Blueprint focusses teaching on what students – particularly low and middle achieving students – need to be successful in science. Teachers usually give most of the attention to understanding the key concepts and learning all the factual details. Developing scientific reasoning gets much less attention but is equally critical to exam success. Exam questions demand analytical thinking, being able to integrate knowledge with skills, and working out complex problems. This requires students to reason with their knowledge.
Scientific reasoning can be taught. First, we identify the strategies that more expert performers use. Then we break these down into steps. Finally, we providing explicit instruction, and practice. Strategy teaching is very common in reading and maths, where most of the research has taken place. but less so in science.
Blueprint, and the products that support it, integrate two kinds of cognitive strategy: