Wednesday 21 March 2018

Data-logger makes surprise appearance

Leaving Certificate Physics

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Some teachers and students were caught by surprise by a higher level paper question requiring familiarity with a data-logger -- an electronic device that records data over time.

Teachers got grants to buy the data-loggers about 10 years ago, but this was the first year it featured in an exam.

Michael Gillespie of the TUI and St Brendan's Community School, Birr, Co Offaly, said some teachers had stopped using them because they hadn't turned up in exams.

Edel McInerney, of the ASTI and Castletroy College, Co Limerick, said the question would encourage teachers to get their data-logger out. "It's on the course, let's use them," she said.

She was enthusiastic about the questions with real-life application on topics such as mobile phones and X-rays.

She said students described question 6 on gravity and acceleration as taxing. "When they thought about it, it was okay, but it wasn't straightforward and they felt they didn't have enough time," she said.

Pat Doyle of the Institute of Education said that a higher- or ordinary-level student who worked consistently was well rewarded with the exam.

He said students rely on section A in the higher paper to boost their grades, "and they will have been pleased with it this year".

In relation to question 6, he said there was an alternative approach -- not for the faint hearted -- that did not require the use of the universal gravitational constant, which students had difficulty finding in the log tables.

The question on the planets was clever and would have suited the more mathematically inclined student, he said.

Irish Independent

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