Key Stage 3 – Science
AIMS AND PURPOSES OF SCIENCE
The principal focus of science teaching in the national curriculum at key stage 3 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.
- Pupils should understand that science is about working objectively, modifying explanations to take account of new evidence and ideas and subjecting results to peer review.
- Pupils should decide on the appropriate type of scientific enquiry to undertake to answer their own questions and develop a deeper understanding of factors to be taken into account when collecting, recording and processing data. They should evaluate their results and identify further questions arising from them.
- Pupils should develop their use of scientific vocabulary, including the use of scientific nomenclature and units and mathematical representations.
Content of the WES Science Course
WES follows the AQA KS3 Science Syllabus which been designed to equip students for success at GCSE, promoting teaching for understanding. There are 10 big ideas covered across the 3 years: Forces, Electromagnetism, Energy, Waves, Matter, Reactions, Earth, Organisms, Ecosystems and Genes. The big ideas principle puts connecting concepts at the heart of the syllabus, seeking to provide students with the understanding to apply their knowledge to unfamiliar contexts.
Students are assessed on their mastery of a topic – gaining a secure understanding of the big ideas. This involves both ‘knowing’ the concepts and skills and ‘applying’ – being able to use the knowledge flexibly across different situations. The assessment model uses GCSE command words, and includes extended writing tasks and maths and practical skills throughout.
WES science lessons have two aspects to them: content and process. Process includes the ‘working scientifically’ aspect of the KS3 curriculum and this is divided into four areas:
- Analyse, consisting of presenting data, analysing patterns, drawing conclusions and discussing limitations
- Communicate, consisting of constructing explanations, communicating ideas, critiquing claims and justifying opinions
- Enquire, consisting of devising questions, testing hypotheses, planning to control variables and collecting data
- Solve, consisting of estimating risks, examining consequences, interrogating sources and understanding how scientific ideas change over time.
The lessons are packed full of fun activities, practicals, quizzes and questions to spark students’ interest in science. In Years 7, 8 and 9, students will use core textbooks, worksheets and extra reference resources.
The big ideas listed below are taught in a spiral curriculum so that each big idea will be looked at twice over the three years. The first two sub-sections are studied in Years 7-8 and the second sub-sections in Years 8-9:
Metals and non-metals
Acids and alkalis
Types of reaction
Voltage and resistance
Heating and cooling