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Seminar Meetings

Cambridge (Faculty of Education) Seminar Series
Easter Term 2004-5 Seminar: Saturday 23rd April, 2005

Challenging the most able pupils to improve the quality and depth of their written explanations in science. The potential of the Thinking Frame approach at Key stages 2, 3, 4 and 5
Matthew Newberry
The Cams Hill Science Consortium

In March 2003 we explained the central role that models and modelling have in teaching and learning science. Developed through collaborative action research and LEA Consultant work, The Levels Mountain approach has proven to be a highly valuable tool for assisting teachers to plan and pitch effective activities and interactions with pupils in the classroom. Having achieved this, our next key issue is to support gifted and talented and highly able pupils with improving the quality of their written explanations to match their verbal achievement.

To meet this aim, the "Thinking Frame" pedagogy and approach has been developed by The Cams Hill Science Consortium via a co-ordinated sequence of teacher's action research projects covering all Key Stages.

Action research has shown that the Thinking Frames are very valuable tools for both motivating and engaging pupils of all abilities and also raising the standard of their written achievement in science (and other areas of the curriculum). In this seminar I shall recap the work done on the Levels Mountain and then introduce and explain the Thinking Frames and how they can be used to support the most able pupils and share details and findings of some of the case studies. For further details of our work in this area please visit

Learning Science in Context - does it challenge the most able?
Dr. Vanessa Kind
Deputy Director, Science Learning Centre North East, University of Durham

Recent curriculum developments have included a significant increase in the number of students studying 'context-based' courses. Dr. Kind will consider the strength and potential weaknesses of such courses, including applied science, 21st century science and Salters Advanced Chemistry particularly for the higher attaining learners, drawing particularly on her own research into students' learning on a context-based A level course. Examples from the RSC publication "Contemporary Chemistry for Schools and Colleges" will be included as activities suitable for higher attaining students.