This week at Year8 jr. STEM club it was the exploration of microscopy. Students looked at stomata, salt and copper sulfate crystals. They then investigated the effect of caffeine on the heart rate of Daphnia, a common water flea. ..Read More
The science department is passionate about developing scientific literacy so students understand how science plays an essential role in their everyday lives. Climate change, cancer research, dementia, genetic engineering and space exploration are among some of the most important issues that affect our lives and subsequently feature heavily in current news. Science is no longer a specialist subject, it is a subject that is core to our existence. It is also a subject that carries a great deal of academic value. The courses we offer reflect our drive to give our students an exciting, engaging and diverse science education. We want students to be talking about science in years to come irrespective of their career choice.
Two years ago the science department met to discuss engagement in science lessons. We all agreed that there were some students at the end of year 11 had never seen the significance of science nor had they found the work enjoyable. We decided that if we can give students a fresh experience of science lessons it may put an end to comments such as ‘I’ve never liked science’ or ‘Why do I need science in my life?’ The schemes have been developed with two main objectives: to make science accessible for all and to provide the students with the foundation of knowledge that they can build upon for the challenge of the new GCSE curriculum. Each unit is themed. The theme serves as the context to each lesson but the focus is on traditional scientific context. The Harry Potter theme, for example, has students taking part in lessons such as ‘Potions’ where students learn about physical and chemical reactions. In another topic, ‘The zombie apocalypse’ students have to locate zombies and calculate how long it will take the zombies to get to the survivors, a little different from a ‘normal’ calculating speed lesson. We hope with lessons like these students will walk away feeling challenged and excited for the next lesson.
The units comprise of biology, chemistry and physics disciplines and have in class assessments and the end of each unit. Students will be set according to their progress within the first two units, setting will take place in January after the data has been collated. Lessons involve practical, written and digital work. Homework includes extended writing pieces, online quizzes and mini projects.
In Year 8 Science we start to follow the Kerboodle online textbook. Pupils will study topics that fall into Biology, Chemistry and Physics disciplines with in-class assessments at the end of each chapter. There will also be an end of year assessment in May which will provide the final grade for the year. The lesson content builds upon concepts learnt in Year 7 but looks at them in more detail. Lessons involve a mixture of written work, practicals and other activities using the iPads. Homework is exam style questions based on learning in class.
In Year 9 Science we are also following the Kerboodle online textbook but the Year 9 course has a much greater emphasis on preparing pupils for GCSE. The course is a mixture of consolidating learning from Year 7 and 8 and introducing some topics that they will study in more detail at GCSE. As in Year 8 the topics are divided into Biology, Chemistry and Physics chapters, with in class assessments and a terminal exam at the end of the year which will decide their sets for GCSE. Again the lessons are a mixture of written work, practicals and iPad activities but there is more of a focus on exam technique. Homework is exam style questions based on learning in class.
Year 10 students will be learning the new EDEXCEL GCSE course. The two most significant changes that are associated with this course are:
- No more coursework. Students must now learn practical methods and be able to recall them in exams.
- Increased numeracy. There is a current drive to make science more mathematical. This is definitely reflected by the course material. We recommend that students purchase a scientific calculator
We offer two GCSE pathways in year 10:
- Combined Science 1-9. Students will learn biology, chemistry and physics. At the end of year 11 students will sit six exams, two per scientific discipline. They will earn two GCSEs.
- Triple Science 1-9. Students will earn three GCSEs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). They will also sit six exams like combined science students however each exam will be longer due to additional content.
In year 11 we are offering three EDEXCEL GCSE courses:
- Double science award. This is comprised of two courses: CORE and ADDITIONAL science. Both courses contain a biology, chemistry and physics component. The ADDITIONAL science course builds on the knowledge learnt in CORE science. Students will have to undertake one piece of coursework (controlled assessment) for each course. Coursework accounts for 25% of each GCSE. Students will sit one exam for each scientific discipline per course.
- Yr 10: CORE science: B1 (25 %) | C1 (25 %) | P1 (25 %) | Controlled Assessment 1 (25 %)
- Yr 11: ADDITIONAL science: B2 (25 %) | C2 (25 %) | P2 (25 %) | Controlled Assessment 2 (25 %)
In addition to being assessed on their scientific literacy, students will also need a secure knowledge of practical methods and scientific numeracy.
2. Triple Science Award: This has a similar structure to the double science award but with an added component: FURTHER ADDITIONAL science. This component is designed to challenge and stretch students to help them bridge the gap between GCSE and A-level science. While students will be accepted onto an A-level with a B grade in double science, studying FURTHER ADDITIONAL science makes the transition easier.
The FURTHER ADDITIONAL course is broken down as follows:
- Year 11: FA science: B3 (25 %) | C3 (25 %) | P3 (25 %) | Controlled Assessment 3 (25 %)
Students will achieve three GCSEs: CORE GCSE | ADDITIONAL GCSE | FURTHER ADDITIONAL GCSE
3. Single science. Some students in year 11 will study a single science award: CORE science, earning them one science GCSE. This option exists to give students, who may be overwhelmed by the volume of content in the double award, a significantly better chance in achieving one good GCSE in science. This course is not recommended for students who wish to pursue a career in science.