Science Curriculum

Intent
Our approach to the science curriculum is based firmly in an expectation that all students are capable of achieving high standards in science. From key stage 3 we aim to develop a firm foundational knowledge base through use of knowledge organisers for each of the topics studied. The foundational knowledge obtained can then be developed further through teaching and learning that aims to develop conceptual understanding, an understanding and appreciation of scientific processes and methods and a cultural capital beyond examination content that provides social equity and mobility to all of our students.

 

Implementation
Students begin in year 7 studying a programme of biology, chemistry and physics which whilst taught as individual topics per half term are linked together throughout their science lessons through various teaching and learning strategies. The topics are revisited and linked throughout study. Students are provided with one knowledge organiser per half term which covers the fundamental retrieval of knowledge required to access higher demand questioning, reasoning and evaluation. Topics covered in year 7 are forces, atomic structure, the periodic table, states of matter, key concepts in biology, astronomy and waves, types of substance and body systems. These topics provide a fundamental understanding of how the universe works, from the very large to the very small from which more complex and abstract ideas such as energy can be developed.
In year 8 students study energy, acids and alkalis, DNA, electricity, quantitative chemistry and ecosystems. Energy is studied in the first half term as this enables a greater understanding of more complex physics topics such as electricity whilst students also gain an appreciation that energy is linked across all topics, despite the scientific discipline.
At key stage 4 students follow one of two pathways that lead to at least two science GCSEs. Students will either study Biology, Chemistry and Physics (triple science) individually and will be awarded three separate GCSEs, one in each scientific discipline or they may follow the combined science pathway leading to the award of two science GCSEs.

Throughout their journey in science students will experience

• Topics taught to a high standard using evidence based teaching and learning methods.
• Consistency across lesson structure. Each lesson begins with a low stakes retrieval quiz based on the knowledge organiser, quality explanation of lesson content and opportunities throughout the lesson to apply knowledge to more challenging, unfamiliar contexts.
• Precise questioning to identify misconceptions, gaps and to challenge understanding further.
• Practical skills development understanding how to improve accuracy and produce valid results.
• Acquisition of a broad academic vocabulary.
• Engagement with scientific literature and research methods.
• Development of revision and exam techniques including management of time and developing resilience.
• Robust testing each term and individual feedback for areas of improvement and strength. This includes a question level analysis so students are able to see exactly where they are succeeding and where they need to develop strategies for improvement.
• Links to STEM careers and real world applications of the learning.
• Participation in various STEM events to develop further appreciation of science outside of the curriculum such as STEM club, a variety of trips and visits, in school events such as the annual science fair and cross school competitions including debates and extended project work.

Students are formally assessed once per term and a question level analysis completed to provide high quality, personalised feedback to enable them to make further progress.

Students are provided with vocabulary books for science where they record key definitions to aid a secure grasp of subject specific vocabulary. Throughout the course of each topic studied students are also engaged in the reading and comprehension of scientific articles to further develop vocabulary and to extend the learning beyond examination content.

 

Impact
We are proud of the success of our students in science to date as a result of our knowledge based curriculum and variety of teaching and learning strategies. Students are receiving an engaging, high quality science education both in lessons and outside of the classroom helping them to understand and appreciate how science has changed and shaped the world around us and how scientific research and discovery is essential for the future. We aim to encourage as many students as possible to pursue scientific study post GCSE through a variety of different pathways.

 

Science plan

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