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Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

Students make progress when they can demonstrate greater capability in making sense of representations. 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 1 and 2 tasks with those students might encounter at level 5. Level 3 and 4 tasks/contexts will combine some easier and some more demanding features.

Aspect of task at level 1/2 Aspect of task at level 5

Framing of task

The task draws on everyday representations (photos, drawings, everyday speech and words etc.)

The task involves use of simple familiar language to talk about how the intended meaning is being conveyed: e.g. The wobbly lines show how... A good word for this is ... I put those together because....


Framing of task

The task provides opportunities to compare and contrast everyday representations of ideas and scientific ways of representing those same ideas.

The task may require students to make and justify choices about the most appropriate representation to use in a specific context.  

The task allows students to explore and discuss  the conventions of science, and what these conventions convey about the cultural practices of science.

Students have opportunities to practise using conventions appropriately as they construct their own representations. 

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 uses everyday ideas and language, or very simple and familiar science ideas to explore and practise ways of making meaning.

Prior science knowledge

The task uses students’ prior science knowledge of relevant concepts to explore and practise ways of making meaning.

The disciplinary knowledge also acts as a guide to the selection of relevant conventions for purposes of comparing and contrasting.

Metacognitive awareness

Tasks encourage students to talk about their thinking about how different representations can show different things.

Metacognitive awareness

The task provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their awareness of their meaning-making choices and of differences between scientific and everyday meaning-making practices.