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First time teaching AS Biology

Discussion in 'Science' started by SilverMayFall, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. SilverMayFall

    SilverMayFall New commenter

    In September I will be teaching AQA AS Biology for the first time.

    Are there any websites that you would recommend to help me plan and deliver lessons that are not from the AQA website itself?

    What advise would you give a teacher teaching this for the first time?

  2. GemmaKeen

    GemmaKeen New commenter

    First of all, have fun teaching it! I can’t be particularly helpful with regards to that specification as I dropped AQA A Level as soon as I came in as head of department in favour of another. However, in general I find that there are two ways of teaching science, at GCSE but more so at A Level. One way is slow and steady, taking your time to go over all of the detail, the small nuggets of information that will definitely be blown up into a 15 mark question in the paper (slight over exaggeration). Planning to finish just before exams start with a week or so past paper practise (testing as you go through the year)

    Or the second method (my preferred method) - get through the content ASAP - this means glossing over the small nuggets of detail and focussing on giving the GCSE student (realistically this is what they are for the majority of Year 12) a good broad overview of all the information required. If we spend too long looking at biological molecules the student quickly forgets where they fit in in the grand scheme of their learning and strange things happen like plant cells only have chloroplasts and not mitochondria as well for example. I aim to finish this by February/March. I then assign each topic a week and we do an intensive revision of that topic with the expectation they have reviewed it the previous week and so are ready to build on their understanding (and this understanding is secure having not gone into too much detail first time round) I include past papers questions, common misconceptions and practicals associated (which will have been carried out first time round) This method gives the students 2 opportunities to acquire the knowledge in the classroom with me there to support, teach, challenge and test them. Once they are in revision proper the topics should be fairly fresh in their minds and they can target their revision on certain aspects for a third time. It also allows for more linking between the topics I find, thus preparing them more for the types of questions posed on the exam papers.

    I am really sorry if I have just taught you to suck eggs and that was not my intention at all. Like I said, enjoy it, you are in front of students that have picked this subject because it has lit a spark in them, it’s our job to turn that spark into a roaring flame and that happens because we love our subject and demonstrate the fun and challenge it offers!
    christubbs likes this.
  3. christubbs

    christubbs New commenter


    There are lots of good free resources on here - download them all - they do not have to be aqa specific - a cell is a cell! send them an email with any useful glossaries/revision notes/powerpoints etc. before your first lesson. If you are the sole teacher teach them in the order you want e.g. start with cells and enzymes - dont get stuck on glycosidic bonds lesson 1!

    For homework set them material that they have covered 1/2/3 months ago. Remember ebbinghaus fotgetting curve!

    good luck
  4. SilverMayFall

    SilverMayFall New commenter

    Thank you both for your advice! I'm looking forward to the challenge.

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