Ysgol Abersychan School

Science

Being curious, asking questions and searching for answers are essential for understanding the world around us.  Students will develop these skills in Science as they journey through key concepts and   investigations in three major areas:

  • The diversity and interactions of living things, how they adapt and evolve, how they survive and stay healthy. This includes understanding how human body systems work and how we fight diseases.
  • What the universe, materials and living things are all made of, understanding how chemical reactions and properties of materials have shaped the world around us and contributed to advances in technology.
  • How forces and energy can help understand everything from the smallest building blocks of matter to the motion of planets and stars. Using mathematical frameworks to describe physical systems has enabled some of society’s greatest scientific breakthroughs and engineering achievements.

Developing an understanding of living systems, materials, chemical reactions, forces and energy will enable students to flourish as ambitious, capable learners who can apply scientific understanding to overcome future challenges and use our planet’s resources efficiently and sustainably, helping them become responsible citizens of Wales and the world.

During Science lessons, pupils will develop skills to form questions about the word around us, to develop scientific methods to test their hypotheses and to present and explain their findings.  They will develop reflection skills to evaluate their findings and processes and will develop scientific literacy skills to understand the increasing wealth of scientific data available to us and formulate ideas about whether such data is reliable and can be trusted.  As the new curriculum develops, stronger links with Technology and ICT will be reinforced, through classroom tasks and also home study projects.

Ongoing assessments throughout KS3 and KS4 will take the form of investigation reports, investigation-based tests and end of topic tests to help develop effective revision and examination skills ready for formal GCSE controlled assessments and examinations.

Staff including email address

Dr C O’Connell                Subject Leader

Charlotte.O’Connell@abersychanschool.co.uk

Mr D Selway                    Science Teacher, ITT Subject Mentor

Dean.Selway@abersychanschool.co.uk

Mr D Shaw                       Science Teacher

Daniel.Shaw@abersychanschool.co.uk

Mr C Thompson                Science Teacher, 2nd in Department, ITT Subject Mentor

Craig.Thompson@abersychanschool.co.uk

Miss T Trott                      Science Teacher

Tara.Trott@abersychanschool.co.uk

Mr G Williams                 Science Teacher, Head of Year

Geraint.Williams@abersychanschool.co.uk

The Curriculum at Key Stage 3

During KS3 Science, pupils develop enquiry skills and scientific knowledge covering a wide range of topics:

Year 7:

Pupils begin Year 7 by familiarising themselves with working safely in a science laboratory, learning how to use scientific equipment correctly, including Bunsen burners, and taking a short test to earn themselves a ‘Practical Licence’.  Once they have achieved their licence, pupils then go on to study what things are made of in the first term - key scientific concepts of Particles and Cells.

Pupils then go on to study Energy and Chemical Reactions and continue to design and implement investigations to test out various hypotheses.

In the final term, pupils study Forces and Motion and Reproduction, and will complete an end of year assessment to bring their learning together and begin to develop vital organisation, revision and exam skills.

Year 8:

Pupils begin Year 8 with a refresher safety course to renew their Practical Licence and then go on to study Space and Atoms - understanding how the world works from the very smallest to the very largest concepts. 

They will go on to study Digestion and Electricity, and continue to develop their enquiry and investigation skills throughout the Spring term.

In the Summer term, pupils will study Light and Materials of the Earth, before preparing for an end of year assessment.

Throughout Years 7 and 8, homework will mainly be set using Doddle, an online platform which allows pupils to access presentations and other resources, before testing what they have learned through interactive quizzes.  ICT access and support is provided in school if required to complete these tasks.  Longer home study projects will also provide opportunities for pupils to develop their creativity, problem solving and independent learning skills and enable pupils to make authentic links between Science, Technology and ICT, as in the real world!

Ongoing assessments will take the form of investigation reports and end of topic tests.

Year 9:

Pupils begin their KS4 Science courses in Year 9, but continue to build upon the investigation and enquiry skills developed throughout Years 7 and 8.  The set they are placed in and course they follow is tailored to the pupil based on Science results in years 7 and 8, and more information will be given at the start of Year 9, including details of any formal exams.

Homework tasks continue to use Doddle and GCSE-style past paper questions.

Assessment will continue to take the form of practical investigation reports and end of topic tests but in addition, some pupils in Year 9 will have a BTEC exam in February/March and most pupils in Year 9 will sit one GCSE unit exam in June.

The Curriculum at Key Stage 4

Science KS4 courses are spread over Years 9-11 to allow for the large number of topics to be taught and investigation skills to be fully developed in preparation for end of year examinations and controlled assessment units. 

The specific course each pupil will follow is tailored to the pupil based on Science performance and results in years 7 and 8, and more information will be given at the start of Year 9, including details of units and any formal exams.

Most pupils will complete at least TWO Science qualifications from:

Triple Science – 3 separate GCSEs (WJEC) in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  Two units and a controlled practical assessment unit are completed for each GCSE, and these are spread over the 3 years.  This is a demanding course in terms of content, understanding and skills required.  Examinations are worth 90% of each GCSE, and the Practical Assessment contributes 10%.

Double Award Science (WJEC) – a double combined Science GCSE covering equal proportions of Biology, Chemistry and Physics units.  There are six examinations in total which form 90% of the assessment and a Practical Assessment completed in Year 11 contributes 10%.  This means that the assessment of this course is heavily exam-based.

Double Award Applied Science (WJEC) – a double GCSE covering a wide range of Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics but the units are more contextual or application-based, e.g. a unit on medical science covers a combination of all three disciplines.  Examinations are therefore also mixed and there are no distinct Biology, Chemistry or Physics examinations.   Formal examinations are taken for 3 units and are worth 70% of the total GCSE.  The controlled assessment and practical assessment units contribute 30%, which means this double GCSE requires fewer exams and a higher proportion of coursework-style assessment, which may suit some pupils more than the Double Award Science course.

Single Applied Science (WJEC) – one GCSE covering a range of Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics.  The structure of this course is very similar to the Double Award Applied Science but there are fewer units and only two examinations.  The examinations contribute 70% of the final grade and controlled assessment units are worth 30%.

BTEC Application of Science (Edexcel) – equivalent to one GCSE.  This is an assignment-based course run alongside the GCSE topics in Year 9.

There is one skills-based exam unit (25%) in February/March and most of the course is assessed through completing assignments in class (75%) throughout years 9 and 10.  These include practical experiments, leaflets, ICT research, calculations and many other types of tasks.

Homework will continue to be set via Doddle and additional tasks will be set as required for each class/course.  These will often include past paper questions and some of the websites below may be useful to help strengthen scientific knowledge and understanding.  In addition, there may be helpful revision guides you may wish to purchase and details of these will be shared with each class in September to ensure the most suitable one is purchased as the courses do vary slightly.

Useful websites, podcasts, youtube, channels for revision

  • Doddle Learn - www.doddlelearn.co.uk - Login details needed from the class teacher. Can be used on any device that can access internet and there is also an App that can be used rather than the website.  Homework and classwork quizzes may be set on Doddle, but you can also use it at any time to search for presentations, animations and other resources on a particular topic.  Useful for both KS3 and KS4, good for revisiting topics covered in class, catching up after missing lessons, or learning about future topics in advance.
  • Bitesize - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/ - Select science and can then select KS3, GCSE, etc. Good for revisiting topics, catching up after missing lessons, or learning about future topics in advance.
  • KayScience - https://www.kayscience.com - Excellent YouTube video clips explaining many topics, and can also access worksheets and quizzes for many of them.  Good for revisiting topics, especially at GCSE, catching up after missing lessons, or learning about future topics in advance.
  • GCSE Physics Online - https://www.gcsephysicsonline.com/wjec - Physics YouTube clips explaining everything in GCSE Physics! Lots of pupils find certain Physics topics difficult so this is good for revisiting topics, catching up after missing lessons, or learning about future topics in advance.

Important dates for the diary

Specific examination and controlled assessment dates will be given out in September as these will vary for different pupils/classes.

GCSE Controlled Assessments take place between November and February each year.  This applies to all Year 11 pupils, and a small number of Year 10 - pupils and parents/carers will be informed at the start of the year.

All GCSE examinations for Science take place in the summer, May-June of each year. This affects Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 pupils.   Parents/carers and pupils will be informed of specific dates of exams.

BTEC Science exams take place in February/March and this usually affects a number of pupils in Year 9, and the pupils, parents/carers will be informed.  Resit examinations are available in May.

Extra - Curricular opportunities and visits

STEM

Pupils are given the opportunity to attend various STEM-based workshops and visits throughout the year to enrich the Science curriculum, and opportunities will increase further as the new curriculum develops stronger links with Technology and ICT across the school. 

 

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