The Key Stage 3 Science curriculum has been specifically designed to ensure students are ‘GCSE ready’ by the end of year 8. The topics and practical’s that are included as part of the curriculum, ensure students transition into year 9 equipped with the necessary foundation of scientific knowledge and practical skills.
The main topic areas that are studied as part of the Key Stage 3 Science curriculum include:
Each topic area studied is further sub-divided into 4 topics, with each topic having a specific set of concepts and keywords that students are expected to be able to understand and apply to a range of different contexts.
Assessment in Science across Key Stage 3 takes the form of ‘diagnostic assessments’. These are mini assessments, normally no longer than 30 minutes, given at the end of a topic. The diagnostic assessments are composed of a range of exam style questions and practical questions, used to allow the teacher to identify gaps in knowledge and understanding, which can then be closed following on from the assessment.
There are also 3 larger assessments planned into year 7 and year 8, taking place at the end of each term. These assessments will test a range of content and practical skills from across several topics.
Students following the Triple science course will obtain three separate qualifications in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Students study the science of living organisms (including animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms) and their interactions with each other and the environment. The study of biology involves collecting and interpreting information about the natural world to identify patterns and relate possible cause and effect.
Students will be helped to understand how, through the ideas of biology, the complex and diverse phenomena of the natural world can be described in terms of a small number of key ideas which are of universal application, and which can be illustrated in the separate topics.
These ideas include:
- life processes depend on molecules whose structure is related to their function
- the fundamental units of living organisms are cells, which may be part of highly adapted structures including tissues, organs and organ systems, enabling living processes to be performed effectively
- living organisms may form populations of single species, communities of many species and ecosystems, interacting with each other, with the environment and with humans in many different ways
- living organisms are interdependent and show adaptations to their environment
- life on Earth is dependent on photosynthesis in which green plants and algae trap light from the Sun to fix carbon dioxide and combine it with hydrogen from water to make organic compounds and oxygen
- organic compounds are used as fuels in cellular respiration to allow the other chemical reactions necessary for life
- the chemicals in ecosystems are continually cycling through the natural world
- the characteristics of a living organism are influenced by its genome and its interaction with the environment
- evolution occurs by a process of natural selection and accounts both for biodiversity and how organisms are all related to varying degrees
Students study the science of the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter, understood in terms of atoms, atomic particles and the way they are arranged and link together. Chemistry is concerned with the synthesis, formulation, analysis and characteristic properties of substances and materials of all kinds.
Students will be helped to appreciate the achievements of chemistry in showing how the complex and diverse phenomena of both the natural and man-made worlds can be described in terms of a small number of key ideas which are of universal application, and which can be illustrated in the separate topics.
These ideas include:
- matter is composed of tiny particles called atoms and there are about 100 different naturally occurring types of atoms called elements
- elements show periodic relationships in their chemical and physical properties
- these periodic properties can be explained in terms of the atomic structure of the elements
- atoms bond by either transferring electrons from one atom to another or by sharing electrons
- the shapes of molecules (groups of atoms bonded together) and the way giant structures are arranged is of great importance in terms of the way they behave
- there are barriers to reaction so reactions occur at different rates
- chemical reactions take place in only three different ways: proton transfer, electron transfer and electron sharing
- energy is conserved in chemical reactions so can therefore be neither created or destroyed
Students study the science of the fundamental concepts of field, force, radiation and particle structures, which are inter-linked to form unified models of the behaviour of the material universe. From such models, a wide range of ideas, from the broadest issue of the development of the universe over time to the numerous and detailed ways in which new technologies may be invented, have emerged.
Students will be helped to understand how, through the ideas of physics, the complex and diverse phenomena of the natural world can be described in terms of a small number of key ideas which are of universal application and which can be illustrated in the separate topics.
These ideas include:
- the use of models, as in the particle model of matter or the wave models of light and of sound
- the concept of cause and effect in explaining such links as those between force and acceleration, or between changes in atomic nuclei and radioactive emissions
- the phenomena of ‘action at a distance’ and the related concept of the field as the key to analysing electrical, magnetic and gravitational effects
- that differences, for example between pressures or temperatures or electrical potentials, are the drivers of change
- that proportionality, for example between weight and mass of an object or between force and extension in a spring, is an important aspect of many models in science
- that physical laws and models are expressed in mathematical form.