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At Greenwood Senior High School, Hannah, a graduate teacher, sets her students the task of measuring the dependent variable in a science experiment. The experiment measures the motion and energy of an object in a virtual environment, where the user modifies the independent variable (ie the nature of the object, or the environment). The teacher instructs students to work in pairs on the task and to record their findings. She then discusses the variables identified by pairs with the class as a whole.
The class taught by the graduate teacher is an extension group of science students at the year 10 level. At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher locates the activity within the students' broader study of kinetic and potential energy. She reinforces Science Inquiry Skills by allowing students to use simulations to identify the dependent and independent variables, and formulate hypotheses to explain these. When drawing together the findings made by pairs, the teacher exhibits the required knowledge of content, and the ability to link this knowledge to what is special in the variables that students have identified.
  • Why is it important to set challenging, but achievable learning goals for students?
  • How do you balance 'challenge' with 'achievable' learning outcomes?
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Offline package - Energy transfers and transformations