Getting Practical ASE/CLEAPSS
It is widely recognised that practical work is a vital element of school science, and there are a number of high quality resources to support it. However, practical science work as it is delivered in schools may not always impact sufficiently on pupils’ engagement and learning.
Getting Practical aims to support teachers, technicians and teaching assistants to improve the effectiveness of practical work through using, tailoring and managing practical science activities to meet whatever purpose the teacher has in mind. The PSTT sponsored Transition Project entered Phase 2 in 2012/2013.
Why use this approach?
The UK is one of the leading countries in Europe for including practical work in its science education curriculum but while practical work is generally considered of importance by both scientists and teachers of science and although young people tend to enjoy and are engaged by practical activities; as a country we are struggling to find young people who wish to continue their study of science past GCSE level.
A report by SCORE found that although there are a number of good quality practical science resources available, some practical work in schools and colleges can have a limited effect on a young person’s engagement and learning.
What is "Getting Practical"?
Getting Practical is a programme of professional development designed to support teachers, technicians and high level teaching assistants at primary, secondary and post 16 levels evaluate their practical science teaching with a view to improving the quality of their teaching.
The programme aims to improve practical science teaching in three key ways:
I. The clarity of the learning outcomes associated with practical work. By having a clearer idea of what a learner should achieve in a practical session, lessons can be planned more appropriately rather than just teaching a practical topic the way it has always been taught.
II. Effectiveness and impact of the practical work. Many young people leave a practical science lesson with a limited understanding of what the aims of the session were and whether they have achieved that aim. They often consider the session to be more fun than a theoretical lesson but this does not indicate that their learning has been enhanced.
III. Quality rather than quantity of practical work. Ensuring that these developments are sustainable in schools
Practical work in any branch of science is seen by the majority of science teachers as a vital part of a learner’s teaching and learning experience. Making this truly effective is more difficult to achieve. By helping teachers to think about the practical work that they currently offer and to consider both the key objectives and purposes behind it, Getting Practical aims to address this. This leads to further thought about how to "stage" practical work in order to increase its effectiveness in learners’ development.
The "Getting Practical" materials
The programme is not focused on suggesting new practical experiments and investigations, although a list of resources is available through the Getting Practical website. The materials enable teachers to look at the pedagogy of practical work and then to think about how it can be made more effective through changes to their practice.
These resources are divided up according to the three CPD training sessions as they were delivered. Each training presentation can be found here along with the corresponding resources, some ideas for practical activities as well as a link to the resources page on the Getting Practical website.
More information about the project can be found on the project's own website.
DOWNLOAD ALL “GETTING PRACTICAL” FILES [22.45MB]
This session is an introduction to the Getting Practical Project and included some icebreaker activities. It was intended to stimulate discussion around:
- The reasons for doing practical work
- The range of possible outcomes for a practical activity
- The progression between KS2 and KS3 outcomes
DOWNLOAD ALL “SESSION 1” FILES [5.59MB]
Session 1 Training Presentation [700.80kB]
Session 1 Training Presentation [1.36MB]
Icebreaker Cards [136.27kB]
Icebreaker Cards [74.00kB]
Quotes for Gallery Gossip [310.64kB]
Quotes for Gallery Gossip [913.00kB]
Practical Activity Review Tool [304.80kB]
Practical Activity Review Tool [61.50kB]
(which looks at the purpose of practical work) made use of booklets of practical activities for both Primary and Secondary pupils.
Primary Practical Booklet [636.43kB]
Primary Practical Booklet [1.38MB]
Secondary Practical Booklet [453.13kB]
Party Scene Pictures [579.50kB]
DOWNLOAD ALL “ACTIVITY 1” FILES [2.75MB]
In this session the practical activity review tool was introduced and analysed, and discussion was centred around recognizing the implications of the review on planning and teaching of outcomes across the Key Stages. A practical activity was designed and an action research task for the classroom was given.
DOWNLOAD ALL “SESSION 2” FILES [2.47MB]
Session 2 Training Presentation [545.38kB]
Session 2 Training Presentation [1.10MB]
Practical Activity Review Tool [305.20kB]
Practical Activity Review Tool [60.50kB]
Practical Activity Evaluation Questions [110.63kB]
Practical Activity Evaluation Questions [74.00kB]
Outcome Areas List [97.75kB]
Outcome Areas List [70.50kB]
Equipment List for the Dissolving Experiment [100.86kB]
Equipment List for the Dissolving Experiment [80.50kB]
Staging Tool for Practical Activities [75.96kB]
Staging Tool for Practical Activities [147.00kB]
Action Research Task Pupil Feedback Form [364.87kB]
Action Research Task Pupil Feedback Form [106.00kB]
In this session, teachers fed back from their action research projects and reflected on the effectiveness of practical work. The resources are for teachers to use in creating a vision document for science in their schools as well as a plan for organising science CPD.
DOWNLOAD ALL “SESSION 3” FILES [3.16MB]
Session 3 Training Presentation [527.09kB]
Session 3 Training Presentation [1.20MB]
Creating a Pitch Tool [106.67kB]
Creating a Pitch Tool [87.50kB]
Getting Practical CPD Plan [48.38kB]
Getting Practical CPD Plan [84.00kB]
Train the Trainers Presentation [872.72kB]