Scaffolding Secondary Science

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Providing support through scaffolding techniques applied to the secondary science classroom

About this module:

In this module, we consider how to enable all our students to progressively move towards greater independence and understanding during the learning process through purposeful scaffolding. The module is focused on examples and case studies that are relevant to the secondary science classroom but could be applied elsewhere in other topics. We will consider how to determine the right amount of support students need to both access the learning but remain challenged; in most cases scaffolding will take the form of providing steps in written materials, re-ordering prior knowledge and supporting new learning in chunks. You will be invited to reflect and apply the activities to your own classrooms both during and beyond the session.

This module is appropriate for teachers and classroom practitioners in secondary science.

Session One: The optimum level of difficulty will explore:

  • Effective working memory.
  • How to chunk learning.
  • Reaching the optimum level of difficulty.

Session Two: Scaffolding Tools and Strategies will explore:

  • Directed Activities Related To Texts (DARTS) and examples of these in the science classroom.
  • PLANKs and examples of these in the science classroom.
  • POLES and examples of these in the science classroom.
What you will learn:
  • Understand student working memory limitations.
  • Understand and learn how teaching can be “chunked” to prevent students being overloaded with information.
  • Learn how to facilitate students in the optimum level of difficulty i.e. the “stretch zone”.
  • Learn what the scaffolding strategies DARTS, PLANKs and POLES are.
  • Review examples of activities and case studies of how to implement scaffolding strategies in the secondary science classroom.