Six week teaching pack: Biomimicry

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With our new Key Stage 4 (KS4) specifications, many teachers are asking us what they can start teaching from September 2015.

So we’ve put together a free science resource – a six week teaching pack to help you bridge the gap between your KS3 and KS4 science students.

It covers GCSE science and other KS4 science qualifications and gives you the tools you need to get started, from classroom presentations to lesson plans to homework activities and practical investigations.

Download it now and sign up for updates so you’re the first to know when we produce more KS4 science teaching resources.

Introduction

The pack is a collection of teaching ideas and student-facing resources (all of which were specifically commissioned), on the overarching theme of Biomimicry.

Biomimicry was chosen as it's an exciting area of research that extends across scientific disciplines using inspiration from nature to help scientists solve contemporary problems. The pack aims to bridge the gap between what students will have studied at KS3 (e.g. energy transfer, chemical reactions and photosynthesis) and areas studied at GCSE (e.g. nanotechnology, nerve impulses and forces).

It's planned as a six-week unit of work (18 lessons). Included are:

  • starter, main and plenary activities
  • practical investigations
  • suggestions for differentiation and extension of activities
  • suggested assessment opportunities
  • resources to develop mathematical skills and understanding
  • differentiated weekly homework activities
  • links to areas of current research and scientists.

It's arranged lesson by lesson, with several suggested starters, main and plenary activities. It lends itself to a ‘pick and mix’ approach; choose from the suggested activities most appropriate for your students. The resources are all available in adaptable formats, making it easy to differentiate the tasks by ability.

The practical investigations are all designed to use materials and equipment that are easy to resource. They could be extended into more substantial investigations.

To help with navigation, there's a contents table which summarises the resources found in each lesson. Included are several interactive resources, to access these please go to www.teachitscience.co.uk/aqa-biomimicry.

Resources summary

Week 1

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
W1L1
Introduction to biomimicry
Introduction to biomimicry — starter activities
Trying to fly: making a model of Cayley’s glider
Units and equations
Week 1 homework
W1L2
Nanotechnology
Large and small prefixes
Large and small prefixes (interactive whiteboard version)*
Powers of ten
What is nanoscience and technology?
W1L3
Developments in microscopy
Important developments in microscopy
Different types of modern microscope

*To access please go to www.teachitscience.co.uk/aqa-biomimicry

Week 2

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
W2L1
Things that glow in the dark
Using fluorescence — background information
Fluorescent chemicals
Week 2 homework
W2L2
What can we learn from termite mounds?
Odd one out
What can we learn from termite mounds?
Cross section of a termite mound
W2L3
What’s special about a lotus leaf?
What’s special about a lotus leaf?
Magnification activity

Week 3

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
W3L1
Spiny–headed worms and skin grafts
Interviewing the professor
Week 3 homework
W3L2
Desalination
Water cycle
Water cycle (interactive whiteboard version)*
World’s population and water
W3L3
Freshwater in deserts
Freshwater in deserts
Questions and answers

*To access please go to www.teachitscience.co.uk/aqa-biomimicry

Week 4

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
W4L1
Neural networks
The brain — true or false?
Neural networks
A brief history of neural networks
Week 4 homework
W4L2
Mussel adhesive
How do mussels stick?
How do mussels stick? (interactive whiteboard version)*
Making a glue
Comparing mussel strength
W4L3
Tardigrades and vaccines
The problems with vaccines
Tardigrades under the microscope
 

*To access please go to www.teachitscience.co.uk/aqa-biomimicry

 

Week 5

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
W5L1
The Bombardier beetle
Scientist — who’s who?
Charles Darwin and the Bombardier beetle
Week 5 homework activity
W5L2
Wind turbine blades
Wind turbine blades
Investigation – comparing designs for a helicopter blade
W5L3
Silk moths and chitin
Silk moths and chitin
Comparing polymers
Shrilk
Maths and measuring volume
Match the Greek word with its meaning

Week 6

LessonWhat the presentation and guide contain
W6L1
Artificial photosynthesis (1)
W6L2
Artificial photosynthesis (2)
Artificial photosynthesis —starter
Is chlorophyll the only pigment in green leaves?
Artificial photosynthesis – obstacles to overcome
What am I?
W6L3
A new look at wood
A new look at wood
Comparing concrete and wood
Cellulose and other materials