Science Department

At St Columba’s we believe the study of science fires pupils’ curiosity about phenomena in the world around them and offers opportunities to find explanations.

At key stage 4 a range of different courses are offered to meet the needs of all pupils. These include;
• Triple science (GCSE Science, GCSE Additional Science & GCSE Further Additional Science)
• GCSE Science,
• Additional Science,
• Level 2 BTEC in Applied Science

By offering a variety of different courses we are able to engage learners at many levels, linking direct practical experience with scientific ideas.

From year seven pupils will learn how knowledge and understanding in science are rooted in evidence. They will discover how scientific ideas contribute to technological change – affecting industry, business and medicine and improving quality of life.

We hope to prepare pupils to question and discuss issues that may affect their own lives, the directions of societies and the future of the world.

Key Stage 3


Teachers have very high expectations of students and we aim to provide the best support and encouragement for our students. As teachers we are aware of students’ academic achievements and know their capabilities, we use this information to set personalised targets for each individual and are aware of how to set ambitious but achievable targets. We have a very good support system in place with the SEN department and staff often discuss lesson plans and activities with teaching assistants and HILTAs.

Numeracy & Mathematics

As science is a key subject in school life as well as outside school. We strongly believe in cross circular activities which is why you will find that numeracy is used a great deal in science. Graph work is undertaken, drawing and interpreting results tables, measuring and predicting rates of reactions are often used in science.

Literacy and vocabulary

Students are greatly encouraged to speak and write fluently in all aspects as this has been shown to improve their understanding of topics when revising but also encourages students to think more scientifically if they are constantly reminded of correct terminology and asked specific questions to stretch their vocabulary and understanding. By using vocabulary correctly during lessons it allows students to have open discussions and analyse ideas together, debate and discuss advantages and disadvantages to specific aspects, a skill that is very useful in exams. In a further attempt to support students during lesson extended writing exam questions are practiced and marked with students to demonstrate the level of written communication that is expected.

Year 7 – The following topics will be covered throughout the year
 Topic Areas covered in this topic Numeracy & Mathematics Literacy & Vocabulary
 Cells Cells
Flowering plants and pollination
Reproduction and fertility
Changes in puberty
How a foetus develops and what affects a developing foetus
Rate at which diffusion occurs.
Growth stages of a foetus
Stages of puberty
New terminology of cells and their uses.
Different parts of the reproduction system
Eating, drinking & breathing Healthy diet
Deficiencies diseases
Human digestive system
Bacteria and its role
Measuring breathing
Gas exchange
Measuring breathing rates during exercise and how this increases gas exchange and blood pressure Names of the different parts of the digestive system
How enzymes are used to assist in digestion
Mixing, dissolving and separating  Safety in the laboratory
Understanding water
Separating mixtures
Dissolving and evaporating
Extracting salt
Recording results to analyse ways to separate mixtures How particles change from one state to another under different conditions
Elements, compounds and reactions Periodic table
Elements and atoms
Metals and non-metals
Combining elements
Reactions of carbonates
Equations regarding the combining of elements
Recording results to show chemical reactions
New scientific terminology
Demonstrating the ability to complete word and symbol equations
Forces and their effects Discovering and measuring forces
Weight on other planets
Effects of forces
Stretch and compression
Hooke’s law
Air and water resistance
Forces and motion
Recording results from various practical activities
Calculate the effect different forces have on motion
Describe the different factors that must be considered when explaining how different forces act
Energy transfers and sound Energy transfers
Doing work
Measure different amounts of energy and explain their effects. Explain how energy transfer diagrams are applied to different situations
Use scientific skills and knowledge to explain how dynamos work
  Year 7 Learning Check lists – Click Here
Year 8 – The following topics will be covered throughout the year
Topic Areas covered in this topic Numeracy & Maths Literacy & vocabulary
Getting the energy your body needs Human skeleton
Anaerobic respiration
Aerobic respiration
Equations to show how energy is transferred
Record results from fermentation practical and interpret graphs
Develop knowledge of several bones in the human body and explain the role of muscles
Looking at plants and ecosystems  Plants
Food webs
Explain how the number of organisms in an environment influences a food chain/web Look at and explain how there is a connection to life- how what we do impacts where animals live, the population of animals and how we can help the environment
Explaining physical changes Solids, liquids and gases
Conserving mass
Physical and chemical changes
Properties of mixtures
Calculate any changes in mass
Explain the movement of molecules
Learn new terminology and be able to apply this knowledge to new situations
Explaining chemical changes  Acids
Acids reacting with metals and carbonates
Acid rain
Research how population increase is associated with climate change
Interpret different sources of information relating to changes in gas levels
Use word and symbol equations to demonstrate understanding of when and how different chemical reactions occur
Exploring contact and non-contact forces Magnets
Static charge
Electrostatic fields
Gravity on earth
Pressure calculations
Gas pressure
Pressure calculations
Explain how pressure changes with increasing depth
Use existing knowledge and apply this to new investigations and situations to explain how electrostatic fields influence magnets
Magnetism and electricity Magnets
Using electricity
Insulators and conductors
How magnets work
Electric circuits
Series and parallel circuits
Calculate the amount of current in a circuit
Record the changes in series and parallel circuits
Investigate how circuits work and how conductors and insulators influence these
Explain using scientific methods why particular aspects are seen in circuits
  Year 8 Learning Check lists – Click Here
Year 9 – The following topics will be covered throughout the year
Topic Areas covered in this topic Numeracy & Maths Literacy & Vocabulary
Variation for survival  Variation and classification
Survival of the fittest
Inside the nucleus
Inheritance / reproduction
Measuring the size of cells and explaining how microscopes increase the size of specimens Explain how everything we are comes from the information inside our cells
Describe and understand how variation develops and how this impacts on the environment
Our health and the effects of drugs Cigarettes and alcohol
Effects of drugs
Preventing and treating infection
Interpret numerical information relating to the number of diseases and treatments. Discuss and explain how dangerous drugs and alcohol can be as well as how useful drugs can be
Explain how drugs and alcohol can change personalities as well as health implications
Obtaining useful materials Metal ores
Reaction energy and catalysts
Special materials
Equations to explain the different types of reactions Describe the different processes that are required to extract metals
Using our earths sustainability  The atmosphere
Damage to earth’s resources/ combustion
The rock cycle/rocks
Record results of changes in different gas levels Looking at how our behaviour influences the earth’s resources
Discuss how the atmosphere has changed and is there any aspect we can change
Motion on earth and in space Forces in equilibrium
Gravitational fields and the motion of earth
Stars and galaxies / solar system
Calculate how gravity changes on different planets Explain and understand the changes that have occurred in the solar system
Describe how gravitational  fields influence that movement of earth
Waves and energy transfer Energy transfers
Energy in the home/ fuels
Water waves
Light waves/sound waves
Calculate angles that waves move in Identify different types of waves and explain the effect of each of these
Describe the difference between light and sound waves
  Year 9 Learning Check lists – Click Here

At key stage four (Yr 10/11) students will follow Edexcel’s GCSE Science 2011 or Edexcel BTEC Applied Science

Year 10 and 11 – Edexcel GCSE Science 2011 specifications
  GCSE Additional Science Specification – Click Here
  GCSE Biology Specification – Click Here
  GCSE Chemistry Specification – Click Here
  GCSE Physics Specification – Click Here
  GCSE Science Specification – Click Here
Year 10 and 11 – Edexcel GCSE Science 2011 past papers
   B1 – Biology Foundation – Click Here
   B1 – Biology Higher – Click Here
   C1 – Chemistry Foundation – Click Here
   C1 – Chemistry Higher – Click Here
   P1 – Physics Foundation – Click Here
   P1 – Physics Higher – Click Here
New GCSE Science course
  Combined Science – Click Here
  Biology – Click Here
  Chemistry – Click Here
  Physics – Click Here
  Combined Science sample exam material – Click Here
  Biology  sample exam material – Click Here
  Chemistry sample exam material – Click Here
  Physics sample exam material – Click Here
  Physics equation sheet – Click Here
  Science command words – Click Here

Last updated: February 22, 2017 at 8:42 am


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