Science

Intent Statement

Throughout life students will encounter a variety of practical problems that they need to solve using the Scientific Method, supported by detailed substantive knowledge. Be it a washing machine not working, hair bleaching going wrong or tomatoes not growing in the garden, Science has the answer to all these problems, changing one variable at a time. The Science curriculum trains students in the disciplinary knowledge of the Scientific Method and gives them a range of substantive knowledge helping to generate better hypotheses to test.

As students progress in Science, they become more confident in making selections of independent/dependent variables as they learn more possible variables to any problem that needs to be solved. As a result, progress enables students to make stronger and more valid predictions as they understand the Science behind the experiments. Further mastery of the curriculum can be demonstrated by then applying content in new and original contexts, for example, investigating electromagnetism, equipping students at the end of Key Stage 3 with a good body of knowledge which is the foundation of a spiral curriculum of lifelong scientific study.

The Scientific method is common to Physics, Chemistry and Biology – Physics being the study of physical world phenomena, Chemistry the study of chemical reactions and Biology the study of living organisms. Subject matter for the three are taught separately but areas of overlap emphasised to develop the idea of Science as a whole entity.

A good understanding of the Scientific method coupled with a good body of knowledge that allows for hypotheses to be constructed and providing spiral curriculum foundations for future scientific study.

The core fundamentals of the Science curriculum are linked to variables. What are they? How many should be changed? How should results be presented and how to draw conclusions from these. In addition, students are trained in the use of key equipment such as Bunsen burners and measuring cylinders and methods combining the use of a variety of equipment, including filtration and crystallisation, to ensure that they have the core knowledge to carry out and understand experiments throughout the curriculum. Before students start their subject-specific study of Physics, Chemistry and Biology they complete this part of the curriculum as it is the foundation for the application of the Scientific Method to solve a variety of problems.

Topics for Physics, Chemistry and Biology should be taught in the chronological order indicated below for Year 7 and Year 8, so key concepts of the curriculum spiral. However, topics across Physics, Chemistry and Biology may be taught concurrently.

Physics

In Year 7 Physics, students begin by studying forces as it is a straightforward yet essential topic with plenty of application to both day to day life and prior knowledge from KS2, as well as interesting practical work and opportunities to work scientifically. The study of forces as it helps us to understand the world around us and why things move in the way they do. Forces comes before electromagnets as the learning of non-contact forces and gravitational fields in the forces unit helps students understand of electrical fields. In electromagnets, students learn about electricity and how circuits work. This has many interesting everyday applications and plenty of opportunities for practical work. It is important to understand the work on electricity and magnetism before moving on to the energy unit as in this unit students learn about how electricity is generated and how an electric current transfers energy. The study of energy is important as the knowledge of energy stores and resources and how energy is transferred have many everyday applications including the need to make appliances as energy efficient as possible. We study energy before moving on to waves as it is useful to understand sound and light as forms of energy before moving on to the study of light and sound waves in more detail. We study light and sound waves as it helps to explain why we see and hear things in a certain way.

In Year 8 Physics, we build on the key concepts studied in year 7 in a spiral curriculum. In Forces students learn about Friction and Drag and how things slow down, and pressure which is the force over a certain area.  In electromagnets, students build on their year 7 knowledge to understand magnets and magnetic field and combine this with their prior knowledge of electricity to understand how electromagnets are made and their everyday uses. In energy, students learn about work done and machines and study in detail the 3 modes of energy transfer: conduction, convection and radiation. They learn to explain the key concepts using the particle model that they studied in Year 7. In waves, students learn about sound waves and how sound energy is transferred, radiation and energy, and modelling waves in detail. Throughout the course, the scientific process is taught, with many opportunities to plan, investigate, record, conclude and evaluate practical investigations, together with the relevant maths skills, and key subject-specific vocabulary that will enable students to be scientifically literate.

In Year 9 Physics, students start by studying a transition unit to help them prepare for the more in-depth study in ks4. Students study principles form Physics that they have already been introduced to at ks3 but in the greater depth required for ks4. The transition unit has a central theme of energy because a good understanding of this concept is essential at ks4 so we focus on it in the transition unit as part of the spiral curriculum which is built upon in ks4. In Physics transition unit, students start by consolidating their study of energy from years 7 and 8 and practise categorising different forms of energy. Students then consider transfers of energy and how different objects can transfer one type of energy into another. Students then look at energy efficiency of different appliances and extend their knowledge by learning how to calculate energy efficiency and draw and interpret Sankey diagrams. The transition unit bridges the gap between ks3 and the first physics unit on energy.

In the Energy unit, students learn in more detail about the different types of energy that they encountered in the transition unit. They learn equations to be able to calculate how much energy an object has at a given moment. The background learning on energy transfers from the transition unit is especially important in this unit as being able to calculate gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy is easier to understand with a good background understanding of the different forms of energy. The unit spirals from previous learning in ks3 from the forces unit when learning about work done and electricity where students learn about power. Students also extend their knowledge from the transition unit on energy efficiency by considering ways to make appliances more energy efficient.

The next unit studied is electricity. It is important that the energy unit is studied before the electricity unit as students have the background knowledge to enable them to understand the definition of power. As part of the spiral curriculum students revisit in more detail topics that they studied in Year 7 electricity : static electricity, series and parallel circuits, understanding current, voltage and resistance and being able to draw and label circuits. Their existing knowledge is further extended by studying electric fields, control circuits and thermistors and understanding electricity in the home which is very useful for everyday life.

Throughout the course, students undertake a wide range of practical work where they have the opportunity to develop their practical skills, practise conducting scientific investigations and data analysis, and gain knowledge that they will practise applying to a range of different scenarios.

Chemistry

In Year 7, our aim is to build on the knowledge and understanding of chemistry gained during Key Stage 2 and provide a firm foundation for further study at GCSE. In Matter, students begin by studying the particle theory of matter, and how particle arrangement can explain the properties of materials. It is essential to understand matter before reactions as reactions are the rearranging of matter to form new substances. In Reactions, students continue to cover fundamental aspects of chemistry by looking at elements, compounds and mixtures, chemical reactions and acids & alkalis. In earth, students learn about rocks, the rock cycle and space. Before studying this unit, it is useful to have some prior knowledge of matter and properties of materials when studying the different types of rocks.

In Year 8 Chemistry, we build on the key concepts studied in year 7 in a spiral curriculum. In matter, students build upon the understanding of matter as particles and learn in detail about atoms, elements, molecules and compounds. Students also learn about how the Periodic Table structure and how elements are classified into metals and non-metals. In Reactions, students build upon the idea of atoms and molecules, to learn about how atoms are rearranged to form new products. Students study key concepts of reactions such as conservation of mass and energy changes and look at some reactions in detail such as combustion and thermal decomposition. In earth, students learn about global warming, climate change and recycling and extraction of metals. It is useful to understand chemical reactions before studying metal extraction so the concept of displacement reactions will be fully understood.  Throughout the course, the scientific process is taught, with many opportunities to plan, investigate, record, conclude and evaluate practical investigations, together with the relevant maths skills, and key subject-specific vocabulary that will enable students to be scientifically literate.

In Year 9 Chemistry, students start by studying a transition unit to help them prepare for the more in-depth study in ks4. Students study principles form Chemistry that they have already been introduced to at ks3 but in the greater depth required for ks4. The transition unit has a central theme of energy because a good understanding of this concept is essential at ks4 so we focus on it in the transition unit as part of the spiral curriculum which is built upon in ks4. In Chemistry Transition unit, we start by revisiting the concept of chemical reactions from ks3 and consider how some reactions require an input of energy to start them and some reactions release energy. Students then learn to classify the reactions as endothermic and exothermic and extend their knowledge to understand that bond breaking is endothermic and bond making is exothermic. They learn about the concept of activation energy which is the energy needed for a chemical reaction to start. Students also learn about catalysts which lower the activation energy needed to start a chemical reaction.

After the transition unit, students study Chemistry of The Atmosphere. This unit involves learning about the composition of earth’s early atmosphere and how the early atmosphere changed over time. This builds upon students’ prior knowledge of the atmosphere studied in year 8 earth where students learnt about global warming and climate change and how human activity has affected the atmosphere. The concepts from this unit are studied in greater depth.

The next unit is Sustainable development. It is important to study the Chemistry of the Atmosphere before this unit so that students are able to evaluate the effect of different processes on our atmosphere. Students learn about water purification which builds upon their ks3 learning on the water cycle and changes of state. Students revisit metal extraction which was introduced in year 8 and discover alternative methods of metal extraction. Students build upon their year 8 learning on recycling and extend their knowledge to understand life cycle assessments. Students study prevention of corrosion, ceramics and composites which builds upon their year 7 study of materials.

Throughout the course, students undertake a wide range of practical work where they have the opportunity to develop their practical skills, practise conducting scientific investigations and data analysis, and gain knowledge that they will practise applying to a range of different scenarios.

Biology

In Year 7, our aim is to build upon the knowledge and understanding of biology gained during Key Stage 2 and provide a firm foundation for further study at GCSE. In Organisms, students begin by studying plants and animals at a cellular level, and then learn how the cells work together to make tissues, organs and organ systems. They learn about the muscular skeletal system in detail and the reproductive systems in plants. In ecosystems, students learn about how different organisms within an ecosystem interact and what happens to organisms if ecosystems change. It is useful to have the prior knowledge of what an organism is so that this can be understood in detail. In Genes, students learn about how and why organisms vary and a key part of this is variation due to environmental factors which links with prior learning on habitats and competition in ecosystems. Students also learn about the human reproductive system, pregnancy and birth. It is important to have the prior knowledge of organisms before this is studied.

In Year 8 Biology, we build on the key concepts studied in year 7 in a spiral curriculum. In organisms, several organ systems are studied in more detail, such as the respiratory and digestive systems. Students also learn about staying healthy and how lifestyle choices affect our health. In Ecosystems, students study respiration, photosynthesis and plants. The prior knowledge learnt on cells and breathing is important to understand before this unit. In Genes, students build on the knowledge of variation learnt in year 7 and learn the theory of evolution and survival of the fittest. Students also learn on a cellular level how characteristics are inherited through the chromosomes which builds on the knowledge of reproduction learnt in year 7. Throughout the course, the scientific process is taught, with many opportunities to plan, investigate, record, conclude and evaluate practical investigations, together with the relevant maths skills, and key subject specific vocabulary that will enable students to be scientifically literate.

In Year 9 Biology, students start by studying a transition unit to help them prepare for the more in-depth study in ks4. Students study principles form Biology that they have already been introduced to at ks3 but in the greater depth required for ks4. The transition unit has a central theme of energy because a good understanding of this concept is essential at ks4 so we focus on it in the transition unit as part of the spiral curriculum which is built upon in ks4. In Biology transition unit, students build upon their knowledge from the Ecosystems unit in Year 7 where they learnt about food chains and food webs. In Year 9, they extend this knowledge by considering how energy is transferred in a food chain with some energy being transferred to the environment at each trophic level. They also learn about the definition of biomass and consider the difference between pyramids of number and biomass. The students are further challenged by learning how to construct a pyramid of biomass. Students also deepen their ks3 knowledge of respiration and photosynthesis and consider how the processes release energy and use energy. Students then consider in detail the different factors that affect the rate of photosynthesis.

After the transition unit, students study Cell Biology. The background knowledge from the transition unit on photosynthesis and respiration links well with this unit as the processes happen in cells. Students build upon their knowledge studied in year 8 organisms where they learnt about the different types of cell and learn how to make calculations from cell images from microscopes. They then go on to study specialised cells in more detail, building upon the background knowledge from year 8. Students then go on to discover how cells divide and differentiate and study stem cells which has interesting links to medical applications and therapeutic cloning. The background knowledge from Year 8 genes on chromosomes gives students a strong foundation for their understanding of the new topics.

Students then move on to study the Organisation Unit. This builds directly upon the students’ knowledge of cells where they learn how groups of the same cells make up tissues, groups of tissues work together to make organs and groups of organs function together as organ systems. Students then go on to learn about the digestive system and the circulatory systems in more detail and the knowledge of cells helps students to understand how the systems function. Students then go on to consider the effects of different lifestyle factors on our health and practise interpreting data. The learning builds upon previous knowledge from the Organisation units of ks3. Students then go on to study how plant tissues are organised to perform different functions and look in detail at the leaf, and how water and food are transported around the plant.

Throughout the course, students undertake a wide range of practical work where they have the opportunity to develop their practical skills, practise conducting scientific investigations and data analysis, and gain knowledge that they will practise applying to a range of different scenarios.

 

High-Level Plan

TermY7Y8Y9
1/2FORCES 1

MATTER 1

ORGANISMS 1
WAVES 1

MATTER 2

ORGANISMS 2
ENERGY 2

WAVES 2
3/4ELECTROMAGNETS 1

REACTIONS 1

ECOSYSTEMS 1
FORCES 2

REACTIONS 2

ECOSYSTEMS 2
ENERGY 3

CHEMISTRY OF THE ATMOSPHERE

CELL BIOLOGY
5/6ENERGY 1

EARTH 1

GENES 1
ELECTROMAGNETS 2

EARTH 2

GENES 2
ELECTRICITY

USING RESOURCES

ORGANISATION

 

Medium-Term Plans

Year 7

Forces 1

Matter 1

Matter 2

Organisms

Year 8

The solar system

Ecosystems

Energy 1

Forces 2

Matter 1

Matter 2

Reactions 1

Year 9

Earth

Energy 2

Reactions 2

Waves

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