Advanced search

Any Y7 science teachers?

(24 Posts)
Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 13:24:51

Please can you tell me why I should like, Appinscience's Martian web quest and the other over complicated compose a letter or Email HWs DD2 brings home.
We had an awful thing about sound and hearing loss in which the science got totally lost.

DD2 favourite subject is English, she's top set and really good at writting. However, even she looks at these and says this is just a load of meaningless waffle.

After writting 2.5 sides of A4, I suspect she had learn't no more cell biology than she would in answering a worksheet with perhaps 8 one line answers and a short paragraph at the end.

I hold a PG Biology degree and I'm all for making science relavent to the real world, but this stuff is (in my non humble opinion) contrived junk.

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 13:27:48

writing, appologies unlike DD2 I'm dyslexic and Firefox has opened in safe mode and that's lost my spell checker.

chicaguapa Mon 12-Nov-12 13:48:51

I don't really understand what you're asking, but I know the new GCSE science exams require much longer answers and a greater emphasis on literacy than simple one line answers.

Not sure if that helps your question. confused

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 14:12:45

That they have changed GCSE's to test English as well as science I had sort of gathered and I am very angary about, having a dyslexic DD1 who wants to do science at university.

What I find very hard to see the point of is complicated, totally fake, real world situations where the actual science get lost.

No way would you write to NASA telling them the history of the microscope and a bit of basic cell biology, it's just stupid.

MrsHoarder Mon 12-Nov-12 14:16:09

Startail afraid I don't understand the question, but your DD will have to write essays doing any of the sciences (except maths) at university. And most "scientists" end up having to communicate to non-scientists, which is where this idea is probably coming from.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 12-Nov-12 14:38:16

The question is about the nature of the assignment, I think - that its barely science.

I don't remember DD having anything quite as you describe (she's in yr9).
Sure, scientists need to be able to communicate but its the science which is the vital part. Science exams shouldn't test 'English' as such - that is, so long as the answer accurately conveys the information it shouldn't matter if its elegant or not. Spelling does matter if it affects meaning or in particular with technical terms.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 12-Nov-12 14:44:37

>And most "scientists" end up having to communicate to non-scientists, which is where this idea is probably coming from.

Not really, IME. (a) most scientific papers are only read by other scientists (b) scientists work collaboratively. So while my dyslexic genius genius friend may have huge input to a piece of research, someone else will sort out the syntax of reports and papers. Many of my colleagues don't have English as a first language; so, I'm very happy to review the documentation they write. And so forth.

MrsHoarder Mon 12-Nov-12 15:07:29

You misunderstand me, most science graduates don't work in universities. The majority work for commercial companies and have to deal with other parts of those companies.

And whilst a senior scientist may not need to write much they can't get there withouta PhD and lots of papers written themselves (usually)

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 15:13:24

The HWs I am having trouble with are very contrived attempts at making science relevant to the real world. DD and I just seem to be wasting a huge amount of time reading all the scene setting and trying to work out what the question actually wants us to write.
I’ve just found the actual question on DDs lap top

“Your task is to explore the model of the cell and how it came about, and use this scientific idea to solve the mystery of a photograph sent from Mars by a surface robot exploring the planet for evidence of life. “
Fine she read the information and watched the video. She made notes and understood this stuff.
It’s this bit that flummoxed us

“You will use your findings to write a short letter to the science editor of the, "Journal of Xenobiology" suggesting whether they should publish a paper on the findings, or whether they should dismiss the photograph. You'll need to use your knowledge of cells to support your view.”
Either you did as she did write an essay detailing all you had learnt (which is what I think she did) or you wrote “Dear Sir, the green blob with purple eyes could well be a cell with two nuclei, yours little Star”

Remember this is Y7; she has already been gently teased for putting mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum in her cell model. There was no scale on the diagram it just said it was a micrograph. There were squiggly bits and Pseudopodia and vacuole like bits, but as I say we have to stick to Y7. So truely what were we ment to write.

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 15:24:55

DH is a professional computer scientist. Yes he writes code sometimes, but he also writes long reports, beautifully.

DD2 takes after him not me. blush

As I say it's not the extended writing thats the problem, it's the lack of clarity in the questions.

There seems to be a tremendous amount of leway in what to include and what to leave out.

If you are doing an exam essay you put in everything you know about a subject, that can possibly be relavent to the question, in as logical an order as you can manage.You can't write too much there isn't time.

As a HW question you are left totally confussed as to do I write everything I know about cells from the sources or do I answer the very narrow does it look like a cell question.

In which case why have I spent an hour filling in the planning sheet?

DD had three other pieces of HW to do and it just seemed unnecessarily confusing.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 12-Nov-12 15:26:28

>And whilst a senior scientist may not need to write much they can't get there withouta PhD and lots of papers written themselves (usually)

My friend had a helluva time with his thesis, but he got help. Few papers are written solo.

I'm a scientist who works for a company... I learned my English by doing English, humanities. English good enough to communicate just isn't that much of an issue for someone who's bright enough to be a scientist and without some particular issue such as dyslexia. But people like my friend...maybe startails son is like this - it would be an absolute crime if such people couldn't get the science grades to get to a good university. This chap couldn't get into Cambridge because his excellent science A-levels weren't enough...guess where he works now?!

There is one particular aspect of language that is specifically needed for scientific communication - writing in indirect speech. This is not served by the tasks mentioned by the OP.

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 15:43:24

My dyslexic DD1 would have had a total melt down at the above HW, however she wasn't in the top set and she didn't bring anything like this home.

DD1, will I hope and strongly suspect, will in the end get reasonable A levels and on the course she wants. Her battles with the science dept. are a whole different thread.

I simply woundered if Iwas the only person who found the modern wording of science HW questions unnecessarily complicated.

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 15:44:38

as I say we had a very bad eveningas DD2 had lots of history as well and the science was just the last straw.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 12-Nov-12 15:53:33

>I simply woundered if Iwas the only person who found the modern wording of science HW questions unnecessarily complicated.

The one you cite could I suppose have some value but at a later stage, not Yr7.

Blu Mon 12-Nov-12 16:41:09

Yr 7 science is DS's biggest disappointment in secondary school for this very reason.

(His current plan is to become a particle physicist at CERN...)

Too much talking and literacy, not enough experiment, proof and scientific explanation for him.

I am counselling patience.

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 17:48:57

and a huge chunk of the genetics unit devoted to role playing Ethics, long after DD1 had got the point.

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 17:52:00

patience is good, new scientist is good, watch and listerning to every TV and radio program you can find is good. Lots of pod casts.

School science up to GCSE I'm beging to wory about, especially when people say A' level is a huge jump.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 12-Nov-12 18:18:03

We have to teach writing. Every teacher is a teacher of literacy is the phrase of the moment...

This will be an APP task. It involves both modelling and communication. It will be highly thought of in some circles...

In our KS3 curriculum, we do have a focus on communication, because being able to express yourself clearly and concisely is a skill worth having. And we focus on data handling, as again, a useful skill in Science and outside. In order to generate data to handle, we do lots of practicals, because children like them and so do I.

The jump to A level is of different heights depending on what specification you follow at GCSE IMO.

But your DD will be doing the EBC, and we know nothing about how to prepare students for those...

GrimmaTheNome Mon 12-Nov-12 19:00:37

> being able to express yourself clearly and concisely is a skill worth having

Absolutely - but only if you've got something worth expressing. I think the OP's complaint was that these literacy-type exercises were being done at the expense of aquiring sound scientific knowledge.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 12-Nov-12 19:32:22

Yep. I agree. However, that would be considered a pretty good task by many...

The thread then moved on to discuss the importance of developing writing skills on Science, so I was really commenting on that.

ll31 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:16:37

But why is op a-so onvolved in the detail and b-filling out planning sheets. It's not hw for you both surely

ll31 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:17:18

so Involved...

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 22:37:43

I got involved because DD managed to loose her planning sheet and had me print her out a new one (Mummy's job because the original was A3 and that needs a bit of layout hacking and printer set up)

She then redid all the data collection without complaint, but got to the actual question and was stumpped.

So was I, I couldn't see how Hook discovering the microscope was relevent to whether or not a daft made up scribble was or was not a cell.

HW should not be for parents, but when it's been made needlesly complicated it becomes HW for Mum.

Had it just been write a paragraph about what you learnt from each source she'd have done it herself and done it better than me. (she can spell and write neatly).

I have no idea what she wrote in the end because we agreed that the sources and the letter you would actually write didn't coincide and she decided she could produce some waffle and I could do some housework.

Startail Mon 12-Nov-12 22:47:40

To be fair I think she did learn some science in this task.

We had another where I'm much less convinced, but I do feel that any HW that DD2 has to ask what on earth are they actually asking me to write Mum? is not very well thought out.

If DD2, who has L5 English and professional scientist parents and a science mad big sister, who talk science all the time at home is stuck, I pity the rest of the class.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: