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A level Chemistry write ups

Discussion in 'Science' started by mangohead, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. I was hoping some kind people out there wouldn't mind sharing their opinions on what should be included in an a level chemistry write up. e.g title, hypothesis, safety etc.

    Thank you!
  2. - Aim
    - Independent, Dependent and Controlled Variables
    - Prediction
    - Method
    - Results Table
    - Conclusion of Results & Why this happened
    - What could have been done to make the results fairer?
    - What could have been done to make the results more accurate?
    - What could have been done to make the results more reliable?
    - What would you do differently if you repeated the test?
  3. When I was being taught in the 1960s there seemed to be only one system; everyone followed it. Many things have changed since then but I know a lot of staff who believe we should still use that.Some even try to train semi-literate Y7 pupils to produce 2D "scientific" diagrams: in my view this is a total waste upto GCSE. This MAY be a useful skill for A level (but I don't teach Chemistry) - look at the theory papers and see how the examiners give information to the students in diagram form.
    However, when coursework was introduced (about 25 years ago), one change was use of the word "plan". As you can imagine, a plan is done before the experiment, whereas a method is written up after doing it - they may not necessarily be the same! However, the exam boards eventually accepted a method as a plan, probably because of some of the entrenched ideas mentioned earlier.
    The exam boards also accepted that an analysis mark could be awarded under a method (or any other) heading, because the kids could not easily differentiate their writing skills. Some markers found that hard to apply, but the general principle is that if the student has written it down somewhere, it should be marked "correct".
    So my advice is don't get hung up on titles. Aim to have a structured report because it is easier to comprehend. Consider asking a few local contacts in the "real world" how their firms "write up" things - you'll probably find everyone has their own in-house system. So for me, logical thinking is the skill to develop, not slavish adherence to a thing of the past.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It depends what you're trying to do.
    If you're preparing aspirin, or measuring the concentration of something, there aren't any variables, nor is there a hypothesis. (You just do it the way that previous workers have found gives the biggest yield in the conditions available in a school lab).
    I would focus on what the learning outcomes for the activity are, and then writing up to answer them. Then for many activities you can evaluate as a previous poster (sorry - can't get your name) has suggested.
  5. Thanks for the responses everyone. It seems there is no obvious answer, and as suggested, it does depend on the experiment. I'm not new to teaching a level chemistry, but just wondered what others thought. In the end, I had a discussion with my class about what we might include, and it was a useful exercise to justify what to leave in, out etc. I agree with the comments about the ISA, IAA etc. It seems that some of the old skills have disappeared in terms of what is included in coursework (though tbh, I don't miss marking it :D)

    Thanks again, much appreciated.

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