Focus on science skills

Fairview Primary School trialled TAPS Focused Assessment plans and developed new TAPS-NI activities like Titanic pulleys and Bottle flip.

Northern Ireland’s 7 science skills (CCEA 2018) were listed on the wall of the Primary 6 (age 9-10) classroom.  The P6 teacher directed the class’s attention to the list of skills and noted that the focus would be on ‘recording and communicating’ that day, in the context of landing ‘bottle flips’. He gave a bottle to each group of 5 and asked them to discuss how to make the bottle flip work best and what could be changed. They considered: amount of water, bottle size, bottle shape, temperature, person flipping, how close to the table to stand and surface.

The pupils were directed to first investigate the best amount of water for landing the bottle flip on the table, keeping all other variables the same. The focus was to record results clearly, so groups were given lined paper but no pre-drawn table. All groups set about investigating, but the teacher could see that some were recording their results and others were not. He paused the class and asked groups to share their results so far. Some groups were systematically adding more water each time, others were noting the proportion of the bottle filled. He drew attention to clearer recording and systematic investigating.

Pupils were then asked to extend their investigation by changing something different (e.g. bottle or surface), but reminded that the focused skill was still recording.

Pupils turned over their paper over and drew a new table to collect results, giving them a further opportunity to practice and succeed at recording results. Findings were shared at the end, leading to a discussion about the best bottle shape.

Fairview Primary School, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim

CCEA (2018) Science and Technology within the World Around Us: Progression Guidance. Belfast: CCEA.

Further details about the TAPS-NI project can be found here.