Science

At St Aidan’s we believe that Science has something to offer every student and suits students of all abilities and aspirations. Our ambition is to develop students’ experience and knowledge of Science from Primary school and to equip them with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future. Children are naturally curious and we encourage this inquisitive nature throughout their time with us and beyond. In order to achieve this, the curriculum is broad and balanced and Science is contextualised. We understand that it is important for lessons to have a skills-based focus, and that the knowledge can be taught through this. Science is a set of ideas about the material world and we encourage the development of knowledge and understanding in science through opportunities for working scientifically that engage and enthuse students. Students engage in a wide variety of practical experiences both in the laboratory and outside in the environment. This ranges from practicing simple practical procedures to carrying out their own investigation work. In engaging in these activities all students are encouraged to develop their imagination and understanding by applying scientific understanding to observed phenomena. The entire Science curriculum fully equips students with the skills necessary to specialize at Sixth Form, and to pursue Science at University, or as part of a high quality career.

Curriculum Intention:

  • Understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
  • Develop and embed knowledge that can be built upon through skills based opportunities.
  • Understanding the importance of STEM and STEM careers so students can make informed decisions and gain access to the next stage of work life after education.
  • Developing investigation skills so students can confidently demonstrate a sound knowledge and understanding of designing, carrying out and evaluating scientific investigations.
  • Understanding science in context to the wider world and provide opportunities for students to explore science outside of the day to day teaching.

Curriculum Implementation:

There are 10 overarching themes (Key Ideas) across the Science curriculum which are taught over time sequentially to develop scientific knowledge and skills from Year 6 to A-level and beyond.  The curriculum is further built around a process of interweaving topics and self-testing and re-testing to aid the development of long term memory and mastery of both the skills and the knowledge required. We ensure we consistently follow our ARR handbook by testing through two frequent processes: formative and summative. Students’ complete low stake and high stake tests to ensure knowledge of key concepts are being embedded and fully understood. DIRT time will be allocated to allow students to be able to reflect on PEN comments and work on their areas of weakness. The curriculum is structured to allow students to see, understand, revisit and explore the underpinning ideas from the subject. The curriculum is ambitious for all students and everyone can achieve, whether DA, SEND or EAL. Each of the Science disciplines are enriched with practical work to support investigative skills throughout the 7 years.

In Biology the 3 main areas cover:

Cells & Systems– This is based on the key concept that organisms are organised on a cellular basis and have a finite life span. This builds on the work done in primary school where students learn about living and non-living things. In Year 7 students experience a series of lessons on cells, microscopy & systems and microbiology. This is then re-visited in Year 9 where students further explore the world of eukaryotes and prokaryotes, cell cycle and division, STEM cells, cloning and body systems. The understanding of cells and systems is essential so students can then move onto looking at microbes and disease later on in the curriculum. The second idea is that organisms require a supply of energy and materials for which they depend on, or compete with, other organisms; this is explored looking at plants and photosynthesis in Year 8 communities and sustainability in Year 9 which leads onto the teaching of transport and exchange.

Variation & biodiversity– This deepens the knowledge from primary school whereby students explore habitats, food chains, environmental change, reproduction in some plants and animals and a basic understanding of evolution of inheritance. The concept is linked to the idea that genetic information is passed down from one generation of organisms to another and that the diversity of organisms is the result of evolution is explored later on in the curriculum (Year 10 and 11) when students have already been taught and have an understanding of cells, cell cycle, cell division, STEM cells; this is then explored further looking into Reproduction, variation & inheritance including DNA and genetic engineering. In primary school students can classify organisms which leads to deepening that knowledge- looking at the importance of classification in allowing scientists to identify, group, and properly name organisms via a standardized system Evolution helps us understand the purpose and reasons for our physiology and anatomy.

Microbes & disease– Students build upon healthy diets and exercise taught in primary school. This concept builds on the idea that all living organisms are made from cells and the idea that disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of part or all of an organism. Students in Year 7 study cells before embarking on the discovery of microbes, vaccination and antibiotics. This is further strengthened in Year 8 when communicable disease is explored and culturing micro-organisms Year 9 and 10 explore non communicable disease, risk factors and health. This interlinks with organ systems and organisation.

In Chemistry the 4 main areas cover:

Particles and Bonding-

Covers the idea that all matter in the Universe is made of very small particles. This involves studying the Periodic table in detail and the history of the atom. Students are introduced to atoms in Year 8 and build on the idea that elements contain atoms and the model of the atom has changed over time This key concept also includes the idea that chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the arrangement of atoms, ions or molecules and the forces between them which is studied in Year 10; after students have grasped an understanding of the Periodic table, atoms, elements and compounds.

Chemical reactions

This key concept stems from the idea that reactions involve the rearrangement and/or re-organisation of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons. This idea in built-on during the whole curriculum as there are many different chemical reaction. In primary school students explore reversible and irreversible changes and some chemical reactions along with properties of materials. Acids and alkalis are explored in Year 7 and in Year 8 students learn about chemical testing; identifying substances by carrying out a series of chemical tests and factors that affect the rate of a reaction. This idea is then embedded in Year 9 when students deepen their knowledge of chemical reactions and explore the energy involved in chemical reactions, Year 10 exploring different chemical reactions and their uses and Year 11 looking at useful reactions involving acids and alkalis and identifying substances.

Systems

The concept is that Earth is a complex and interacting rock, water, air and life. From primary school, students gain knowledge of the rock cycle, water cycle, atmospheric gases and pollutants linked to climate change. The atmosphere and pollutants is studying in greater depth during Year 7 and embedded in Year 10 where students look at sustainability and resources and potable water. This also links with the Biology curriculum when students look at ecosystems and biodiversity

Calculations

This comes from the concept that matter can be quantified. This is taught throughout the curriculum linked to the relevant topics to ensure students are provided with the context they need to be able to confidently carry out the necessary calculations in Chemistry. Students develop investigative skills in science in primary school which is a good basis to build on this concept throughout their time in secondary school.

In Physics the 3 main areas cover:

Forces

This key concept stems from the ideas that objects can affect other objects at a distance and changing the movement of an object requires a net force to be acting on it. Students in primary school explore the contact and non-contact forces and how mechanisms allow forces to have a greater effect. In Year 7 this idea is explored further; exploring resultant forces and the solar system. Electricity, Space, vectors, pressure and magnetism are explored in depth during times in Year 9-11.

Energy

Is based on the idea that the total amount of energy in the Universe is always the same but can be transferred from one energy store to another during an event. In primary school students explore heating and cooling, light and electricity which is built upon in Year 8 and 9. In Year 9 students explore energy and their stores in depth which links to the topics in Year 11 where students explore waves in greater depth; linked to light, sound and seismic waves and black-body radiation.

Matter

The idea that the collective, structural arrangement and behaviour of the atoms explain the properties of different substances. In primary school students experience lots of practical work on solids, liquids and gases linked with the water cycle. Students spend time in Year 8 looking at density and changes of state, in Year 9 the structure and development of the atom is studied and linked with Chemistry, Year 10 Internal energy and particle motion of gases are studied in greater depth which link to work studied at Year 9 on Energy stores and transfers.

These areas will be assessed through the following Assessment Objectives:

AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: scientific ideas; scientific techniques and procedures

AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of: scientific ideas; scientific enquiry, techniques and procedures

AO3: Analyse information and ideas to: interpret and evaluate; make judgements and draw conclusions; develop and improve experimental procedures.

Curriculum Impact:

St Aidan’s Catholic Academy considers the greatest impact of the curriculum to be high rates of student progress. 

Progress in:

  1. Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics;
  2. Understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, through different types of scientific enquiry that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  3. Applying observational, practical, modelling, enquiry, problem-solving skills and mathematical skills, both in the laboratory, in the field and in other environments;
  4. The ability to evaluate claims based on science through critical analysis of the methodology, evidence and conclusions, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
  5. The use of scientific vocabulary, units, symbols and nomenclature
  6. Development of socio-scientific discussions
  7. Understand how to access the appropriate next stages in education, training or work life.

Curriculum Map

Course information

GCSE Course Information Science

 

 

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