Standards and Backwards Mapping

Science – Grade 9

School: Private Government Bilingual School

Standards: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) & Basic Education Core

Science: Application of knowledge and scientific process for study and search for knowledge and systematic problem-solving; logical, analytical and constructive thinking; and scientific- mindedness.

Strand 7: Astronomy and Space: The Solar System

Standard Sc7.1

Understanding of evolution of the solar system, galaxies and the universe; interrelationships within the Solar System and their effects on living things on the Earth; having an investigative process for seeking knowledge and scientific reasoning, and communicating acquired knowledge that could be applied for useful purposes.

Grade level indicators
1. Search for relevant information and explain relationships between the Sun, Earth, the moon and other planets, and the effects on the environment and living things on Earth.
2. Search for relevant information and explain components of the universe, galaxies and the Solar System.
3. Specify the position of constellations, and apply the knowledge gained for useful purposes.

Backwards mapping
“The basic rationale motivating backwards [mapping] is that starting with the end goal” (Abott 2014). This helps teachers put it into the perspective of what expectations they need to set for the students in order for them to achieve their goals.

Learners’ Key Competencies
1. Communication capacity
2. Thinking capacity
3. Problem-solving capacity
4. Capacity for applying life skills
5. Capacity for technological application

Project and Activities

Mind mapping
In the beginning, I will ask the students to create a mind map of the solar system.  I will inform the students on how they will have 5 minutes to write as many things they may know already about our Solar System.  Including any facts they remember, seen, heard or have learnt before this class or if they would like to use their textbook they can.  The tasks will be on display for students to refer to if they need reminding of what the tasks are and what is expected of them.  After the allotted time has finished I will pick students at random to share one thing they have written.  Other students can choose to add this information if they don’t have it or raise their hand to comment/give feedback.

Google forms
Based on the mind mapping class, the students fill in and reflect on what they remember from this class on the google forms usually at home.  There are a mix of multiple choice questions and open questions, then their answers will be reviewed in the next class.  I teach the students twice a week and I usually remind them in the last class of that current week to complete the google form. The time scale is 1 week and I generally aim to keep it short as the students are given a lot of homework in their respective Thai subjects.

Assessment Plan and Application

Students Proficiency
1. Research for relevant information and provide evidence.
2. Explain relationships between the Sun, Earth, the moon and other planets.
3. Demonstrate their knowledge gained and apply it along with using mathematics for designing and creating a scaled model of the Solar System in a team.

Research – Discover or find facts/knowledge and provide evidence (reading)
Explain – To communicate their understanding of what the students found (comprehension, writing, speaking and collaborating)
Design and create – to use mathematics to scale the sizes of the planets and the Sun (problem-solving and collaboration)
Demonstrate and apply – use their knowledge to create and display their understanding (practical assessment, technological application)

Forms of Assessment
As all students are different, I tend to aim to provide various ways in which students can be assessed.   I usually make groups of 3 or 4 students to collaborate and work together on their project assessments (P.A).

Here are the list of ways the students can choose to demonstrate their knowledge.

Scaled model
The students can design and create a scaled model based off the Solar System, raising awareness of the sizes of the planets and other various facts about the Solar System.

Comic Book Strip / Poster
Students can draw a poster or create a comic book strip to place around the school to create awareness of the facts of our Solar System. They can also use programs such as Piktochart or Microsoft Publisher or any other software to design or create.

Make a video / TV Commercial (YouTube post)
The students can make their own video ad campaign that can aid in raising awareness of the facts of our Solar System.  If students don’t have a webcam/camera/camcorder, they can record and edit on their phones now.  Students can even use free apps such as Viva video that could aid in creating a video or search for top ten free online video editors and choose any they like.  This activity tends to be a favourite as many students already have a youtube account.

Here is an example from a previous project based on Natural disasters in Science with Grade 9

A short-skit / Play
The students can perform a skit or a play that deals with creating awareness of the facts of our Solar System.  The students can negotiate who their target audience can be and inform the time and date of when they can show it.

PowerPoint / Feature board presentation
The students can create a PowerPoint/presentation about creating awareness of the facts of our Solar System.  The PowerPoint/presentation must include text, visuals, custom animation, slide transitions and sounds (where available).  The end of the presentation can include a 5 multiple choice quiz to test that the audience had been attentive and include the correct answers.  Students can even use other forms of digital presentations such as Prezi or another presentation tool.

Here is another example below of a group in Grade 8 performing and presenting their research on Substances.

Why this standard?
I choose the activities and the projects for the students to be assessed but the standards are chosen by my private bilingual school in Thailand.  I can be creative and have diverse projects or assessments as long as the teachers adhere to the STEM and Basic Education Core Curriculum in Thailand (2008).  I believe this is because they both complement each other in what the school desires for the children to benefit and achieve in the long-term of their education, such as researching, student-centred learning, collaboration etc. As I have mentioned before in previous blogs, Thailand has admitted that they are in an education crisis.  M.O.E (Ministry of Education Thailand) claimed how the teaching process should “aim at enabling learners to develop themselves at their own pace and to the best of their potentiality” (OEC, 2008).  It became an act in 1999 due to the economic crisis in 1997, the M.O.E needed to prepare the citizens for new challenges with globalization and set up students with the skills to thrive in the 21st century.  In summary, the M.O.E had recognised a changed was needed as most of their schools had been teacher-centred.  With reports from the UNESCO stating that “The Thai higher education system is facing a crisis.  A large proportion of university graduates are not sufficiently competent in their fields” (ICEF Monitor, 2015).  As a result, it created a rote learning experience which didn’t prepare students for their future in university and in their chosen careers.

By doing these projects and activities stated before,I am aiming to benefit and help students practice and gain the necessary skills mentioned earlier.  Enabling students in the long-term to participate in the 21st century and in tomorrows learning world.


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Maxwell, D., & Kamnansilpa, P. (2016, January 3). Declare education in a state of emergency. Retrieved August 23, 2016, from Bangkok Post:

Ministry of Education. (2008). The Basic Education Core Curriculum B.E. 2551 (A.D. 2008). Retrieved December 5th, 2016, from

Nadir, I. (2012, December 8th). Grade 8 – Presentation/Skit – Substances . Retrieved from

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