21C Science GCSE

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					C21 GCSE Science Case Study Guidance

May 2007
Twenty First Century Science Training pack 2 Unit F5 The Nuffield Foundation and the University of York are grateful to Damian Ainscough of Blackpool Local Authority for permission to include this material in Twenty First Century Science Training pack 2

There is a range of support material relating to students’ learning of how to present a case study. These include: 1. Twenty First Century Science Suite - specification
[Available at http://www.gcse-science.com/file_downloads/pgd_files_294_12.doc Appendix F: Ideas about Science [page 85] is particularly important. It should be used in analysing and comparing viewpoints/claims. For example, students are NOT expected to judge the quality of a scientific report for themselves, but to comment on where it has been published (and by whom) – Is it reputable? Has it been peer reviewed? That is how they judge its validity and reliability. A well-written Case Study should be peppered with terminology showing knowledge of IaS. [See Appendix E, ‘Judging a source of information’, in this document.]

2. Twenty First Century Science Suite Teacher Support Booklet [Available at http://www.gcse-science.com/file_downloads/pgd_files_291_20.pdf This includes:
Appendix D: Marking Criteria for Case Studies (A219) Appendix E: Suggestions for Topics for Case Studies Appendix F: Guidance for Students Writing a Case Study Appendix G: Examples of Completed Case Studies with Commentaries Appendix I: Support for Very Weak Students to Produce Coursework

2. Examples of completed case studies with marks and brief commentaries included
within the separate subject documents available at http://www.gcse-science.com/teachers_subpage.php?pg_id=291 [see page 4]

3. Learning Skills for Science materials
See task references in Appendix D

4. Ideas about Science Glossary
Available at http://www.21stcenturyscience.org/data/files/glossaryjb-10067.doc

5. Blackpool resources
PowerPoint available at http://www.21stcenturyscience.org/support/blackpool-support-for-case-study-teaching,1492,NA.html

6. Malton School, North Yorkshire - website
http://www.malton.n-yorks.sch.uk/ScienceWeb/CaseStudy/info.html 7.

www.energyforesight.org - (Click on 'Teachers' section') - has lots of useful information
that could inform a Case Study related to P3

www.debatingmatters.com (Click on ‘Debate topics’) also has much useful information 8. Analysing text types: Discursive writing
Full document [Module 2] available at: http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/secondary/keystage3/all/respub/lit_xc

Connectives as signposts in writing
See appendix C and page 13

Notes on the following pages outline some key issues arising from discussions between Science Consultant, Damian Ainscough, English Consultant, Helen Lapping, and General Adviser/Inspector – English, Glenn Mascord. Thanks also to Tracey Bell, Literacy Coordinator and English teacher at Palatine Community Sports College, Blackpool, for her contribution through her detailed analysis and comment on a student’s Case Study. Any comments/suggestions welcome to damian.ainscough@blackpool.gov.uk

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Audience, form and purpose – discursive writing Audience: 13-15 year old students Purpose: to present arguments around a current controversial science-based issue, including evaluation of these arguments and presentation of personal conclusions Form: a written report, poster, PowerPoint, leaflet, script etc. Teachers can limit the acceptable forms to ease internal standardisation, certainly in early years of the course. Some of the Pilot schools still restrict students to written report, PowerPoint and audio recording (for EAL students). Preparation – short term Students will need a clear understanding of the possible audiences and forms as well as the purpose of the case study [in addition to it being a piece of coursework!]. Summative assessment – how much choice? It is suggested that in the first year, a limited number of topics are provided [e.g. 3] and that a range of source materials is provided for each one [e.g. 2/3 pieces of evidence ‘for/agree’ and 2/3 pieces of evidence ‘against/disagree’]. Preparation – long term Over the course, the pupils could have 3-4 opportunities [one per term?] to collaboratively research, discuss, debate, argue, conclude and evaluate orally and through writing, a topical contemporary science issue. For example, half the group could be asked to research and present ‘for’, and half ‘against’. Following presentations, small groups could be asked to formulate and present their own conclusions, having evaluated the strength of all arguments. On at least one occasion, students should be asked to argue a case that they do not personally agree with. Differentiation and requirements for higher marks Sequential model [GCSE ~D-G] as exemplified in the OCR ‘Case Study checklist’ Students present a list of referenced evidence ‘for’, a list of referenced evidence ‘against’, then their personal conclusion/evaluation [see Appendix A]. Students are unable to attain the highest marks using this method unless they evaluate and critically compare the pieces of evidence they have listed. This is likely to require a significant amount of repetition of the evidence. Comparative model [GCSE ~A*-D] First, students consider the possible themes to be considered in the case study e.g. cost, safety, environmental impact. Each theme is considered in turn with the student presenting and linking evidence ‘for’ and ‘against’. They are evaluating and critically comparing each theme as they present the evidence. This model is more likely to access the higher marks. [see Appendix B and ‘Marking Criteria for Case Studies’] Some claims will LACK evidence. An ability to notice and state this can be rewarded. At a higher demand level, stating what evidence might be expected in such cases contributes to the evaluation.
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Working together: English and Science departments There is much common ground in GCSE English [e.g. ‘Analyse-review-comment’ assessment] and aspects of a case study could be used for English as well as Science summative assessment. [Less work for the students but requiring effective liaison between departments.] Judging a source of information Pupils can use the grid shown in Appendix E to judge the reliability of a source. In the first instance, the teacher might model this process using ‘traffic light’ or ‘2, 1, 0’ code assessment for each statement. Examples of case studies from OCR [ http://www.gcse-science.com/teachers_subpage.php?pg_id=291] The following examples are available on the OCR website and include marks and brief commentaries. Marks 4 8 8 4 maximum Biology: Cloning Should human cloning be allowed? Cloning Chemistry: Can levels of pollution affect a town’s tourism? Are the government doing enough to reduce air pollution? Are [sic] the rise in asthma attacks caused by the air pollution? Physics: Mobile phones. Are they a risk to your health? Are mobile phones damaging our health? Are mobile phones dangerous? 2422 3543 4553

3332 1454 3774

4664 3342 2241

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Appendix A:
Title page

Should spaghetti be grown on trees or on sand beds?
Title page Introduction Scientific theory/background Evidence/arguments re growing on trees [3 pieces] Evidence/arguments re growing on sand beds [3 pieces] My conclusions Bibliography My case study presentation checklist Page: 1 2 3 4 8 12 14 15


Explanation of what the Case Study is about and how the report is structured.

As you are no doubt aware, there has been an ongoing debate about how spaghetti should be grown. There is a range of opinions, each of which is backed up by some scientific evidence. This report is an attempt to collect together these arguments/opinions and for me to evaluate these and explain my own opinions about this. The report starts with a summary of the research which suggests that spaghetti is best grown on trees. The next section then summarises research suggesting spaghetti should be grown on sand beds. I then give my opinions about each argument and my overall viewpoint. Scientific theory
Relevant background science.

Spaghetti can grow at a rate of up to 15 cm per month but this rate depends on a number of factors including the amount of nutrients available, exposure to the air and light, certain airborne pollutants, availability of water, and freshness of the spaghetti ‘seed’. [Abbott 1999; Dolmio 2005] In order for spaghetti to grow well, its rate of photodiffusion must be maximised. The two most common methods of spaghetti growth are   from the branches of trees laid on sand beds


Relevant information from sources collected with detailed references in each case. Evidence from both sides of the case. Authenticity and reliability of the evidence recognised; Explanation of the evidence using underlying science.

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Growing on trees Evidence A: In 1996, the BBC commissioned a study by Professor Mary Flour of the University of Maryland. She concluded that the rate of growth was enhanced by growing spaghetti on trees due to the increased exposure to air and the important nutrients that the spaghetti gains from the tree bark, in particular, the mineral selenium. Professor Flour is professor of food and nutrition and was formerly senior researcher at Oxburgh University. Reference A: www.UM.flour/spag/html Evidence B: Researchers at the Food and Health Institute in Rome have................ Reference B: www.bbc.co.uk/science/news_id=224 Evidence C: At the 2006 Conference of Food Nutrition, Professors Joaquim Pastale and Johannes Lasagne presented research which clearly......... Reference C: http://pastagrower.com.it Growing on sand beds Evidence X: Reference X: Evidence Y: Reference Y: Evidence Z: Reference Z: Conclusion
Evidence compared and evaluated. Conclusion written and justified, pointing out any limitations or alternative interpretations.

In my opinion........


References listed in detail

1. ABBOTT, P.C. (1999) Factors influencing spaghetti growth. Science, 18 (5), 213-216. 2. DOLMIO, A. (2005) Spaghetti (London: Collincourt) 3.

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Appendix B: 1 to 13 indicate the sequence within the written outcome Should the UK invest in nuclear energy or renewable energy resources as an alternative to producing electricity using fossil fuels? 1. Introduction: explaining topic and purpose of case study 2. The scientific background to both nuclear power and renewable energies

Nuclear energies 3. Clean – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view 5. Cost effective – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view 7. Safe – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view 9. Waste disposal – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view 11. Environmental impact – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view

Renewable energies 4. Clean – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view 6. Cost effective – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view 8. Safe – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view 10. Waste disposal – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view 12. Environmental impact – how? Quote evidence Evaluate view

13. Give a summarising critical evaluation of the evidence presented and (where possible) explain own derived conclusion/s

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Appendix C:

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Connectives as signposts in writing

See final page of this section for different presentation of this table

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Appendix D: ‘Learning Skills for Science’ links:

Getting started

Presenting arguments, evaluating, critically comparing, concluding
3.5 Identifying different types of text 2.2 Observing from different points of view 5.1 Writing a summary

Referencing and evaluation

5.4 Arranging a scientific article 6.3 Recognising a scientific poster 6.4 Designing a scientific poster 3.1 Deciding if an article is useful – first glance 3.2 Deciding if an article is worth reading in detail – second glance 1.4 Choosing the right book 1.8 Locating articles in e-journals 2.1 Taking notes from a presentation

1.9 Finding answers on the web 1.11 Evaluating websites 3.3 Understanding the value of titles 3.4 Making sense of a text [conversion]

5.6 Compiling a bibliography 2.2 Evaluating a presentation 2.3 Observing from different points of view 5.5 Evaluating scientific writing

5.2 Writing a scientific article 5.3 Structuring a scientific article 5.5 Evaluating scientific writing

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Appendix E:

Judging a source of information
The further to the right, the more reliable the source is likely to be.


Website or newsletter of a private individual or a fringe group Based on little or no data

Respectable pressure group website or newsletter

‘Quality’ media e.g. BBC, The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, Daily Mail Based on just one study (or several small studies). Little information about sample, or procedures followed. One among several explanations discussed with the science community A professional scientist whose expertise is in a different field

School textbook or science magazine e.g. New Scientist, Focus, Catalyst. Valid and reliable method e.g. health study with large sample size, carried out over many years

Peer reviewed science journal or government report Results repeated by different scientific studies, each using a valid and reliable method,

Nature of the data

Based on some data, but of questionable validity or reliability, e.g. small sample, not representative of population.

Science explanation

No support within the science community

New explanation, but with basis in accepted scientific ideas An inexperienced scientist or science student

Agreed by most, but not all, within the science community A professional scientist working in the area – though not regarded as a top expert by his/her peers A recognised university or scientific institute

Agreed by everyone within the science community A recognised expert in this field of science

Status of the author

Someone who knows little or no science. Someone known to have a particular point of view A non-science institute

Author’s affiliation or institution

An scientific institute or company that represents particular views only

An scientific institute with a doubtful reputation

A leading university or scientific institute, or the research lab of a major company

Suggestion: start on the left and work your way across the grid e.g. using ‘traffic lights’ [green, amber, red] or ‘2,1, 0’

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ADDING CAUSE AND EFFECT because so as a result therefore thus consequently and also as well as moreover too in addition

SEQUENCING next then first, second, third finally meanwhile after

QUALIFYING however although unless except if as long as apart from yet ILLUSTRATING for example such as for instance as revealed by in the case of
F5 C21 Case Study Guidance from Blackpool LA

Improving writing using

most importantly above all in particular significantly indeed notably furthermore COMPARING equally in the same way similarly likewise as with like
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CONTRASTING however whereas instead of alternatively otherwise unlike on the other hand