c21 leading discussions 10040

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Discussion in Twenty First Century Science

Research findings: ‘Breaking the mould?’: 

Research findings: ‘Breaking the mould?’ An early study of AS Science for Public Understanding. Key findings: Missed opportunities for exploring ideas about science Many lessons seen to be teacher-led Few examples of discussion between students observed.

Research findings: ‘Valuable lessons’: 

Research findings: ‘Valuable lessons’ A study by Ralph Levinson of the discussion of issues related to biosciences: Humanities teachers comfortable with discussion – but not too concerned about the accuracy of the science. Science teachers very concerned to get across the science – and uneasy about discussion.

Making a start: 

Making a start Establish the ground rules Choose a topic that students can relate to Provide a structure (with clear roles where appropriate) Define the outcomes Set a (short) time limit Minimal teacher interventions: procedural, not judgemental

Some established discussion techniques: 

Some established discussion techniques Snowballs Discuss topic in pairs, then fours, then eights – working towards consensus Jigsaws Individuals work as ‘experts’ on a section of a topic and then re-group. Needs advanced planning but does ensure participation of all. Rainbow groups Students each given a different colour, say in a group of 4; they discuss in groups of same colour, then original groups reassemble.

Purpose 1: language: 

Purpose 1: language Developing the language needed to analyse and develop arguments e.g module B1 You and your genes Activity AB1.22 Gene therapy in the news

Purpose 2: clarifying knowledge and understanding: 

Purpose 2: clarifying knowledge and understanding Discussing true/false statements e.g module P2 ‘Radiation & life’ Activity AP2.29 Global warming challenge

Purpose 3: evidence & explanations: 

Purpose 3: evidence & explanations Discussing possible evidence for claims e.g module P1 Earth in the Universe Activity AP1.23 What killed off the dinosaurs (based on a video) or GCSE Science F tier textbook, questions about continental drift on page 62 (refer to pages 60-63) Making sense of evidence e.g module B3 Life on Earth Activity AB3.7 Life on Mars

Purpose 4: exploring issues: 

Purpose 4: exploring issues Issues with an ethical dimension e.g module B1 You and your genes Activity AB1.21 Embryo selection: what should be allowed? Issues with a technical and economic dimension e.g module C2 Material choices Activity C2.16 Can it be done? Should it be done? Gaining insight into other viewpoints

Purpose 5: making decisions: 

Purpose 5: making decisions Developing policy arguments based on information and evidence e.g module B2 Keeping healthy Activity AB2.11 Is it worth it? See module P3 Radioactive materials Activity AP3.28 What was said?

Student dispositions: 

Student dispositions Understand, appreciate or be moved by range of opinions other than one’s own Accept criticism Reasonableness Responsiveness Respect for the members of the group Freedom to offer sincerely-held opinions

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