Maths in science exams

science not maths

My year 10 class complain bitterly every time they are given a question that has some maths.

When I was marking their mock exams earlier this year I noticed that many of them didn’t attempt the maths questions at all. They were throwing away marks that I knew that they could access. I decided that we would dedicate some of our revision time to looking at what kind of maths questions they might get and how they would tackle them. I looked through the last 3 years of papers and pulled out questions that involved different maths skills. I then grouped them into categories:

  • Calculating mean and range
  • Percentages
  • Describing graphs
  • Ratio
  • Using formulae
  • Using data

In class over two lessons we talked about what these different things and then worked through the examples. Some of them we did together on the board, some they completed themselves. We looked at the data sheet that they are given in the exam too and how we would find the equations that we needed. I was keen to point out to them that graphs are sometimes used in 6 mark questions (another area they are not keen on) and how describing what they graph is showing is the first part of building their answers.

At the end they said that they felt more confident. Hopefully they will still feel confident when they sit the exams. In our revision lesson yesterday I did include a couple of maths questions and they were able to explain to me what they needed to do. Fingers crossed.

I have included the powerpoint here. The questions were all taken from OCR 21st Century Science units 1-3 foundation. The questions cover biology, physics and chemistry.

maths in science

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One Response to Maths in science exams

  1. Pingback: Nurture1617 | keepcalmandweargoggles

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