Language of experiments pt II


Language on the 2018 exam papers

In a passing Twitter comment a few months back @ejsearle mentioned that there was a rumour that there were “more words on the bio gcse paper this year than English lit.” I thought this was an interesting idea, since I’d also noticed from some exam board meetings that I thought the biology material supplied seemed overly wordy in comparison to similar questions from the chemistry and physics side, both in the combined (trilogy) and separate sciences. So here is my quick and rather fuzzy analysis of the language used on some of the papers this year.

As a starting point, I used the idea of ‘Tiers’ to describe language, something I came Continue reading “Language on the 2018 exam papers”

Infinite science equation generator

Formula practice

Formula practise

Something I was fiddling around with at the end of last term – basically a random number generator tied to common equations used in science. You could use this at the start of a lesson or at any point as a quick recap to keep things ticking over. There are 25 equations on here, covering things like percentages, volumes, energy, speed, pressure etc. which can be set to have random values each time so no need to think work out numbers yourself (answers are on the slide after in each case). If you want to have students remember parts of the equation instead then paste a box over whichever parts of the equation you don’t want them to do.

In most cases there are 4 questions per slide, along with a copy of the relevant equation. You may want to adjust wording for personal taste. The equations will either be a straightforward plug in the numbers, require rearrangement, have different units or require different decimal places (check answer slides again for clarity).

I’ve used mainly biology to GCSE and physics to GCSE as a guide, but its by no means complete. If people particularly want me to add others I can, or maybe do another version. If you spot any mistakes please leave a message and I’ll rectify if possible. The xls file by the way doesn’t particularly follow any logical pattern because reasons, but what are you going to do?



How to use:

  1. Download both files I’ve attached: one pptx and one xls (the reason they have different spellings is because I wanted to be inclusive and give the UK and US spellings of ‘practise’, and not because I made a mistake, no siree. You could change them both to the ‘s’ spelling but I wouldn’t recommend it, since the pptx file will look for the file named ‘practice’ so you’ll have to redo all the links which will be a royal pain).
  2. Save both the files, making sure they are saved with the original names and not as ‘Copy of formula practice’ etc. This is because the pptx file will be looking for the original file name. *EDIT – as pointed out by @Mr_S_dA on twitter, when you save the files it might change the name to ‘Formula_practice’. Resave it as ‘Formula practice’ – this is the name the pptx will be looking for and if it is not the same the whole thing will not work.
  3. OPEN THE XLS FILE FIRST. It must be open for the pptx to work.
  4. Open the ppt file, and when asked to update links do so.
  5. The list of the 25 equations is on the first slide. Any time you go to the xls file and press ‘F9’ while on a blank cell the numbers will be reselected and will automatically change on the pptx.



Random prefix and suffix generator

Prefixes and suffixes

Prefixes and suffixes


258 prefixes and suffixes of words. A variety of Greek, Latin and all sorts of others. Can be used at start of lesson or as a kind of ‘word of the day’ or to shove in your lesson when someone asks about literacy. You know the deal.

Instructions for use:

  1. Download and save the two attached files, an Excel and a PowerPoint.
  2. Save to somewhere, making sure that the Excel is saved as ‘Prefixes and suffixes’ and not as ‘Copy of Prefixes…’ or the PowerPoint won’t know where to look.
  3. Open both files.
  4. On the Excel first tab, press F9 to refresh the random number. A random prefix or suffix will appear on the PowerPoint.
  5. I think I’ve caught any mistakes, but there may be one or two lurking. For example, ‘neur’ was spelt ‘meur’.
  6. Look up what ‘genu’ means as a prefix. Who knew?

Question generator for spaced recall (Biology but can be adapted)

4 question generator

6 question generator recent

6 Question generator recent

How to use:

  1. Open all three documents, the two PowerPoints and the Excel.
  2. Save the documents somewhere, making sure that the Excel is saved as “6 Question generator recent” and not as “Copy of 6…”, otherwise the PowerPoint files will not know where to look for questions.
  3. On the spreadsheet, the first tab is simply a list of questions, 6 from every page of the AQA textbook. They are numbered down the side and according to the unit and double spread number. This can be changed of course of you want.
  4.  Choose a starting question number e.g. between 1 and 594. On the next tab (it says ‘4’ on the bottom) put the question number of your choice in the box at the top (it’s actually cell B1).
  5. The rows across the top will then select another 3 questions for you, using formulae that you can adjust to taste. The formulae can be changed if you like, they are all in G1,H1 and I1. The numbers in G2,H2 and I2 simply represent your question and the three that came before it, if you just want to put up recent questions.
  6. The PowerPoints should update with your questions on the first slide and answers on the second. You might want to rename the PowerPoint files, but that’s up to you.

Continue reading “Question generator for spaced recall (Biology but can be adapted)”