Section Navigation

Science

Why we teach Science

Science education gives pupils the opportunity to gain a better knowledge of how and why things function. Science can teach children about the world that surrounds them. The information gained from science can be used to grasp new ideas, make educated choices and pursue the pursuit of a new passion.  In school science teaches us how to think analytically, taking information from diverse topics, and learning how to solve problems. Ultimately science can help us to live longer, happier and more productive lives, able to understand current events through a more critical scientific lens.

We believe in the spiral curriculum, continually building on prior knowledge, and extending and challenging ideas.  We use a programme of study that fills 5 years at MVC.  Pupils are encouraged to not only think about the content they are studying in the lessons, but also that science knowledge itself is continually changing, growing and adapting.  Outside the classroom, pupils are encouraged to pursue their own science passions, perhaps in growing plants, thinking about the history of science or even unlocking the mysteries of the universe!  Although pupils are encouraged to find answers, we also explore the ideas of the null hypothesis – sometimes being wrong isn’t wrong!

Over the course of their time at MVC, pupils grow in confidence in science lessons, learning fine motor skills when using equipment, and working effectively with others.  Pupils leave us with a good level of understanding of the world around them and their place in it.

KS3 Science

Overview of content

In KS3 Science teaching is divided into 10 units that introduce a broad range of scientific ideas into discrete and distinct concepts or ‘chunks’ that pupils can easily relate to and to make the learning journey easier to follow with distinct steps. Biology, chemistry and physics are equally represented across the years and the distinction between is made between the disciplines to bridge the transition into GCSE where they will become more pronounced.

Yr 7 Programme of Study

Terms

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

Autumn

Across the autumn term the following units:

Genes – Variation and Human reproduction

Waves – Sound and Light

Reactions – Metals and non-metals and Acids and alkalis

The units will be spread across the term equally and when is dependent upon whether the class is taught by a single teacher or shared between more than one.

Chemistry, physics and biology are always present and taught in each term.

Each unit will have a Check Point Assessment, which will last about 40 minutes.  Pupils are encouraged to act upon both verbal and written feedback following marking of the test.  These tests encourage the pupils to recall and remember key ideas or skills.

Pupils will complete homeworks that aid that recall.

Online access to self-marking testing is carried out periodically through the term.

Spring

The spring term follows the same model the autumn term but has three new units:

Ecosystems – Interdependence and Plant reproduction

Electromagnets – Voltage and resistance and Current

Earth – Earth structure and Universe

The same assessment model is used.

Summer

The summer term follows the same model, however there is now a focus on rounding off and securing knowledge of all units.

Energy – Energy costs and Energy transfer

The same assessment model is used resulting in all pupils exposed to 10 small ‘Check Point’ tests.  Larger end of year7 exams complete a successful year of learning.

Yr 8 Programme of Study

Terms

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

Autumn

Across the autumn term the following units:

Genes – Evolution and Inheritance

Reactions – Chemical energy and Types of reaction

Energy – Work and Heating and cooling

The units will be spread across the term equally and when is dependent upon whether the class is taught by a single teacher or shared between more than one.

Chemistry, physics and biology are always present and taught in each term.

Each unit will have a Check Point Assessment, which will last about 40 minutes.  Pupils are encouraged to act upon both verbal and written feedback following marking of the test.  These tests encourage the pupils to recall and remember key ideas or skills.

Pupils will complete homeworks that aid that recall.

Online access to self-marking testing is carried out periodically through the term.

Spring

The spring term follows the same model the autumn term but has three new units:

Ecosystem– Respiration and Photosynthesis

Earth – Climate and Earth resources

Electromagnets– Magnetism and Electromagnetism

The same assessment model is used.

Summer

The summer term follows the same model, however there is now a focus on rounding off and securing knowledge of all units.

Waves – Wave effects and Wave properties

The same assessment model is used resulting in all pupils exposed to 10 small ‘Check Point’ tests.  Larger end of year8 exams complete a successful year of learning.

Use of Collins Connect resources

Science has now fully integrated a new system of resources that are not only used by class teachers during each lesson, but are also available for all pupils when at home.  This not only helps to support all learners but helps to augment class learning and, more importantly, helps those that are off school with illness.  Pupils navigate to https://connect.collins.co.uk/school/portal.aspx ,and click on Student Sign in.  Upon entering the school name, pupils follow the instruction for identifying themselves.  A series of online resources are then shown.  The left two courses (“books”) are for year7 and year8, the three books on the right are for triple pupils, studying separate sciences.  For those on the Combined Trilogy course, they press the “2” icon at the bottom right of the page, which then has the three courses (“books”) for their use.

Homework

Homework will be set accordance to the topics covered, lesson activities and whether the class is shared or taught by a single teacher. We give advanced warning for assessments and direct pupils towards revision materials or task, with a focus on developing the skills for more independent learning.  Pupils will also have a class login for Seneca Learning that will be used throughout the year to support learning.

Learning outside the classroom

Dr. Wilson will be leading a Science Club this year and all are welcome. Every week there will be a range of hands on practical sessions and mini-projects in all three Sciences. The key here is to provide a fun learning environment.

Parental support and extension

Curiosity is a fantastic thing to foster in young learners and, in the addition to formal support (ie. homework, revision etc.), it is great to develop a strong scientific general knowledge. This can take multiple forms and there is no correct way of doing it, but by introducing young minds to scientific documentaries (Attenborough is always a favourite - iPlayer and other providers have a fantastic selection), attending museums and even through discussing what they are studying can contribute to development.

Online support can be found using the follow websites:

More information

All of the content of the units selected for the Year 7 Science programme have been derived from the AQA Key Stage 3 Syllabus and cross-checked against the UK National Curriculum topic for Key Stage 3. This means that the topic taught can be found across common media and support materials. This includes BBC Bitesize, Seneca Learning, Revision Guides (including popular ones, such as GCP) and wider.

Support Documents can be found at:

Year 9 Science (a mix of KS3 and initial KS4)

Overview of content

In Year 9 pupils complete their KS3 learning and then, seamlessly, embark upon their GCSE Science programme. To enable this, lessons are broken more overtly into specific lessons in chemistry, physics and biology. We feel this is an important step as pupils, no matter which science course they undertake, will sit two discrete exams in each of the science disciplines at the end of the course. Pupils will therefore have three teachers each for one lesson per week. In essence, this year is a bridging year, designed to slowly introduce GCSE content, skills and assessment practices. Pupils have a single lesson of each subject a week and therefore content teaching is spread over a greater period of time. This is designed to ease transition to the rigour of GCSE knowledge and skills.

The syllabus is derived from the AQA exam board and we encourage pupils to use and identify the units of study, as these are reflected in support media. Therefore, units will be labelled with a letter and a number, for example ‘B1’ refers to Biology Unit 1.

Pupils in the upper two sets will start the Triple Science course in order to allow pupils time to assimilate to a GCSE style course, whilst still retaining the option for some groups or individuals to move between these sets, without changing their course. As data is collected across the year groups will become more refined and will result in some move across the Combined Science course in Year 10.

Pupils in the remaining groups will start the Combined Science course from the start of Year 9, initially on higher tier.

Programme of Study

Terms

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

Autumn (+ up to February half-term)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring into Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biology:

Pupils start with the unit B1 Cell Biology.

This includes topics on:

  • Cell Structure and Specialisation
  • Microscopy
  • Cell Division and Stem Cells
  • Transport in Cells

B1 is the natural starting point both in terms of the supporting literature and resources, but also the concepts underpin the future units.

Chemistry:

Pupils start with the unit C4 which covers the ideas around chemical reactions including:

  • Reactivity series
  • Reactions of metals in acids
  • Making a soluble salt

C4, as opposed to C1, is used as a starting point. This is because we feel that the practical elements of this module will help to engage our pupils at the start of the course.

Physics:

Year 9 pupils begin their GCSE by studying the P3 topic, this includes:

  • Density
  • Heating/cooling curves
  • Specific Heat Capacity
  • Property of gases

This unit focuses upon the particle model and is the foundation of many of the subsequent topics.

Upon the completion of each unit pupils will sit the appropriate level of test from Collins Connect.  These tests are about 40 marks and take 40 minutes to complete (extra time is provided for those with additional needs)

We want to expose pupils to style of questions they experience in a GCSE exam and then share with them the way in which questions are marked during feedback sessions.  Pupils are given the opportunity to add corrections to their tests, to aid in revision in later exams.

During this term pupils will also undertake some of the Required Practicals for GCSE. These are scientific experiments and investigations that pupils can be asked questions on in a GCSE Science examination. Questions can involve skills, such as: planning, interpretation/evaluation of data and calculations.

During this term pupils will undertake:

  • Microscopy (Biology)
  • Investigation into the effect of concentration of solution on osmosis. (Biology)
  • Density of materials (Physics)

Biology:

This half year will see the beginning of unit B2. This topic is split into 2 distinct halves and include:

  • Circulation - Heart Structure and Function; Blood and Vessels; Coronary Heart Disease; Cancer and Health
  • Digestion - Digestion System; Nutrients; Enzymes

Chemistry:

This half year we start to study the C1 Atomic Structure topic.  This topic is the basis of all the Chemistry that pupils will study throughout their GCSE and includes:

  • Elements, compounds and mixtures
  • Electron arrangement
  • History of the Periodic Table
  • Group1, 7 and 0(8) properties

Physics:

In Physics during this half year we study the P2 Electricity topic.  This includes:

  • Investigating static electricity
  • Making simple circuits (series and parallel)
  • Ohms Law
  • Transformers and the National Grid

P2 was selected as the heavier practical demand of this unit gives pupils the opportunity learn key practical skills, develop engagement and to access abstract concepts.

This term will follow the same assessment model to allow pupils to have familiarity in terms of expectations and time to get used to the changes in assessment style.

Requires practicals studied in this term include:

  • Investigation into the effect of pH on enzyme action (Biology)
  • Food Test (Biology)
  • Preparation of Salt (Chemistry)
  • Neutralisation (Chemistry)
  • Resistance of a wire (Physics)
  • Voltage/Current characteristics of electrical components (Physics)

Homework

Homework will be set accordance to the topics covered, lesson activities and whether the class is shared or taught by a single teacher. We give advanced warning for assessments and direct pupils towards revision materials or task, with a focus on developing the skills for more independent learning.  Pupils will also have a class login for Seneca Learning that will be used throughout the year to support learning.

Learning outside the classroom

Throughout the year there may be opportunities to attend trips such as Science Live, where pupils are able to experience talks by famous scientists.  We also run a trip to the Large Hadron Collider in CERN Geneva, Switzerland.  This five-night trip provides a rare opportunity to learn about cutting-edge high-energy physics by brilliant scientists from around the world.

Parental support and extension

Curiosity is a fantastic thing to foster in young learners and, in the addition to formal support (ie. homework, revision etc.), it is great to develop a strong scientific general knowledge. This can take multiple forms and there is no correct way of doing it. But by introducing young minds to: scientific documentaries (Attenborough is always a favourite! iPlayer and other providers have a fantastic selection), attending museums and even through discussing what they are studying can contribute to development.

Online support can be found using the follow websites:

  • www.senecalearning.com – pupils will have their own login from their school email account. Pupils should select AQA separate sciences from the options (sets 1-4) and
  • www.bbcbitesize.co.uk – please select AQA exam board and single sciences for sets 1-4 and combined for 5-6.
  • www.youtube.com – videos of required practicals can be found posted by providers such as, freesciencelessons. Please make sure AQA and GCSE is specified when searching.
  • https://classroom.thenational.academy/subjects-by-key-stage/key-stage-4 - this is a website normally used for online lesson but can support pupils and does include walkthroughs of required practicals.

KS4 Science

Pupils will study either a combined Science course or three separate Science GCSEs.  Both are detailed below.

AQA GCSE Combined Science Trilogy (8464)

Overview of content

This course is taught over the course of three years (starting in Year 9) and ends with a terminal examination of six exam papers (two for each Science).  The course is designed to give pupils a broad understanding of how science works, by building on previous knowledge, utilising scientific methodology.  Pupils learn how they can apply their learning to real world examples, for instance, dealing with the causes of climate change.  Pupils will carry out set required practicals that they must remember (method, results and conclusions).

Programme of Study

Year

Timescale

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

9

Autumn – Feb half-term

B1 Cell Biology, C4 Chemical Changes, P3 Particle Model of Matter

Formal end of topic tests (Teacher marked, feedback to pupils, pupil improvement)

Online knowledge checks (Seneca Learning)

Mock papers are used to secure knowledge and gain skills in answering longer answer formats. 

Teachers and their pupils gain insights into areas of strength and further areas to develop

Feb half-term – End of year

B2 Organisation, C1 Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table , P2 Electricity

10

Autumn

B3 Infection & Response, C2 Bonding, Structure and the Properties of Matter, C3 Quantitative Chemistry, P1 Energy, P4 Atomic Structure

Spring

B4 Bioenergetics, B5 Homeostasis and Response, C5 Energy Changes, C6 Rates of Reaction, P6 Waves

MOCK PAPER 1 – all topics covered so far

Summer

B6 Inheritance, Variation and Evolution, C7 Organic Chemistry, C8 Chemical Analysis, P5 Forces and Motion (in part)

11

Autumn

B7 Ecology (in part), C9 Chemistry of the Atmosphere, C10 Using Resources (in part), P5 Forces and Motion (complete), P7 Magnetism and Electromagnetism

Spring - 1

B7 Ecology (complete), C10 Using Resources (complete)

MOCK PAPER2 – B5,B6,B7,C6,C7,C8,C9,C10, P5,P6,P7

Spring - 2

Pre-exam consolidation (review, revisit Required Practicals, Exam Technique and Question practice)

Summer

Period of Formal Examinations

6x Papers (2x Biology, 2x Chemistry, 2x Physics), marked by AQA examiners.

How it is assessed

Pupils on this course can sit Higher or Foundation tiers.  The pupils will sit six exams, lasting 75 minutes a piece, 2x Biology, 2X Chemistry and 2x Physics.  Each exam is out of 70 marks, making 420 possible marks. The marks for all exams are added together and a grade awarded.  Pupils are then awarded two GCSEs for this subject.  Higher tier pupils can reach a maximum of 9/9 down to 4/4, whereas Foundation tier have a maximum of 5/5 but going down to 1/1.

Use of Collins Connect resources

Science has now fully integrated a new system of resources that are not only used by class teachers during each lesson, but are also available for all pupils when at home.  This not only helps to support all learners but helps to augment class learning and, more importantly, helps those that are off school with illness.  Pupils navigate to https://connect.collins.co.uk/school/portal.aspx ,and click on Student Sign in.  Upon entering the school name, pupils follow the instruction for identifying themselves.  A series of online resources are then shown.  The left two courses (“books”) are for year7 and year8, the three books on the right are for triple pupils, studying separate sciences.  For those on the Combined Trilogy course, they press the “2” icon at the bottom right of the page, which then has the three courses (“books”) for their use.

Separate Sciences

Overview of content

This course is taught over the course of three years (starting in Year9) and ends with a terminal examination of two exam papers.  This course is designed to give pupils a deep understanding of the sciences, including how science works, building on previous knowledge in KS3, and honing scientific methodology.  Separate Sciences are harder than Combined Science as pupils will cover all the content contained in Combined Science, plus more, and with additional and deeper learning.  Pupils will carry out a greater set of required practicals that they must remember (method, results and conclusions).

AQA GCSE Biology (8461)

Programme of Study

Year

Timescale

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

9

Autumn – Feb half-term

B1 Cell Biology

Formal end of topic tests (Teacher marked, feedback to pupils, pupil improvement)

Online knowledge checks (Seneca Learning)

Mock papers are used to secure knowledge and gain skills in answering longer answer formats. 

Teachers and their pupils gain insights into areas of strength and further areas to develop

Feb half-term – End of year

B2 Organisation

10

Autumn

B3 Infection & Response

Spring

B4 Bioenergetics, B5 Homeostasis and Response

MOCK PAPER 1 – B1,B2,B3,B4

Summer

B6 Inheritance, Variation and Evolution

11

Autumn

B7 Ecology (in part)

Spring - 1

B7 Ecology (complete)

MOCK PAPER2 – B5,B6,B7

Spring - 2

Pre-exam consolidation (review, revisit Required Practicals, Exam Technique and Question practice)

Summer

Period of Formal Examinations

2x Papers marked by AQA examiners.

AQA GCSE Chemistry (8462)

Programme of Study

Year

Timescale

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

9

Autumn – Feb half-term

C4 Chemical Changes

Formal end of topic tests (Teacher marked, feedback to pupils, pupil improvement)

Online knowledge checks (Seneca Learning)

Mock papers are used to secure knowledge and gain skills in answering longer answer formats. 

Teachers and their pupils gain insights into areas of strength and further areas to develop

Feb half-term – End of year

C1 Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table

10

Autumn

C2 Bonding, Structure and the Properties of Matter, C3 Quantitative Chemistry

Spring

C5 Energy Changes, C6 Rates of Reaction

MOCK PAPER 1 – C1,C2,C3,C4,C5

Summer

C7 Organic Chemistry, C8 Chemical Analysis

11

Autumn

C9 Chemistry of the Atmosphere, C10 Using Resources (in part)

Spring - 1

C10 Using Resources (complete)

MOCK PAPER2 – C6,C7,C8,C9,C10

Spring - 2

Pre-exam consolidation (review, revisit Required Practicals, Exam Technique and Question practice)

Summer

Period of Formal Examinations

2x Papers marked by AQA examiners.

AQA GCSE Physics (8463)

Programme of Study

Year

Timescale

Topics studied; skills and knowledge

How this will be assessed

9

Autumn – Feb half-term

P3 Particle Model of Matter

Formal end of topic tests (Teacher marked, feedback to pupils, pupil improvement)

Online knowledge checks (Seneca Learning)

Mock papers are used to secure knowledge and gain skills in answering longer answer formats. 

Teachers and their pupils gain insights into areas of strength and further areas to develop

Feb half-term – End of year

P2 Electricity

10

Autumn

P1 Energy, P4 Atomic Structure

Spring

P6 Waves

MOCK PAPER 1 – P1,P2,P3,P4

Summer

P5 Forces and Motion (in part)

11

Autumn

P5 Forces and Motion (complete), P7 Magnetism and Electromagnetism, P8 Space Physics (in part)

 

Spring - 1

P8 Space Physics (complete)

MOCK PAPER2 – P5,P6,P7,P8

Spring - 2

Pre-exam consolidation (review, revisit Required Practicals, Exam Technique and Question practice)

Summer

Period of Formal Examinations

2x Papers marked by AQA examiners.

Use of Collins Connect resources

Science has now fully integrated a new system of resources that are not only used by class teachers during each lesson, but are also available for all pupils when at home.  This not only helps to support all learners but helps to augment class learning and, more importantly, helps those that are off school with illness.  Pupils navigate to https://connect.collins.co.uk/school/portal.aspx ,and click on Student Sign in.  Upon entering the school name, pupils follow the instruction for identifying themselves.  A series of online resources are then shown.  The left two courses (“books”) are for year7 and year8, the three books on the right are for triple pupils, studying separate sciences.

Homework

At GCSE level, pupils are expected to take more responsibility for their learning (developing outside interests in Science documentaries etc) at home.  This is especially important for Triple pupils – deeper learning requires self-discipline, organisation and determination to succeed.  Pupils will be set tasks, using a mixture of online learning, and hardcopy worksheets to strengthen their knowledge gained in the classroom.  This will be self marked, peer marked or teacher marked, depending on the task complexity.

How it is assessed

Pupils on this course sit Higher tier.  The pupils will sit two exams, lasting 105 minutes a piece.  Each exam is out of 100 marks. Pupils are awarded a GCSE grade from a maximum of 9/9 down to 4/4.  Pupils achieving less well than a 4/4 may be offered the combined science course, or the separate science course at foundation level.

Learning outside the classroom

Pupils in Year11 are invited to Booster sessions throughout the course of the year, to help with any knowledge deficits or to help with any skills.

Pupils in Year9 and Year10 are invited to apply to go to CERN – the Large Hadron Collider – in Geneva, Switzerland.  This international trip lasts 4 days and we get the opportunity to see the place where the world’s premiere High Energy Physics takes place!  We sometimes even see Nobel Prize winning Physicists walking about.

Parental support and extension

It is important to realise that Triple is not the correct course for all pupils, due to its academic rigour. Starting their GCSE earlier than other subjects has certain advantages and disadvantages.  Pupils enjoy being taught in a more adult fashion while learning new concepts.  Sometimes however, this can be a daunting experience, as they are not quite mature enough to cope with the increased workload.  We encourage parents and guardians to talk regularly to their children to find out what they are learning in Science – it may spark some conversations from when they were young!

More information

Science depends very heavily on Maths, and therefore we encourage all of our pupils to ensure that they really pay attention in Maths lessons to hone their skills in numeracy and in rearranging equations.  Pupils will need a good Scientific calculator (Casio fx-85GTX ones are good as they are also solar powered).  Online learning support for pupils is a very useful tool to help strengthen neurons for factual recall, and we recommend not only using Seneca Learning (www.senecalearning.com) but also BBCBitesize (https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zsc9rdm)

Everybody is somebody