Students learn science through Big Ideas and Mastery Goals to equip them with the understanding and tools needed to succeed at GCSE and beyond.
Forces 1 (Gravity and Speed): In this unit students will learn about forces, how they arise and how they change the way an object moves. Students will learn how to measure and calculate speed and how to tell the story behind a graph.
Matter 1 (The Particle Model and Separating Mixtures): Students will learn why substances have different properties when they are in their solid, liquid and gas states and what happens when a substance changes from one state to another. Students will also learn what a mixture is and how different mixtures can be separated through a variety of practical techniques.
Organisms 1 (Cells and Movement): In this unit students will find out more about the building block of life - cells. Students will then meet some tiny organisms that can only be seen under the microscope. Lastly students will find out why they have a skeleton and how it works together with their muscles to allow them to move.
Electromagnets 1 (Current, Voltage and Resistance): Students will learn about electric charge and how objects can get a static charge - students will use this idea to explain electric shocks and lightning. Students will then learn about what happens in an electric circuit and how it can be modelled. They will learn about what different components do and how they can be represented.
Reactions 1 (Metals and Non-metals, Acids and Alkalis): In this unit, students will learn about acids, alkalis and the pH scale. Students will then go on to learn about the reactions of metals and how we can use patterns in properties to make predictions.
Ecosystems 1 (Interdependence and Plant Reproduction): Students will learn about how organisms interact with each other within an ecosystem. They will learn about feeding relationships and competition between species. Students will also learn about how plants reproduce and look at the differences between wind-pollinated and insect-pollinated flowers.
Energy 1 (Energy Transfers and Energy costs): Energy is a very abstract concept which we use to explain how things work. In this unit students will learn how scientists model how energy is transferred between different stores and how we can use energy calculations to work out how much energy is present in a store and work out how much electricity will cost us.
Earth 1 (Earth’s Structure and The Universe): In this unit, students will learn about what the Earth is made from and its structure. They will learn how materials are naturally recycled in the rock cycle. Students will then look beyond the Earth and learn about the size and scale of the Solar System and why we have night and day, different phases of the moon and seasons.
Genes 1 (Variation and Human Reproduction): Students will look at why every human in the world is different and what causes these differences. They will think about how variation can help organisms survive in hostile environments. Students will also learn about how humans reproduce, how babies are born and the changes that happen to the human body during adolescence.
Forces 2 (Contact forces and Pressure): Following on from students’ learning about forces from Year 7, students will learn about friction and drag, squashing and stretching, and pressure. They will develop their maths skills by plotting graphs from the results of their experiments and explaining the patterns they see in their results.
Matter 2 (Periodic Table and Elements): Students will use their knowledge of the particle model and metals and non-metals from Year 7 to learn about the different elements that make up everything around us and how they are organised in The Periodic Table. Students will learn about chemical formulae, compounds and different types of materials.
Organisms 2 (Breathing and Digestion): Building on their knowledge of organ systems from Year 7, students will explore the respiratory and digestive systems in humans. They will learn about gas exchange and the importance of a balanced diet as well as the impact drugs and alcohol can have on the human body.
Electromagnets 2 (Magnetism and Electromagnets): Combining their learning about non-contact forces and electrical circuits from Year 7, students will learn about magnetic fields and how a compass works. They will also create an electromagnet and investigate the factors that affect the strength of an electromagnet.
Reactions 2 (Types of Reaction and Chemical Energy): Students will develop their knowledge of chemical reactions from Year 7 through learning about the law of conservation of mass, combustion, thermal decomposition, and how energy is released or taken in during a chemical reaction.
Ecosystems 2 (Respiration and Photosynthesis): Knowing that all organisms need energy in order to survive, students will find out more about how that energy is released through respiration. Students will also learn how humans use the respiration in organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, to make things like yoghurt and bread. Students will also learn how plants harness the sun’s energy to make their own food source through photosynthesis as well as learning what else plants need in order to be healthy.
Energy 1 (Work and Heating and Cooling): Through using their ideas on energy stores and transfers from Year 7, students will learn how simple machines help when doing work. Students will also learn how heat energy is transferred from one area to another through conduction, convection or radiation.
Earth 2 (Climate and Earth’s Resources): Tying in knowledge from Geography, students will learn more about the carbon cycle and the science of global warming including the evidence scientists have gathered over the past 150 years. They will also learn about the Earth’s natural resources, how we extract metals from their ores and the advantages and disadvantages of recycling.
Genes 2 (Evolution and Inheritance): From learning in Year 7 that different plants and animals are adapted to suit their environments in different ways, students learn that adaptation may lead to evolution. They will learn about natural selection, the work of Charles Darwin and why some animals have become extinct. Students will also learn about inheritance and DNA, genetics and genetic modification.
How will they be assessed?
As well as assessments at the end of each topic, students will be given ongoing formative assessment on their work through the school’s Feedforward strategies: a range of self-assessment, exemplar peer-assessment, personalised and whole class verbal feedback, and written feedback to support their progress over the two years and beyond. They will be expected to respond to all of this feedback thoughtfully to make the most of every learning opportunity. Knowledge organisers, glossaries of key terms and checklists can be provided for each unit before the assessment to help students achieve their best.
How can parents/carers support their child?
The Science department encourages parents/carers to involve themselves in their child’s learning by:
Talking to your child about what they are learning and how they can explain what is happening in the world around them.
Engaging with the educational resources available through Kerboodle.
Watching interesting documentaries on science and nature as well as the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.
Encouraging them to read fun science books such as the Horrible Science book series.
Carrying out their own safe science investigations at home and reporting their findings (there are some very good Kitchen Chemistry books available)
Checking the quality of your child’s home learning. Have they used their allocated time effectively?
Where possible, involve your child in cultural experiences such as visits to museums, observatories and national wildlife trust parks. (A list of possible visits can be found here)
Encouraging them to play science based online games such as Atomic Labs and Wired so they can learn in a fun and engaging way outside the classroom.