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Advice for teachers -
Psychology

Practical activities

Practical activities may be used to introduce and consolidate understanding of a psychological concept and to develop scientific skills and should not be limited to assessment tasks.

The principles of fair testing through controlled experiments are important in science, but may not always enable students to understand scientific ideas or concepts, answer their questions or appreciate how scientists work and the nature of science. At this level, different methods of scientific inquiry that generate primary data may be utilised. Common to different methods of scientific inquiry and practical activities are three key aspects that are central to the study design’s inquiry focus: asking questions, testing ideas and using evidence.

The following ​identifies examples of practical activities involving a range of scientific inquiry methods across VCE Psychology Units 1 to 4 that enable development of scientific skills:

Unit 1

  • Controlled experiment: investigate whether phrenology can be used to predict personality
  • Pattern seeking: investigate the factors that affect mood
  • ​Classification and identification: investigate whether perception of optical illusions is culturally-dependent

Unit 2​

  • Investigation of a scientific model: devise a model to test an explanation of why people who have a blocked nose cannot taste food
  • Single variable exploration: investigate whether the way that individuals perceive ‘sweetness’ on the tongue varies over time during a day
  • Pattern seeking: develop a Likert-type scale to investigate gender differences in attitudes to an issue raised in the media

Unit 3​

  • Controlled experiment: establish whether there is a relationship between memory and age
  • Single variable exploration: investigate whether learning is more effective in the mornings
  • Pattern seeking: determine the optimal conditions for learning a new skill
  • Product, process or system development: design and test a regime to improve your sleep health or to detect when someone has fallen asleep

Unit 4​​

  • Controlled experiment: investigate the effect of concurrently listening to music and the time taken to complete a task
  • Classification and identification: adapt the 4P factor model (predisposing, precipitating, perpetuating and protective factors) to categorise factors that affect learning
  • Pattern seeking: conduct a survey to find whether there a relationship between exercise habits and self-perceived levels of stress

​ The link below provides more information about, and examples of, different scientific inquiry methods

Sc​ientific inquiry methods​​