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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds ASHLEY: The first task today is on the board there. On the board is an image. In front of you is an image. I want you to use those images, those different images, which are all related to the topic that we’ve been doing. And I want you to come up three questions. Three questions to do with the images on there, which hopefully we can answer at the end of the lesson. So we need three questions. Those questions are going to stay on your desk. And hopefully throughout the lesson, or by the end the lesson, you will be able to answer some if not all of those questions.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds And then you want to stick them at the top desk, as we go through the lesson, you can obviously answer them as we go along. We can maybe discuss them as I come around in your groups later. The sort of questions that you’re coming up with and thinking about answers to those.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds TEACHER: Don’t write anything down yet, please. Just have a look at the pictures. What might we be covering, and how might each picture relate to it? 30 seconds– just one second.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 seconds CAROLINE: In the middle of your table there is a concept map. It’s to do with some of the risk factors associated with the non-communicable diseases we’ve been looking at. What I want you to do is see if you can find any mistakes. See if you could add any extra detail. And, on the board, if you get three, that would be good. We want to be aiming for five or seven plus mistakes. They’re all different. There’s about four different types. So if you finish one, you can get on with another one. And you should be doing a separate different one from the people next to you. So have a go at that. Highlighting mistakes or adding extra information.

Skip to 2 minutes and 3 seconds STUDENT: You don’t know if it’s like physical activity, so you’re not doing any exercise. So then when you’re not doing exercise, your body fat is just being stored and you’re not getting rid of it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 15 seconds CAROLINE: Yes, you might not be burning those calories off, so they might get stored as fat.

Skip to 2 minutes and 21 seconds So what’s that going to lead to?

Skip to 2 minutes and 24 seconds STUDENT: Well, of course, it leads to obesity. So then you would get fat. That all increases, doesn’t it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds CAROLINE: So what’s the problem with that though? Why is it bad to get fat?

Skip to 2 minutes and 40 seconds STUDENT: Because then the fat will go around your heart. And then it will damage your heart and it will give you high blood pressure.

Skip to 2 minutes and 49 seconds CAROLINE: So if we’ve got some of these things on here–

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 seconds STUDENT: We’ve got high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Skip to 3 minutes and 2 seconds And that’s [INAUDIBLE] and heart attack. High blood pressure [INAUDIBLE].

Skip to 3 minutes and 8 seconds CAROLINE: So do you think that these are all the things that can happen when you get obese? Is there anything that’s missing there, do you think?

Skip to 3 minutes and 16 seconds STUDENT: I wanted to say diabetic, but dialysis is part of that. High blood pressure is [INAUDIBLE]..

Skip to 3 minutes and 24 seconds CAROLINE: Not really. Diabetes might be a good one to put on.

Classroom examples: making connections

The final selection of activities for gathering evidence of student learning presents approaches for making connections.

Our examples come from secondary (aged 11-16 years), but the approaches can be applied in any context. As you watch the examples, think about the usefulness of the evidence you could gather for your own teaching.

Images to generate questions

0m10s - Science, Year 7 (age 11-12) - Present a picture, or set of pictures, to the class and ask each student to generate three questions about the images. Generating questions is an important aspect of self-assessment, as students need to make connections between ideas and become aware of what they know, don’t know or want to find out. This activity helps students develop their ability to formulate ‘good’ questions, and also acts as an individual ‘hook’ for each learner. For more information on the value of student-generated questions, see Chin and Osborne (2008).

1m05s - Science, Year 11 (age 15-16) - A selection of images is presented to students that aim to connect different ideas of the topic together. Students can draw a line from one image to another, and write down what the connection is. The teacher can use student responses to find out prior knowledge or misconceptions before teaching a topic.

Incorrect concept maps

1m25s - Science, Year 10 (age 14-15) - A concept map shows key ideas and concepts, linked together by arrows to show how the ideas are related. Short explanations of the connection can be written along the arrow. Often we ask students to draw a concept map so that we can see what they understand about a topic. In this activity, students are given a concept map with mistakes which they need to spot and correct. They can also add in anything they feel is missing. This can be done as an individual task or used as a prompt for discussion.


Making connections

Below is an example of a concept map produced with mistakes in it related to ‘Forces and Motion’. This has been purposefully designed to gather evidence of how well students are able to make connections within the topic, and highlight areas where they may be having difficulties.


Example incorrect concept map for the topic of 'forces Text description within PDF.

We would like you to design a concept map where you have purposefully inserted errors in it. If you would like to share the concept map with us, then you can upload it to the Padlet in step 3.12 (hint: right click to open this in a new tab/window). You can decide if you want to share these errors with us or not, but make sure you do label your resource as containing deliberate errors!

In the comments below, how would your concept map help you in understanding the ideas students have about the topic it is related to?

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This video is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre