With the Junior Cert Science exam just around the corner this resource will come too late for most, but for what it’s worth I am highlighting it here anyway. With over 45 experiments needing to be written up for Coursework A the sheer volume can be quite intimidating, particularly for those of us who are struggling with the subject in the first place.
That’s why I’ve put together a very short summary of all the experiments on the revision page of thephysicsteacher. Each set (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) can fit onto one double-sided page (well almost – need to work on reducting Physics) and if students are looking for a more indepth description they can go to the original notes, which also contain every question which has ever appeared on an exam paper (at Higher and Ordinary level) along the accompanying solutions.
Hope it’s of use to some of you out there.
And remember – real Science bears little or no resemblance to the rubbish you have to learn for this exam, so try not to be put off by the subject.
“And remember – real Science bears little or no resemblance to the rubbish you have to learn for this exam, so try not to be put off by the subject.”
As someone taking A-level phys/chem/bio. I have to say that 45 experiments sounds like an awful exercise of futility, I mean what’s the point of it? At least in my syllabus’ they teach are some _marginally_ useful things, though I have to say there is a decent amount of filler…
I enjoy reading your blog, keep posting.
I suppose because these are the equivalent of GCSE level they are trying to expose students to a wide range of material. it’s just as you say though – the amount of learning/understanding is minimal and very superficial.
would be nice if we teachers became more vocal about it rather than passively accepting it all.
But that’s for another day . . .
“I suppose because these are the equivalent of GCSE level they are trying to expose students to a wide range of material.”
Arghh, but this is pointless (as you know), does it not occur to any of the people that write these syllabus’ that perhaps studying a few things in depth would give students an *understanding* of a concept vs a regurgitated statement that they don’t really understand. One example from my biology GCSE; How does alcohol lead to dehydration? It reduces the production of ADH in the hypothalamus. We were never told what ADH was or stood for, neither what the hypothalamus was. Which leaves only the most motivated/interested students to go and google the topic, otherwise it’s just useless information. It’s just tragic really. I can say that I really don’t think I learnt anything of use in any of the science GCSEs, bar some of chemistry which has been useful (moles calculations, balancing equations and group 1 and group 7 characteristics), biology was the worst, physics had one or two interesting/useful bits.
Oh dear, I seem to have gone off on a rant. I do seem to feel nowadays, why bother, what use is it? But then I go and learn stuff out of college which then ignites the spark of passion again.
Love the last comment but only in a sad way
Why does the Irish exam setting system persevere with that kind of exams?
Is it because they are set by existing teachers who were the best at those kind of things twenty years ago?
All the best
Hard to disagree with that summation. A colleague (John Hegarty) posted something similar about this recently:
I think one of the difficulties we face when considering change is that we as teachers are in many ways the measure of success in our existing system. If there is a ladder of achievement then we are pretty near the top of it having successfully navigated the Inter Cert, Leaving Cert, primary degree and H. Dip. Some have gone on to do other diplomas and masters degrees and there are even a couple of Ph.D.s knocking about. As teachers within the education system, the next rung up the ladder would be lecturing at 3rd level and thats about as far up the ladder as you can go. The system that we succeeded in is pretty much the same system in place now and I think it is hard for us to conceive of any other. Over the years as guiding hands in our education system we have become excellent at processing students through this system and while I’m pretty sure young folk today are no cleverer than the folk that came before, the grades they are getting rise year on year to the extent that many of us might have struggled to get into third level today with the Leaving Certs we got way back in 19xx . The best teachers we had were the exemplars we emulate today and again it is hard for us to imagine things being done any other way to the same kind of standards and with the same level of rigor. We have an inclination to believe that changing our systems will inevitably involve a decline in standards.