Ready for Maths in Science? January 2014 Birmingham University Stella Paes Head Of Sciences at AQA [email protected] Slide 1 Confidential – internal use only Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Scientific communication has Mathematical language and models at its heart Engineers and scientists spend over half their time reading and writing science The knowledge and skills required to read and write science are discipline specific and can only be acquired in the science classroom Interpretation of data is a theory laden process Mathematics is not a tool for analysing data but a tool for scientific thinking Jonathan Osborne SSR Dec2011 Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Context: Key concerns about Mathematics in A level sciences • A SCORE concern about the range in the amount of mathematics between A-level sciences, eg Biology (16-35%) • a concern that most maths assessed was ‘familiar maths’ such as standard form, estimates, rates of change, … • big concern from universities was lack of practice and therefore fluency students unable to go beyond the expected… making them unprepared for university • concern about the low level of multi-step calculations - a view held by scientific community that there should be guidance for awarding organisations on how much mathematical content should be included Draft version 08 July 2013 Confidential – internal use only Copyright © “If they were music students they would need to practise their scales. They just need more practice, until algebraic manipulations, powers, logs etc all come naturally and quickly to them. Then they can start to play the sonatas, concertos and symphonies that are physics.” Mi n d t h e G a p : Ma t h e m a t i c s a n d t h e T r a n s i t i o n f r o m A - l e v e l s t o P h y s i c s a n d E n g i n e e r i n g D e g r e e s J u l y 2 011 A summary of the proposed plans for A-level Biology, Chemistry and Physics: • • • changes to improve the clarity, sequencing and coverage of AS and A level content mathematical requirements strengthened and more consistent so that students apply mathematics at the level needed to fully support scientific knowledge, understanding and problem solving the mathematical requirements are: – a clear requirement that mathematical skill is taught and understood beyond the level of maths required for a GCSE grade C – more precise descriptions of the mathematical requirements for biology, chemistry and physics and detailed exemplifications of how these skills could be applied at the necessary level in AS and A-level teaching and assessment. – At least 10% level 2 mathematics in Biology A level – At least 20% level 2 mathematics in Chemistry A level – At least 40% level 2 mathematics in Physics A level. Draft version 08 July 2013 Confidential – internal use only Copyright © Support through change Draft version 08 July 2013 Confidential – internal use only Copyright © A Clear line of sight Progressive development of skills Mathematical Practical Enquiry Written communication GCSE KS3 Tracking progress using the threads Supports assessment for learning A level A tree model for thinking about learning in science Progression in scientific observation skills Progression in making meaning from scientific observations Progression in evaluating scientific observations These three cylinders stretch up inside the trunk and are within every branch of science Trunk = scientific body of knowledge Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Working scientifically Developing practical and enquiry skills Using primary and secondary evidence. Data analysis and interpretation Investigative methods and fair testing Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Scientific communication includes literacy and numeracy…. The language and conventions associated with all areas of science such as formulae and equations, biological diagrams and scientific terminology. Scientific explanations, arguments and decisions rely on the careful development and use of scientific communication tools. Version 2.0 Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. Next steps? Slide 11 Confidential – internal use only Copyright © AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved.