Engaging Pupils in Biology using core practical tasks


This 12-hour short course is aimed at Science teachers who are non-biology specialists who will need to plan and carry out ‘core practicals’ within the biology modules as well as biology specialists who want to refresh and enhance their subject knowledge.

Biology Class Lab Equipment

 “Are we doing a practical today?”  Most science teachers will be familiar with this enthusiastic greeting by pupils at the door of the laboratory. Placing practical work at the heart of science is an often cited expression of its importance to the teaching and learning of science for young people (Holman 2017; OFSTED 2013; Sherborne 2013).

Currently, with an emphasis on developing scientific skills using core practical tasks, GCSE science teachers have an even greater opportunity to motivate young people in the science classroom; a majority of GCSE students report that they would like to do more practical activities in science lessons (Leevers, 2017). But, delivering effective, practical focused science lessons is not straightforward. Practical work can be considered to be “misunderstood and badly used” (Osborne, 2015:16). As a non-specialist, developing confidence and self-efficacy in this area, can be daunting. For biologists, developing a pedagogy that promotes deep learning for pupils also presents its own challenges.

In this series of CPD sessions, we will explore six of the core practical tasks from GCSE specifications. Each session will consider how the core practical might be delivered successfully and safely in the GCSE classroom. We will reflect on how each task might be used not just as a stand-alone activity that pupils have to complete for their GCSE science portfolio but how the task may be modified to promote pupil cognition as well as how the task might form the basis for deeper learning and mastery. We will consider the idea of learning progressions; how does the scientific idea, that the practical task addresses, progress from GCSE to an advanced level; should these practical tasks at GCSE and A’ level ‘talk to each other’?

The six sessions will focus on the following areas of the biology curriculum:


Biology 1 - Enzymes - [March 4th 2019] Book Here
Biology 2 - Testing Foods - [March 11th 2019] Book Here
Biology 3 - Respirometry - [March 18th 2019] Book Here
Biology 4 - Microbiology - [April 29th 2019] Book Here
Biology 5 - Photosynthesis - [May 13th 2019] Book Here
Biology 6 – Ecology/Sampling - [May 20th 2019] Book Here

Suggested Links to Teachers’ Standards:

  1. Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
  2. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
  3. Plan and teach well-structured lessons
  4. Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils
  5. Make accurate and productive use of assessment


2.30 p.m. - 4.30 p.m.


Whitehead Building


£100 per session


20% on all six sessions when booked together (£408)
10% per session when booked at least seven days in advance (£90)


Resources are provided by Goldsmiths

Certificate of attendance

Attendees will receive a Goldsmiths CPD certificate of attendance on receipt of their feedback form.


Book here for all six sessions or select the booking link next to the individual sessions


Dave Dennis, MA Science Education (King’s College, London).


Laurence Connor | CPD Administrator | 020 7919 7326 | teacherscentre (@gold.ac.uk)