Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

You are here:

Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

Students make progress when they can demonstrate greater capability to critique the basis on which evidence-based claims are made. For this to happen they need to encounter tasks that stretch them, yet are achievable. A mix of the aspects in the task design will determine its overall difficulty level for students. The table contrasts features more typical of level 2 tasks with those students might encounter at level 5.

Note that no tasks for this capability have been developed at level 1 where the priority is on building a rich and varied “library of experiences”. Those experiences become things that older students can “think with” as they reflect critically on evidence. Teachers of Level 1 students might find it helpful to check level 2 tasks for this capability, to help focus talk about experiences in ways that can be built on in subsequent years.

Aspect of task at level 2 Aspect of task at level 5

Framing of task

The task has been shaped to eliminate ambiguity: what is displayed directs attention to one aspect of an inquiry where critical thinking might be needed.

The task involves use of simple familiar language to ask critical questions about an investigation: e.g. How could you check? How will we know when we have enough data?

Framing of task

The task is open to interpretation because it is not self-evident what the focus of critique should be, or why.

The task requires student to identify and think critically about all the relevant phases of an inquiry  

Tasks are shaped to highlight features of investigations that confer validity and reliability to data-based claims.

Some tasks expose students to the inevitability of measurement error and how this can be appropriately managed.

Students have opportunities to discuss the importance of transparency and the role played by data gathering protocols.

More than one data gathering method might be relevant: in this case students have opportunities to compare advantages and drawbacks of different investigative methods.

Choice of context

The context is likely to be familiar or easily associated with something that is already familiar to many students.

The context can be readily accessed.

Choice of context

A wider range of contexts will be used: some familiar, some less so.

The context might present an unexpected or surprising aspect of something so familiar that it tends to be taken for granted.

Prior science knowledge

The task draws on everyday ideas and language or very simple and familiar science ideas.


Prior science knowledge

Students’ prior science knowledge of relevant concepts acts as a guide to critical questions about methods used to gather evidence and make evidence-based claims.  

Metacognitive awareness

Tasks encourage students to talk about their critical thinking.

Metacognitive awareness

Tasks include opportunities for students to talk about when they are skeptical of claims, and whether they do choose the most appropriate times to question claims.

Tasks include opportunities for students to reflect on the values and feelings associated with a disposition to be skeptical of claims.

There are opportunities to contrast critique of knowledge claims with the more usual presentation of school science as “‘correct facts”.