Learning

Science

The curriculum at Bluecoat Wollaton follows the seven curriculum aims set out across the Archway Learning Trust.  These ensure all students will:

  • Encourage an enjoyment of science, promote a natural curiosity and inspire a desire to explore the world around us
  • Build on prior knowledge
  • Contribute towards their personal, moral and cultural learning and development
  • Use evidence informed teaching to develop and embed core knowledge
  • Encourage independent research and learning
  • Provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for further study and lifelong learning
  • Expand knowledge and experience of career options and recent scientific developments

The science curriculum is set out and regarded as a five year journey that covers all three main aspects of science; Biological Processes, Chemical Reactions and Physical Phenomena.  It has been devised in conjunction with the Royal Societies of Biology & Chemistry and the Institute of Physics’ Big Questions principles.

The scheme of learning follows a sequence of knowledge and concepts that develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and the concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Students will be able to describe associated processes and key characteristics using common scientific language, technical terminology accurately and precisely. They should build up an extended specialist vocabulary through embedded use of knowledge organisers. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including collecting, presenting and analysing data.

Year 7

In Year 7 the simple and fundamental building blocks are developed with students learning about laboratory safety and using and labelling scientific equipment and the specialist vocabulary that accompanies the equipment.  Students enhance work done in primary looking at states of matter and how scientists use models to describe complex or abstract phenomena.   Work then turns to a biological focus looking at cells and the use of microscopes and magnification calculations as well as other key biological functions that power cells such as respiration.  Providing energy and different energy sources follows where students can make connections between the different aspects of science. Work on energy is then elaborated and explored further from a biological aspect looking towards human body systems and how energy is used in the body.  Finally students look at the macro and micro aspects of science to explore how atomic structure defines atoms and how the vast scales in space are overcome.

Year 8

In Year 8 students learn about the different components of electrical circuits and the principals of current. This is expanded to develop how electrical current can interact and be manipulated to create electromagnetic fields. Students then consolidate and expand on knowledge of the human body looking in particular at inheritance and variation.  Further refinement of knowledge allows students to develop their understanding of atoms & elements to further explore solutions, separating techniques as well as empirical formulae. The way in which forces interact provides students ample opportunity to enhance their mathematical skills and application to real everyday problems and situations.  Aspects of other biological organisms, namely plants, provide the vehicle in which students further expand their knowledge on biological functions such as photosynthesis and how plants play a key role in the production of food and also as an energy source. Students then look at chemical reactions in detail and the interaction between acid and alkali as well as other chemical reactions.

Year 9 science is a transition to the start of GCSE in which students study three hours of science a week taught by specialists. GCSE content is introduced whilst still building on and consolidating skills from previous years.

Year 9

In Year 9 Biology, students enhance their knowledge and understanding on health and disease.  They are taught about diseases, how they are transmitted and how the body’s natural defence mechanisms protect us from pathogens. Work on the process that new medicinal drugs undergo before being approved as treatment is taught before students learn about genetics and how this can be altered by mutations and genetic engineering. Work then turns to a science skills focus where we teach a series of lessons that enable students to hone their practical skills in preparation for their KS4 studies. The focus on Literacy in Science remains crucial as students develop their scientific vocabulary and are explicitly taught about exam command words enabling them to answer exam style questions with greater confidence. Students then commence a GCSE Biology topic in the summer term on Ecosystems. They are taught about abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem, the factors that plants and animals compete for and the importance of the carbon and nitrogen cycle in an ecosystem.

In Year 9 Chemistry, students learn about the structure of the atom and can identify the mass and atomic number for elements in the periodic table. Students are taught to describe the electronic configuration of elements and work then leads on to describing the properties of metals and non-metals with this knowledge used to identify trends in Group 1 and 7. This is followed by students being introduced to the pH scale and are taught about Acids and Alkalis. The work on writing chemical equations is reinforced through greater practice by writing neutralisation equations and for reactions of acids. Students then commence a GCSE Chemistry topic in the summer term on Bonding. They are taught about the structure and bonding of some molecules and compounds and are introduced to how Mendeleev’s arrangement of the periodic table was refined into the modern day periodic table.

In Year 9 Physics, students learn about waves and radiation. They are taught about light and how it is reflected by mirrors and can apply this knowledge to understanding that the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. They are further taught about how light enters the eye, how sound travels, and are provided with an introduction to electromagnetic waves and radiation. Work then turns to a Maths in Science focus where we teach students a series of lessons that enable students to refine their mathematical skills in preparation for their KS4 studies. Students are taught how to rearrange equations, calculate standard form and how to accurately draw and interpret a range of graphs. Students then commence a GCSE Physics topic in the summer term on The Particle Model. They are taught about the model of the atom and how it has changed over the years.

GCSE Science

Students follow the OCR Gateway A suite of Science courses. The specific course students will follow depends on a number of factors including performance during Year 9 and discussions with parents. All students have the opportunity to study ‘Combined Science’ whilst a number of students will be offered the choice of ‘Triple Science’.  In both routes, students will study all three Sciences; Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The route taken does not affect the chances of students being eligible to study A Level Sciences at post-16.

Assessment is by 6 examinations which cover the content below:

  • Biology: Cell-level systems, Scaling up, Organism-level systems, Community level-systems, Genes, inheritance and selection and Global challenges.
  • Chemistry: Particles, Elements, compounds and mixtures, Chemical reactions, Predicting and identifying reactions and products, Monitoring and Controlling chemical reactions and Global challenges.
  • Physics: Matter, Forces, Electricity, Magnetism and magnetic fields, Waves in matter, Radioactivity and Energy and Global challenges.

Year 10

Biology is the study of living organisms (including animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms) and their interactions with each other and the environment. Biology in Year 10 builds upon the key ideas that students will have previously studied to help them study the following aspects.

Work begins with cells as they are fundamental units of living organisms. Work then turns to microscopy where students examine cells and sub-cellular structures. Knowledge is elaborated on life processes and genetic material that is used as a code to make proteins. The importance of enzymes as proteins in biological metabolic processes such as respiration are explained. Students are encouraged to utilise prior knowledge to understand that life processes are dependent on photosynthesis & green plants. Cells transport systems and mechanisms is introduced and topics such as diffusion, osmosis and active transport are explored. Work on the role of stem cells that can divide, differentiate and become specialised to form tissues, organs and organ systems is elaborated and explored further from previous study. The role of the human nervous system and the significance of hormones as chemical messengers around the body are taught. Students then look at homeostasis and its crucial role to the regulation of internal environments.

Chemistry is the study 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. It is concerned with the synthesis, formulation, analysis and characteristic properties of substances and materials of all kinds.  Chemistry in Year 10 will focus on the following aspects.

Work begins with the particle model and its explanation of different states of matter. A simple particle model can be used to represent the arrangement of particles in the different states of matter and to explain observations during changes in state. Students are taught how elements can combine to make compounds.  The many methods of separating mixtures including filtration and crystallisation, distillation and chromatographic techniques are explored.  Students learn how to explain chemical reactions in terms of losing, gaining or sharing of electrons. The ability of an atom to lose, gain or share electrons depending on its atomic structure and the types of bonds formed. The fundamental skill of interpreting chemical equations, in symbolic terms, the overall change in a chemical reaction and use of Avogadro to use as the system of measuring the amount of a substance in moles is elaborated and explored further from previous study.  Students then learn about chemical reactions being classified according to changes at the atomic and molecular level including reduction, oxidation and neutralisation reactions.

Physics is the study 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. Physics in Year 10 will enable students to understand how, through the ideas of physics, the complex and diverse phenomena of the natural world can be described with a focus on the following aspects.

Work begins with the use of models, with an emphasis on the particle model of matter and how this has changed with scientific advances and understanding.  It then turns to changes of state and density before focusing on energy and temperature to specific heat capacity and specific latent heat. The concept of cause and effect in explaining the links between force and acceleration is explored. Newton’s three fundamental laws of motions which describe the motion of a body are taught. Students learn 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. Students then learn about electrical circuits and magnetic fields and this work is elaborated and explored further with links made to the uses of magnetism with some focus on motors, generators and transformers.

Year 11

Biology in Year 11 will allow students to further develop scientific knowledge and their conceptual understanding of biology. Work begins with the study of Ecosystems in which students learn to appreciate and understand that living organisms may form populations of single species, there are communities of many species and ecosystems, interacting with each other, with the environment and with humans in many different ways. These living organisms are interdependent and show adaptations to their environment and the chemicals in ecosystems are continually cycling through the natural world. Work then turns to students learning about how the characteristics of a living organism are influenced by its genome and its interaction with the environment. Students are taught that evolution occurs by a process of natural selection and accounts both for biodiversity and how organisms are all related to varying degrees. Students then learn about how to monitor and maintain health and disease. Following completion of the GCSE specification, a bespoke revision programme is tailored for individual classes upon mock examination analysis.

Chemistry in Year 11 extends on the fundamentals of knowledge that students will have acquired from prior study and in Year 10. Work begins with the study of predicting chemical reactions in which students learn that elements show periodic relationships in their chemical and physical properties and that these periodic properties can be explained in terms of the atomic structure of the elements. Work then turns to students understanding that there are barriers to reaction so reactions occur at different rates and different quantities of products are formed during theoretical yields and percentage yield and atom economy. Students are taught about controlling variables that affect the rate of reaction and equilibria. Students then learn about organic chemistry, the structure and reactions of alkanes, alkenes and alcohols before understanding polymers and linking this to pollution and the atmosphere. Following completion of the GCSE specification, a bespoke revision programme is tailored for individual classes upon mock examination analysis.

Physics in Year 11 extends on the fundamentals of knowledge that students will have acquired from prior study and in Year 10.  Work begins with the study of waves, light and sound. The concept of cause and effect in explaining such links as those between changes in atomic nuclei and radioactive emissions are explored. Teaching then elaborates on the uses and hazards of radiation with a focus on nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Work on energy then delves into energy stores and transfers, calculating power and efficiency. Students then learn about everyday motion with a focus on reaction time and thinking distance and braking and stopping distance before teaching energy sources and the generation and transfer of electricity through the National Grid. The work on energy is then elaborated and explored further from a focus on space with topics taught on the big bang, the solar system and satellites and orbits. Following completion of the GCSE specification, a bespoke revision programme is tailored for individual classes upon mock examination analysis.

Contact Us

Bluecoat Wollaton Academy
Sutton Passeys Crescent
Wollaton Park
Nottingham
NG8 1EA

E-mail: office@bluecoatwollaton.co.uk
Tel: 0115 900 7210

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