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TitleLearning targets in science
LanguageEnglish
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Document Text Contents
Page 1

Learning targets
in science

Page 2

Learning targets in science

First published in 2010

Ref: 00061-2010BKT-EN

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5.4 Assessment Focus 4: Using investigative approaches
AF4 Thread To plan appropriate scientific

investigations effectively
To identify and manipulate
variables within the context of
an investigation

To support the gathering of
evidence through collection of
precise and reliable data

To be aware of the risks
associated with the
investigative process

APP Level 8
assessment
criteria

• Justify their choice of strategies for investigating different
kinds of scientific questions, using scientific knowledge and
understanding

• Choose and justify data
collection methods that
minimise error, and produce
precise and reliable data

• Adapt their approaches to
practical work to control risk
by consulting appropriate
resources and expert advice

Examples of
some contexts
to support lesson
planning

• When planning an investigation:
− justify the choice of method for measuring the rate of reaction between acid and calcium carbonate

− explain the choice of light gates when measuring velocity of a toy car

− use secondary data to back up the case for immunisation

• Review the approach after
considering a range of safety
information when planning a
practical investigation into:

− EMF values

− working with living
organisms

− flame testing

Level 8 Learning
targets

While learning
about … pupils
can

• Explain why a particular method has been chosen to answer any
scientific question

• Justify their chosen method
in terms of collecting reliable
and precise data

• Change an experimental
approach in order to
control risks that have been
identified from other sources

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Level 7 APP
assessment
criteria

• Formulate questions or ideas
that can be investigated by
synthesising information
from a range of sources

• Identify key variables in
complex contexts, explaining
why some cannot readily
be controlled, and plan
appropriate approaches
to investigations to take
account of this

• Explain how to take account
of sources of error in order to
collect reliable data

• Recognise the need for risk
assessments and consult, and
act on, appropriate sources
of information

Examples of
some contexts
to support lesson
planning

• After observing a
phenomenon, use a
variety of sources to inform
planning:

− how to improve the
Visking tubing model to
demonstrate digestion
and absorption of starch

− investigate how matter is
conserved in a reaction

− the most appropriate
method to determine
the effect of available
energy sources on the
distribution and types of
plants and animals

• Identify variables which
cannot be controlled when
investigating:

− rates of respiration in
seeds

− the strength of an
electromagnet

− rates of reaction
between acid and
calcium carbonate

• While planning:
− an investigation on

animal behaviour

− an investigation into
melting and boiling
points of different
substances

− an investigation into the
energy in different foods

explain how to try to control
sources of error

• While using the resources
available to them (technician,
teacher, hazards posters, etc.)
ensure work is carried out
safely when:

− handling and storing
microbes

− extracting chlorophyll
and using flammable
liquids

− carrying out electrolysis

Level 7 Learning
targets

While learning
about … pupils
can

• Having considered
information from a variety
of sources, come up with
a question or idea to
investigate

• Plan for investigations, taking
into account those variables
that cannot be controlled,
and include ways of
minimising the effect of these

• Explain why the data that
can be collected may be
inconsistent

• Explain what they can do to
make the data more reliable

• Consult other sources of
information to check that
they are working as safely as
possible and inform their risk
assessment skills

Page 93

90 The National Strategies
Learning targets in science

00061-2010BKT-EN © Crown copyright 2010

References and further reading
There is a wealth of support for developing aspects of How Science Works in the Framework section of
the National Strategies web area; go to www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/nationalstrategies and search for
‘Framework for secondary science’.

Support materials in Progressing to level 6 and beyond in science with added ‘How Science Works’ can also be
accessed by becoming a registered user and joining the course of the same name.

The language of measurement: Terminology used in school science investigations, ASE and Nuffield
Foundation, 2010.

Suggested further reading
Clarke, S. (2003) Enriching Feedback in the Primary Classroom
Hodder Murray: ISBN: 0340872586

Clarke, S. (2005) Formative Assessment in Action: Weaving the Elements Together
Hodder Arnold: ISBN: 0340907827

Clarke, S. (2005) Formative Assessment in the Secondary Classroom
Hodder Murray: ISBN: 0340887664

Acknowledgements
Field of sunflowers by Christophe Libert © SXC 2010

Sunflowers by Anders Rosenlund © SXC 2010

Sunflower seeds by Jason Anthony © SXC 2010

www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/nationalstrategies

Page 94

Audience: Science teachers and subject leaders
Date of issue: 02-2010
Ref: 00061-2010BKT-EN

Copies of this publication may be available from:
www.teachernet.gov.uk/publications

You can download this publication and obtain further
information at: www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk

© Crown copyright 2010
Published by the Department for
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