I will send a copy your way.

]]>Would love to read a copy when you are done.

Good luck!

]]>Love the clown on the tightrope analogy and I agree that enforce a rigid system first before fading is essential. BTW did you read https://emc2andallthat.wordpress.com/2019/01/04/dual-coding-suvat-problems/ It’s an alternative approach that I think works well.

]]>With regards to step 3 I think you have a valid point but would imagine questions phrased in a way where non-SI units can be used will be targetting grade 7+ at which level the appropriate students should already be confident with the basics and can be given SLOP on applying calculations with non-SI units.

On your second point, it is like a clown on a tightrope. The students need to be secure on process first and can then explore their own methods later. However, I do think listing variables formally is a good habit and important preparation for A-level when they are likely to be juggling a larger number of variables in calculations.

]]>When talking about using triangles, I’m typically referring to the lowest set kids (2 X set 6 per year group). I would only use the triangles for those who basically cannot do algebra – though would still model it properly.

We have a very strong science dept with uptake being very strong for 6th form. As an entry criteria, we ask for a 6/5 combination as a minimum so it’s unlikely a foundation tier student continues into science. Admittedly one or two may was the case to go on to do applied, but for the overwhelming majority their journey ends at GCSE.

I note your point about rearranging first and have also noticed this wierd issue. However, by hammering this skill throughout the 5 years of KS3 and 4, we’re noticing an upswing in confidence and ability with regards to rearranging. We also asked maths to do as much of their teaching of rearranging equations as possible using the GCSE formulae – they are no longer just wierd combinations of letters in science which has made a positive impact too

]]>I do agree with the vast majority of what you have said.

I think the reason students find it easier to substitute in first is how it is a lot more similar to the type of questions they experience in maths i.e. 4x=12 where they are used to rearranging number. The inverse operation of multiplying by 4 is dividing by 4. Whereas with F=ma the inverse operation of multiplying by a letter the seem to struggle with more / is less logical.

I only hesitate with substituting first and converting later. Although I guess that comes from the potential to gain the substitution mark as if they incorrectly convert then substitute, they would lose the mark?

As for triangles, I’ve seen too many examples of them going wrong and or failing to address formulae with more than three variables.

At the most basic level, if students can solve 4x=12 then they should be able to solve any three-part formula. One method to rule them all as it were. ]]>

Two comments though:

Step 3 will work for *most* exam questions, but what if units are not SI e.g. kWh or km/hr or similar (I’m not sure if the AQA spec rules out use of non SI units or not). That’s why, personally, I prefer the “creative ambiguity” of the “Fine tuning” stage, where part of the job is to look carefully at the units.

Should the process be “faded” over time? If students are able to identify all variables with just highlighting would you still insist that they write out the grid? I can see arguments on both sides for this one…

]]>Step 1: Get students to trawl the question and underline any variables mentioned. This includes both variables whose value is given and the one being asked for in the question.

Step 2: They must then list these variables vertically putting in values and units where given and putting a ‘?’ for the unknown variable.

Step 3: Convert any non-SI units to the correct one.

Step 4: They can then look at their equation sheet to identify the equation that contains this list of variables and write it down (all students should have the equation sheet in their exercise books to refer to. They can be learning the equations but I believe that regular selection and application of these equations is the best way of establishing intelligent memorisation). There are only 28 equations in total for AQA so this matching process is relatively manageable.

Step 5: As per AQA guidance (and against my instinct) I get them to write the values-substituted version of the equation

Step 6: Re-arrange, solve and select correct units if necessary.

What I also told the heads of science in the groups I was training is how vital it is to agree a common approach across the department so that whatever the chosen approach is, it is experienced consistently from Year 7 to Year 11 irrespective of teacher and becomes second-nature.

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