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Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

Science is a set of ideas about the material world. We have included all the parts of what good science is : whether it be investigating, observing, experimenting or testing out ideas and thinking about them. The way scientific ideas flow through the curriculum will support you in building a deep understanding of science. We know this will involve talking about, reading and writing about science plus the actual doing, as well as representing science in its many forms both mathematically and visually through models.

In year 9 pupils study the AQA Combined Science Trilogy series. Our programme of study follows the National Curriculum guidelines that stretches and challenges students in addition to assisting their enquiring minds about how science works. We start our pupils on the GCSE specification at this time to expose the students to the content as early as possible. This gives students more time to familiarise themselves with the specific language and terminology required to get the marks in exams. This also encourages our students to pick up the practical skills quicker, and be more confident in the laboratories. As we start the course in year 9, this also provides an opportunity to complete the specification earlier in year 11, allowing ample revision time just before they sit their exams. 

Pupils start with the foundations of science 1B - Cell Biology, 1P - Energy, and 1C - Atomic structure and the periodic table. These topics build on the subject knowledge acquired in KS3 and goes into more depth about scientific principles and understanding. Throughout KS4 pupils complete end of topic tests, created by AQA themselves. As the GCSE science syllabus is 20% numeracy assessed, we have built into our programme of study, a wide range of numeracy focused skills such as plotting and interpreting graphs, calculating averages and percentages, and analysing data. Students also engage in a numeracy week; lessons focusing on the core AQA numeracy skills.We also have a huge literacy focus with 6 mark questions, and have created our own literacy booklet centred on the key areas of the science curriculum, that assist pupils with their understanding of the topic, and provide pupils with teacher based feedback to help them improve. 

In year 10 they continue to study the rest of the combined trilogy series and delve deeper into biology, chemistry and physics. Students are selected for Triple science and study some extra content based on the syllabus. There is a greater emphasis on practical work in year 10 with the 28 required practicals. Pupils are encouraged to think scientifically and we reinforce practical knowledge and understanding with the 6 mark literacy booklets. Pupils are tested at the end of each unit and are encouraged to use the revision guides suggested by the department. We have also created end of unit revision packs, with past paper questions for each unit, to further expose pupils to the specific terminology and language required in the exams. This familiarisation builds confidence in our students and also provides opportunities for pupils to discuss any misconceptions about the topic. 

In year 11 they continue with the programme of study at a more advanced level to provide some knowledge to advance students to KS5 sciences. We reinforce interleaving at year 11 by recapping content from the last two previous years with the year 9 literacy booklet, and our period 7 intervention once a week, focuses on this too. As we started the curriculum in year 9, our programme of study permits the half term before the GCSE examination period commences, to be used purely for revision. We feel this gives our students a solid foundation to succeed in their exams. 



unit overview - waves

Overview – 6 Waves Kerboodle chapter 12,13,14-AS


  • Use of various equations, students need to memorise, manipulate equations to solve problems.
  • Required practical activity 8: make observations to identify the suitability of apparatus to measure the frequency, wavelength and speed of waves in a ripple tank and waves in a solid and take appropriate measurements. AT skills covered by this practical activity: AT 4.
  • Required practical activity 9 (physics only): investigate the reflection of light by different types of surface and the refraction of light by different substances. AT skills covered by this practical activity: AT 4 and 8.
  • Required practical activity 10: investigate how the amount of infrared radiation absorbed or radiated by a surface depends on the nature of that surface. AT skills covered by this practical activity: AT 1 and 4.
  • AT1 Use of appropriate apparatus to make and record a range of measurements accurately, including length, area, mass, time, volume and temperature. Use of such measurements to determine densities of solid and liquid objects.
  • AT4 Making observations of waves in fluids and solids to identify the suitability of apparatus to measure speed/frequency/wavelength. Making observations of the effects of the interaction of electromagnetic waves with matter.
  • AT8 Making observations of waves in fluids and solids to identify the suitability of apparatus to measure the effects of the interaction of waves with matter.


  • Waves in air, fluids and solids
  • Reflection of waves (physics only)
  • Electromagnetic waves
  • Lenses (physics only)
  • Black body radiation (physics only)


Wave behaviour is common in both natural and man-made systems. Waves carry energy from one place to another and can also carry information. Designing comfortable and safe structures such as bridges, houses and music performance halls requires an understanding of mechanical waves. Modern technologies such as imaging and communication systems show how we can make the most of electromagnetic waves.

unit overview - rate & extent of chemical change

Overview – 6 The rate and extent of chemical change. Kerboodle chapter 8 - SB


  • Required practical activity 11: investigate how changes in concentration affect the rates of reactions by a method involving measuring the volume of a gas produced and a method involving a change in colour or turbidity
  • AT 1 Use of appropriate apparatus to make and record a range of measurements accurately, including mass, temperature, and volume of liquids and gases.
  • AT 3 Use of appropriate apparatus and techniques for conducting and monitoring chemical reactions.
  • AT 5 Making and recording of appropriate observations during chemical reactions including the measurement of rates of reaction by a variety of methods such as production of gas and colour change.
  • AT 6 Safe use and careful handling of gases, liquids and solids, including careful mixing of reagents under controlled conditions, using appropriate apparatus to explore chemical changes.
  • MS 4a Translate information between graphical and numeric form.
  • MS 4b Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship.
  • MS 4c Plot two variables from experimental or other data.
  • MS 4d Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph.
  • MS 4e Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change.


  • Rate of reaction
  • Reversible reactions and dynamic equilibrium


The rate and extent of chemical change

Chemical reactions can occur at vastly different rates. Whilst the reactivity of chemicals is a significant factor in how fast chemical reactions proceed, there are many variables that can be manipulated in order to speed them up or slow them down. Chemical reactions may also be reversible and therefore the effect of different variables needs to be established in order to identify how to maximise the yield of desired product. Understanding energy changes that accompany chemical reactions is important for this process. In industry, chemists and chemical engineers determine the effect of different variables on reaction rate and yield of product. Whilst there may be compromises to be made, they carry out optimisation processes to ensure that enough product is produced within a sufficient time, and in an energy-efficient way.

unit overview - Inheritance, variation and evolution

Overview – 6 Inheritance, variation and evolution. Kerboodle chapters 13,14 & 15 - AS


  • WS 1.2 Use a variety of models such as representational, spatial, descriptive, computational and mathematical to solve problems, make predictions and to develop scientific explanations and understanding of familiar and unfamiliar facts.
  • WS 1.1 Understand how scientific methods and theories develop over time.
  • WS 1.4 Explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
  • WS 1.3 Appreciate the power and limitations of science and consider any ethical issues which may arise.


  • Reproduction
  • Variation and evolution
  • The development of understanding of genetics and evolution
  • Classification of living organisms


In this section we will discover how the number of chromosomes are halved during meiosis and

then combined with new genes from the sexual partner to produce unique offspring. Gene

mutations occur continuously and on rare occasions can affect the functioning of the animal or plant. These mutations may be damaging and lead to a number of genetic disorders or death. Very rarely a new mutation can be beneficial and consequently, lead to increased fitness in the individual. Variation generated by mutations and sexual reproduction is the basis for natural selection; this is how species evolve. An understanding of these processes has allowed scientists to intervene through selective breeding to produce livestock with favoured characteristics. Once new varieties of plants or animals have been produced it is possible to clone individuals to produce larger numbers of identical individuals all carrying the favourable characteristic. Scientists discovered how to take genes from one species and introduce them in to the genome of another by a process called genetic engineering. In spite of the huge potential benefits that this technology can offer, genetic modification still remains highly controversial.

unit overview - ecology

Overview – 7 Ecology. Kerboodle chapters 16,17 &18 - AS


  • Required practical activity 9: measure the population size of a common species in a habitat. Use sampling techniques to investigate the effect of a factor on the distribution of this species. AT skills covered by this practical activity: AT 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8.
  • Required practical activity 10: investigate the effect of temperature on the rate of decay of fresh milk by measuring pH change. AT skills covered by this practical activity: AT 1, 3, 4 and 5.
  • AT 1 Use of appropriate apparatus to make and record a range of measurements accurately, including length, area, mass, time, temperature, volume of liquids and gases, and pH.
  • AT 3 Use of appropriate apparatus and techniques for the observation and measurement of biological changes and/or processes.
  • AT 4 Safe and ethical use of living organisms (plants or animals) to measure physiological functions and responses to the environment.
  • AT 5 Measurement of rates of reaction by a variety of methods including production of gas, uptake of water and colour change of indicator.
  • AT 6 Application of appropriate sampling techniques to investigate the distribution and abundance of organisms in an ecosystem via direct use in the field.
  • AT 8 (Biology only) Use of appropriate techniques and qualitative reagents to identify biological molecules and processes in more complex and problem-solving contexts including continuous sampling in an investigation.


  • Adaptations, interdependence and competition
  • Organisation of an ecosystem
  • Biodiversity and the effect of human interaction on ecosystems
  • Trophic levels in an ecosystem (biology only)
  • Food production (biology only)


The Sun is a source of energy that passes through ecosystems. Materials including carbon and

water are continually recycled by the living world, being released through respiration of animals, plants and  decomposing microorganisms and taken up by plants in photosynthesis. All species live in ecosystems composed of complex communities of animals and plants dependent on each other and that are adapted to particular conditions, both abiotic and biotic. These ecosystems provide essential services that support human life and continued development. In order to continue to benefit from these services humans need to engage with the environment in a sustainable way. In this section we will explore how humans are threatening biodiversity as well as the natural systems that support it. We will also consider some actions we need to take to ensure our future health, prosperity and well-being.

unit overview - Magnetism and Electromagnetism 

Overview – 7 Magnetism and Electromagnetism Kerboodle chapter 15-AS


  • Use of various equations, students need to memorise, manipulate equations to solve problems.
  • Students should be able to apply the equation for transformers which is given on the Physics equation sheet.
  • Students should be able to apply the equation F=BIL which is given on the Physics equation sheet.
  • Draw/interpret graphs of potential difference generated in the coil against time.(HT only)
  • Apply Flemings left hand rule (HT only)


  • Permanent and induced magnetism, magnetic forces and fields
  • The motor effect
  • Induced potential, transformers and the National Grid (physics only) (HT only)


Electromagnetic effects are used in a wide variety of devices. Engineers make use of the fact that a magnet moving in a coil can produce electric current and also that when current flows around a magnet it can produce movement. It means that systems that involve control or communications can take full advantage of this.

unit overview - organic chemistry

Overview – 7 Organic chemistry. Kerboodle chapter 9 - SB


  • WS 1.2 Make models of alkane molecules using the molecular modelling kits.
  • Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects.
  • Investigate the properties of different hydrocarbons.


  • Carbon compounds as fuels and feedstock
  • Reactions of alkenes and alcohols (chemistry only)
  • Synthetic and naturally occurring polymers (chemistry only)


Organic chemistry

The chemistry of carbon compounds is so important that it forms a separate branch of chemistry. A great variety of carbon compounds is possible because carbon atoms can form chains and rings linked by C-C bonds. This branch of chemistry gets its name from the fact that the main sources of organic compounds are living, or once-living materials from plants and animals. These sources include fossil fuels which are a major source of feedstock for the petrochemical industry. Chemists are able to take organic molecules and modify them in many ways to make new and useful materials such as polymers, pharmaceuticals, perfumes and flavourings, dyes and detergents

unit overview - chemical analysis

Overview – 8 Chemical analysis. Kerboodle chapter 12 - SB


  • Required practical activity 12: investigate how paper chromatography can be used to separate and tell the difference between coloured substances. Students should calculate Rf values.
  • AT 1 Use of appropriate apparatus to make and record a range of measurements accurately.
  • AT 4 Safe use of a range of equipment to purify and/or separate chemical mixtures including chromatography.
  • WS 2.4 Carry out experiments appropriately having due regard for the correct manipulation of apparatus, the accuracy of measurements and health and safety considerations.
  • WS 2.6 Make and record observations and measurements using a range of apparatus and methods.


  • Purity, formulations and chromatography
  • Identification of common gases
  • Identification of ions by chemical and spectroscopic means (chemistry only)


Chemical analysis

Analysts have developed a range of qualitative tests to detect specific chemicals. The tests are based on reactions that produce a gas with distinctive properties, or a colour change or an insoluble solid that appears as a precipitate. Instrumental methods provide fast, sensitive and accurate means of analysing chemicals, and are particularly useful when the amount of chemical being analysed is small. Forensic scientists and drug control scientists rely on such instrumental methods in their work

unit overview space

Overview – 8 Space TRIPLE ONLY Kerboodle chapter 16-AS


  • Use of various equations, students need to memorise, manipulate equations to solve problems.
  • use scientific theories and explanations to develop hypotheses.
  • evaluate methods and suggest possible improvements and further investigations.


  • Solar system; stability of orbital motions; satellites (physics only)
  • Red-shift (physics only)


Questions about where we are, and where we came from, have been asked for thousands of

years. In the past century, astronomers and astrophysicists have made remarkable progress in

understanding the scale and structure of the universe, its evolution and ours. New questions have emerged recently. ‘Dark matter’, which bends light and holds galaxies together but does not emit electromagnetic radiation, is everywhere – what is it? And what is causing the universe to expand ever faster?

unit overview - chemistry of the atmosphere

Overview – 9 Chemistry of the atmosphere. Kerboodle chapter 13 - SB


  • MS Ic To use ratios, fractions and percentages.
  • WS 1.2 An opportunity to show that aquatic plants produce oxygen in daylight.
  • WS 3.5 Interpret observations and other data (presented in verbal, diagrammatic, graphical, symbolic or numerical form), including identifying patterns and trends, making inferences and drawing conclusions.
  • WS 3.6 Present reasoned explanations including relating data to hypotheses.


  • The composition and evolution of the Earth's atmosphere
  • Carbon dioxide and methane as greenhouse gases
  • Common atmospheric pollutants and their source


Chemistry of the atmosphere

The Earth’s atmosphere is dynamic and forever changing. The causes of these changes are sometimes man-made and sometimes part of many natural cycles. Scientists use very complex software to predict weather and climate change as there are many variables that can influence this. The problems caused by increased levels of air pollutants require scientists and engineers to develop solutions that help to reduce the impact of human activity.

unit overview - using resources

Overview – 10 Using resources. Kerboodle chapter 14 - SB


  • Required practical activity 13: analysis and purification of water samples from different sources, including pH, dissolved solids and distillation.
  • AT 2 Safe use of appropriate heating devices and techniques including use of a Bunsen burner and a water bath or electric heater.
  • AT 3 use of appropriate apparatus and techniques for the measurement of pH in different situations.
  • AT 4 Safe use of a range of equipment to purify and/or separate chemical mixtures including evaporation, distillation.
  • WS 2.5 Recognise when to apply a knowledge of sampling techniques to ensure any samples collected are representative.
  • WS 2.6 Make and record observations and measurements using a range of apparatus and methods.
  • WS 2.7 Evaluate methods and suggest possible improvements and further investigations.
  • LCAs (Life Cycle Assessments) should be done as a comparison of the impact on the environment of the stages in the life of a product, and only quantified where data is readily available for energy, water, resources and wastes.
  • Interpret LCAs of materials or products given appropriate information.


  • Using the Earth's resources and obtaining potable water
  • Life cycle assessment and recycling


Using resources

Industries use the Earth’s natural resources to manufacture useful products. In order to operate sustainably, chemists seek to minimise the use of limited resources, use of energy, waste and environmental impact in the manufacture of these products. Chemists also aim to develop ways of disposing of products at the end of their useful life in ways that ensure that materials and stored energy are utilised. Pollution, disposal of waste products and changing land use has a significant effect on the environment, and environmental chemists study how human activity has affected the Earth’s natural cycles, and how damaging effects can be minimised.

knowledge organisers

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.