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Example: thinking about key skills

In this step we provide two examples and ask you to think about the skills that would be needed for students to complete the tasks. If you teach science, we encourage you to take part in our other courses where we explore progression of practical skills and scientific knowledge: Teaching Practical Science.

We look more at planning for learning across topics next week.

Primary example

Look at the activity below and list the skills children are using in each part of the task. A class of 28 children completed an activity investigating what pets they had. 4 children had no pets and the rest of the class had one pet per family. Below is their activity sheet:

Complete the bar chart below using these instructions
a) Add a bar to show 4 children had no pets. b) Work out how many children had a bird as a pet and draw the bar to show this.

A grid is presented with a bar graph drawn. There are 5 dogs, 5 cats, 4 fish and 2 mice represented by bars. There is a space for birds and no pets without any bars.

Answer these questions:

  1. How many children had pets?
  2. How many children had a cat as a pet?
  3. How many more children had fish than those who had mice?
  4. Jay said “ More children have birds as pets than cats and dogs put together.” Is he right? Explain your answer.
  5. The children who had no pets were each given a fish as a present. Use the evidence in the bar chart to write a sentence that is true about “children who have fish as pets….. “.


This problem gives students the opportunity to identify, visualise, and describe the characteristics and properties of 2D shapes in the context of a meaningful real life setting. What maths skills does it assess?

During an Olympic Games many national flags are on display

Flags of France, Jamaica, Spain and Chile are shown

Here’s a chance to investigate some of them.

Pick a flag and investigate some of the following:

  • What shapes can you see in it? Can you describe them and their angles?
  • Does the flag have any lines of reflective symmetry, if so how many lines?
  • Can you find any pairs of parallel lines? If so mark them on your flag.
  • Are there any lines perpendicular to one another?
  • Can you find a way to classify the shapes in your flag?

Now try with another flag.


You might like to try out the activities above, as you do so consider the skills and knowledge needed. How would you plan for learning across lessons to enable your students to complete these activities? What evidence about their understanding might you collect through these activities?

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This article is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre