Pupils are encouraged to think about the wider world around them and contemplate why the things that they are taught in Science happen. The Schemes of Work within science across Key Stage 3 and 4 have been written so that there are opportunities for ‘How Science Works’ (introduced as part of the major changes to the Science curriculum in 2006). How Science Works (HSW) focuses on the application of Science in real life contexts. It looks at well- known and not so well-known scientific discoveries, the scientists behind them and how their findings are relevant to us in our lives today.
Key Stage 3
The Key Stage 3 Programme of Study is delivered to all pupils in year 7 and 8 and divided into a number of themed topics. The themes are imaginatively named as ‘Rocket Science’ (about space exploration and the Solar System), ‘All about me’(about cells, puberty and reproduction), ‘Crash Bang Wallop’(acids and alkalis, states of matter and the particle model), ‘Cafeteria and bacteria’(food groups, diet, microorganisms and disease), ‘The Great train Robbery’ (magnetism and forces), ‘Cinema’ (light and sound), ‘Kitchen Chemistry’(distillation, chromatography and energy transfer) , ‘As Dead as a Dodo’(classification, ecological sampling techniques and conservation), ‘ Energy and Electricity’ (electrical circuits, fuels and renewable energy) and ‘Reduce reuse and recycle’(atoms, elements, compounds and mixtures).
The aim with delivering the Key Stage 3 Programme of Study through themes has been to link together certain topic areas from either the same science discipline or different science disciplines and allow the pupils to explore all of the concepts within a given branch of science. The pupils have enjoyed learning science in this way and linking the different knowledge and practical skills that they have acquired.
The thematic approach has enabled the department to assess the pupils’ progress at regular intervals through end of theme tests that are graded. In order for the papers to be accessible to all groups of all abilities they have been carefully produced so that the paper is gradually more demanding in its nature. The pupils in Year 7 and 8 have also sat an end of year examination paper which contains questions from all of the themes studied that year.
We aim as a Department to ensure that the young scientists within the department are constantly considering their safety and the safety of others. Therefore, before any themes are taught, pupils begin Year 7 learning about the various pieces of equipment and apparatus within the lab and the safety considerations and procedures when conducting any practical work. The Key Stage 3 thematic scheme of work provides pupils with the foundation of fundamental skills and knowledge which will form the basis for success in Key Stage 4 and indeed perhaps Key Stage 5.
Key Stage 4
The new speciation within Science has meant a number of major changes to the way in which the course is structured and assessed. A set of strict new guidelines have also been published with the new specification. One of the new rules is the one re-sit rule in that pupils can only re-sit module once. The second of the new rules is the ‘40% rule’ in which pupils have to sit at least 40% (two components- either a two module examinations or one written examination and submit a CAU) in the final ‘sitting’ before certification. This 40% rule has consequences on re-sits as if a pupil opts to do a re-sit as part of the final 40% sat (in the case of written examinations) or submitted (CAU) then this mark will be the one that is taken to form the final overall UMS and grade. This means that even if a pupil performs less well in a re-sit than the first time, if the re-sit is taken as part of the final 40% before the pupil is certificated for that qualification, that mark counts towards their overall grade.
Depending on which group pupils are in they will either complete the core plus additional qualification which is worth two GCSEs or the separate science qualifications which are worth three separate GCSEs (one in each Science discipline)
The content of ‘Core’ modules include:
Biology: Classification, variation and inheritance, Responses to a changing environment and Problems of, and solutions to a changing environment.
Chemistry: The Earth’s sae and atmosphere, Materials from the Earth, Acids, Obtaining and using metals and Fuels.
Physics: Visible light and the Solar System, The electromagnetic spectrum, Waves and the Universe, Waves and the Earth, Generation and transmission of electricity and Energy and the future.
The content of ‘Additional’ modules include:
Biology: Building blocks of cells, Organisms and energy, Common biological systems.
Chemistry: Atomic structure and the periodic table, Ionic compounds and analysis, Covalent compounds and separation techniques, Groups in the periodic table, chemical reactions and Quantitative chemistry.
Physics: Static and current electricity, Controlling and using electric current, Motion and forces, Momentum, energy, work and power, Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion, Advantages and disadvantages of using radioactive materials.
The content of the ‘Extension’ modules include:
Biology: Control systems (kidney structure and function, sex hormones and the immunological response), Behaviour (innate and learned behaviour and communication), Evolution and Biotechnology.
Chemistry: Qualitative analysis, Quantitative analysis, Electrolytic processes, Gases, equilibria and ammonia and Organic chemistry.
Radiation in treatment and medicine, X-rays and ECGs, Production, uses and risks of ionising radiation from radioactive sources, Motion and particles and Kinetic theory and gases.
The comprehensive scheme of work includes imaginative lessons with a real ‘hands-on’ approach towards practical science in units such as Chemistry and our Earth, Energy and our Universe, Biology and our Environment, Designing and making Scientific Devices and Forensics. We hope that our least able pupils in science will not only enjoy the content within the BTEC First Certificate in Science Scheme of work but will also attain and achieve.
Key Stage 5
At Key Stage 5 Biology follow the OCR exam board specification whilst Chemistry and Physics follow AQA. AS pupils complete the course linearly by sitting all external examinations in the summer term whilst A2 pupils complete module examinations in January and May/June. The first module that is sat is of a lower weighting than the second. As well as the two written papers, pupils also complete a practical skills assessment component which assesses their acquisition of key scientific skills at this level in their science education.
On the 8th and 9th July Year 7 and 8 pupils enjoyed an array of different activities in science. They were introduced to the various procedures that are carried out by scene of crime officers at a ‘crime scene’ such as presumptive blood testing, fingerprinting with carbon, fluorescent and magnetic powder, foot print analysis and skeletal analysis.
In the ‘crime lab’ pupils conducted blood type analysis, chromatography, flame tests to identify an unknown substance and microscope analysis to identify fibres and hair of different types.
In two other labs pupils learned the necessary skills for survival on a desert island. Pupils made rafts, shelters, sundials and soap! As well as this they devised a piece of apparatus to enable then to put their scientific knowledge into action in order to gain drinking water. Pupils also discovered the different remedies for various stings such as a bee sting and jelly fish sting.
In another lab pupils were able to hold and learn all about the chicks that we currently have in school as part of the’ Living Egg’s company project. They learnt about the life cycle of the chicken and how the colour of the chicks is determined by their gender.
May I take this opportunity to express a special thank you to the teaching staff and science technicians for all of their hard-work and dedication in preparing and delivering the sessions. It has been a wonderful two days in science for enrichment this year and I am sure that the pupils have leant a lot as well as enjoying themselves immensely.
Mrs K Marston-Smith – Head of Science