Overview of KS3 Science
KS3 Science tries to encourage pupils to look at the world around them, and begin to find answers to questions. Through practical enquiry and class work, we look to provide all pupils with a solid understanding of basic scientific principles which will enthuse them to want to study science further.
We cover all 3 aspects of Science; Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
In Y7, pupils are introduced to the microscopic world of cells. This helps them understand the building blocks of life on earth and how organisms reproduce and grow to their adult size. This marries well with the Classification topic, where we learn how to categorise organisms and begin to develop an understanding of evolution. Chemistry is introduced with topics about Particles, Acids and Alkalis and eventually find out what is happening when we react chemical together. Understanding Energy and Forces allows students to begin to see how objects interact with each other and this is the key to the Physics content in Y7.
Y8 pupils further develop their understanding of the world by looking at how our bodies stay healthy. From digestion and breathing to defending ourselves against deadly pathogens, we learn how the Adaptations of organisms help them survive from day to day. Chemistry skills are broadened by looking in more detail at chemical reactions and the chemistry of metals. Light, sound and heat make up the final Physics modules.
Overview of KS4 Science
Key Stage 4 Science has undergone much change with the introduction of the new GCSE specifications. There is a much greater emphasis on practical skills, with all pupils completing a large number of practical activities selected to engage pupils and deepen their understanding of the basic principles studied in Science. All Y9 pupils complete our Fundamentals of Science course, which has been tailor-made to meet the needs of pupils and bridge the gap between KS3 and GCSEs. They will then move on to either complete their GCSE in Combined Science in Y10, from which they will gain 2 GCSEs. Our most able pupils work slightly differently and go on to complete the Triple Science qualification, for which they will gain 3 GCSEs.
Fundamentals of Science
This course is designed to bridge the gap between KS3 and KS4. Pupils study Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and we aim to develop their understanding of the key principles studied for GCSE. As well as this, we look to develop the skills needed, such as interpreting and analysing data, evaluating different viewpoints, and beginning to learn how to apply the knowledge we have to new situations. The key areas of the biology aspect include how our body responds to exercise, how we keep free from disease and how the animals around us today have evolved. In Chemistry, we find out about the atoms that our world is made of, and the reactions that take place between these elements. Finally, in Physics pupils begin to understand speed and motion and find out how energy moves around our environment.
This new GCSE will be assessed from 2018, where pupils will take a total of 6 external exams. The course is equally divided between Biology, Chemistry and Physics, with pupils being taught by specialist teachers in each discipline. In Biology, pupils will learn about the control mechanisms within the body and how nerves and hormones work together with our circulatory system and digestive system to keep us alive. They also look at animals and their adaptations, and how this helps animals survive in the habitats they live in. Chemistry develops pupils understanding of materials, looking at atoms and their structure, and how this relates to reactions between materials and the properties materials have. In Physics pupils gain a deep understanding of how forces act on objects and bring about movement. They also look at energy and energy production and look at how energy is used in our world.
Pupils following this route will complete all of the activities found within Combined Science but will be challenged further with some in-depth topics which will stretch their abilities and deepen their understanding of the Sciences. This route is especially suited to any pupils who wish to go on to study Science at a higher level.
SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, and Cultural)
This curriculum addresses many aspects of SMSC and links closely to our Social Studies (PSHE) provision. In Key Stage 3 students learn about puberty and physical development which addresses many of the student’s questions about reproduction and compliments the work covered in Social Studies in which the values and attitudes of students are developed.
Students also learn about controversial scientific developments such as Genetic Modification and cloning. Students are encouraged to consider the moral arguments associated with this, as well as environmental debates surrounding renewable energy, pollution and climate change.
Students also learn about the effects of drugs and alcohol, and how addictions develop, as well as the wider social and moral implications. Students learn about the importance and value of a healthy lifestyle, and how this might contribute towards positive body image.
Homework in Science is designed to enthuse students and to broaden their understanding. Learning at home complements what is being done within the classroom, and this helps pupils gain an edge in their studies. In KS3, homework is planned in order to engage pupils and is varied; making model cells to develop ideas about the microscopic world, designing imaginary animals to live in a habitat to understand how we are adapted to our environment, or using objects found in your fridge to test if chemicals are acids or alkalis. Flipped learning aims getting students to research topics prior to lessons, so they can then question the topics they are studying and drive their own learning. In KS4 we continue to give engaging homework.
This would also be complemented with revision activities, conducting independent research and exam practice. All activities are tailored to pupils’ needs and are pitched to provide an opportunity for pupils to stretch and challenge themselves.