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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second JONATHAN: Well, I’d like you to have a little think to yourselves. So I don’t want you to talk about this with anyone in the room. I’d like you to do this individually. On your tables, you should all have some ABCD cards in front of you. You just want to get one ABCD card each.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds So I’ve placed my egg, with a partially permeable membrane, into some golden syrup. Now, it’s really important that you understand that golden syrup has a very high concentration of solute, of sugar, so therefore, a lower concentration of water. It’s a higher concentration of solute than inside the egg. There is solute inside the egg, but it is not as highly concentrated as the solute that is surrounding it. I’d like you to go and have a think to yourselves and give you about 30 seconds just to think. So keep your cards down for the moment. What do you think will happen? So read the question carefully. And what do you think would happen if I left it for 24 hours?

Skip to 1 minute and 3 seconds OK, if you all want to vote now, hold your cards up, nice and clear, so I can see them. So everybody hold your cards up.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds OK, got a nice spread of different ideas around there. Now, frustratingly, I’m not going to tell you the answer right now. I’ll tell you the answer in a few minutes. OK? I have got one second question for you, though. I’m interested to know why you chose the answer. OK? So again, 30 seconds or so to go and read through the question. And don’t talk about it for this particular instance. I just want you to think about what the answer is and be ready to share your response. Why do you think you chose your answer to the first question?

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds OK, if you want to hold your cards up. Three, two, one, and show.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 seconds MARTHA: This time, I’m going to do exactly the same thing. I’m going to give you a question. You have stickers in front of you. So you’re going to take your sticker off the sheet when I finish talking. And you’re going to write the letter of the answer that you think is the most likely answer on your sticker. You are not going to show anybody else what you are writing, because it’s really important that I know what you think and not what your partner thinks. OK? You can choose more than one answer. So whichever one of these you think is correct, you write A, B, C, or D.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 seconds But if you think two of them are correct, it’s OK to put A, B or A, C or C, D or whatever you want. You can choose more than one statement, depending on what you think is correct. Do keep it a secret. And do write it in whiteboard pen so that I can see immediately what it is that you’ve chosen. If it’s in pencil, I won’t be able to see. It won’t show up. So let me read it to you. Uh-uh, let me read it to you first, before you start thinking.

Skip to 3 minutes and 5 seconds “On islands, where nuts were the main food source, birds with shorter beaks were more likely to be found because A, shorter beaks are stronger than longer beaks and so better at picking up nuts; B, shorter-beaked finches are more likely to survive and lay eggs; C, shorter beaks are more efficient when different birds compete for nuts; D, shorter beaks are better for eating nuts.” OK? You choose up to two– you can choose just one if you think just one’s right– up to two of those statements. We’re not going to talk because this is just about your own thinking. And just write it on and don’t show anyone yet. OK? Off you go. OK, OK, fantastic. Right.

Skip to 4 minutes and 4 seconds We’re going to move on to some activities, then, depending on the answer that you–

Skip to 4 minutes and 9 seconds EMMA: Who can tell me what that part of my picture is? Jack?

Skip to 4 minutes and 13 seconds PUPIL: Flower?

Skip to 4 minutes and 15 seconds EMMA: The flower. OK, that is the flower. What do we call the bits that make up the flower? Do you know? It begins with a P. Logan? What are the pink bits, each one of those–

Skip to 4 minutes and 27 seconds PUPIL: Petals.

Skip to 4 minutes and 27 seconds EMMA: Petals, yes. Well done. The flower, and the flower is made up of lots of petals. Well done. What’s this bit called?

Skip to 4 minutes and 37 seconds PUPIL: Leafs.

Skip to 4 minutes and 38 seconds EMMA: Is that one leaf?

Skip to 4 minutes and 40 seconds PUPIL: Leaves. Two green leaves.

Skip to 4 minutes and 41 seconds EMMA: Brilliant. Who can remember the rules? So if we have one leaf, we spell it with an F. If we have more than one leaf, how do we say it?

Skip to 4 minutes and 50 seconds PUPIL: We put a “vuh,” “eh.”

Skip to 4 minutes and 51 seconds EMMA: Yeah, you’re right.

Skip to 4 minutes and 55 seconds PUPIL: “Suh.” “Suh.”

Skip to 4 minutes and 56 seconds EMMA: Well, good teamwork, boys. Yeah, we change the ending, don’t we, if it’s a plural, from a singular to a plural. I’ve got the plurals here because I’ve got leaves. What’s this bit called? I’m going to ask you, Charlie.

Skip to 5 minutes and 7 seconds PUPIL: Stem.

Skip to 5 minutes and 8 seconds EMMA: Stem. Brilliant. And finally, which bit haven’t we labelled yet? Bonnie?

Skip to 5 minutes and 13 seconds PUPIL: Roots.

Skip to 5 minutes and 13 seconds EMMA: The roots.

Skip to 5 minutes and 14 seconds PUPIL: I already labelled the roots–

Skip to 5 minutes and 16 seconds EMMA: The roots. Now, people, I’ve got a challenge for you. I need to know what you know already and what you don’t know. And this is your opportunity. Now, I’m going to show you four different options. It says, “Look at these statements about roots of plants. Which do you agree with?” I want you to tell me which ones you agree with. And then, you’re going to write down one, two, three, or four or two and three, three and four. You’re going to choose the ones that you think are correct. Not the person next to you, only you, because I need to know what you think. Are you ready? So which of these do you agree with?

Skip to 6 minutes and 3 seconds You have got 30 seconds to decide whether one, two, three, and four– is it all four? Is it one of those statements? Is it none of those statements? Is it two of those statements? Whatever you think, just write one, two, three, four down for me. Which ones do you think? Are we ready? OK.

Skip to 6 minutes and 35 seconds If you have chosen– and that’s absolutely fine. If you have chosen a number one, number two, or number three, you are going to stay with me for a minute. If you have chosen number four, “Plants absorb water and minerals through their roots,” I’m going to ask you to go with Mrs. Bayliss because you are going to do a quick challenge for me on roots. Because you are absolutely spot on. Plants absorb water and minerals through their roots.

Observing hinge-point questioning

The classroom footage above shows Jonathan Lye (from Aston Academy, Sheffield), and Martha Worthington and Emma Rowe (St Matthias Church of England Primary School, Malvern) using hinge-point questions with:

  • Year 11 (15/16 year olds - segment starts at 0:04);
  • Year 6 (10/11 year olds - segment starts at 2:03);
  • Year 3 (7/8 year olds - segment starts at 4:05).


Carefully observe the three segments. Think about how you might successfully use approaches similar to those taken by Jonathan, Martha, or Emma - and in what circumstances.

You may want to focus on issues like:

  • subject;
  • topic;
  • the practicalities of managing things;
  • questions you may have about the approach.

Share your ideas by contributing a short summary of your thinking to the discussion and respond to at least one of the summaries contributed by other course participants.

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This video is from the free online course:

Introducing Assessment for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre