Resource 4: Evaluating the effectiveness of a practical activity

Identify what the key purpose of a practical activity should be, then what you could do to check that. Some questions you might ask, depending on the purpose, are listed in Table R4.1.

Table R4.1 Questions to ask that evaluate and activity based on its purpose.

Key purpose or outcome

Some questions to ask yourself
Motivation Did students seem engaged with the task? Did they tell you they enjoyed it?
Conceptual knowledge and understanding – improved recall Could students tell you what they had seen, done or found out in the following lesson?
Conceptual knowledge and understanding – applying ideas Could students apply ideas as intended during the investigation?
Practical skills Could students set up the apparatus correctly? Could they carry out procedures as intended? Did students see what you intended them to see?
Learning about the nature of science or scientific inquiry Could students tell you what they had learned? Did they understand the purpose of the investigation?
Develop scientific method skills – planning investigations Did students understand what they were being asked to do? Were students able to produce a plan as intended?
Develop scientific method skills – handling data Were students able to collect and present data as intended? Were they able to process the data as intended?
Develop scientific method skills – evaluating evidence Could students evaluate the evidence as intended? Did they identify the key features as intended? Were students able to evaluate the investigation as intended? Could they identify what had gone well and areas for improvement?

Resource 3: Planning issues for group practical activities

Resource 5: Template for paper helicopter