Classroom activities to develop scientific skills


GCSE working scientifically: chemistry
Andrew Chandler-Grevatt and Deborah Shah
Badger Learning
2016 |130pp | £69
ISBN 9781784646486

This book is a timely new release that provides numerous activities for teachers to use with the new GCSE courses. The activities are designed to help students develop the ‘working scientifically’ components of the new GCSE. There are sixty different activities matched to topics across the new syllabus. Their focus, however, is to develop generic scientific skills rather than studying the actual chemical concepts. The tasks are all based on worksheets, but class discussion of the underlying skills is an important feature.

The tasks are designed as resources for teachers to use as a starter or main activity rather than a full lesson. This works well for me and the very useable tasks fit well into my existing schemes of work as complimentary add-on activities. I particularly liked the problems that deal with planning or evaluating practical procedures. These are good open-ended problems that make the students think about practical methods, and they cover skills that my existing resources do not.

Some of the shorter tasks are a little undemanding for brighter students who may complete them in very little time. However, each activity does come with an extension suggestion in the teacher’s notes, and these are often very good ideas.  Nevertheless, I would rather these were printed on the actual resource sheet. I also question the cost of photocopying a sheet for every pupil for a task that does not take long to complete. Some tasks would be better suited to being projected on a whiteboard.

Most of the resources are well designed and I could see them being helpful for many teachers. The activities on bonding, however, were a disappointment because the word molecule was repeatedly used incorrectly to refer to ionic structures as well as covalent ones and there were also some questionable definitions for different types of bonding.

Overall, this a good resource that I think would be a useful addition for any science department.

Purchase GCSE working scientifically: chemistry from Badger Learning