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Science

subject overview

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.

unit overview - autumn term 

Year 8 Autumn 1 Overview Respiration and diseases 

Skills

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Respiration and exercise

  • Variables- Independent, dependent, control
  • Numeracy -Calculating mean, mode median.  Calculating percentage (percentage change). Rearranging formulas using triangles.

Growing bacteria

  • Risk assessment- Risk, hazard, prevention, action.
  • Method- plan written as a set of instructions- Firstly, secondly, subsequently, finally.
  • Conclusion- PEEL-Point, Evidence, Explain, Link.

Knowledge

  1. Aerobic and anaerobic respiration in living organisms.
  2. Communicable and non-communicable diseases.
  3. The role of vaccines.
  4. Benign and malignant tumours.
  5. The effects of using recreational drugs

Rationale

This topic is required for GCSE. Learners need to understand that being healthy is a state of mental wellbeing and factors including diet, stress and lifestyle situations such as the use of recreational drugs, may have a profound effect on both physical and mental health.  Learners will also have the opportunity to learn about the various methods of stopping the spread of communicable diseases.

The fight against recreational use of drugs is constantly evolving. Whether a hard-working journalist like Michael Gove enjoys dabbling with cocaine or a young person views Cannabis misuse as recreational, drug use affects all strata of society. A BBC report on the attitude towards Cannabis states that in many countries, the move towards legalisation started with a softening of public attitudes. In the US and Canada, images of sick children being denied potentially life-changing medicines had a tremendous impact on public opinion - a concern that brought forward legalisation for medical purposes.

The purpose of this unit is to present the scientific facts, but it might also be a worthwhile time to introduce the topic of medical ethics and discuss different viewpoints. Communicable disease such as Ebola or STD are never far from headlines. The WHO organisation has produced resources to raise awareness https://www.who.int/. Another incident that captured the imagination was the case of the Zika virus in Brazil and birth defects. Students should have an opportunity to explore such cases and the underlying science.

unit overview - autumn 2

Year 8 Autumn 2 Overview –Electricity and Magnetism

Skills

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Building circuits.

  • Scientific terminology- Use scientific vocabulary, terminology and definitions, see command words and subject specific words
  • Diagrams- 2d labelled pictures with a pencil and ruler
  • Conclusion- PEEL-Point, Evidence, Explain, Link

Wiring a plug.

  • Diagrams- 2d labelled pictures with a pencil and ruler
  • Risk assessment- Risk, hazard, prevention, action
  • Electromagnet investigation
  • Hypothesis- prediction with a reason
  • Variables- Independent, dependent, control
  • Practical skills- working sensibly and contributing to the group.

Knowledge

  1. What is electricity?
  2. Static electricity
  3. Building a simple series and parallel circuits
  4. Measuring current and voltage (units of)
  5. Difference between AC/DC, mains electricity as 230v AC 50Hz
  6. Plugs and fuses
  7. Electricity bills
  8. Magnetism rule
  9. Electromagnets, factors affecting
  10. Motors

Rationale

Students cover Electrical circuits, Electricity in the home, Magnetism and Electromagnetism for GCSE physics.

We use electricity in our everyday lives but the majority of people fail to understand how it all works. It is a difficult concept and students do struggle to understand basic circuits. In this topic students will start with the question, what is electricity and build on this with practical’s involving building simple circuits.

This topic will give students the opportunity understand how some appliances work. They will learn how to wire a plug and change a fuse- a simple exercise that some adults find difficult.

“Most people do not understand their bills”. OFGEM report people look at bills and get confused. They are introducing a number of reforms to make bills simpler, clearer and fair. Students will look at an electricity bill and various tariffs to make an informed decision about whether to stick or change energy supplier.

For the practical students will investigate electromagnets. Electromagnets are used in a variety of appliances, the motor in particular is a common component used in washing machines, hair driers, clocks, etc. Students will look at how the motor works and the factors affecting its function.

unit overview - spring 1

Year 8 Spring 1 Overview –Periodic table 

Skills

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Group 1 Demo

  • Risk assessment- Risk, hazard, prevention, action
  • Conclusion- PEEL-Point, Evidence, Explain, Link

Displacement reactions of group 7

  • Risk assessment- Risk, hazard, prevention, action
  • Evaluation- compare results to other groups and suggest improvements.  Evaluate risks both in the wider societal context, including consequences.
  • (Are the results valid, repeatable, reproducible)

Knowledge

  1. Knowledge of groups in the periodic table:
    1. Groups, periods, metals and non-metals
    2. How to predict reactions using the periodic table
    3. Properties of metals and non-metals
  2. Understand how elements have been classified historically
  3. Read the extract “Why we sleep” by Matthew Walker p220 about Mendeleev and his periodic table.
  4. Understand trends in group 1, group 7 and group 8

Rationale

Students will require this knowledge to understand the structure of the Periodic Table of elements, not only as an important discovery in the advancement of Chemistry but also as vital to classification of elements. Students can also learn how scientific ideas evolve over time: from the early efforts of the Greeks to classify material to the work of Newland and his Octaves. The impact on society is felt by the discovery of new materials and whether or not all the elements have been discovered now.

Everyday use of these elements in jewellery as well as elements found in drinking water should keep the students engaged in the topic. For example, there has been concern for many years over the levels of the heavy metal arsenic in the water in Bangladesh. A report by Human Right’s Watch in 2016 states that the Bangladesh government is failing to adequately respond to naturally occurring arsenic in drinking water across large areas of rural Bangladesh. Approximately 20 years after initially coming to international attention, an estimated 20 million people in Bangladesh – mostly rural poor – still drink water contaminated over the national standard.  The issues are not restricted to the developing world with recent concerns over levels of lead in Lake Flint in Michigan. Both cases highlight the need for consumer awareness and the impact of elements on our lives.

unit overview - spring 2

Year 8 Spring 2 Overview –Variation and Ecology 

Skills

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Quadrats

  • Equipment- justify choice.(Naming and handling the apparatus, drawing accurately).
  • Practical skills- working sensibly and contributing to the group.
  • Numeracy -Calculating mean, mode median.  Calculating percentage (percentage change). Rearranging formulas using triangles.

DNA from KIWI fruit

  • Scientific terminology- Use scientific vocabulary, terminology and definitions, see command words and subject specific words.
  • Method- plan written as a set of instructions- Firstly, secondly, subsequently, finally
  • Conclusion- PEEL-Point, Evidence, Explain, Link.

Knowledge

  • Continuous and discontinuous variation.
  • A simple model of DNA, genes and chromosomes. How models have been historically used to draw conclusions.
  • The interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem. How organisms interact in food webs.
  • How organisms affect and are affected by the ecosystem. Importance of biodiversity.

Rationale

The GCSE specification requires an understanding of the structure of the DNA.  This unit will also give learners the opportunity to develop an informed understanding of the ecological and social relationship within which we live.  It will also give them the opportunity to understand the importance of giving genuine care for the wider earth community, including the living and non-living things.

The discovery of the remarkable structure of DNA was done in the UK by Crick and Watson but has opened the pathway to the human genome project as well as the idea of designer babies. Whilst studying a topic on variation, students will learn about the power of DNA as a molecule and the idea of some repressive governments wanting to harness information about their population. For example Human Rights Watch reports that Chinese authorities in Xinjiang are collecting DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents in the region between the age of 12 and 65. This campaign significantly expands authorities’ collection of biodata beyond previous government efforts in the region, which only required all passport applicants in Xinjiang to supply biometrics. Students can use the opportunity to link the science they are learning to real life ethical and social issues. Should there be a bio-database? What about the clash with civil liberties?

unit overview - summer 1

Year 8 Summer 1 Overview –Forces 

Skills

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Hooke’s Law

  • Results table- headed table with units in heading and not next to each result, highlight anomalies and repeat as necessary, calculate mean to appropriate number of significant figures
  • Graph- bar charts, line graphs, see 2*’s and a wish

Friction

  • Hypothesis- prediction with a reason
  • Method- plan written as a set of instructions- Firstly, secondly, subsequently, finally
  • Results table- headed table with units in heading and not next to each result, highlight anomalies and repeat as necessary, calculate mean to appropriate number of significant figures
  • Graph- bar charts, line graphs, see 2*’s and a wish

Knowledge

  1. What is a Force? How do we measure it? Units.
  2. Balanced /unbalanced forces
  3. Speed and calculations
  4. Friction and how to reduce
  5. Safety in cars- airbags, crumple zones

Rationale

Students cover Forces and motion for GCSE physics.

We are acted upon by forces all the time but don’t realise it. Students know gravity exists but don’t realise the effect it has on Earth due to the Sun or Moon. Cars are becoming safer & more efficient, we will look at how scientist and engineers achieve this by reducing friction and the rate of change in momentum.

In 1967, the Mercedes Heckflosse was the first production car in the world with “crumple zone” safety features including a safety cage with crumple zones and a trunk that had been made almost 50% bigger. As the self-driving car emerges from Google there are questions to be answered about safety. This unit and understanding of forces will help students to make informed choices and link to contemporary safety issues in the news. For example, in 2017 it became apparent that Mercedes had to recall 400,000 models in the UK after becoming aware of airbags accidentally deploying.

unit overview - summer 2

Year 8 Summer 2 Overview –Chemical reactions 

Skills

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Burning Fuels

  • Practical skills- working sensibly and contributing to the group.
  • Draw a Results table- headed table with units in heading and not next to each result, highlight anomalies and repeat as necessary, calculate mean to appropriate number of significant figures
  • Graph- bar charts, line graphs, see 2*’s and a wish
  • Numeracy – process data from results table

Acids and Alkalis

  • Scientific terminology- Use scientific vocabulary, terminology and definitions, see command words and subject specific words
  • Variables- Independent, dependent, control
  • Plan or follow method- plan written as a set of instructions- Firstly, secondly, subsequently, finally

Knowledge

  1. Know that displacement, combustion, neutralisation, reduction and oxidation are all types of important chemical reactions
  2. Give examples of the application of these reaction types
  3. Be able to write word equations to summarise these reactions
  4. Recognise the reaction type from chemical equations
  5. Introduce the idea of conservation of mass and the balancing of equations

Rationale

Students will require this knowledge as the GCSE specification expects the categorisation of chemical reactions. Often chemical reactions may fall into more than one category. Everyday application of these reactions is evident in combustion, neutralisation in cleaning products and the rusting of metals in cars and bicycles. By studying this topic students will understand the impact of chemistry in their everyday life. Just a short look in the garden brings the following to our attention:

1- Photosynthesis : Is the process by which green plants make their own food. This occurs in the presence of sunlight and other raw materials, namely carbon dioxide and water. The chlorophyll pigment collects light energy from sunlight, which is converted into glucose (Crystal, 2017).

6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2

2- Oxidation Reactions : An oxide coating is often noticed on unpainted iron surfaces which gradually leads to the disintegration of iron. This is a chemical phenomenon called oxidation.

In this case, iron is combined with oxygen in the presence of water resulting in the formation of iron oxides (Chemical Reactions in Everyday Life, 2016).

Fe + O 2 + H2O → Fe2O3. XH2O

3- Organic decomposition : The decomposition of organic food or even living things are oxidation reactions produced by bacteria that degrade biochemical macromolecules in simple molecules such as nitrites, nitrates, CO2 And water (Helmenstine, Chemical Change Examples, 2017).

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.