A Skills Standard for Budding Scientists
Author: James Buchanan
A Skills Standard for Budding Scientists is a comprehensive reference book for high school students, particularly Grades 10–12. It covers everything from general skills such as poster presentations, referencing and citation, evaluating information and note-taking to pure science skills such as the Scientific Method. It is ideal for students taking any of the science subjects, be it Life Science, Physical Science, Geography or Social Science. It is presented in a way that encourages critical thinking; rather than simply saying what to do, it explains why.
This book aims to empower students to take ownership of their skills development. And for those who put it into practice, it offers the opportunity to progress further in the scope and proficiency of their skills than ever before. It is suitable for students of all subjects, and includes advanced skills for the sciences. Students assigned this book should use it as their skills companion, all the way through to their first year at university.
Topics covered in the book include:
- WRITING: Instructive verbs; The scientific report; Referencing and citation; Note-taking; Summarising
- WORKING WITH DATA: Tables; Overview of graph types; Basic graphing using line graphs; Bar graphs and histograms; Less common graphs; Scale
- THINKING: Introduction to critical thinking; Evaluating information; Evaluating science; Interpreting graphs; Evaluating visual messages; Evaluating web information
- DOING: The Scientific Method; Oral presentations; Poster presentations; Transactional material; Crafting; Diagrams and drawings; Literature research; Surveys; Internet searches; Working together
The book covers the practicality and how-to of doing all these activities – encouraging students to think critically and to use common sense each step of the way. Teachers often say that students fail to communicate science well – this book was written to address that. It also helps to free up teaching time by enabling teachers to focus on delivering content rather than explaining to students how these things should be done. By standardising the methods across all classes and grades, students will receive consistant guidance and instruction and can confidently build their skills on a solid base.
The author: James Buchanan was Chief Examiner of Life Sciences for the IEB. He has taught the sciences for more than 20 years, and was Head of Department of Life Sciences at Reddam High School in Cape Town.