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Types of Rubbish Capability: Critique evidence NoS achievement aims: Investigating in science Contextual strands: Material world Level : 2,3,4

Figure It Out: Sustainability, Level 2–3, 2010, pages 6–8

This resource illustrates how some activities in Figure It Out: Sustainability 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


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


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Chemistry and society

Make connections between the concepts of chemistry and their applications and show an understanding of the role chemistry plays in the world around them.

L1 & 2:

Find out about the uses of common materials and relate these to their observed properties.

L3 & 4:

Relate the observed, characteristic chemical and physical properties of a range of different materials to technological uses and natural processes.

Learning Focus

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. 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.) Students recognise the importance of being explicit about how data are gathered.

Learning activity

In Types of Rubbish, data are presented in a variety of ways. On page 6 there is a table showing Room 4’s rubbish. In the existing activity students discuss the data that are provided for both the mass and volume of 5 categories of rubbish.

Adapting the resource

  1. Discuss with your class what questions they would want to ask Room 4 if they wanted to do a similar investigation and be able to compare their results with Room 4’s. For example:
    • How many students are in Room 4? Was most of the class present that day? [The number of students is likely to affect the amount of rubbish generated.]
    • What age are students in Room 4? [It’s possible different aged students might produce different amounts or types of rubbish.]
    • Was the paper flat or screwed up? [This would affect the volume it took up.]
    • When in the week/term was the investigation done? [At the end of the term when students are clearing up there might be more paper.]
    • Was there any special event happening that would affect the amount of organic waste? [For example: a shared lunch.]
    • What time of day did Room 4 do their investigation?
    • How did you decide which plastic was recyclable?
  2. Draw up a plan and use it to collect comparable data across different classes in your school.

What are we looking for?

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

Do they understand that if you want to compare data sets you need to ensure the data were collected in the same way?

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

The science content is limited in this resource. However, this activity could be embedded in a unit of work about, for example, sustainability. To develop understandings about the Material World teachers would need to develop opportunities for content learning as well.

Other resources for this capability

Key words

Figure It Out, sustainability, rubbish