A-Level

Science Practical’s will start from Tuesday (15th September 2020)

at

__GreenHall Academy__ __Gulberg Campus__.

__Physics__

**What are the practical skills required for physics and why do you need them?**

The practical skills involved are:

– manipulation, measurement and observation,

the collection of simple data to an appropriate accuracy, choosing the right

range and distribution of values

– presentation of data and observations in a

table

– analysis, conclusions and evaluation, using

and justifying the correct number of significant figures

– plotting of a graph and calculation of a

gradient. In the second paper this involves the use of logarithms and plotting

error bars on graphs

– estimating the uncertainties in measurements

made and identifying the most significant sources of uncertainty

– calculating the uncertainty in the value of

a calculated quantity made from two or more measurements each with their own

uncertainty

– evaluation of the method involved and

suggesting improvements

– planning an experiment, including

identifying dependent and independent variables and quantities that remain

constant, identifying any risks involved

Developing practical skills prepares

students for studies beyond A Level in physics, engineering or in

physics-dependent vocational courses. Practical’s also help students

develop abilities and skills that are useful in everyday life and encourage

safe practice. These practical skills help to develop attitudes such

as a concern for accuracy and precision, initiative, inventiveness and a spirit

of enquiry.

These skills are important in employment and

go far beyond mere knowledge of facts. A good practical course also

helps to develop an interest in the subject of physics itself and complements

the study of the theory, showing that scientific theory is ultimately grounded

by experiment. The amount of practical apparatus required does not

have to be enormous because working within the resources available is another

useful ability. It’s important to remember that students can learn a lot

from practical work that goes wrong as well as from experiments that

work perfectly every time.

** ****What are the main challenges for students carrying out practical work?**

Many students at A Level may not have had much

experience of practical work and may not consider themselves to be

very ‘practical’, but there is no need to be afraid of simple experiments.

Students need practice in setting up simple apparatus and to be happy in

carrying out the experiment by themselves. When a student has enough experience

of simple apparatus then they face the challenge of writing a method where they

must choose the apparatus and method for themselves. This might be for an

experiment that differs from any that they have previously seen and shows their

inventiveness and initiative.

Students may also

believe practical work to be a mathematical exercise where there is a

right and a wrong answer. This is not the case. Every reading has an inherent

uncertainty and students need to be happy to estimate uncertainties in simple

quantities, such as the measurement of length and time by either repeating

readings or taking the smallest scale reading on the instrument used. They also

need to realize that the uncertainty is only an estimate and is itself not

exactly known.

There are a few mathematical challenges,

particularly for those not studying mathematics at A Level. These include the

use of logarithms and combining uncertainties, where a real familiarity with

percentages is a useful skill. However, the average student can learn the

necessary skills with a reasonable amount of application.

**What are your 5 top tips for students for practical work ?**

1) Think actively about every topic. Do you

understand what is going on? If not, then ask a question.

2) Know how to estimate uncertainty as the

smallest scale division or, better, half the range in the readings.

3) After every experiment write down:

– the steps that you actually took during the

experiment

– whether each quantity was dependent, independent or kept constant

– major difficulties

– improvements

4) Realize that readings in a table are

measured, usually, to the same precision, i.e. to the same number of decimal

places, but that calculated quantities should be given to the smallest number

of significant figures in the quantities used in the calculation.

5) Take care when plotting graphs.

– does your graph cover half the page

horizontally and vertically?

– does it have units on both axes?

– check your points are accurate

– use a long ruler when drawing a straight line

– show your working in finding the gradient

**Chemistry**

** **

**5 tips for students by **__GreenHall Academy__

1) Remember that practical work is

important; it is a component of your examinations. Therefore, make the most of

whatever practical experience that you are given and don’t think of

it as relaxation time away from theory work.

2) Remember that practical work is

related to the rest of the syllabus. If you are not sure why you are doing

the practical – ask your teacher to explain. When you are told that

you will be doing a practical investigation, write down what you

think are the aims of the practical work and what you hope to get

from it.

3) If you have a practical partner,

then agree responsibilities. For example, if you are measuring the rate of a

reaction by following the change in the volume of gas produced, one of you can

measure the time and help countdown to the next reading, while your partner can

read the volume.

4) If you are going to do an

assessed practical, then ask your teacher what criteria she or he is going

to use when allocating the marks.

5) Try and maintain a

good balance between your awareness of safety and a confident use of the

apparatus. You should by now know how to use a Bunsen burner safely and the

difference between gentle heating and strong heating, even some advanced level

students think that gentle heating involves a yellow Bunsen burner flame.

The __practical workbook__ has a chapter on basic techniques. If

this textbook is available, then take a look at this chapter.

__Biology__

**What are the practical skills required for biology and why do you need them?**

Before they can embark on AS & A

Level practical work with confidence, students should be familiar

with the use of a typical school laboratory. This includes things such as

balances, measuring cylinders, beakers, pipettes (or syringes), heating

apparatus and thermometers. It is also important that students know how to work

safely when carrying out practical work.

A knowledge of basic biochemical tests such as

the tests for starch, glucose, protein and lipids is useful as these are often

revisited at AS & A Level. There is also an assumption that students

are aware of simple tests from Cambridge IGCSE™ chemistry, such as using

universal indicator paper and testing for using limewater to test for carbon

dioxide gas. These chemical tests are often used when carrying

out practicals at AS and A Level biology.

Students should also understand how to plan

valid experiments with standardized variables and repeats. They should also

know how to draw results tables that display data effectively. Evaluating the

design of simple experiments, such as recognizing the level of accuracy of equipment

is also a useful skill to reinforce before AS & A Level. All these skills

help to provide a good foundation upon which to build.

** ****What can be the main challenges for students carrying out practical work ?**

For biology experiments, results can often be

unpredictable! Living organisms often do not respond in the ways that we

expect. For example, a piece of pond weed in an investigation into the effect

of light intensity, may not photosynthesis due to several reasons. Students

need to be patient, accept that all results are valid and explore the reasons

for results not being as expected. Many students think that getting unexpected

results is essentially the mark of a bad experiment – in reality, getting the

‘wrong results’ can be a learning experience in itself. Students should also

not be scared to ‘have a go’ and be encouraged to try again if something did

not seem to work first time.

**What are your 5 top tips for students ?**

1) Be confident and keep trying even if a

technique is difficult

2) Don’t expect results to always go the way you planned – remember that living

organisms can be very different to one another

3) Work safely – always wear eye protection and risk assess everything

4) Be organized – keep all your equipment tidy on your bench

5) Enjoy practical work – it is your opportunity to apply your

knowledge to the real thing

A-Level

Science Practical’s will start from Tuesday (15th September 2020) at

GreenHall Academy Gulberg Campus.

Registrations Open.

For Details:

GreenHall Academy Gulberg Campus:

<__www.facebook.com/greenhallacademygc__>0312-5314148,

GreenHall Academy Johar Town Campus:

<__www.facebook.com/greenhallacademyjt__> 0311-6333666,

GreenHall Academy DHA Phase 1 Campus:

<__www.facebook.com/greenhallacademydhapase4__>

:0331-5314143.

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