SCIENCE BASELINE assessment from level P4 to 4a (old NC levels)

SCIENCE BASELINE assessment from level P4 to 4a (old NC levels)

I have used this assessment with students over the years and modified/improved as time went on. I believe it to be a good way of assessing students when they are new to the school or even at the end of each year or indeed at any time you wish. It is based around 4 small assessments for Biology, Chemistry & Physics, so a total of 12 mini-assessments. Ideally the teacher or assistant spends up to 30 mins (can split the assessment over a few days if you wish but best results have been when the entire assessment is completed at one time) in a ONE TO ONE session. The teacher/assistant reads the script (this is important as it reduces leading questions and clues to answers), the responses are noted down but in most cases a tick will indicate if the student has understood fully, partially understood or not understood at all. Minimal resources are needed and are kept in a tray for use at any time. I believe doing or demonstrating science is a beautiful way to engage students, so the assesment uses this. You will need to source basics like balloons, toy car, rocks etc. I chose to set up 4 trays so 4 assessments could be completed at the same time (perhaps different classes) The levels assessed are from P4 up to 4a old levels (which I believe are still useful) you may wish to change the names of the levels to suit your own school. The script states which resources to use in each question as well as appropriate answers that should be expected for fully, partially and not at all levels of understanding. This allows staff that are not science trained to be able to complete these assessments with the students with relative ease. Good luck
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Earth and Beyond

Earth and Beyond

A nice assessment "old" levels 1 to 5 Assesses student's understanding of the Earth, sun, shadows, Earth's axis, day & night etc etc Students draw in shapes of Earth, orbits to show understanding. Also draw in the position of the sun at different times as well as shadow changes. All in all a friendly way to judge progress. Enjoy.
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Heart and Circulation

Heart and Circulation

A tried, tested and adjusted assessment which caters for "old" level 1 to about 5. The assesment gives students a nicely set out piece of work, drawing in the lungs, arrowing direction of bloodflow, unlike the "dry" ambiguous written questions you often find. I like to introduce some sort of "practical" in my assessments if possible, this assessment asks the students to measure their own pulse (I suggest stopwatches are made available, and possibly support if required). Enjoy
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What am I quiz sheet

What am I quiz sheet

Very simple worksheet to get students thinking and visualising living things With blank table on the back for students to make up there own
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Cells and microscopes assesment

Cells and microscopes assesment

A differentiated test which assesses studenta around level 1 to 4 (old NC levels) You can of course alter in any way you wish. The assesment requires students to use a hand lens to draw what they see. The scores are 0, 1 or 2 (you change or delete as you wish) the idea being 0=no understanding, 1=some understanding, 2=understands fully...this helps you gauge the level of understanding for this topic Good luck
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Acids & Alkalis

Acids & Alkalis

This is a tried, tested and improved assesment that has worked well with many students. The assesment is based on the old NC levels 1 to 5 (subdivided into a,b & c)but you can convert into any level description you need, frankly a staged 1 to 5 indicator is as useful as ever whatever you may wish to call it. I have devised a sytem which gives you a measure of success: each question can score 0, 1 or 2, if a student scores a 2 then you can say they understand the concept fully, score of 1 they understand partially, 0 means they may have experienced the concept but do not understand it much if at all. The support sheet can be used as a teaching scheme for staff. Split into 3 columns the first column states what concept is being testsd, 2nd column tells you what is required for a score og 1, 3rd column what is required for a score of 2. I have used this sytem to calculate a score for students...if they achieve 75% or more then I believe you can say they have achieved that level. Good luck
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Skeleton quiz

Skeleton quiz

Short simple quiz that allows you to judge the understanding and level of your students
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Drawing small things

Drawing small things

Students use hand lenses, magnifiers, whatever you have available....this can lead to a "not fair" discussion as some students only have low magnification. The worksheet contains pictures of very small living things with varrying amounts of legs, antenae, wings, spots, colours...students must use the magnifier to draw as carefully as they can the pictures. The students can then mark their own efforts after you tell them what detail you expected and they should have spotted..be prepared for lots of moaning and a bit of banter.
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PERISCOPE template

PERISCOPE template

A simple A4 template that allows students to make a small but useable periscope, you will need the mirror card to glue onto the periscope. Challenges to make them longer...ie make an extension tube...does not need to be square! could be tin foil tube etc...periscope is cut in half and the ends slipped over the extension tube. I have had students make a "sea" out of tables, they crawl around underneath and pop up a periscope in gaps between tables to look around.
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Build a bridge challenge

Build a bridge challenge

A simple challenge where students in small groups or on their own must decide which materials and much of them they should "buy" to build a bridge that must span a 15cm gap(between 2 chairs or boxes) They are allowed a budget and must not spend more than allowed so must choose wisely. The bride is tested to destruction by hanging masses (100g at a time) until the bridge fails
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Find and sorting materials

Find and sorting materials

Simple worksheet that allows students to invstigate materials and their uses around school (at home for HW). Students can look at specific objects(chair) and write down what it seems to be from. Students are also encouraged to look for the material and say what it is used for...so that materials and properties are approached from both ways. Then the more tricky task of putting materials into groups, students can classify them in their own way..get ready for some unusual classification techniques. As an extension students can continue with materials/objects of their own choice..this usually introduces the student's own interests into scientific method.
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Materials quiz

Materials quiz

A simple quiz with well thought out and tested questions intended to stimulate thought and discussion about materials and their properties. There is no mark scheme as I have found that students come up with unexpected but valid answers which can engage the class and foster interest
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Get the salt

Get the salt

Students are given some dirty salt (salt +sand/soil..whatever you wish) I have even simulated urine(orange juice) to reinforce the plight of poor hygeine in some countries. The sheet takes students through the 3 steps of purifying the salt. The final step of evaporating the water using evaporating basins can be tricky if the heat is left on too long.....if no bunsens/heat is available you can just leave the solutions to "dry out" naturally..you can get nice crystals forming over a couple of days. Why not take the students out for fish and chips later on (keeping a sample of your salt to sprinkle on your chips)
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Does it burn?

Does it burn?

Lovely activity, not for the faint hearted. Give students a selection of materials which they examine and describe simply. They then (with the required H&S) heat the material/object using a bunsen(roaring or yellow...you decide), tongs, observe and describe the material afterwards. I have done this expt using tea light candles in a classroom, with bench mats and an extra pair of eyes it worked beautifully. This promotes many aspects of chemical changes, durability, suitability etc etc of materials for specific tasks
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20 tips to engage students

20 tips to engage students

Having taught in mainstream primary and secondary schools for 25 years and in special education for 14 years I have realized that there is no "fairy dust" that solves the many problems & challenges of everyday teaching. As Basil Fawlty would say most of this originates from "the bleeding obvious", but it does not harm any of us to be reminded of what is often overlooked, ignored and even considered unimportant as it is difficult to "evidence". These are my 20 most important “tips”, not “tricks” to help you engage students, although you may well think it is magic when one of these “wins over” a student you thought lost forever to “the dark side”.
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Building Electric circuits challenge

Building Electric circuits challenge

3 activities which I use in turn. As soon as the student has completed the first activity and had it checked, they get the next one. Students love the challenge. It is not a race! Students learn through trial and error as well as each other
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FORCES powerpoint

FORCES powerpoint

Simple visual introduction to FORCES should generate discussion and relevance to student's lives. All slides have lovely movements and funny stuff
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How big are your lungs

How big are your lungs

A measuring lung capacity activity, staff lead. You will need a large plastic bottle, I used a 5litre (windsreen wash topup bottle-empty and washed, and for smaller children a 2 litre coke bottle), mark the volumes with permanent pen on the outside of the bottle (add 100ml of water at a time to see where the marks should go. Have a steriliser solution in a beaker(baby bottle tablet types are great, as well as a rinse beaker to clean the mouth part of the pipe each time. In one big breath students blow into the upturned bottle and their lung volume is recorded. For younger students you can give each student an identical balloon (care with latex allergies) and get them to blow in one breath, tie up and stick "same size" balloons on board like a bar graph but made from balloons. Different colours look great. Visualy you see a bar graph on the wall made from balloons with the most common lung capacity having the tallest column of balloons.....then you can work on "real" bar charts
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Parachuting eggs

Parachuting eggs

A simple activity which gets students thinking about how things fall and how they can be protected when they hit the floor
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Using a microscope

Using a microscope

Worksheet that enables students to draw what they see under the microscope, suggested samples are on the sheet but of course you can add your own or even leave some blank for students to suggest. I have had students hunting for insects, leaves are popular, worms, ants are tricky but petri dishes are helpful, dust, finger nail dirt, etc etc Students love to enter the world of the microscopic..be prepared to allow a couple or 3 lessons to let their imagination soar.
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The biggest lungs

The biggest lungs

This is the bar chart that students end up with after having completed the excercise and lung capacity activity. It can lead nicely on from the "balloon" bar chart (if you chose to use it) for younger/less able students...or even more able but a "twist" on bar charts (see how big are your lungs)
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