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Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre

The Science Skills Upgrade Programme (SSUP), delivered over two semesters, covers the six main knowledge areas of the Physical Sciences syllabus as outlined in the CAPS document: Matter & Materials, Chemical Systems, Chemical Change, Mechanics, Waves, Sound & Light, Electricity and Magnetism.  Each of these knowledge areas is treated as a unit which expands progressively from Grade 10 to 12.  Also covered in the programme are the skills for Physical Science learners (Grade 10) and those required for practical investigations (Grade 12).

The SSUP programme is extensively based on an innovative techno-blended teaching and learning model that currently incorporates 41 videos that deal with various aspects of the Physical Sciences syllabus.  These videos focus on specific content and are designed to be a user-friendly, independent teaching and learning resource for flexible use in school or elsewhere. Structured lessons and exercises designed in PowerPoint format with animation and narration form the design basis for each video.

A valuable part of the SSUP are the 66 experiment videos that allow the educator to demonstrate physics and chemistry concepts / phenomena as if in a well-equipped, fully functional science laboratory.  Each video begins with a number of discussion questions, and includes a post experiment discussion to help learners grapple with the topics under review.  Each of the experiment videos is accompanied by worksheets that allow the learner to be actively involved in these experiments.  Educators are introduced to these video experiments throughout the content sessions.

A further part of the SSUP programme is to introduce educators to numerous ‘easy-to-do’ experiments / demonstrations.  These seldom take more than a few minutes, don’t require expensive equipment (mostly household items), and allow educators to demonstrate concepts in class. They are, in our opinion, an excellent basis for an inquiry-based science teaching model as is promoted in the SSUP programme.

One contact session of the SSUP programme is exclusively devoted to practical work – working in small groups in a laboratory to conduct experiments, learning the ins and outs of computer software so that an educator can readily and quickly demonstrate, for example, how a titration is done. Educators are familiarised with the large number of physical science simulations that are freely available to them to make the teaching and learning of the Physical Science more effective and enjoyable.

Science experiments play an important part of the FET Physical Science Curriculum