Year 7 pupils had a BASS (Becoming a Seaford Scientist) lesson which saw them exploring relationships and patterns. With Seb d’Agar, Seaford’s Head of Science, at the helm, they were asked to look at the relationship between the number of joints on a tree and the width of the branch. With BASS lessons designed to give pupils the thinking skills required to apply their learned content to novel and investigative situations, this was no ordinary lesson.
Despite the rather soggy weather, the class ventured outside. Making use of the stunning nature on our doorstep, in small groups they huddled under the bushes to measure the branches and record their results in a table. Amongst the comical comments of: “I can’t even stand up” and “why is this bush so small?” came the realisation of the pattern that they were seeing: “Oh, the higher up you go, the thinner the branch becomes”.
Back in the classroom the pupils plotted their results on a graph, thinking about their title, scale and axis. They were encouraged to ask each other for help before the teacher: another part of BASS being to begin to work with as little teacher input as possible, actively thinking and questioning all of the time. They finished by writing a sentence to describe the relationship they had discovered.
It was an interactive and thought provoking lesson which delighted the pupils. Disguised in the fun and activity were key learnings. They came away having improved their graph drawing skills and knowing what inversely proportional meant, having identified the relationship on their graph.
Seaford have introduced BASS at KS3 following the introduction of the required practicals into the new Science GCSE specification.
The focus is to improve the students’ ability to work together and problem solve practical tasks by working as a part of a group. These lessons give our pupils an insight into how we want our GCSE and A Level scientists to think and how this then links to real scientists.
Seaford students love their BASS lessons:
“It gives you a chance to do something that you don’t do every normal science lesson” Clemmie Farrant.
“It is fun how we experiment with the practicals. We watch and learn new things” Piers Walters.