Robert Brooks

Leading Practitioner

Knowledge acquisition in Science – Part 2

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Students have a lot of information to remember from Science lessons and they need to be able to make links from different topics.

So how do we ensure our students remember what we have taught them from previous Science lessons?

To remember information on a day to day basis whilst a student is starting to learn a new Science topic in our school, we give knowledge starter questions at the start of every lesson. This is our starter activity. For example, a Year 7 student has learnt about tissues in the previous lesson. The starter activity for next lesson is 5 quick recall knowledge questions about tissues:

7Ac Tissues Knowledge Questions

The activity is quickly peer assessed and whilst the students are getting on with other tasks later on in the lesson the teacher can go round with their mark book and take in the scores. The teacher can also use a ‘well done’ stamp and discuss any concerns with students.

Here is an example of starter questions used in Module C1 of GCSE Science:

c1.5 rocks kq

At GCSE and A Level we expect our students to be reading over the previous lesson and if they do not achieve a high enough score (i.e. 8/10) on the knowledge test they are expected to come back and redo it.

Without the basic foundations in knowledge, students are unable to access even the low level questions on an exam paper, let alone the higher ones. Even in the higher level skills, such as evaluating, the students need to remember the very basic facts in order to fully show both sides of the argument.

In my next post I will be talking about how to get students to recall knowledge that they have not accessed long periods of time.

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