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Planning practical work for assessment

Once you have clear learning objectives, thinking about how to stage the practical is key. As Lisa introduced in the previous step, you will need to identify what parts of the practical activity the students actually need to do.

If we look at the copper sulfate practical, we have already mentioned pre-weighing the copper oxide, if that is not a skill that is being assessed.

Other options could be:

  • Premeasure the sulfuric acid into boiling tubes.
  • The acid in the boiling tubes could be placed in a waterbath (set to around 70oC) so it is preheated for students.
  • Equipment could be placed in sets ready-to-use for each student or group, to avoid students walking around the room.
  • Filter funnels and flasks, with anti-bumping granules added, ready for students to pour their solutions in.
  • A beaker on each desk for solid waste that can go into the bin, again to avoid students moving round.

However, it is important that students understand all the stages of a practical, so they can apply their knowledge to a more unfamiliar practical. For example, “why are anti-bumping granules used” (to give smooth boiling of the solution).

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Practical Science: Chemistry

National STEM Learning Centre