Developing Thinking Skills through Forensics

Walderslade Girls School

We would like the opportunity to begin the process of embedding thinking skills into the science curriculum in a collaborative science based project with teaching staff and students. The project will develop a 'thinking skills' booklet, which would begin to equip pupils with the skills and tools they need to achieve and succeed in not only science education, but in also in life.

The 'thinking skills' booklet will be developed by a Year 8 and 13 Science Club, working together as a Crime Lab to solve a murder mystery. Students will engage with the thinking skills in a series of challenging forensic activities allowing them to take on the role of scientists, thus encouraging high level thinking, with complex problem solving and motivating pupils to follow careers in Science. The pupil's will be working towards solving a murder, with the activities slotting together like a jigsaw puzzle. This also gives us the opportunity to use the forensic activities individually, across the key stages to help embed thinking skills. The thinking skills and findings will be collated into a single booklet for pupils to use as reference material, when considering their thinking and learning.

During the course of the study, the Year 8 pupils will investigate different thinking strategies, including but not restricted to; Bloom's taxonomy, Solo taxonomy, De Bono's thinking hats, metacognition, mind mapping, writing frames, revision techniques and thinking springboard activities. Their learning experiences will then be refined through group discussion into a concise thinking skills booklet to use as reference in science.

Ms Debra Williams (Project Lead) - Science teacher, BSc Honours in Chemistry with Education, PGCE in Chemistry. Debra will be leading the team in this exciting project. Debra is developing resources to promote thinking skills within her chemistry specialism. She is keen to progress her teaching delivery and outcomes through the implementation of activities, which promote the application of knowledge and higher thinking questioning skills. Debra will have a key role in promoting questioning skills within the science department.

Dr Joanne Harrison (Deputy Head of Science), BSc Animal Science, MSc Mammalian Reproduction and Fertility, PhD Neuroendocrinology, PGCE in Science. Joanne has progressed quickly in education since leaving a successful research science career. She is currently in post as the deputy head of science at Walderslade Girl's School. Joanne is passionate about science education and understands the importance of encouraging higher thinking skills and independent learning. She strives to produce lessons and schemes of work that promote opportunities for learner to engage in thinking and the application of knowledge. Joanne leads whole school thinking and is currently developing a language for learning that will be used across the curriculum.

Ms Susana Tomaz (Head of Science), BSC Biomedical Science, MSc Medical Genetics and Foetal Medicine, PGCE in Biology. Susana has been teaching since 2004 and has been established as the Head of Science at Walderslade Girls School from 2009. She is committed to providing outstanding science education to young people, with a particular interest on girls in science. Susana's dedication to science education has led to her being recognised as a member of the Royal Society Associate Schools and Colleges network. As the Head of Science she understands the importance of providing an engaging and challenging curriculum, which will promote a life-long love of learning.

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