Science

The Lacon Childe science department aims to help our students become scientifically literate, which means that they can describe, define, investigate and ultimately try to understand the world in which they live and how it works. We believe that this will help them to become inquisitive, decision-making problem solvers who understand their place in the wider world and how they can contribute to a better future.

There are five members of science staff who teach in the Department, plus one science technician who helps to prepare and support practical work in lessons. We have five laboratories, all equipped with digital projectors and interactive whiteboards.

science at key stage 3

In Years 7 and 8, pupils follow the Activate course which sets science theory in real life contexts. We are firm believers that providing all students with three specialist teachers, with the very best subject knowledge, helps to extend students understanding and prevents the formation of common misconceptions that can arise from non-specialist teaching.

In Year 7 Pupils are taught in their mixed ability tutor groups, and will have a different subject specialist for each of the science disciplines, biology, chemistry and physics.

Year 7 topics

  • An introduction to working safely in a science lab
  • Cells
  • Structure and formation of body systems
  • Reproduction
  • Particles and their behaviour
  • Elements, atoms and compounds
  • Chemical reactions
  • Acids and alkalis
  • Forces
  • Sounds
  • Light
  • Space

Assessment

Students will complete an end of topic test for each of the topics they study, roughly one per subject discipline per term, which are completed within the classroom. In addition to these regular ongoing assessments students will also complete a combined sciences test as part of their Examinations week in the school hall under formal Examination conditions.

Year 8

In Year 8, pupils are placed into groups, although only the first two groups are based on ability, as we feel that setting by ability in science has an adverse effect on all but the highest ability students. The remaining three groups are selected according to who the science teaching staff feel will work best together and this helps to generate a very positive and productive learning environment for all students.

Year 8 topics

  • Health and lifestyle
  • Ecosystem processes
  • Adaptation and inheritance
  • The periodic table
  • Separation techniques
  • Metals and acids
  • The Earth
  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Energy
  • Motion and pressure

Assessment

Students will complete an end of topic test for each of the topics they study, roughly one per subject discipline per term, which are completed within the classroom. In addition to these regular ongoing assessments students will also complete a combined sciences test as part of their Examinations week in the school hall under formal Examination conditions.

Year 9

The same structure continues into Year 9, when pupils work on the remaining skills and theory that they will need to be successful in their GCSE courses, through studying bespoke biology, chemistry, physics and practical skills units. This is essential as Year 9 start the Edexcel combined science (9-1) or separate sciences (9-1) course just after Christmas.

Assessment

Students will complete an end of topic test for each of the biology, chemistry and physics topics they study, which are completed within the classroom. The practical skills unit will be continually assessed on their performance during the practical activities they complete. In addition to these topic tests students will also complete a combined sciences test as part of their Examinations week in the school hall under formal Examination conditions.

Extracurricular opportunities

  • STEM club
  • Faraday challenge
  • JCB STEM challenge
  • IET challenge days

How to support your child

  • Encourage them to read regularly, try some of the suggested books from our recommendations
  • Help them to practise the spelling and use of scientific vocabulary
  • Help and encourage them to practise their mathematical skills
  • Help them to structure their revision for end of topic tests
  • Encourage them to make use of the suggested websites
  • Discuss what they are doing in science lessons and help develop their enthusiasm for the subjects

Useful websites

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zng4d2p

http://www.darvill.clara.net/myon.htm

http://www.docbrown.info/ks3science.htm

http://www.mathsmadeeasy.co.uk/science-ks3-year-7.htm

https://global.oup.com/education/content/secondary/series/activate/?region=uk

Suggested reading

George’s marvellous medicine, Roald Dahl

The Harry Potter collection, J. K. Rowling

A short history of nearly everything, Bill Bryson

The disappearing spoon, Sam Kean

Periodic tales, Hugh Aldersley-Williams

science at key stage 4

We offer two different GCSE courses in key stage 4:

Edexcel (9-1) Combined science, which is worth two GCSEs and is examined in the June of Year 11. Pupils receive 9 hours of teaching a fortnight in both Year 10 and 11 and will be taught by three subject specialists, so will receive 3 hours of teaching in biology, chemistry and physics per fortnight.

Combined science topics

The biology units are:
  • Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology
  • Topic 2 – Cells and control
  • Topic 3 – Genetics
  • Topic 4 – Natural selection and genetic modification
  • Topic 5 – Health, disease and the development of medicines
  • Topic 6 – Plant structures and their functions
  • Topic 7 – Animal coordination, control and homeostasis
  • Topic 8 – Exchange and transport in animals
  • Topic 9 – Ecosystems and material cycles
The chemistry units are:
  • Topic 1 – Key concepts in chemistry
  • Topic 2 – States of matter and mixtures
  • Topic 3 – Atomic structure
  • Topic 4 – The periodic table
  • Topic 5-7 – Bonding (ionic, covalent and types of substances)
  • Topic 8 – Acids and alkalis
  • Topic 9 – Calculations involving masses
  • Topics 10-12 - Extracting metals and equilibria
  • Topics 13 – Groups in the periodic table
  • Topics 14-15 - Rates of reaction and energy changes
  • Topic 16-17 – Fuels and Earth science
The physics units are:
  • Topic 1 – Key concepts of physics
  • Topic 2 – Motion and forces
  • Topic 3 – Conservation of energy
  • Topic 4 – Waves
  • Topic 5 – Light and the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Topic 6 – Radioactivity
  • Topic 7 – Energy - Forces doing work
  • Topic 8 – Forces and their effects
  • Topic 9 – Electricity and circuits
  • Topic 10 – Magnetism and the motor effect
  • Topic 11 – Electromagnetic induction
  • Topic 12 – Particle model
  • Topic 13 – Forces and matter

Assessment

Students will complete an end of topic test for each of the topics they study, roughly one per subject discipline per half term, which are completed within the classroom. In addition to these regular ongoing assessments students will also complete a mock examination paper for each of the sciences in their Examinations weeks, in both Year 10 and 11, in the school hall under formal Examination conditions.

The final assessment consists of six 60 mark Examinations, two biology, two chemistry and two physics papers which are sat in the June of Year 11. Each of these Examinations is worth 16.67% of the GCSE course, which will result in two GCSE grades, which could be the same, e.g. 6-6 or be consecutive grades, e.g. 6-5.

Edexcel (9-1) separate sciences, which is a GCSE option subject, covers the triple science content, and is aimed at high achieving pupils who may wish to study the sciences at A level and beyond. This leads to a Triple Science award of 3 GCSEs, one in each of biology, chemistry and physics.

Separate science topics

The biology topics are the same for the separate GCSE, however the concepts that are covered within it will be taken to a higher level and stretch the students beyond what is covered in the combined science option.

The additional chemistry topics are:

  • Transition metals, alloys and corrosion,
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Dynamic equilibria
  • Chemical cells and fuel cells
  • Qualitative analysis: tests for ions
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Polymers
  • Alcohols and carboxylic acids
  • Bulk and surface properties of matter including nanoparticles

The additional physics topics are:

  • Astronomy
  • Static electricity

Who can choose to study the separate sciences?

  • The separate sciences are seen as a bridge between GCSE and A level science. The content covered is at the highest level taught at GCSE, meaning it is not suitable for all students.
  • To be considered for further additional science we would like students to have achieved a level 6 by the end of Year 9.
  • It is essential that the students are confident mathematicians as there will be at least 30% maths based questions in the physics examinations, 20% in the chemistry examinations and 10% in each of the biology examinations.
  • Pupils receive 9 hours of teaching a fortnight in both Year 10 and 11. Those pupils selected to study the separate sciences receive a further 5 hours a fortnight. As it makes up a large part of a student’s timetable, it is essential that they are very passionate scientists.

Assessment

Students will complete an end of topic test for each of the topics they study, roughly one per subject discipline per half term, which are completed within the classroom. In addition to these regular ongoing assessments students will also complete a mock examination paper for each of the sciences in their Examinations week in the school hall under formal Examination conditions.

The final assessment consists of two 100 mark Examinations for each separate science GCSE. Each of these Examination is worth 50% of each GCSE course.

How we support your child

  • We offer an extensive revision program, which starts in the Spring term of Year 11 and runs each Monday after school 3.15-4.15pm
  • We provide students with lab books, which contain all of the assessed practicals they have to carry out and suitable Examination style questions
  • We have signed up to an externally marked mock Examination, which will allow us to identify how your child is doing compared to their peers across the country
  • We will offer you the chance to purchase revision guides and text books through the school at discount to the RRP. We would highly recommend that students buy the revision guides in particular

How to support your child

  • Encourage them to read regularly; try suggesting some of the books from our recommendations
  • Help them to practise the spelling and use of scientific vocabulary
  • Help and encourage them to practise their mathematical skills
  • Help them to structure their revision for end of topic tests, mocks and their terminal examinations
  • Encourage them to make use of the suggested websites
  • Discuss what they are doing in science lessons and help develop their enthusiasm for the subjects
  • Encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning by:
  • Attending revision sessions
  • Always having their class books and revision guides
  • Attempting as many past Examination papers as they can
  • Responding to feedback and advice

Useful websites

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/sciences-2016.html

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/sciences-2016.coursematerials.html#filterQuery=category:Pearson-UK:Category%2FSpecification-and-sample-assessments&filterQuery=category:Pearson-UK:Document-Type%2FSample-assessment-material

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/edexcel/

http://www.docbrown.info/page20/2edexscience.htm

https://www.mymaths.co.uk/

http://www.creative-chemistry.org.uk/

http://www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse/chemistry

http://www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse

http://swgfl.skoool.co.uk/keystage4.aspx?id=314

Suggested reading

A short history of nearly everything, Bill Bryson

The disappearing spoon, Sam Kean

Periodic tales, Hugh Aldersley-Williams

A brief history of time, Stephen Hawking

Bad science, Ben Goldacre

Life on Earth, David Attenborough

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