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Fibres and Fabrics Capability: Critique evidence NoS achievement aims: Investigating in science Contextual strands: Material world Level : 2,3,4

Making Better Sense of the Material World, pages 101-108 

This resource illustrates how some activities in Making Better Sense of the Material World can be adapted to provide opportunities for students to strengthen their capability to critique evidence in the context of science.

Curriculum Aims and AOs

The nature of Science strand

Aims

Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Investigating in science

Carry out science investigations using a variety of approaches: classifying and identifying, pattern seeking, exploring, investigating models, fair testing, making things, or developing systems.

L1 & 2:

Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions, and discussing simple models.

L3 & 4:

Ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models, and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations.

Material World

Aims

Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Properties and changes of matter

Investigate the properties of materials.

L1 & 2:

Observe, describe, and compare physical and chemical properties of common materials and changes that occur when materials are mixed, heated or cooled.

L3 & 4:

Group materials in different ways, based on the observations and measurements of the characteristic physical and chemical properties of a range of different materials.

Learning focus

Students critique each others’ experimental designs.

Learning activity

The Fibres and Fabrics chapter provides ideas for a number of activities and investigations where students investigate the properties of a range of textiles. These investigations could easily be extended, to provide opportunities for students to strengthen their capabilities to critique evidence, by encouraging them to think about the quality of the data they are collecting.

For example, in Investigation 1 on page 105 students devise an investigation to compare the strengths of different forms of cotton. The students are asked to, “Write a brief paragraph describing what you were trying to find out, what you did to find it out, what you found out, whether it was what you were expecting to find out, and anything else you learned from the activity. Present your results in the form of a chart or a diagram and discuss any trends you observed.”

Adapting the resource

Get the students to work in groups to design their investigations. Once they have, each group presents their design to another group (or to the class). The students have to justify their design. Encourage the other students to question the presenters, e.g.:

  • How will you measure your observations?
  • How will you make sure it is a fair test?
  • How many times will you repeat the investigation?
  • How will you make sure the “pulling power” is the same each time?

Students then have time to modify their designs before carrying out their investigations and presenting their findings (as described in the original activity).

When the students have presented their findings, lead a class discussion about which results they think they can trust the most.

  • What are their reasons for trusting these results?
  • What aspects of the investigation made the data seem more trustworthy?
  • What other questions have they got now?

What’s important here?

In order to evaluate the trustworthiness of data, students need to know quite a lot about the qualities of scientific tests so they know what questions to ask. It is not enough just to know how to do a “fair test” – students need to know why protocols such as repeated trials, controlling variables, accurate measurements, etc., are important.

Developing an appreciation of how evidence in science is generated supports students to become scientifically literate, i.e., to participate as critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role. (This is the purpose of science in NZC.)

What are we looking for?

Can students justify the designs of their investigations?

Do they know what questions to ask when critiquing others’ designs?

Do they understand that how the data are gathered affects the trustworthiness of the data?

Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

For suggestions about adapting tasks in ways that allow students to show progress in critiquing evidence see Progressions .

Exploring further

This adaptation could be used whenever students are designing investigations – regardless of the context. Science Fairs would provide a rich context.

Other resources for this capability

I Miss My Pet (L2, 3 & 4) Connected 2, 2006

Magnet investigation (L2, 3 & 4) Assessment Resource Banks

Which of these materials make the light go on? (L2, 3 & 4) Science Online

Types of Rubbish (L2, 3 & 4) Figure It Out: Sustainability, Level 2-3, 2010

Zoom, Zoom! (L3 & 4) Figure It Out: Forces, Level 2-3, 2010

Butterfly transects (L3 & 4) Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust webpage

Marine Metre Squared (L3, 4 & 5) Mm2.net.nz webpage

Where will the wood float? (L4) Assessment Resource Banks

Disinfecting wastewater interactive (L5) Science Learning Hub

Factors affecting ball bounce (L5) Science Online

Measuring the temperature of the ocean (L5) multiple webpages

NCEA Level 1 Investigations (L5) NCEA on TKI

Key words

Making Better Sense, fibres and fabrics


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