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Wikid Upd8 Science Scheme of Work

Discussion in 'Science' started by jct4jc, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. We have currently been trying to teach the Wikid Upd8 Science Scheme of work for Year 7. Has anyone been teaching this as well? Would really like to hear from people who have taught this to give an honest and unbiased opinion on it, because my colleagues and I find it confusing, impractical and unhelpful. With confusing worksheets, powerpoints we don't understand and practicals and lesson plans impossible to follow. We also can't find any evidence that helps us differentiate or plan AfL. Please, anyone? Help!
  2. We have currently been trying to teach the Wikid Upd8 Science Scheme of work for Year 7. Has anyone been teaching this as well? Would really like to hear from people who have taught this to give an honest and unbiased opinion on it, because my colleagues and I find it confusing, impractical and unhelpful. With confusing worksheets, powerpoints we don't understand and practicals and lesson plans impossible to follow. We also can't find any evidence that helps us differentiate or plan AfL. Please, anyone? Help!
  3. Hi jct4jc
    We too have used the Wikid Upd8 scheme of work, I think it Gordo needs to learn to cook, and Dragon, well CSI will not be the same again. I agree it can be confusing, to make it work you must read the lesson plans in full detail. Anyway , I just put some fish in the tank !!! back to the Hospital !!

  4. Some of it is really good, it inspires the pupils and is great fun. Unfortunately it is hard to make the bridge between melted chocolate and a bar of stee or a pancake, so the children fail to answer 'normal' science questions. We have tried, but our school is abandoning upd8 this year in favour of a more traditional scheme. I think the teachers that started with the yr 7s were enthusiastic, they made the link to the traditional science, but the newer teachers just don't get it as they are not as bright or experienced.
  5. We have taught the wikid scheme this year to both year 8 and year 7. Like others have said it can be confusing with all the resources and it is not a scheme for the lazy teacher because you do need to spend time working your way through the lessons. I agree with 'i love science' those teachers who have been doing it a while are better placed because they know the traditional content that should be covered,so can fill in the gaps when wikid is abit vague.
    We will be spendng the summer holiday adapting the scheme to make it better especially focusing on the AFL which is very patchy especially in year 8 when they swap to gold silver and bronze levels trying to plug another of their products!
  6. fiendishlyclever

    fiendishlyclever Occasional commenter

    I've taught Wikid since the pilot and I do like the ideas & context but I think it's a little short of practical in places (and some of the practicals are unrealistic like precipitating silver from silver nitrate). I also think that the way they dress up the scheme is very powerpoint heavy and I'm moving away from using as many Wikid materials.
    I'm looking again at my schemes next year because I don't think Wikid works too well with SEN students with regards to the how science works. Some of the activities are fantastic, some need a little more work to make them accessible to my students.
    I agree that experienced teachers probably veer away from the Wikid scheme because they know where Wikid intended students to go rather than where the materials lead them.
    (And I personally think the Apprend APP scheme is ghastly. My brain hurt just looking through the materials and trying to think about how I'd use them...)


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    There is clearly a whole range of opinions about Wikid. I am an upd8
    director, and would like to tell you how we’re taking account of teachers' constructive
    comments. Most importantly, our latest materials - Y8, and even more with Y9 - have features
    to make them easier to use, and are better organised than the earliest units. Wikid
    was designed to evolve, and we have been creating a V2 of Y7, with a completely
    new set of assessments to fully implement APP. That’s coming in July 2010.

    Segue (our Y9 programme) features a lot of new 'ease of use' features, and
    independent flexible teaching sequences- these will be showcased on the website
    during June.

    We need them because the lessons design is quite sophisticated to achieve more
    motivation and real understanding than many traditional schemes (why Wikid was
    invented). The teachers notes are essential to communicate what cannot be
    discerned from the PPTs. But we have come up with a solution - a ‘visual
    planner', 1 page summary of the essentials, for teachers who don't have time to
    thoroughly digest the notes (rather than saying 'lazy teachers'!), to get their
    heads around the lesson.

    The number of slides (created so teachers have a choice) could cause
    confusion. We encourage people to be selective, and with Y9 the PPT slides are
    titled, and we show teachers how to make smaller, custom slideshows. Likewise
    with the many students sheets. There’s now a clear menu for each lesson
    categorising sheets by consumable/reusable/projectable.

    AfL is something which we feel Wikid has in spades - but we would love to
    know any specific problems we can address. The structure of the sequences
    (called 7Es) builds in many opportunities to check what you've been teaching:
    'elicit' - to review previous understanding, 'evaluate' - to articulate new
    knowledge, and 'elaborate/extend'. There are also lots of task-based assessment
    opps through homeworks, quizzes and problems.

    It is a shame when schools decide to go back to a traditional scheme. We’ve
    had a constant stream of praise from teachers about the positive impact on student
    motivation - many said that Wikid is the scheme they would have written if they
    had the time. We’re also fairly sure the Big Ideas approach will give students
    better grasp of science in the long run. These two problems: lack of motivation
    and understanding, are always held up as signs of the failure of science
    education in recent decades.

    upd8 was founded to rid science of its boring label. What we have to do is find
    ways to manage the process of innovation, and of course sort out teething
    problems. We certainly won't give up trying, and we hope schools won't either.
  8. Thanks for your message. I appreciate your time and effort in addressing some of the issues us teachers have had. I also understand your intentions of making science more interesting and raising motivation. I cannot deny, there are topics where pupils DO seem to show more interest, but it leads me to the next question, even though motivation is raised, what are they actually motivated about? Some topics they are "learning" are not science at all. (See Year 7 Extinction lesson on Surprise and Emotions).

    Also, I would like to ask for your opinion on the thinking behind replacing scientific terms such as voltmeter, current, wires, tripods with names such as tell-tale, sparkstream, unicorn hairs and three-legged horses. What does changing these terms do for learning? Surely learning these false replacement terms is not the 'understanding' you are hoping for or referring to?

    I argue that while pupils may feel 'motivated' or even develop an 'interest' in science, it is not actually science they are talking about anymore. Which can potentially lead to long-term problems as they reach even KS4, let alone KS5.

    Once again, thank you for your time. I mean no offence to you as an individual, your response or your company. I just feel as though there are things that I seriously question within the scheme. I appreciate it is very hard to please everyone, but I just feel the scheme neither succeeds at educating pupils the nature of science or 'how science works', nor does it equip them with sufficient scientific content. That may just be my view. Any thoughts?
  9. While upd8 could be compared to Marmite (you either love it or hate it), I fear the better comparrison is to that of the better system being betamax (upd8), but where the JVC (traditional schemes) wins out.
  10. I?ve been using the UPD8 scheme from the start and agree with earlier posters that it can take a lot of organisation to get everything sorted, especially for lower sets, and it can feel rushed. But I like the way it has prompted me to try out new practicals and attempt some more ambitious lessons.

    I?ve definitely found some lessons hard work, but wouldn?t go back to using another course. I?ve seen diffident Y7 students transformed by the end of the year into confident students with a genuine interest in the science they see in the news and the skill and confidence to plan and organise their own work.
    Students like the stylish colourful resources. I minimise photocopying costs (and retain the colour) by using the VLE or intranet to provide electronic copies to read at home; and tend to save a lot of the write-on sheets for students who really need support in class.

    Another thing that seems to motivate students is seeing science being used. Real scientists appear in many of the units. When the Icelandic volcano erupted, students recognised Clive Oppenheimer on the news. After Dr Obbard had put their graph analysis lesson in context, they could go to her Weblog to see what it was really like to work in the Arctic. When they took part in a simulated conference with Professor Lister, several got his book from the library because they wanted to learn more about Mammoths.

    One thing that sets the scheme apart is the way it focuses on each APP strand in turn. I haven?t seen such a strong emphasis on AF 1, 2 and 3 in other courses. It seemed ?not quite science? to be teaching students how to engage their audience and communicate effectively in an early Y7 sequence. But it?s made them plan how they present their work to each other much more carefully, and the class has witnessed fewer dull PowerPoints as a result.

    I'll be sticking with UPD8 for Y9.
  11. The earlier post claims that students don't learn the nature of science from the upd8 approach. The example given is from Y7 where we teach the basics of effective communication.
    The post questions why students need to learn about use of emotions. Well, to start with : practising scientists at conferences need to get attention, and so do those who publicise or disseminate findings from their research,
    The post was highly selective in the example to make its case - it failed to mention that all the conventional aspects of scientific communication are also covered.
    Hghly selective use of information to argue a case is what we teach in Y8. - students learn how to interrogate information and be aware of devices for persuasive communication. No offence intended, I'm just having fun.
    But my point is serious. upd8's approach does accurately reflect the modern view of what science is. Restricting science to what's done or learned in the lab in a search for truth, alas went out in the 19th Century. AF3, AF2 and part of AF1 bring science education more into line with the 20th Century philosophy of science, and how students will meet it in their lives beyond school.
    The other claim is that upd8 doesn't equip them with
    sufficient scientific content. There is less factual content, because the KS3 review took the (researched) view that too many students emerge with little except a set of disconnected facts. So the question is whether the upd8 approach (which is based on a lot of learning theory as well as the century of combined teaching experience of the upd8 team) produces more or less understanding. And by that I mean the ability to transfer the insights to new situations. This is where where 'marmite' comes in - some swear that upd8 students do relate what they knw better, others think the opposite. Only research can answer this.
    I like the 'Betamax(upd8), JVC(traditional)' analogy from another post - the Wikid scheme IS harder to use -particularly at the beginning.
    The analogy breaksdown in two ways. First there is rooom in the market for both systems: for teachers who want to remain with the traditional approach, and those convinced the old ways have major failings, and want to try a promising antidote.
    The analogy also underestimates teachers, who unlike the consumer market, are passionate and determined to improve their students experience of science.

  12. Not sure what Tonysherbourne means by "the modern view of what science is", and the "restricting of science", has the principles of science changed ?. Is science not the search for truth by evidence, or is it more now of Science for the masses.... ? . Are we trying to educate the scientists of tomorow or give pupils a little insight into the wonders of science, Is it that important that they know what an MRI scanner is , or melanocytes , without the Doctor there with the knowledge to interpret.
    I too agree in some of the failings of upd8. It is not my intent to be disrespectfull to those who use and enjoy teaching wikid upd8, nor tho those who wrote it. But I would like to make a few observations as part of constructive critisism.

    1. I dont understand most of the Teacher lesson plans, they need to be clear and more of an outline.

    2. Too many poor powerpoints.... often the speach bubbles cannot be seen past the second row of pupils. The powerpoint slides need to indicate the stage of the lesson, I have found it impossible to work out from the lesson plan which slide relates to each part of the lesson.

    3. More often than not the video links are not available
    4. Some of the lessons are very specialised, not just for pupils but teachers as well. I would put money on that COOK was written by someone who did a Food science degree. How do I use a multimeter ?
    5. Some lesson dont take into account previous knowledge or lack of it. Depending on unit you start with, for example.. one lesson you talk about pH and pupils measure it, without knowing the principles.

    6. To many worksheets that are not guided enough, just blank tables for pupils to fill in. This may be fine with a bright group of pupils but not for your everyday year 7 comp pupil.


    Come on Wikid , more of the same, but remember I need to understand what I am teaching before I can teach pupils.

  13. Thank you for your constructive criticisms, we do want to hear them, and have been improving the scheme based on feedback/focus groups a lot since the first units in Y7, which may be more relevant to your criticisms than later Y7 or Y8. The lesson outline is there, in the overview at the beginning and a summary of each learng stage in the commentary. Maybe what makes it hard is the amount of stuff to get your head round? What we're doing to make the Y9 lessons easier to follow is a 1 page visual planner. Still I will ask my team if they want to respond further.
    When it comes to your points "Is science not the search for truth by evidence, or is it more now of Science for the masses.... ?", the answers are, not really, and yes partly. Yes, science does involve theories and evidence (which we cover), but it's main aim is no longer the pursuit of truth - few scientists choose what they work on. Professional science works in the service of society, solving its problems, and for business interests, and very closely related to technology (this is clearly reflected in the Strategy Framework/Programme of Study, APP). Yes we are trying to inspire kids to work in a whole range of scientific carreers, and as they're only around 10%, it's a pretty good idea to give the rest a foundation with which to engage positively and critically with science after school - which requires the broader perspective.
  14. Sinerva - I can see you recognise the value of the Wikid approach, but want it to be easier to implement. I write and edit for UPD8, and use the units with all my KS3 classes, so I'd very much like them to be perfect too.
    The units were always intended to evolve, and they have. Constructive criticism helps and so does practical help. You can see how much the course has improved by comparing the Y7, Y8 and Y9 teaching resources.
    Please don't let minor glitches like weblinks going down frustrate you. People upgrade their websites all the time so that is only to be expected. We rely on teachers like yourself to let us know when that happens. They can usually be replaced straight away. The Y7 and Y8 weblinks are on the wiki to make that easier. We check the wiki http://www.wikiedscience.com/dashboard.action every day, so do leave a message if you need help with anything or a lesson went particularly well.
    Better still, do what so many others do: add resources that you have modified for different classes. Let others benefit from your expertese. There is a mass of research evidence backing the Wikid approach and between us we can make the resources the best they can be.
  15. We started using Wikid this year and I have to say I am enjoying it. I have a VERY low ability year 8 group with lots of behaviour issues but they are really enjoying WIkid. I have just completed the extinction module and the amount they can tell you about the changing atmosphere, why mammoths became extinct and what may happen in the future is amazing.
    Yes there are times when there isn't enough science in there but all I do is refer back to the old SoW and teach a few lessons to get the kids up to speed with their knowledge.
    I did find it hard work to start with having to read through the lesson plans but now I know how the Wikid scheme works I am finding it really easy to do. The worksheets and Powerpoints can all be easily edited to suit your purpose. I have always edited worksheets etc as none of the bought in schemes are perfect for every class.
    I am enjoying WIkid very much and I am starting to look into Segue for my school as it fits on perfectly with my plan to start KS4 part way through Year 9.
  16. billa

    billa New commenter

    with the loss of the websites domain presumably the scheme of work is no longer viable
  17. Ive been teaching it for a while and as others have said it is very good for increasing pupils interest (especially BESD) students but does require a great deal of teacher input to strengthen the learning.

    They have a new domain although a lot of the links that are provided no longer work.
  18. Does anyone have the species at war paradise 1 powerpoint need it urgently pls! really appreciate it! thank you!
  19. For what it's worth, my experience was that our department failed to implement it thoroughly from the start with practically zero training and explanation. I even think that those who bought it in failed to understand what it was and what it was trying to do. It is not a lazy scheme of work that you just buy in and hand out.I thought it was an excellent scheme, interesting and innovative but it did rely too heavily on Power Point and a lot of hammily posed actors. I wonder if the Power Points could be replaced by film clips in places?
  20. I dislike it greatly. In this job we have enough to do already without deciphering a 5 page lesson plan, a teacher ppt, a student ppt and now a visual guide for Segue. Because once it has taken me an hour to get my head around what I'm teaching I have to actually start planning how to get it across to the children and adding in AfL, starters and plenaries! On top of this it is very poor for SEN students/low ability and requires that much modification you might as well write another scheme. There are much simpler resource sets out there that can be subscribed to that allow you to modify to suit the needs of your students and focus on the Science content more. I assume it's a skills based scheme - however I fail to find many lessons where you get into the nitty gritty skills stuff. End of rant. I need to work out what Dr Sherl is up to this week...

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