– Science at Key Stage 3

The Science Department endeavours to give pupils a firm foundation in fundamental concepts at Key stage 3 so that these can be used to ensure good outcomes at Key Stage 4 as well as developing scientific skills such as:

  • Considering and evaluating evidence,
  • Using abstract ideas,
  • Making and testing predictions.

Our schemes of work have been written specifically to develop the knowledge required for the AQA GCSE courses. Pupils are continuously learning and revisiting key information and learning to apply their knowledge in context.

All pupils are set on ability in science.  In Year 7 we set pupils using Key stage 2 data. From this data each pupil is put into the correct set for his/her ability. We are confident that the setting is accurate, but if, throughout the year, a pupil is flourishing or indeed found to be struggling in their set we will adapt to meet the needs of the pupils. In Years 8 and 9 pupils are set on assessments and progress achieved in the previous year.

Pupils in Year 7 have 4 hours of curriculum time each week; pupils in Years 8 & 9 have 3 hours per week.

Pupils receive regular feedback from teachers and peers, both verbal and written. Pupils are regularly assessed with baseline assessments at the beginning of each topic, a mid-point peer assessed task per topic and end of topic assessments throughout the course. Pupils are encouraged to self-assess and peer assess work during lessons and this is then used to inform future planning.

Wherever possible Key stage 3 pupils have a single science teacher for all topics in science.

Each group has a different sequence of topics to avoid clashes in equipment and ensure that our highly practical approach can be facilitated. All pupils will complete the following topics over the course of the year:

Atoms and Particles

Within this topic pupils discover the composition of a range of materials. They consider the idea of particles, and how properties differ within the different states of matter. Students discover the processes of diffusion, boiling and freezing, in a practical and engaging manner. Students will also be introduced to chemical equations and the terms; compounds, elements and mixtures.

Cells and body systems.

Students are introduced to new pieces of equipment like the microscope for example, and learn how to operate them and interpret their findings. They then foster this understanding by developing their knowledge of plant and animal cells through microscopy. This can then lead pupils to have a deeper understanding of unicellular and multicellular organisms.

Energy

This topic focuses on the different energy types found in Science. This includes finding the energy content of food through calculations, and practical investigations. Developing understanding of heat transfer e.g. convection and conduction and finally exploring heat transfer by radiation.

Forces and Space

Students blast off and look at the forces governing Science; these include friction, gravity and many more. Pupils will then develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of space and the solar system. This topic will culminate in a pupil investigation of the complex theory of Hooke’s Law.

Health and Lifestyle

Students will investigate the key question: What is Health and Fitness? The definition and concepts of health and fitness form the fundamental themes of this topic. Pupils will discover the answer to the fundamental questions of; what makes a healthy diet, why do we need food, what is the importance of the digestive system and enzymes.

Simple Chemical Reactions

Students compare physical and chemical reactions, investigating the difference between them through the completion of practical investigations. Pupils will then analyse and evaluate the importance of fossil fuels and investigating the pH scale.

 

Year 8

Earth Science

What is the Earth made from? Why is the rock cycle important? What are separation techniques? All these questions can be answered after this topic. With practical class work and experiments, students will delve into the Earth structure and study processes such as filtration, distillation and chromatography.

The World around us.

This detailed topic looks at photosynthesis, respiration, food chains and webs. The students will explore the environment around them, and unpick all the processes taking place to keep organisms alive.

Electricity and Magnetism.

This electrifying and attractive topic teaches the pupils all about two key concepts in Physics. They look at voltage, current and static electricity through fun and exciting practical’s; using equipment they may have never seen before. Students will study magnets and electromagnets in the latter part of the topic.

Elemental Chemistry

The students deconstruct the Periodic table looking at the first twenty elements. They then look at trends and properties of groups 1 and 7. They are introduced to the excitement of alkali metals, and their reactions and also consider the process of displacement.

Reproduction and Inheritance

Why do you not look exactly like you parents? What is the sperm and egg? Where does fertilisation occur? These key Biological questions are all answered in this topic. Students investigate Inheritance and key concepts linked to this complex area of Science.

Waves, Light and Sound

This wide-ranging topic covers a lot of theories within Physics, ranging from transverse and longitudinal waves, reflection, refraction and dispersion. This topic will illuminate the pupils understanding of Physics.

 

Year 9

Cells and Genes

Students build on their knowledge from Year 8 and now focus on content that links more closely to GCSE. They look in detail at the structure of DNA and the function of different organelles within a cell. Finally, students develop their understanding of genetics and inheritance.

Forces and Energy

This topic bridges the gap between concepts taught in Year 8 and 7 and builds on principles that are needed for GCSE. Students consider the notions of moments and pressure, concluding with an in-depth mathematical look at speed.

Chemical reactions

Linking complex chemical theories to students prior understating, and building on what they already know so that they can succeed at GCSE is the main aim of this topic. Developing student’s ability to balance equations and have a deeper understanding of what is happening during a chemical reaction; they meet terminology such as Exothermic, Endothermic and look closer at what happens during a chemical reaction especially at an atomic level.