From The Junior Secondary
Head of Department
With Gerard Clark
Year 8 TES
This term is Year 8 Engineering students have been given the opportunity to utilise science, engineering, and math practices in an authentic problem-solving activity. Students are designing and constructing an operational aquaponics system that produces food and optimises the nutrient cycling. Students are also collected and analysing data from a pre-made system and exploring sustainable and more environmentally friendly ways of farming.
Student Kate Russell, who has created an animated gif exploring the nutrient cycle.
Getting Prepared for Assessment Time
- Start with an agenda – either alone or with your help, have your child record the dates of all upcoming assignments and exams in an online or paper agenda (such as their school diary or an online calendar). Schedule in important activities and free time, too. You can even set deadlines a few days before actual due dates to allow a margin for emergencies.
- Create a master schedule – from this agenda, block off chunks of time for study or assignment work. This will help your student to prioritise their projects and stay on target with due dates. You could start by estimating how long each project will take, then calculate how much time to allow daily or weekly. Try to schedule in some study every week day, even if it’s only brief. Colour-coding different subjects can make reading the schedule easier.
- Start assignments early – leaving assignments until the last minute is stressful. Instead, encourage your child to start working on them well before they are due.
- Make project plans – when study or assignments seem overwhelming, procrastination often results. Help your child to break their study plan or project into smaller, more manageable chunks. You can give each segment its own due date to help them feel good for meeting small goals.
- Avoid multi-tasking – divided attention is an inefficient way to learn. Focus on one task at a time for maximum productivity.
- Reduce distractions – during time scheduled for schoolwork, have your child put away unnecessary devices such as mobile phones, and switch off social media notifications. Distractions can also come from internal feelings such as hunger or tiredness, so ensure they’re getting adequate sleep and have snacks and water on hand.
- Take regular breaks – working on something for too long can lead to lost focus. Short breaks every half hour or so can help them to recharge. Consider having a change of scene, such as a short walk or a drink in the backyard. Just make sure they don’t get side-tracked and don’t return to study!
- Be an early bird – encourage your child to start their homework as early as possible after school. This gives them more time to complete it while they’re alert and reduces the risk of delayed bedtimes. Also, people vary as to when they’re most productive, so allow your student to tackle challenging tasks during their best time, and leave easier ones (such as organising their books or lists for the next day) when they’re not at their peak. Some might prefer to get up early and work before the school day, for example.