University Learning in Schools Project: New KS3 Modules Launched

Achievement for All has launched a series of new KS3 STEM modules developed through its University Learning in Schools project.

In total, the project has created seven STEM modules to develop teachers' subject knowledge and improve pupil outcomes. The modules are:

Biology

What happens in my brain during the day?

Biology

Antibodies: Weaponsof Microbe Destruction.

Chemistry

The Engineer’s Guide to Cleaning an Oil Company’s Mess

Computer science

How programming and the creation of algorithms can be used to solve problems

Mathematics

3D geometry: the shape of the everyday world

Physics

LASERs: Cutting Edge Science

Physics

Exoplanets: Discovering and Characterising Planets Orbiting Other Stars

 These STEM modules can be found on a dedicated ULiS microsite at: http://tinyurl.com/ULiSKs3. They can help teachers to broaden and enrich their delivery of the KS3 curriculum. The material can be used flexibly, as a series of lessons, the basis for extended project work or exciting and engaging one-off study days. 

Teachers directly involved in the ULiS project reported:

  • improved subject knowledge, either in the breadth of their understanding or the depth of their existing knowledge
  • more confidence in areas related to pedagogy and practice
  • they were better able identify and deal with pupil misconceptions related to subject knowledge

Pupils studying the ULiS modules as part of the project made more progress than their non-ULiS peers in the same subjects. Two-thirds of pupils in the ULiS groups made expected or more than expected progress, compared with 53% of students across all the control groups. 

Success factors include:

•           pupils were stretched more by the challenging unit content and more complex ideas

•           pupils were encouraged to think more critically and be more analytical

•           pupils were more engaged with the unit content because it was more current and more relevant

•           the unit had provided students with ‘threshold concepts’

•           the unit had been more discursive and engaging

•           the unit had moved at pace and been more challenging.

Across the two years of the programme, the teachers stated that their pupils had enjoyed and engaged positively with the ULiS units. Factors that contributed to pupils’ engagement with the unit include:

•           room to discuss and develop ideas

•           the unit had real-life practical relevance

•           the content of the unit was more stretching/challenging

•           the unit was more interactive and collaborative