Welcome to the Science Department
Science is studied by all students at Noadswood, and we are very proud of the progress made by all of our students between year 7 and 11.
We aim to inspire our learners with a love of science and a desire to explain the world around them. Along with the subject content outlined in the national curriculum, students will develop their skills in predicting and theorising, problem solving, analysing data, and making conclusions. These skills are fundamental to becoming a confident scientist and are woven into our science curriculum from the very beginning. Pupils will experience a variety of practical and theory lessons, group work, creative and research tasks and discussion activities, to ensure every lesson is engaging and varied.
We believe that all students have the ability to thrive and make excellent progress in Science. We are committed to providing every pupil with a good grounding in scientific understanding and procedures, preparing them for any future scientific studies or providing a basis for analytical and investigative thought in their future careers.
During their first year of Science at Noadswood, students will be introduced to a range of new equipment, and be supported to become confident in using these effectively and safely. They will study 6 topics which build on their keystage 1 and 2 learning, to provide a sound understanding of the fundamental scientific concepts.
- Cells & reproduction. Pupils will label and explain the function of subcellular structures in both plant and animal cells. They will learn about human reproductive systems, and discuss the changes that happen during puberty. Pupils will also be introduced to microscopy, and we will start to develop their charting skills, with a particular emphasis on bar charts.
- Particles and Energy. Pupils will extend their knowledge of particle theory and changes of state, and be introduced to more challenging concepts such as diffusion and gas pressure. They will learn about energy stores and energy resources, and plan investigation such as the energy found in food. During this unit, they will begin to represent their results using line graphs
- Earth and Space. Pupils will identify and explain the structure of different rocks and understand the rock cycle. We will begin to discuss the environmental impact of human behaviours and how these may lead to environmental concerns such as global warming. They will also develop their understanding of the earths place in the solar system. Pupils will practice their charting skills picked up over the last 2 topics and begin to understand command words such as describe and explain.
- Forces, Motion and Pressure. This physics unit explains how forces can affect motion. Pupils will experience lots of practical work and will plan their own investigations. They will also learn to use equations for calculations such a speed and moments.
- Chemical reactions. This unit will teach student to recognise different chemical reactions such as endo and exothermic, combustion and thermal decomposition. It will also focus on reactions involving acids and alkalis. They will continue to develop their line graphing skills.
- Bioenergetics and Ecosystems. This Biology unit introduces key concepts such as photosynthesis, respiration and food chains. Students will also begin to consider variables when planning their investigations and will use terms such as independent, dependent and control variable.
In year 8 pupils will again study 6 topics, covering a mixture of Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics. Pupils will continue to develop their scientific knowledge whilst improving their scientific skills such as planning and conducting practical investigations and interpreting data to explain their results.
- The Human Body. Pupils will gain a deeper understanding of how the different systems of our body work including the skeletal system, breathing system and digestive system. Throughout this topic we will focus on ensuring pupils are confident with designing appropriate results tables.
- Elements, Compounds and Mixtures. This topic introduces students to the periodic table. They will define and recognise elements, compounds and mixtures, and research how these were discovered and arranged in the periodic table. Along with their research and presentation skills, students will develop their understanding of ‘reading’ and using line graphs.
- Metals and Materials. During this chemistry topic pupils will learn about the reactions of metals with oxygen, water, acids and other metals. They will also look at polymers and plastics. There will also be an emphasis on using word equations to represent reactions.
- Sound and Light. Pupils will discuss sound and light waves and compare their structure and properties. They will also look at how the eye and ear are designed to receive these. They will also develop their understanding of how different types of charts are used in science e.g. pie charts
- Electricity and Magnetism. During this topic pupils will build electrical circuits and electromagnets and will investigate what affects them. They will also learn to interpret and make conclusions from data in tables.
- Inheritance and Health. During the last biology unit of year 8, pupils will discuss how we inherit characteristics from our parents and the theory of evolution. They will also look at how our health is affected by drugs, smoking and alcohol. They will further develop their research and graph interpretation skills.
Pupils begin year 9 by studying 2 units which are designed to reinforce and extend the skills established in years 7 and 8. Ensuring a good grounding in these skills is critical to GCSE success. These range from fundamental skills such as graphing and calculating averages, to more ambitious content such as converting units and rearranging equations. During these skills lessons, pupils will also recap the major content areas from the previous 2 years.
Pupils then continue to extend their knowledge of these key concepts by revisiting the topics of cells, atoms and particles and energy. We see these as the most important building blocks of knowledge for GCSE.
In Biology, pupils will reinforce their knowledge of cells from year 7 and will extend this to include prokaryotic cell structures. They will also learn about how substances move in and out of cells and where these processes are important in the body. They then use this new information to extend their human body learning from year 8 to look at systems such as the circulatory system and digestive system in detail.
In Physics, pupils develop their understanding of particles in matter. They will use their previous knowledge of how particles are arranged and move in different states of matter, to explain concepts such as density, latent heat and gas pressure. They will take a more in depth look at energy including energy resources and comparing energy resources such and nuclear and fossil fuels. They will also use their skills from the prevision units to begin using complex calculations such as Kinetic energy and efficiency. Students will then build on their understanding of energy to look at electricity in more detail. They will investigate how electricity behaves in circuits, and how we use electricity in our homes.
In Chemistry, we introduce the fundamentals of atoms. A sound understanding of atomic structure is crucial to much of the learning in both Chemistry and Physics. Students will also become more familiar with the periodic table and how to use this to underpin their knowledge of atoms. Pupils will then use this information to explain how atoms bond to form compounds.
During Biology in year 10, pupils will expand their knowledge of prokaryotic cells even further and look at how these can invade organisms and how the human body will respond to a pathogen infection. They will also look at subcellular structures and their functions in more detail e.g. the process photosynthesis happening in the chloroplasts and respiration happening in the mitochondria. This knowledge is then used to explain how energy moves through foods chains from producers to consumers. Within this topic we will also discuss how we can sample organisms in a population, and how human activities can affect ecosystems.
In Chemistry, pupils will continue to learn about atoms. They will look at how atoms bond together into compounds and complete calculations such as working out the relative mass of a compound. They will look at reactions between elements and compounds for example the reactions of metals with acids and oxygen. They will also investigate the energy changes within these reactions, how quickly these reactions happen, and how this rate of a reaction can be altered. Again, we will discuss how our use of reactions such as combustion affect our environment and atmosphere, and how we can manage these effects using processes such as recycling and life cycle assessments.
The Physics topics studied in year 10 look at atoms from a physics perspective. They look at the history of our understanding of atomic structure, and use their Chemistry knowledge of atoms to explain radioactivity and it uses and safety. They then go on to extend their previous learning of forces and Magnetism and continue to use their skills in using equations.
Year 11 students complete their Biology studies by looking at control within the human body. This includes work around hormones, nerves and genetics. They will then expand their understanding of genetics to look at evolution and concepts such as selective breeding and genetic engineering.
In Chemistry they will use all their prior learning to look at organic chemistry, including how oil is formed, refined and used. They will also learn how to identify different substances using methods such as chromatography.
Their final Physic units will cover waves including comparisons of their properties and uses. Students will continue to use equations to make calculations and become more familiar with the equations they will be asked to recall in the exam.
Throughout all years, but particularly year 11, there will be many opportunities for students to practice and become confident in their revision and exam skills. Teachers will support this in class and also with homework. When all the new material is covered, students will continue to practice both the content and skills in guided and resourced exam preparation lessons.