APP and Wikid Science – how they fit well together

I attended a county APP network meeting last week which included a show & tell session.  Being a model of good organisation I remembered that I was meant to be taking something two day before.  I could have simply gone through my schemes of work and picked an example of how we use APP, but instead I wanted to include something fresh.

I looked at the lesson plan for my next Y7 lesson, which was from the A&E sequence.  Students were looking at some of the key pieces of equipment used in a hospital used to aid diagnosis.  The teaching resources needed a little differentiation, partly to make them more accessible and partly to speed up that part of the lesson so we were free to move on.

I looked at the APP criteria that matched this lesson, which also gave me an idea of the outcomes I could expect from my students and what the next steps should be.  I chose AF2 and students were recognising roles in the hospital with science and applications of science.

  • Identify a link to science in familiar objects
  • Recognise scientific developments that help us
  • Describe in familiar contexts how science helps us do things
  • Identify people who use science to help others
  • Identify aspects of our lives, or of the work that people do, which are based on scientific ideas
  • Link applications to specific characteristic or properties
  • Identify aspects of science used within particular jobs or roles
  • Recognise applications of specific scientific ideas
  • Link application of science or technology to their underpinning scientific ideas
  • Identify ethical or moral issues linked to scientific or technological developments

I then modified the task so that students would have more of a chance to demonstrate these skills in a way that suited their special needs.  I decided that students would be presenting to the hospital board (who were looking for job cuts) and explaining to them that science was important in the hospital and which jobs used some kind of science.  Students would also mention the key pieces of apparatus used in a hospital, relating applications of science to specific properties (e.g. the X-ray machine).

Students were videoed making their presentation to the hospital board after planning the presentation (in pairs).  Students then watched back the presentations as a class the next lesson and offered peer feedback on both the presentations and the specific science skills (above) we were looking at.

I’ve included the presentation and worksheet that I used for this lesson, however I wanted to make the point that APP isn’t about collecting mountains of paperwork or one off assessment style lessons.  It can be used to aid most science activities (either for assessment, development or both) and that the writing of Wikid Science makes this process extremely easy.


equipment used for diagnosis

Presenting to hospital board – APP

Wikid Science – thermite reaction in pyrotechnics

The pyrotechnics module contains both the thermite reaction, and the reaction of copper oxide and zinc.  I have done the thermite reaction this way (CLEAPSS method with fluted filter paper) many times before but never tried the copper oxide and zinc reaction.

I’m sure there are teachers out there who haven’t tried either – I’ve put videos of both below so you can see what to expect (and the students loved them!).

Wikid Science – how I make mine better

Practical work.  That’s the main method.  The more the better.  Science is a practical subject and you learn best by doing and making sense of what you have seen.  I like to shoehorn any practical work in that helps students grasp a topic – the more the better.

This lesson in the Pyrotechnics sequence had flame tests in.  Students love flame tests but they don’t really help reinforce the concept of elements and compounds.  The solution?  Keep the flame tests but stick in some extra practical work to reinforce the main learning objectives.  I slotted in a small-scale reaction of iron and sulphur (in CLEAPSS recommended quantities of 2g iron/sulphur mix per student), moving this from the following lesson which already contains plenty of meaningful practical work.

This reinforced the concept of elements and compounds within this lesson, and provided more meaningful practical work than flame tests alone.

Practical (used to aid teaching) works best when it helps students to grasp the main objective of the lesson.  Don’t be afraid to stick more practical work in your schemes of work if it makes science more fun and aids understanding, or move it to more appropriate parts of your scheme of work.