A collection of 10 practical activities where students apply their understanding of a concept to devise a solution to a ‘real-life’ scenario
The problems presented here are designed to develop the students’ understanding of the standard practical techniques they would be expected to be able to perform on entering an undergraduate teaching laboratory.
They follow a problem based approach1 to laboratory instruction, in which the students must work in groups to apply their understanding of a concept to devise a solution to a practical problem set in a real life context. In order to guide the students thinking and ensure that they have all the subject knowledge required to solve the problem, each problem is accompanied by a set of Pre-lab questions which the students must complete prior to the practical session.
These include an element of research beyond the standard A-level specification, included to encourage the students to read beyond the set-text and develop their research skills. It is expected that the students will have been instructed in any practical techniques required in a separate session, prior to tackling the problem.
Finally, each problem asks for a written report in some format.
This resource was developed by Catherine Smith, RSC School Teacher Fellow at the University of Leicester 2011 – 2012, produced as part of the National HE STEM Programme.