I’ve got to write a scheme of work for Y8 modelling. I’ve been thinking about interesting/authentic contexts.
Luke (HoD) doesn’t like the Standard Teaching Unit (8.4) which examines mobile phone tariffs. I never taught this unit but I’ve looked at it before. I presume that while it might be interesting for the kids to analyse their expenditure on mobile phones (even if their parents are paying) there are so many different tariff structures on the market that comparing like with like is very difficult. At least that was my experience the last time I bought a phone & tariff. So therefore the analysis has to be too simplified. And this I think is the problem, by simplifying it to abstract or theoretical analysis you loose the authenticity for which you choose the context in the first place.
Profit and Loss or (Cash Flow) is an obvious context, but they already are doing the school disco in Year 7 (STU 7.4) and will be doing either the Theatre ticketing system (9.3) or something for their Mini Enterprise businesses in Year 9, so I thought that we might give them a break. And lets face it getting them to organise next year’s Glastonbury involves making up data and scenarios outside their actual experience.
[I might check with MfL because I think their might be a trip to Germany happening, they might need the budget doing - but how many of the kids will this involve?]
Eating (healthy or not) is an option. (Often with profit and loss included) I’ve come across Pizza toppings, counting calories of sandwiches or working out what a ‘good’ breakfast is. This fits nicely with PHSE. I’m sure there will be a number of departments using the healthy eating topic this year – how can I find out? Fitness data would be interesting, I wrote briefly about datalogging healthy kids last year.
There’s a really nice example of a piece of science work on resistance of wires, gathering data by doing an experiment and then plotting a line of best fit on Teach-ICT.com. But I already asked science (Doc) and they don’t do that experiment nor could they think of another suitable one.
Traffic surveys, braking distances and seat belts are other contexts I’ve seen. And my friend Kira did a nice Y7 spreadsheet where the kids counted the colour of Smarties in a packet shared their results with other groups and worked out averages. With some good weighing scales (science help needed again) that would extend to Year 8 and opens up a lot of possibilities for discussing the use of ICT in the real world.
I came up with an idea to survey how you got to school and how you went on holiday and then you have to work out how far you travel (google maps) and then factor in carbon dioxide emissions per mile for different modes of transport. (But I’m finding it hard to do myself).
Mr Field (famous in net savvy UK ICT teaching circles) suggested giving the kids a choice of the context.
How about putting them in charge of the activity? Give them a list of potential ideas, then ask for their thoughts and additional suggestions…. Then construct the activity directly around them
This sounds great, but I think my colleagues in the department are expecting a little more structure. We are a department with lots of non ICT specialist teachers (opportunities for cross curricular activities??) and at the moment we need to make sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet
I’d love to use project based learning and try and generate different contexts for different kids but the reality of working in a department where they are trying to tighten things rather than loosen them means that exercise based tasks are easier to swallow.