM life...STEM skills and also for Extension Science. So in the Extension Science course, the whole idea of it is actually producing a scientific report and scientific investigation. I think that we need to be able to start looking at that and actually talking to the students from years 7 to 10, 7 to 10, 11 and 12, on what a scientific report actually means and what it looks like. Module 6 is Technologies. What technologies have been assisted with formulating scientific theories and laws? So it basically goes on from the last module. So you could either, here, take a subject-specific focus or you can have a generalised one. I'll give an example back of when we talked before about scientific models.
We talked about the model of the atom. What sort of technologies have been developed to assist with formulating the model of the atom? The other one is if we look at the universe, the model of the universe, what sort of technologies... Well, we can always use the Hubble Space Telescope as one of them. And if you saw the news yesterday, the Hubble Space and NASA have discovered 10 new earthlike, rocky planets. And you can talk about the technology and the development of technologies and how that's led advances to scientific theories. And whether there's life on earth - there's one of the questions that always comes up with our students. So in this one here, the students... They develop...they focus on developing hypotheses and questions to actually get data, process data. And I know that, you know, at school now we're all about data, data, data. And in science as well, as you can see from the module, Investigating Science, it is also about the collection and the processing of data. And I think that's something that we have to make very evident for the students.
This one here, Module 7, is actually one my favourites. I think this is going to be fantastic to teach. Fact and Fallacy. Basically it's about claims - testing claims. How can claims be tested? Yesterday we had a conversation in the lunch room about how alkaline water... Does alkaline water have health benefits? And we actually did an experiment at the lunch table with bleach and alkaline water and universal indicator and we talked about it with non-scientific people and we looked at the depth of it and we thought, You know what? This is a depth study." Or "This is Fact and Fallacy." The other one that can actually be looked at is also things like how many of us actually look at...watch movies when we teach? I'll just give you... We've got 'Speed' with Sandra Bullock, looking at physics, 'Volcano' with Tommy Lee Jones, which is the most unrealistic volcano movie ever, 'The Day After Tomorrow' with climate change, 'Star Wars', which I thought was really real until Vatché told me it wasn't, and then there's 'Outbreak'. All of these have got some science in them, but how much is it fact and how much is it fallacy? This is an opportunity for us to be able to do a film study in class with students.
And this is where we also have cross-curricular - where we can talk to the English teachers and say, "Hey, we need to know how to write a film study. Let's do it together." And it looks at debunking myths and building students' scientific knowledge. It's also built, as I said, a depth study. This one here is going to be looking...major depth studies. And I think these... Fact and Fallacy is where a lot of the depth studies will happen. We will talk more about that, though, in next week's Adobe Connect. The last module is Science and Society. How has scientific research... How is it conducted, including the ethical and social impacts of science. The module attempts to develop students' values and attitudes towards science, science research and its place in our world. One thing I always tell students - and I think this is going to...I think this subject will actually hone into that - is that science, economics, society, values and attitudes are not separable, they are actually totally entwined. And this module in itself will actually talk about that and actually bring all those...the economic, social, political research all together as one...as one, basically, point where we actually have to talk to the kids and focus their minds that society and science actually do intertwine, actually. I'm going to pass back over to Vatché now to talk about the programming side.
Speaker: Vatché Ansourian
Hello, everyone, great to be back. Just to summarise what Cherine has said. So the eight modules across the two years. We've got our foundational first four modules and then we have going into depth with the processes in Year 12 with the next four modules. Essentially, they're all opportunities to be able to bring in very contemporary issues - issues that relate to our students, scientific information that's very authentic. And again, bringing as many practical investigations as you can, 'cause the course is very open-ended - it allows for those practical investigations and it allows for students to be able to engage in the primary investigations and the secondary investigations as well. So also remembering that there are very valid forms of doing secondary-source investigations using surveys, using already established data. A lot of ways to be able to engage students in what they can do.
Our last slide here talks about programming of Investigating Science. I'm just going to give you a quick run-down of the picture that we have there, which is the teaching and learning cycle. The teaching and learning cycle... Again, this will just preface what we're doing in regards to programming for Investigating Science. The teaching and learning cycle represents the four stages that occur in the design and delivery of classroom tasks that incorporate an outcomes-based approach. So again, looking at our outcomes, Investigating Science, across the skills and looking at outcomes across knowledge and understanding. It's important to note that across all the science subjects, values and attitudes do not have an outcome in this case. However, they're embedded throughout the course, so there's no need to include...there are no outcomes for those. But always important to include values and attitudes in the beginning of the program so we know explicitly what we're trying to develop within our students. The cycle itself has no start or end point with each step informing the next ongoing evaluation. It's a process of gathering data and reflection that dictates where in the cycle you need to be operating.
So at this point, if we're talking about a new syllabus, we're talking about planning and familiarising, then we start at the planning and programming side. So again, no start or end point. You will need to see where you are on that cycle. So it's a good start when it comes to looking at how to program for Investigating Science as the course requires teachers to create a local or authentic context for their students. So we are looking at what do we want our students to learn, how are our students going to get there, what are the kind of experiences we want them to be able to engage with in the course. And again, always bringing in some kind of evaluation strategy as well and a lot of feedback to be able to know where our students are and how they're going. Investigating Science builds on knowledge and understanding the skills, values and attitudes from Stage 5. And as Cherine said, it's always important to look at what we're doing in Stage 4 and 5 to be able to know where our students need to go in Stage 6.
Investigating Science is a course that was built on the skills and the knowledge and understanding of the current Stage 4 and 5 science course. Investigating Science - just as a wrap-up - is about the processes and methods of science and teachers being able to introduce local and authentic context for their students. Give you a few examples here in regards to how one can go about programming for Investigating Science. These are just ideas in terms of what you can do with your faculties. So we can look at a few different ways of programming and these, by all means, are not only the only three that we have. Module-based units can be done where we're looking at programming units of work just based around a single module. So for example, looking at Fact or Fallacy, module seven in Year 12, we're looking at creating a single unit for that based around all the different content descriptors and based around the inquiry questions in that module. So again, when we talk about a module like Fact or Fallacy, always important to introduce the local context - so things that are really authentic to our students. And you may want to bring in some examples of popular adverts that may have a bit of a science bent, also introducing popular toys, for example - like fidget spinners, which are all the rage. But again, being able to introduce those, trying to find out what are they used for? Are the claims made real? Can we introduce some science into that? What can we do - what kind of claim testing can we do to be able to show this?
So again, if you're looking at programming individual modules you're just looking at bringing in a context for your students to be able to engage with. Another way of being able to program is trading themes or contexts. What this can do is this can incorporate different outcomes across different modules. Every module has one knowledge and understanding outcome attached to it. So remembering that if you are going to be doing a thematic or a contextual program or unit of work that, essentially, you can take bits and pieces from different places. So you can take something from Cause and Effect, Inferences, you can take something from Fact or Fallacy, you can take something from Technologies and you can blend them into one unit of work. However, the only thing to remember here is that it is important to bring in the entire inquiry question with the content descriptors that come underneath as they really do match that inquiry question.
Give you a few examples here in regards to how one can go about programming for Investigating Science. These are just ideas in terms of what you can do with your faculties. So we can look at a few different ways of programming and these, by all means, are not only the only three that we have. Module-based units can be done where we're looking at programming units of work just based around a single module. So for example, looking at Fact or Fallacy, module seven in Year 12, we're looking at creating a single unit for that based around all the different content descriptors and based around the inquiry questions in that module. So again, when we talk about a module like Fact or Fallacy, always important to introduce the local context - so things that are really authentic to our students. And you may want to bring in some examples of popular adverts that may have a bit of a science bent, also introducing popular toys, for example - like fidget spinners, which are all the rage. But again, being able to introduce those, trying to find out what are they used for? Are the claims made real? Can we introduce some science into that? What can we do - what kind of claim testing can we do to be able to show this?
So again, if you're looking at programming individual modules you're just looking at bringing in a context for your students to be able to engage with. Another way of being able to program is trading themes or contexts. What this can do is this can incorporate different outcomes across different modules. Every module has one knowledge and understanding outcome attached to it. So remembering that if you are going to be doing a thematic or a contextual program or unit of work that, essentially, you can take bits and pieces from different places. So you can take something from Cause and Effect, Inferences, you can take something from Fact or Fallacy, you can take something from Technologies and you can blend them into one unit of work. However, the only thing to remember here is that it is important to bring in the entire inquiry question with the content descriptors that come underneath as they really do match that inquiry question. So if you are programming across different modules, it's important to bring in the whole subtopic with that inquiry question across if you are planning to do that.
Another way of looking at this, especially within the STEM sphere, and Investigating Science does lend itself towards the STEM sphere, is that you can introduce or you can create project-based learning units of work where students are required to engage in that process, engage in the pedagogy, whereby they actually create a project at the end or they create an item or a product at the end that can be displayed to a local and authentic audience. So a few examples of what you can do there, and you can find resources around being able to do those. On the science curriculum website there is a support document in terms of creating context in science that you can access. And again, the website for that is available in our contact details on the last slide. I just want to leave you with a few things in regards to Investigating Science - just a quick sum-up.
Remembering that Investigating Science is a very new and very unique course to New South Wales. The focus of the course seems to be on the Working Scientifically skills - that they are what we're developing within our students. They're developing their skills from stage 4 and 5 and they continue to develop those further in years 11 and 12, again when they're undertaking any science course and more so when they're undertaking Investigating Science. Investigating Science also allows the opportunity to embed primary and secondary investigations across all subtopics and across all inquiry questions. So a really hands-on course that allows students to engage in the processes and the nature of science and that can bring in content from across all the science disciplines that we do have. So thank you very much, everyone. We'll leave today's session there.
Thank you for joining us for today's session on Investigating Science, the newest course that we have, with the introduction of...or with the revision of the science courses for 2018. The question pod is available for you. So if you do have any questions around anything to do with curriculum implementation when it comes to the actual course itself, please write your questions there and Cherine and I will work through to be able to answer you as best we can. Some questions, we may have to direct you to NESA as the syllabus itself is owned by NESA and they're the ones that do control what actually goes in and out of that. So we'll do our best to be able to answer and we'll keep the recording going for the next 5 or 10 minutes so that everyone will be able to see the questions that do come up.
Speaker: Cherine Spirou
Thank you everybody.
Speaker: Vatché Ansourian
Thank you very much, everyone, for joining us for today's Investigating Science session. A recording of today's session will be available tomorrow, so if you come back to this site you'll be able to see the recording in the Adobe Connect sessions pod - you'll be able to download that. The final Adobe Connect session will be next week on Tuesday, 27 June, 2017 and that session will be around the depth studies from 3:30 to 4pm. We are looking at hosting all the recordings and support documents on the science curriculum website soon and the address for that is in our contact details - so you can see those there. Thank you very much for coming, everyone. Have a great day and we'll see you next week for the next and final Adobe Connect session.
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