The principal focus of Science teaching in Years 7 and 8 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:

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.

Year 9:

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.

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