Kasetsu – a highlight from ASE

One of my joys at the ASE conference is meeting up with Japanese science teachers. I admire their work tremendously – I was unable to attend the sessions this year, but was very happy to meet up (and I bought the much anticipated book containing Kiyonobu Itakura’s work translated into English – which is wonderful).


It explains the theory behind the technique developed by generations of Japanese science teachers called Hypothesis-Experiment or Kasetsu.

Explanation of Kasetsu by Professor Haruhiko Funahashi, Tomoko Hasegawa, and Mariko Kobayashi.

A super-short explanation of Kasetsu (or hypothesis-experiment class)

Learners have a classbook (Jugyosho) which asks a series of questions and sets a series of problems. The teacher invites the learners to make hypotheses which are then tested by demonstrations.

screenshot 2019-01-19 at 15.52.32
A problem from the Objects and their Weight Jugyosho: Image taken from https://schd.ws/hosted_files/aseannualconference2019/39/ASEproceedings2018Liverpool.pdf

The fascinating thing about Kasetsu is the process of designing the sequence of problems and demonstrations. Across Japan there are Kasetsu groups which meet several times each year to review and update their Kasetsu sequence. Some of these sequences have been reviewed and improved for up to fifty years. Members stay committed to their groups throughout their careers.

Does that happen anywhere in England?





  1. Reminds me of the little red Nuffield Physics books that got me into the subject 42 years ago; Nelkon seemed to be coming to the end of its lifetime in the same way that books such as Intermediate Physics had prior to it. IMHO its worth a look at some of the National 5 Scottish tech books – let me see if I can find a “good” one in my fave-pile (which include your work). At a quick glance it seems to be dominated by such as Bob & Rob by Sue Pickford


  2. Thanks Paul – that would be great. I’m starting to see that a lot of what i think is good now was around when I started teaching. P.s. I used to teach Nelkon’s grand-daughter!


  3. Oh dear got distracted by “Electrodynamics from Ampere to Einstein” by Olivier Darrigol .
    Maybe a bit advanced to teach school kids with but great for teachers, a must if you’ve not seen it



    1. OK went into my local WHSmith and surveyed the National 5 Scottish tech books. The focus is on exam support, but not to the same extent as the “Higher & “Adv Higher” levels since Nat 5 seems to me a broader (more general) phase. There were at least 3 publishers on display: Bright Red, Leckie & Leckie, & Hodder & Gibson. I was looking for Physics and only one of the 3 had a Physics one in stock !

      Now I believe somewhere I previously purchased a Bright Red one when forced to pick earlier. Of course I cannot find it now, but I suspect it may have been the chemistry one as I have lately been doing Science Club demos on soap/candles/..
      I do recollect that their website is worth a look.

      Having flicked the books today and re-read your extract I feel that there is some overlap in the approaches but cannot nail it like for like.

      As a multi year invigilator I have my views on SQA exams (of all subjects) and have discussed the best approach to passing them, particularly maths, but that is a topic for another day


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