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Science

Science

What is our curriculum and intention?

The Science curriculum has been designed to build on the foundations of the KS2 knowledge, to develop this understanding at KS3 and then strengthen students understanding of the world in KS4. Science changes all our lives and an understanding of science is essential to future developments across many different disciplines and aspects of our lives.

Students will be given the opportunity to build a body of understanding in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, developing the skills required so they can investigate and begin to understand about natural phenomena. Students will be encouraged to question the influence of science, to explain what is happening, predict behaviour and analyse causes. The curriculum at DACA provides a quality of education that supports students to have an enquiring mind, to develop an understanding of all sciences, allowing them to thrive in an everchanging world.

 

What is our learning journey?

Our Curriculum is a five year ‘Learning Journey’, with units being taught through Biology, Chemistry and Physics at both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

At Key Stage 3, the curriculum is designed to build on key blocks of knowledge to enable students to secure their understanding in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. It is essential that any misconception is identified and resolved to allow for genuine progression. Specialist vocabulary is explicitly taught at key stage 3, allowing students to be familiar with and use technical terminology accurately and precisely.

At key stage 4, the curriculum extends the students’ understanding and progress in Key Stage 3 and asks the students to apply their knowledge and understanding to different situations. We follow AQA Trilogy combined science and AQA Biology, Chemistry and Physics for separate science. Students are taught the content in separate units for each strand of science and will sit 6 terminal exam papers. The exam papers will be specific to a section of the specification for Biology Chemistry or Physics, however if students complete the combined science course they will achieve a double science GCSE. Students who follow the triple science route will receive a GCSE in each of the sciences.

 

Biology Learning Journey

Chemistry Learning Journey 

Physics Learning Journey

Why this? Why now? Why have we sequenced our curriculum this way?

Our Key Stage 3 carefully builds on prior knowledge and skills.  Key Stage 3 is not designed to merely be a prequel to GCSE, rather it builds on the foundations established at Key Stage 2 to develop learners in all aspects of their science education. Key Stage 3 introduces students to key technical vocabulary and prepares them to start using this language in the context of the application of science.

At Key Stage 4, students are provided with the skills required to apply the knowledge that they have acquired to different situations and to select the appropriate science skills to explain natural phenomena and to problem solve in practical situations. While there is no coursework aspect to GCSE science, students will experience the required practical studies within the curriculum, providing them with the skills to investigate different scientific questions.

 

What will you typically see in our Science lessons?

Long-term learning: Students to be made aware of the significance of this unit of work and specific lessons in relation to prior and future learning. Students are prompted to make links between prior key knowledge and skills in this scheme and those they have already studied. 

Checking for understanding and mark making (ACMO): Comprehension questions; think, pair, share; cold call; questioning; class discussion; mini whiteboards with a 3, 2, 1 reveal; weekly low-stakes quizzes.  All pupils are subject to rigorous checking of their learning and supported to close any gaps they have in knowledge and skills by teachers’ effective formative assessment of their progress.

Live modelling and guided practice: I Do (a metacognitive approach), We Do (under the visualiser or on the board), You Do (independent work with scaffolding); exploration, assessment and deconstruction of effective and ineffective model answers.

Explicit teaching of vocabulary: looking at the key technical terminology that students will be required to utilise when studying science. Utilising skills such as etymology to help students decode the words and establish their meaning.

Teaching to the top: All lessons are designed stretch and challenge students. However, staff will adapt these to ensure that the challenge in each lesson is appropriate for their class, making sure that no student is left behind in their learning.

Retrieval practice and recall: Low-stakes quizzes; mini whiteboards with a 3, 2, 1 reveal; Do Now tasks; Link It tasks where students are prompted to recall prior knowledge and/or skill and make meaningful links to current learning. 

 

How do we assess progress in our subject?

At Key Stage 3, formative assessment is an ongoing process and enabled through effective use of AMCO (mark making).  In addition to this, students will complete half termly assessments. The assessments will not only focus on the unit of work they have just completed but will also have recall questions on prior learning, developing this skill in preparation for GCSE. Students are assessed regularly through mini-assessment tasks, exit tickets, and comprehension questions.  The topics studied at key stage 3 science are:

Year 7

  • B1 – Cells

  • C1 – Atoms and the periodic table

  • P1 – Forces

  • B2 – Organ systems

  • C2 – Pure and impure substances

  • P2 – Energy

  • P7 - Space

Year 8 

  • B3 – Health and photosynthesis

  • C3 – Chemical reactions

  • P3 – Waves

  • B4 – Ecology

  • C4 – Earth materials

  • P4 – Electricity and magnetism

Year 9 

6 bridging units in preparation for GCSE studies. The units look at the fundamental learning for GCSE in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and enhance the Key Stage 3 curriculum.

At Key Stage 4 in Science, formative assessment is vital is supporting students to make progress within the lesson.  In addition, as with key stage 3 students, are assessed at the end of each half term, using past paper exam questions that include recall from prior units. Students are then encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills, responding to teacher feedback after a resulting reteach lesson.  As the Key Stage develops, students will work towards completion of full papers in all aspects of science. At DACA, students will either complete AQA combined science trilogy or AQA separate science.

 

How do we extend and enrich our curriculum?

Homework is set through Seneca within both Key Stages to enhance and develop their knowledge and skills.  At Key Stage 3, students are given the opportunity to participate in STEM clubs, which explore different aspects of science, maths, engineering and technology. There are also opportunities for external visits to locations such as the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

At Key stage 4 enrichment opportunities focus more on study, though students can also volunteer to support the leadership of key stage 3 science clubs. Students access intervention clubs to support their progress.

 

How does our subject relate to further education and careers?

Science can lead on to further study at A-Level and degree level in Biology, Chemistry or Physics, not to mention a whole host of vocational courses such as Applied science or engineering. Some of the areas of employment that are more specific to science studies include:

  • Biological scientist
  • Analytical science 
  • Engineering
  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Medicine
  • Archaeologists
  • Environmental scientists

 

If you would like more information about the Science curriculum, please contact the Director of Learning, Mr N Taylor via email: neil.taylor@daca.uk.com.