Science

Science influences every part of our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Science education provides the foundations for understanding the world around us through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics and at Westhoughton High School, our aim is to bring this knowledge and understanding to life, to develop a sense of curiosity and excitement about natural phenomena.

Our Science team strive to ignite and nurture a passion for Science to ensure that we are developing future astronomers, engineers, surgeons, research scientists and veterinarians, as well as preparing students for occupations that do not even exist yet. All students develop an understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through scientific enquiry and practical work. We equip our students with the ability to answer scientific questions about the world around them and make informed decisions in the future. We ensure that students are armed with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

With science being such a large subject with multiple disciplines, our curriculum is designed and sequenced to ensure students have solid foundation knowledge and a secure understanding in order to empower them to tackle high-order thinking as they move between key stages. Our aim is to bring the curriculum and scientific experiences to life in order to maximise our students’ scientific passion, curiosity and desire to further pursue the field of science.

Key Stage 3

Within our KS3 curriculum, three topics are taught throughout the term on a carousel basis to ensure all groups get timetabled ‘laboratory-based’ lessons for practicals. Also, in operating on a carousel, students maintain a mixture of the three science disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Year 7  Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Topics
Studied
Topic 1: Transition All groups begin with safety, lab equipment and some simple experimental methods to develop the excitement for science but also safety awareness.

Topic 2: Cells and Organ Systems Students develop understanding of ourselves and of the different forms of ‘life’.

Topic 3: Elements, Compounds, Mixtures Students learn of matter and materials by examining atoms and elements, compounds and mixtures.

Topic 4: The Particle Model Students develop their KS2 understanding of solids, liquids and gases, further examining each at the particle level.

Topic 5: Living World Students explore the classification of living things, to develop understanding of nature and how humans affect the environment understanding the possible long-term impacts.

Topic 6: Chemistry of Acids and Alkalis Students explore chemical reactions, signs of a chemical reaction, acids and alkalis as chemicals and how these can be used to make new substances.

Topic 7: Energy Stores Students explore the energy stores on our planet and how energy cannot be created or destroyed but can only be transferred from one store to another.

Topic 8: Reproduction Students learn about their own bodies but also about the differing reproduction systems. Students discuss contraception and explore questions for students to become more informed to make medical decisions.

Topic 9: Our Planet Students explore the planet we live on, its structure and the materials available. This includes the rock cycle, metals, ceramics to develop students’ understanding of how to live sustainably.

Topic 10: Forces and Solar Systems Students learn of forces on our planet and the universe. Students explore how force can affect motion to support their understanding of speed. Students learn simple calculations in science and how to carry them out successfully.

Skills and
Key
Knowledge
Taught
-Identifying and naming scientific equipment

-Basic measurements and measures in science

-Plant, animal, microbe, specialised cells

-Atoms, elements, compounds, mixtures

-Separation techniques (within atoms)

-States of matter and changes of state

-Diffusion

-Density (scientific calculations and conversions)

-Ecosystems and food web relationships

-Sampling organisms

-Photosynthesis

-Signs of chemical reactions

-Indicators and pH scale

-Neutralisation and making salts

-Energy stores and transfer pathways (including thermal, KE and GPE)

-Gametes and reproductive systems

-Fertilisation and menstrual cycle

-Contraception

-Variation and plant pollination

-Structure of Earth, Rock and Water Cycles

-Volcanoes and earthquakes

-Sustainable living (resources and materials)

-Resultant forces, Freebody diagrams and friction

-Speed and motion graphs

Links for
Support/
Help at
Home
Use of student resources located within WHS SharePoint for students

Use of additional homework booklets, therapy work packs and/or additional resources from the class teacher via Synergy

Use of online platforms such as GCSEPod and Seneca for podcasts

Watching of documentaries linked to scientific issues studied

Homemade experiments at home (precautions to be followed)

Youtube videos to watch practical demonstrations and additional teaching

Hikes and walks to explore the Rock and Water cycles (notably nearby places such as Rivington Pike)

Teacher discussions following assessments and/or reports

Participation in enrichment opportunities (including trips) and/or extra-curricular activities

Year 8 Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Topics
Studied
Topic 1: Healthy Living Students learn of healthy choices: smoking, alcohol, diet and drug use, exploring the effects on the body.

Topic 2: Atoms and the Periodic Table Students develop their understanding of atoms, atomic structure and the role of the periodic table in chemistry.

Topic 3: Energy in the Home Building on the fundamental Year 7 energy stores topic to look at renewables, insulation and linking this to energy in our homes.

Topic 4: Body Systems Building to the Year 7 understanding within cells, students develop an understanding of how their body systems work including the digestive & respiratory system.

Topic 5: Our Atmosphere Students bring together their knowledge of respiration, photosynthesis, combustion, energy and sustainable living to learn about the atmosphere of the earth and how it is changing (focusing on preservation).

Topic 6: Electricity Students develop investigation into electromagnetism.

Topic 7: Evolution and Genetics Students explore nature and how humans affect the environment, studying famous theories.

Topic 8: Chemical Reactions Students develop an understanding of chemical reaction, why and how they happen and how to speed them up and slow them down.

Topic 9: Waves Students explore the concept of waves as a means of carrying energy alongside how sound waves are produced and how humans hear. Students learn properties of light waves, explaining reflection and refraction and how the eye works

Skills and
Key
Knowledge
Taught
-Balanced diet and malnutrition

-Immune system and its defences

-Atomic structure and electronic configuration

-History and formation of the Periodic Table

-Energy stores and transfers

-Non-renewals and combustion

-Renewables and insulation

-Power ratings and efficiency

-Nutrition and food test

-Digestive system

-Lung system and gaseous exchange

-Respiration and effect of exercis

-Atmospheric composition and evolution

-Greenhouse effect and (in)complete combustion

-Carbon footprint

-Circuit symbols and drawing circuits

-Conductors and insulators/series and parallel circuits

-Static bar magnets/magnetisms/electromagnetism

-DNA/genes/chromosomes

-Evolution/extinction/natural selection theories

-Combustion

-Thermal decomposition

-Oxidation, reduction and reactivity series

-Collisions Theory and rate of reaction

-Sound waves: frequencies, travel and production

-Light waves: ray diagrams, reflection/refraction and colour/our eyes

Links for
Support/Help at Home 
Use of student resources located within WHS SharePoint for students

Use of additional homework booklets, therapy work packs and/or additional resources from the class teacher via Synergy

Use of online platforms such as GCSEPod and Seneca for podcasts

Watching of documentaries linked to scientific issues studied

Homemade experiments at home

Youtube videos to watch practical demonstrations and additional teaching

Hikes and walks to explore the Rock and Water cycles (notably nearby places such as Rivington Pike)

Teacher discussions following assessments and/or reports

Participation in enrichment opportunities (including trips) and/or extra-curricular activities

Our Year 9 curriculum has been altered for September 2021-2022 only, to ensure maximum teaching of core skills, knowledge and practical lessons in order to ‘catch-up’ key content missed from Covid-impact from 2019-2021. Following the KS3 structure, the topics listed are taught on a weekly carousel to ensure all students gain optimum timetabled lessons in practical/laboratory settings.

Year 9  Autumn Term 1 – Spring Term 1 Spring Term 2 – Summer 2
Topics
Studied
Topic 1: Cell Biology Students build to prior knowledge, deepening their understanding of cell organelles and magnification/resolution.

Topic 2: Atoms, Elements, Compounds and Mixtures Building upon content from Year 7 and 8, students develop their practical and fundamental chemistry skills and concepts about atoms and balancing equations.

Topic 3: Energy Building upon content from Year 7 and 8, students develop maths skills in changing the subject of equations and converting units.

Topic 4: Infection and Response Building to Year 7 and 8 knowledge on Body Systems, students develop knowledge of spread of disease and making informed medical decisions.

Topic 5: Energy Changes and Rates of Reaction Building upon Year 8’s Chemical Reactions topic, students are introduced to the idea that energy changes in chemical reactions alongside practical skills with the use of gas syringes and explore choice of equipment for purpose.

Topic 6: Electricity Students build equation skills and unit conversion to consolidate energy unit.

Skills and
Key
Knowledge
Taught
-Practical skills: microscopes and osmosis

-Chromatography and practical separation techniques

-Kinetic energy equation and the Gravitational potential energy equation

-Elastic potential energy equation

-Specific heat capacity and specific latent heat

-Reducing energy dissipation and efficiency

-Pathogens and communication of disease

-Culture microorganisms

-Human defence systems

– vaccination, antibiotics, painkillers, drug discovery/development

– Exothermic and endothermic

-Bond energy (HT)

-Collision Theory and activation energy, calculating/measuring rates

-Circuit symbols, Q=It, V=IR

-Series and Parallel Theory

-Power equations, E=QV, national grid and transformers

Links for Support/ Help at Home Use of student resources located within WHS SharePoint for students

Use of additional homework booklets, therapy work packs and/or additional resources from the class teacher via Synergy

Use of online platforms such as GCSEPod and Seneca for podcasts

Watching of documentaries linked to scientific issues studied

Homemade experiments at home

Youtube videos to watch practical demonstrations and additional teaching

Teacher discussions following assessments and/or reports

Participation in enrichment opportunities and/or extra-curricular activities

Key Stage 4

The Science curriculum is altered 2021-22 to allow for greater Covid recovery with essential core knowledge.

GCSE Combined Science (taught to all students if Triple Science has not been opted for at GCSE). All three sciences are taught continuously throughout a term to ensure content is clearly sequenced and knowledge is built/interleaved.

Students are taught concurrently by three subject specialist teachers. Teaching is similar to the AQA Trilogy Combined Science qualification with extra content and skills highlighted in bold purple text.