Sciences

The principal focus of Science teaching in Years 7, 8 and 9 is to develop a deeper understanding of a range of scientific ideas in the subject disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Pupils should begin to see the connections between these subject areas and become aware of some of the big ideas underpinning scientific knowledge and understanding. Examples of these big ideas are the links between structure and function in living organisms, the particulate model as the key to understanding the properties and interactions of matter in all its forms, and the resources and means of transfer of energy as key determinants of all of these interactions.

At Oakwood Park Grammar School, students are encouraged to relate scientific explanations to phenomena in the world around them and to start to use modelling and abstract ideas to develop and evaluate explanations. The Science disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught as separate modules as detailed below:

Foundation Years

Year 7:

Biology 1: Foundations: Life processes, cells and enzymes

Chemistry 1: Matter: States of matter, particle theory, separating mixtures

Physics 1: Forces: Introduction to forces, Hooke’s Law, speed, motion graphs

 

Biology 2: Health and Reproduction: The skeletal system, pathogens, sexual reproduction in plants and animals

Chemistry 2: Matter part 2: Atoms, elements, compounds, acids and bases

Physics 2: Energy: Waves, sound, light and the solar system

 

Year 8:

Biology 3: Bioenergetics: The heart, respiration, photosynthesis, transpiration, the immune response

Chemistry 3: Reactions: Chemical equations, reactions of metals, the Periodic Table, reactivity series

Physics 3: Energy: Energy transfer, power, work, energy efficiency, electromagnetic spectrum

 

Biology 4: Variation and the Environment: Genetics, feeding relationships, sampling, pollution, conservation

Chemistry 4: The Earth and its resources: The rock cycle, water cycle, carbon cycle, fossil fuels

Physics 4: Electricity and Space: Electrical circuits, electromagnets, motors, the solar system, detecting alien life

We organise focused enrichment activities to help to support students’ learning and engagement, including a Space Camp day, a Hogwarts Day, a regular Science Club, a Robot Club and opportunities for external challenges, such as CREST Awards.

External trips that run during Year 7 and 8 include visits to Canterbury University for a STEM at Work Day, the Big Bang Fair, a visiting planetarium, and collaborative STEM challenge days where students compete against other local schools. We have even borrowed moon rocks from the Apollo Moon Missions, and all of our students have had the opportunity to study and handle moon rocks directly.

Assessment takes place termly, in the format of an end of topic test for each individual module.

Keystone Year

In Year 9, Science is taught as separate subjects by specialist staff. Students complete a Foundation Year in preparation for their GCSE options. Decisions to take either Trilogy (Double) Science or Triple Separate Sciences are made by students later in Year 9. Students are tested after each topic and are also assessed in Term 4 to determine progress.

Topics covered in Year 9 include:

Biology: Cells, mitosis, transport, health and disease and bioenergetics.

Chemistry: Atomic structure, bonding, the periodic table, chemical analysis, rates of reaction.

Physics: Electricity, energy, forces and Space.

Enrichment activities in Year 9 include a trip to Thorpe Park as part of their Physics unit on forces and motion.

The focus for our Year 7 to 9 Science provision is to prepare students for the challenge of the AQA GCSE Syllabus. To this end, the expectations of scientific literacy map directly against those of the GCSE syllabi, with an increased focus on mathematical skills, tables, graphs and experimental analysis.

GCSE

Biology

Biology is the science of life: the study of living things and how they relate to other life forms and their external environment. It also deals with what can go wrong and how such problems may be corrected or treated. It concerns itself with feeding the world and keeping life and the Earth healthy. It probably covers more ‘-ologies’ than any other field of study.  Biology in years 7 and 8 is taught as part of the Science curriculum.

Throughout Key Stage 4 we intend to build upon the knowledge and skills delivered in the previous Key Stage.  We will master core concepts such as; transport into and out of cells, respiration and photosynthesis.  We will stretch students beyond the exam specification to broaden their understanding, allowing a greater ability to apply knowledge and help them draw vital synoptic links between Biology topics and beyond into the other Sciences.  Thinking hard methodology is integrated into our schemes to foster resilience in our students.  Practical work is core to develop investigative, analysis and evaluative skills along will illustrating more abstract concepts. Links are drawn to real life and current news stories to maintain engagement and encourage uptake of further STEM studies and careers.

Students are also required to take part in a number of required practical activities during the course.  Although these are not formally assessed there may be questions on these practical activities in the examination papers. Throughout the course, progress will be monitored through both formative and summative methods. These include the quality and standard of written work in class and homework, test results, contributions to class discussions and how practical work is implemented and analysed.

Students will receive a target sheet for each topic studied along with a homework booklet.  Homework includes the use of the app Educake to assess understanding and recall along with structured examination questions to help develop application skills.

This course provides an excellent basis for the studying of Biology at A level.  Studying Biology can lead to a wealth of future apprentice, degree and employment options including medicine, dentistry, environmental science and accountancy.

GCSE

Exam Board and Subject Content

All students follow AQA Biology

Year 10

  • Cell Biology
  • Organisation
  • Infection and response
  • Bioenergetics
  • Homeostasis and response
  • Inheritance and variation
  • Evolution
  • Ecology

 

Year 11

  • Triple content from the topics listed above for year 10 including; culturing microorganisms, advantages and disadvantages of sexual and asexual reproduction and global food security.

Assessment consists of two written papers, each 1hr 45mins in length, formed from multiple choice and structured and extended responses with a strong emphasis on application, practical skills and 10% maths.

Paper 1 covers the first 4 topics, paper 2 the last four.  Key ideas are assessed in both papers.

Chemistry

Chemistry allows you to begin to understand the properties of matter and how new substances can be made through chemical reactions. Studying GCSE Chemistry gives us a glimpse at the potential new chemicals can offer humanity, whether these are new materials with specifically designed properties or therapeutic drugs. Chemistry is the servant of mankind. It has provided brilliant and elegant solutions to a range of problems that face the world today.

The scheme has been designed with a coherent pathway through each topic, with a focus on inclusion to ensure a fun and accessible scheme for all students. There is a focus on mastery of key maths skills including percentage yield, rearranging equations, tables, and graphs.  The scheme has been designed to ensure consistency, promoting ownership of learning and sharing ideas or knowledge of the wider world and careers.

We intend to build upon the knowledge and skills developed in previous years.  We master core concepts and patterns of the periodic table and atomic structure in our topic ‘The building blocks of chemistry’ and we incorporate calculations throughout the scheme of work rather than as a stand-alone topic.  This allows students to see the relevance of the calculations and how they are used in industry.

Exam Board and Subject Content

All students follow AQA Chemistry (First examination 2018)

Year 10 study comprises

  • Building blocks of Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere
  • Chemical Analysis
  • Acid Reactions

Year 11

  • The rate and extent of chemical changes
  • Electrolysis
  • Energy changes
  • Using the Earth’s resources

How the course will be examined:

Our GCSE exams in Chemistry include questions that allow students to demonstrate:

  • their knowledge and understanding of the content developed in one section or topic, including the associated mathematical and practical skills.
  • their ability to apply mathematical and practical skills to areas of content they are not normally developed in.
  • their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge and understanding within one answer.
Paper Length of exam Maximum raw mark Topics covered
1 1 hour 45 minutes 100 Topics 1-5

1.      Atomic structure and the periodic table

2.      Bonding, structure and the properties of matter

3.      Quantitative chemistry

4.      Chemical changes

5.      Energy changes

2 1 hour 45 minutes 100 Topics 6-10

6.      The rate and extent of chemical changes

7.      Organic chemistry

8.      Chemical analysis

9.      Chemistry of the atmosphere

10.   Using resources

Physics

Physics is a set of ideas about the material world. We have included all the parts of what good Physics is at GCSE level: whether it be investigating, observing, experimenting or testing out ideas and thinking about them. The way scientific ideas flow through the curriculum will support pupils in building a deep understanding of Physics. This involves talking about, reading and writing about Physics plus the actual doing, as well as representing Physics in its many forms both mathematically and visually through models.

 

This curriculum encourages the development of knowledge and understanding in Physics through opportunities for working scientifically. Working scientifically is the sum of all the activities that scientists do. We feel it is so important that we have woven it throughout our curriculum and modular assessments.

Exam Board – AQA (specification: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/physics-8463)

Students are completing the AQA GCSE Physics course. This is made up of 8 units covering Energy, Electricity, Particle Model of Matter, Atomic Structure, Forces, Waves, Electromagnetism and Space. Assessment consists of two (higher tier) one hour and forty-five minute papers, each contributing 50% to the final GCSE Physics grade.

All students are enrolled into Isaac Physics learning platform, created by Physics Professors at Cambridge University to provide challenging problem solving experience.

The enrichment program varies depending upon booking possibilities, but in recent years students have visited Herstmonceux Observatory as well as having focussed practical skill building days to support exam performance.

Year 10

In Year 10 pupils learn fundamental topics on Energy, Electricity, the Particle Model of Matter and Radioactivity.

Key practicals – Measuring the specific heat capacity of aluminium, Investigating factors affecting insulation, understanding circuit behaviour and component behaviour, how to calculate density, boyle’s law, half-life of protactinium.

Year 11

Pupils get mathematical when considering forces and the opportunity to study the more abstract nature of waves. Later in Year 11, pupils study the principles of electromagnetism that underpin the workings of the modern technological world and finish by beginning studying the fascinating and wondrous contents of the universe.

Key practicals – Investigating forces and acceleration, measuring the speed of waves, investigating reflection and refraction, investigating the motor effect and building model motors.

A Level

Biology

Biology is the study of living organisms and the processes that make life possible.  A Biology A level provides an excellent foundation for a number of both science and non-science related careers from physiotherapy to teaching, medicine to accountancy. Our OCR course builds upon the breadth studied at GCSE and delves to deeper depths of understanding.  This is a linear course that aims to create independent learners prepared for university or employment with developed organisation and note taking skills. Additionally, learners are able to research and reference various sources, draw judged conclusions and are competent in fundamental techniques in Biology including serial dilutions, colourimetry and aseptic technique.

Throughout the course we cover; life skills, such as how vaccinations improve health and the impact of lifestyle on health, new technologies such as gene therapy and evaluate their use, how medicines can improve quality of life such as through transplantations and the impact of humans on the biosphere.

A Level

Exam Board and Subject Content

OCR Advanced GCE in Biology A  –  H420

Content overview;

The content is split into six teaching modules:

  • 1 – Development of practical skills in Biology
  • 2 – Foundations in Biology
  • 3 – Exchange and transport
  • 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease
  • 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy
  • 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

Practical endorsement in Biology – Practical skills are embedded within the learning outcomes of the course to encourage practical activities in the classroom. These contribute to achievement of the Practical Endorsement as well as enhancing learners’ understanding of biology theory and practical skills.. A minimum of 12 practical’s are completed from 12 skill areas.  These include dissections, fieldwork, chromatography, a research article and microscope use.  Skills assessed across most practical areas include the ability to follow instructions, present work in a scientific way and maintain safe working practices. Students are also assessed on their ability to plan repeatable and reliable methods.  Practical Endorsement is reported separately.

Our students attend two fieldwork days at Wildwood and Botany Bay where they learn about wildlife management and can practice sampling skills.

Students are assessed throughout the course with end of topic tests based on passed exam questions.  We use official mark schemes and feedback (written or oral) to students to enhance their understanding of the depth and accuracy required. They are graded to inform students and parents on academic progress.  We aim to identify areas for mastery.  Students are also set regular exam questions as homework to help develop their understanding and application skills.

Assessment consists of three written papers consisting of multiple choice and structured and extended responses covering both recall and application along with practical skills and 10% maths.

Paper 1 is 37% of the final grade, 2hrs 15 mins, covering topics 1,2, 3 and 5 .

Paper 2 is as paper 1 but covers topics 1,2, 4 and 6.

Paper 3 is 26% of the final grade, 1hr 30mins, covering all 6 topics.

Chemistry

A Level Chemistry will give you an exciting insight into the contemporary world of Chemistry. It covers the key concepts of chemistry and practical skills are integrated throughout the course. The basic concepts such as the structure of the atom; the interaction of matter and energy; how to control reactions; patterns in the Periodic Table; understanding carbon-based molecules, thus building on work from GCSE Chemistry.

Chemistry is a practical subject, and the development of practical skills is fundamental to understanding the nature of Chemistry. We give our students many opportunities to develop the fundamental skills needed to collect and analyse empirical data. Skills in planning, implementing, analysing, and evaluating will be developed throughout the course.

Exam Board and Subject Content

OCR Advanced GCE in Chemistry A            H432

Content overview:

The content is split into six teaching modules:

  • Development of practical skills in chemistry
  • Foundations in chemistry
  • Periodic table and energy
  • Core organic
  • Physical chemistry and transition elements
  • Organic chemistry and analysis

Practical endorsement in Chemistry: These are embedded within the learning outcome of the course to encourage practical activities in the classroom which contributes to achievement of the Practical Endorsement as well as enhance learners’ understanding of chemical theory and practical skills.

How the course will be examined:

Topic Assessment % of grade
Periodic table,

elements and

physical chemistry

100 marks

2 hours 15 minutes written paper

37% of total A level
Synthetic and Analytical techniques 100 marks

2 hour 15 minutes

Written paper

37% of total A level
Unified chemistry 70 marks

1 hour 30 minutes

written paper

26%

of total A level

Practical

endorsement in

chemistry

Pass/Fail 0
Physics

Exam Board – OCR A (specification https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/171726-specification-accredited-a-level-gce-physics-a-h556.pdf )

Choosing an A-level in Physics will open the door to many opportunities. On this course students will develop skills that can be transferred to just about any area of work, from setting up a business to saving the planet. Learning to think like a physicist will not only help those who intend to become one but will help the others develop the skills to get to the root of any problem and draw connections that are not obvious to others.

Our A-level Physics Curriculum is a mixture of highly conceptual thinking and very practical applications. Students will think about abstract ideas such as fields, but then must develop their understanding to be able to apply those concepts to how, for instance, electric motors work.

The practical work undertaken in our curriculum fully complements the concepts studied and helps to develop laboratory skills. Developing their competence in the use of a variety of equipment helps to ensure the collection of accurate data. At the same time, experimental work also requires students to be precise in recording their observations and disciplined in the layout and analysis of the data. Students will also develop their written communication skills as they draw conclusions from evidence and explain their ideas.

Physics is a highly respected subject and a good grade at A-level is valuable whether the young person continues to Higher Education or seeks employment after their course. A-level Physics will help students to build up mathematical, problem solving, research, and analytical skills. With these skills they will be able to test out new ideas plus question and investigate other people’s theories, which is useful for any kind of job that involves research or debate.

This is a linear course which will be assessed at the end of two years of study. The course is designed with a focus on being relevant to real world experiences and to prepare students for future studies in science or engineering.

Year 12

 

Year 13

 

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in physics
Module 2 – Foundations of physics
Module 3 – Forces and motion Module 5 – Newtonian world and astrophysics
Module 4 – Electrons, waves and photons Module 6 – Particles and medical physics

 

Enrichment Opportunities

  • Opportunities to attend Physics in Action day at UCL and workshops run by the Rutherford Physics
  • Partnership
  • Participation in the Oxford Physics Olympiad
  • Trips to: Maidstone Oncology Department, JET Fusion, the Diamond Light Source, CERN Geneva
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