“I am determined that I would examine and study all things that are done in this world” Ecclesiastes 1:12-18
God is everywhere and in everything, so all things are worthy of our interest and study. Science supplies the means and the skills to investigate the world around us. The science department at Mount Carmel aims to inspire pupils by exposing them to the awe and wonder of the natural world, whilst developing a sense of responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of our planet. We strive to help pupils become resilient learners who have a sense of curiosity armed with knowledge, by exposing them to new experiences and cultural capital.
In science, we provide an ambitious, coherently planned and sequenced program of study that develops investigative skills and a deep body of knowledge, for all pupils. The discovery of scientific principles through practical investigation is a key part of our science curriculum. We provide opportunities for all pupils of all abilities to expand their ideas about how the world works, to test these ideas and to analyse and interpret results. Pupils are encouraged to be creative which helps them to devise the best way to investigate problems, how to manage the risk in an experiment and how to use results to form new ideas.
We believe that the thinking and investigative skills that students develop as they study science are essential for success in our modern society. As well as preparing students for formal examinations, we aim to equip them with the problem-solving attributes that employers prize so highly.
The science department at Mount Carmel RC High School has thoughtfully designed our ambitious key stage 3 curriculum to ensure that it caters for the needs of all our pupils, whilst building on the knowledge and skills acquired during key stage 2 and fully covering the science national curriculum. Although it is based on the Activate schemes of learning, we have carefully sequenced the teaching order and selected activities to engage our pupils, stimulate curiosity and gradually build the deep body of knowledge, cultural capital and skills that they will need to become independent learners. Planning is based upon a spiral curriculum approach which aims to increase and build on knowledge and skills for each of the three disciplines, topic by topic, and year by year, thoroughly preparing pupils for the demands of a challenging key stage 4.
• Biology – structure and functions of living organisms, material cycles and energy, Interactions and interdependencies and genetics and evolution.
• Chemistry – the particle model, separating mixtures, the periodic table, chemical reactions and the Earth and atmosphere.
• Physics – energy, motion and forces, waves, electricity and magnetism, matter and space physics.
These topics are underpinned by ‘working scientifically’ concepts including developing scientific attitudes, experimental and investigative skills and how to measure, analyse and evaluate data.
How will the subject be assessed?
At key stage 3, continual formative assessment takes place in lessons using, for instance, whiteboards, various questioning techniques, ICT and written work. Homework is also used formatively via a range of methods, some creative, some using ICT and some written. Summative assessment takes the form of end of topic tests and practical investigations, which are then used formatively, to dispel misconceptions and enhance knowledge and understanding. A formal examination is sat at the end of each year.
All assessment at key stage 3 is used to inform future planning.
Our curriculum is ambitious for all our pupils, irrespective of their starting points. It aims to improve their life chances by providing thorough preparation for progression to future learning or employment. At key stage 4, pupils follow AQA GCSE combined science trilogy or choose to study AQA triple science. For a small cohort, more accessible examinations in AQA GCSE combined science synergy are selected. This suite of courses allows us to ensure that no child is disadvantaged as we cater for their individual needs. Our bespoke schemes of learning plan for progression so that all skills and subject knowledge from key stage 3 are built upon, covering all the subject content in a logical sequence and fulfilling the assessment objectives:
• AO1 - Demonstrate knowledge and understanding
• AO2 - Apply knowledge and understanding
• AO3- Analyse information and ideas
Topics taught for AQA combined science trilogy:
• Biology - cells and organisation, disease and bioenergetics, biological responses, genetics and evolution and ecology.
• Chemistry – atoms, bonding and moles, chemical reactions and energy changes, rates, equilibrium and organic chemistry and analysis and Earth’s resources.
• Physics – energy and energy resources, particles at work, forces in action and waves and electromagnetism.
Additional topics taught for AQA triple science include:
- Biology- homeostasis in action, the brain and eye, plant diseases, hormones and responses, DNA structure and protein synthesis, the history of genetics, Issues surrounding sustainability.
- Chemistry- transition elements, nanoparticles, titrations, chemical cells, batteries and fuel cells, organic reactions, polymers, more detailed chemical analysis, using Earth’s resources.
- Physics- Infrared radiation, electrical charges and fields, nuclear fusion, fission and medicinal uses, moments, conservation of momentum, impact forces and safety, ultrasound, sound and seismic waves, light, lenses and colour, generator effect, space science.
Practical work is a vital and compulsory part of GCSE science. There are several required practicals for all three science disciplines, through which pupils will learn to apply their scientific knowledge and understanding whilst developing their investigative and practical skills.
How will the subject be assessed?
At key stage 4, informal, formative assessment takes place in lessons using, for example, class discussions, mini-whiteboard activities, a range of questioning techniques, ICT and GCSE question packs. Homework is also used formatively to consolidate learning. Summative assessment takes the form of end of topic tests which are then used formatively to consolidate and extend knowledge and understanding and to identify pupils who require additional study support. Pupils sit three internal assessments in formal conditions (PPEs) and these are used for future planning and to inform additional learning support strategies.
Formal assessment at the end of the course is through the AQA examination board. For GCSE combined science trilogy and GCSE triple science pupils sit six examinations, at either foundation or higher according to their ability. With GCSE combined science trilogy pupils sit four examinations. For combined science trilogy and synergy pupils and obtain a double grade which ranges from 9-9 to 1-1. For triple science pupils obtain three separate grades which range from 9-1.
Enrichment, cultural capital and extra- curricular activities
At Mount Carmel the science department offers the following enrichment and extra-curricular activities:
• WOW lessons and WOW weeks (years 7, 8 and 9).
• Science club (year7)
• Eco club (all Years)
• Blackpool Zoo visit in conjunction with the English department (year 7)
• Museum of Science and Industry visit in conjunction with the maths department (year 9)
• Eco trip (year 9)
• Activities for National Science Week (years 7, 8 and 9)
• Science live! (year 10) to inspire future scientists and help pupils prepare for GCSE exams.
• Big bang fair (year 10) to inspire future scientists.
• Science extravaganza (years 7 and 8) to increase engagement and explore the wonder of science.
• Brains on fire! (years 9, 10 and 11) to inspire pupils to want to study science post 16.
• Additional learning support (year 11)
• Breakfast ALS group (year 11)
• Cake club ALS group (year 11)
Next steps (College, University, career)
What can the subject prepare me for?
Our well-constructed curriculum enables pupils of all abilities and with all backgrounds, to develop a deep body of knowledge and acquire the skills and attributes that are in great demand by employers. Science grades of 6 or above allows students to study science at A level and further study at university. Any pupil who is considering a career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary, scientific research, industrial, pharmaceutical or academic professions will need good grades for GCSE science. Vocational college courses are increasingly, favouring pupils with science GCSEs in their achievements. Our ambitious curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils are well-prepared for the next stages of education.
Subject results are available upon request.
All pupils have accounts on Seneca and Kerboodle. Both are used to support pupils to enhance their knowledge and understanding.
Primrose Kitten videos:
Free science lessons videos (on YouTube)