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Science isn’t only about new inventions, new technology and new medicines. Science is important because it satisfies our curiosity about the world we live in. It is the best way we know of to banish ignorance with knowledge. Nearly every aspect of human life has been changed by science: health, food, and war to name a few. Without science, there would be no computers, no internet, and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this! At the Science department at Alder we believe that every student has the right to gain an understanding of the importance of science and its relevance to their lives. We regard it as a privilege to be able share our passion for science with our students. The Science department comprises of 8 teachers (including our Head teacher and an Assistant Head teacher), and 2 experienced technicians. Each member of the department is incredibly dedicated and has a real passion for science.
At Key Stage 3 emphasis is placed on allowing students to explore for themselves. Students are given the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through a practical based scheme of work which places emphasis on the importance of analytical and critical scientific thinking. Classes are taught in ability sets. This facilitates effective differentiation and helps us to provide each student with a programme of study which reflects their individual needs. The scheme of work is split into the following individual topics:
Year 7: “Earth and Space”, “Why are We Different?”, “Be Reactive”, “What are Things Made Of?”, “Staying Alive”, “How Things Move” and “Using Energy”.
Year 8: “Magnets”, “Systems for Survival”, “What’s in a Reaction?”, “Light and Sound”, “Changing Earth”, “How We Stay Healthy”, “Heating and Cooling” and “How Living Things Interact”.
Year 9: “Are you Fit?”, “Energy and Conservation”, “Chemical Reactions”, “Earth and Space”, “Calculating Forces”, “Upsetting the Balance” and “Environmental Chemistry”.
Each topic has associated teaching software such as video clips, interactive roleplay activities, informative presentations, scene investigation activities and web links. We appreciate just how much students enjoy practical investigations and demonstrations, and include them in our lessons regularly. Students are provided with the opportunity to develop their ICT skills by using data logging equipment, voting handsets and the departmental suite of laptops.
At Key Stage 4 we offer a number of different courses. This enables us to provide every student with an option which is appropriate to their ability and aspirations.
The majority of students will study 2 Science GCSEs. GCSE students follow the Edexcel GCSE Science syllabus. They study Core Science in Year 10 and Additional Science in Year 11. The Core Science GCSE course places an emphasis on scientific literacy – the knowledge and understanding which students need to engage, as informed citizens, with science-based issues. The qualification uses contemporary, relevant contexts of interest to students.
Topics include: “Classification, variation and inheritance”, “Responses to a changing environment”, “The Earth’s sea and atmosphere”, “Acids”, “Obtaining and using metals”, “Fuels”, “Visible light and the solar system”, “The electromagnetic spectrum” and “Waves and the Earth”.
The Additional Science GCSE course is a concept-led course developed to meet the needs of students seeking a deeper understanding of basic scientific ideas. The course focuses on scientific explanations and models, and gives students an insight into how scientists develop scientific understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit.
Topics include: “The building blocks of cells”, “Organisms and energy”, “Common systems”, “Atomic structure and the periodic table”, “Ionic compounds and analysis”, “Chemical reactions”, “Static and current electricity”, “Motions and forces” and “Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion”.
The more able students are given the opportunity to study separate Science GCSEs. They can work towards separate Biology, Physics and Chemistry GCSE qualifications. Each provides an opportunity for further developing an understanding of science explanations, how science works and the study of elements of applied science, with particular relevance to professional scientists.
Topics covered include:
“Control systems”, “Behaviour”, “Biotechnology”, “Qualitative Analysis”, “Quantitative Analysis”, “Electrolytic processes”, “Gases, equilibria and ammonia”, “Organic chemistry”, “Radiation in treatment and medicine”, “X-rays and ECGs”, “Kinetic theory and gases” and “Motion of particles”.
The Science department is committed to raising attainment, and teachers use a number of strategies to achieve this goal. We use diverse teaching and learning techniques, offer revision booster classes for GCSE students prior to Year 10 and Year 11 terminal exams, regularly use praise, rewards and positive reinforcement and offer the following extra-curricular enrichment activities:
- Year 7 Extra-Curricular Science Club
- Year 7 and Year 8 entry into the National Salters’ Festival of Chemistry
- Year 10 nomination for the Salters’ Chemistry Camp
- Year 7 visit to Chester Zoo
- Year 7 Wild Roadshow visit
- Year 10 visit to “GCSE Science Live!” Event
- Year 8 Study Experience to Disneyland Resort Paris