Work samples


Year 8

Above satisfactory

How an idea changes

Summary of task

This task was designed to address the aspects of the Year 8 achievement standards that relate to science as human endeavour. Students were asked to research a ‘big idea’ in science and create a presentation in which they explain how that idea has developed over time, who has contributed to its development, and how it has impacted on peoples’ understanding of the world.

Students were given free choice of the topic they wanted to research, allowing them to engage in an area of science that they were interested in or passionate about. While this task did not explicitly link to science understanding content specified for this year level, students who struggled to choose a topic were encouraged to consider topics relating to the geology or chemistry units that they studied during the semester.

Students were given the following scaffolding questions to help them narrow their research and focus on the outcome being assessed:

  • What is your ‘big idea’ in science?
  • Which areas of science were involved in developing your ‘big idea’?
  • How was your ‘big idea’ developed over time? Who are the key scientists who have been involved in its development?
    (Students were asked to provide at least two milestones in the history of the work leading up to the ‘big idea’ and at least two scientists who are considered fundamental its development.)
  • How has your ‘big idea’ and the scientific discoveries associated with it impacted peoples’ understanding of the world?

Students were asked to create either a video or a presentation in digital format and present their findings to their peers. They were asked to submit their digital solutions as well as their presentation scripts.

Students completed the task both in class and at home over the course of four weeks, encompassing approximately four hours in-class time and two hours of work at home.

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 8, students compare physical and chemical changes and use the particle model to explain and predict the properties and behaviours of substances. They identify different forms of energy and describe how energy transfers and transformations cause change in simple systems. They compare processes of rock formation, including the timescales involved. They analyse the relationship between structure and function at cell, organ and body system levels. Students examine the different science knowledge used in occupations. They explain how evidence has led to an improved understanding of a scientific idea and describe situations in which scientists collaborated to generate solutions to contemporary problems. They reflect on implications of these solutions for different groups in society.

Students identify and construct questions and problems that they can investigate scientifically. They consider safety and ethics when planning investigations, including designing field or experimental methods. They identify variables to be changed, measured and controlled. Students construct representations of their data to reveal and analyse patterns and trends, and use these when justifying their conclusions. They explain how modifications to methods could improve the quality of their data and apply their own scientific knowledge and investigation findings to evaluate claims made by others. They use appropriate language and representations to communicate science ideas, methods and findings in a range of text types.

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