Science

Year 9 Science (Specialism Year) Excitement

In Year 9, students are able to specialise by choosing a combined science route or separate science route. Those who specialise into separate sciences will cover the same knowledge and skills of the combined scientists but will have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge across the three disciplines; specialisation is not an ability based choice but that of enthusiasm and interest in the sciences so that no child is knowledge limited by their attainment. During Year 9, students are encouraged to investigate scientific principles and come to their own conclusions. They will revisit but extend key fundamentals and apply this to new knowledge they will gain. Students will actively use the world around them to gain science capital as they develop further into their role as well rounded scientists.

Biology – Discovering the Human Body

Students will recap their knowledge of the human body regarding how different organ systems work together and the action of muscles and bones to provide movement

Students will explore more about cells and how they replicate, they then look at the medical possibilities of stem cells

Students learn about breathing and the digestive system, how food is converted into nutrients for our body to use, the roles of enzymes and the ways the body make this process efficient

Students explore how nutrients and gases are moved around the body culminating in the use of these to provide cells with the energy that powers metabolic processes

Students end the year by discovering how metabolic processes are kept in balance and the organs in the nervous system that lead to our natural responses

Chemistry – Earth and Atoms

Students begin Year 9 by thinking about the chemistry of Earth, what the structure of the Earth is and how this leads into the development of rock types and geographical features

Students are now ready to revisit the atomic model and add in an understanding of sub-atomic particles

Armed with this knowledge, they are able to revisit periodic trends, and explain them in detail using the sub-atomic model

Students are also better able to explain their observations in the real world. Using a thorough understanding of how atoms and elements bond in different ways, they will answer questions such as ‘why do metals conduct?’ and ‘why is diamond harder than graphite?

Students are also able to use their understanding of the sub-atomic model to explain chemical reactions in more detail, model them mathematically, and use chemical reactions to create new, useful substances.

Physics – Working Scientifically and the Atomic Model

An introductory module on working scientifically allows students to explore a range of topics through a series of investigations. This will allow them to become familiar with the language of science and how to communicate findings of experiments and, even more importantly, be able to evaluate the limits of their experiments and therefore their conclusions.

Particle models allow explanations to be explored to recognisable phenomena such as melting, conduction, convection, evaporation and more exotic nuclear processes.

An exploration into radioactivity allows students to consider the structure of atoms themselves and how this idea has changed over time. The character of different ionising radiations and the risks and benefits of each is considered. Representing radioactive decay as nuclear equations and the practical consequences of half-life in medical diagnosis and treatment. Splitting the atom conceptually and practically is explored through the processes of Fission and Fusion.

A clear understanding of the states of matter, development of the concept of internal energy and, through the kinetic theory, how behaviour of matter can be explained using explanations on the atomic/molecular scale. Algebraic skills are developed in calculations of properties such as density, thermal conductivity and specific and latent heats. How these quantities characterise materials and the real-life consequences of them are explored.

Energy resources are explored in the context of unsustainable bad habits and the need to revolutionise our provision for energy globally and also take action as individuals.

Year 10 Science (GCSE) Expertise

Students embark fully on their Key Stage 4 journey covering more content and developing skills through required practicals. Students will experience a fluid movement from their Year 9 into Year 10 study but will begin to become more conscious and capable of applying knowledge and skills to questions and novel situations.

Biology –

How are living things affected by disease/ Plant Biology

We begin by looking at what happens to the human body when organs fail due to the effect of non-communicable disease; this interleaves the functions of the heart, lungs and other key organs while introducing the effects the choices we make have on them.

Students move onto communicable disease and the sources of these illnesses. Bacteria and viruses are looked at in detail and methods to prevent their spread. We end by comparing diseases caused by fungi and protists to those of bacteria and viruses.

We then move onto prevention and cure through drug development and testing and how we have got to where we are today through the history of the fight against disease.

In the final topic we introduce plants, work our way through plant cells, tissues and organs discussing how key nutrients are transported around the plants. We build in the process of photosynthesis and how plants generate their own food source. Students finish with how diseases can disrupt these processes and fight back.

Chemistry – Reactions

We begin by investigating reactions, how acids react with bases and the different products that formed from different types of acid base reactions.

Once students understand how different solutions can contain different charges, they investigate how a solution can be separated using electrical current.

Real life applications of this are discussed and the importance of this to industry. Production of chemical products is vital for us to sustain modern living therefore students then investigate how the rates of reaction can be affected by various different factors leading to further practical analysis.

Physics

Electricity, Motion and Waves

Fundamental ideas in electricity are explored. That is charge, potential difference, current and energy and how these are linked. Conservation of charge and energy in series and parallel circuits is explored. Mains electricity is studied and students will be expected to understand how this is designed to keep people safe. Problem solving using the electrical formulae gives an insight into energy use, cost and energy efficiency in a domestic setting.

Quantifying motion and telling stories through graphical means are studied. Vector quantities are introduced as a new class of physical quantity. A study of Newton’s laws allows a link between forces and motion to be established and applied to understand road safety measures and motion under gravity. Momentum conservation is applied to collisions and explosions.

The properties that define waves are studied. Differences and similarities between types of waves are highlighted. Whether they are mechanical longitudinal vibrations such as sound or transverse electromagnetic disturbances such as light. Uses of ultrasound and seismic waves to explore invisible internal structures are studied.

Year 11 (GCSE) Science – Expertise

Year 11 will enable students to apply their knowledge and skills to complex scientific understanding and models. Students will further practice their scientific literacy and ability to be able to communicate their scientific ideas verbally and on paper. Students will continue to learn new knowledge that builds upon the previous four years and recall previous knowledge throughout.

Biology – Physiology, Genetics and the Environment

In Year 11 we go back to the human body looking at how the body regulates its internal environment so that it can function at an optimum level using hormones and linking back to the nervous system as a comparison.

We then look at hormonal control of reproduction within the menstrual cycle and also how we can exploit the use of hormones to control fertility. For separate scientists, we look at the hormonal responses in plants.

Students will begin to recall and think further about how DNA is preserved and passed on through cell division which will lead into genetics and inheritance in action e.g. the inheritance of genetic disease. The understanding of inheritance leads us to evolution through discovering Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the impact of human selection through selective breeding and genetic modification. Then, ultimately, why organisms become extinct and what links the environment has to this.

Students complete the course by learning how biology influences the environment around us and how interactions between living organisms through food chains and symbiotic relationships are crucial to survival. Furthermore, how abiotic factors impact living organisms and how modern world problems of pollution, peat and rainforest destruction and climate change impact the biodiversity of earth. 

Chemistry – Practical Explanations of Chemistry

The next step is to turn to the practical explanation of chemistry, learning how chemists can explain the world and, ultimately, change it for the better.  Thus, students learn about various methods of chemical testing such as ion tests, flame tests and chromatography. Students explore organic chemistry, looking at the structure and uses of hydrocarbons. This leads students into an analysis of  their political, economic, social and environmental consequences.

They learn how chemists analyse the Earth’s atmosphere and how it has changed over time; they learn about climate change and other contemporary environmental issues and how these are reported in the issue; finally, they learn how chemists are working to solve these problems for future generations.

Physics – Forces, Electromagnetism and Space

Students are invited to visualise a whole spectrum of invisible radiations passing through the classroom. Namely, the electromagnetic spectrum and the characteristics of each type; the associated risks and uses are explored in detail. These are myriad and range from telecommunication to medical treatment and diagnosis. Time will be spent focussing on light through the study of optics and image formation using convex and concave lenses.

Forces are revisited through the study of statics, that is, the study of equilibria of both forces and moments. This involves combining vectors to find a resultant in 1 or 2D situations, which requires scale vector diagrams to be drawn. Centre of mass and the use of simple machines allow these ideas to be applied.

Electromagnetism is a study of the link between electricity and magnetism. Permanent and electromagnets are compared and uses for these explored. A study of transformers neatly allows the link between electricity and magnetism to be summarised.

An exploration into the Space topic allows the effect of gravity in forming the solar system and stars to be studied. Furthermore, the effect of gravity in keeping the solar system moving by considering circular motion and orbits. Looking beyond our local neighbourhood at distant galaxies allows the work of Hubble to be studied as part of evidence for the Big Bang theory. By studying the expansion of the universe through the Doppler Effect and considering its contents, we can pose questions about the future and eventual fates of the Universe itself.