Science

Our curriculum intent: why we teach what we teach in Science

  • Students will learn a foundational knowledge and understanding of the natural world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

  • Students will be able to use investigative, mathematical and analytical skills confidently, across a range of problems and scenarios, both academic and real-world.

  • Students will become curious about how our world works and who value how science can enrich our lives and our society. They will therefore instinctively apply a scientific approach to everything they do.

Science curriculum intent

Curriculum

Year 7 Biology
Year 7 Autumn Term 1 Spring Term
Unit Title Organisms 1 Organisms 2
Key Question What are cells and how do humans reproduce? How does the body function?
Threshold Concepts

Multicellular organisms are composed of cells which are organised into tissues, organs and systems to carry out life processes.

 

There are many types of cell. Each has a different structure or feature so it can do a specific job.

 

The menstrual cycle prepares the female for pregnancy and stops if the egg is fertilised by a sperm.

 

The developing foetus relies on the mother to provide it with oxygen and nutrients; to remove waste and protect it against harmful substances.

The body needs a balanced diet with lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and water, for its cells’ energy, growth and maintenance.

 

Organs of the digestive system are adapted to break large food molecules into small ones which can travel in the blood to cells and are used for life processes.

 

In gas exchange, oxygen and carbon dioxide move between alveoli and the blood. Oxygen is transported to cells for aerobic respiration and carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, is removed from the body.  Breathing occurs through the action of muscles in the ribcage and diaphragm. The amount of oxygen required by body cells determines the rate of breathing.

Link to Prior Knowledge This unit uses the ideas of how multicellular organisms are structured which was covered in the first unit,  looking at specific systems such as the digestion and respiratory systems.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

We begin with core concepts in the three subject areas of science.  We look at the nature of matter in chemistry, multicellular organisms in biology and electricity and energy transfer in physics.  These are essential concepts that build on ideas from primary school science.  We alternate between the three subject areas of science to demonstrate to students the broad areas of study required in secondary science.  We spend 6 weeks on each topic area so as not to hit cognitive overload with younger students.  At the end of each 6 week topic, a week of study is dedicated to revision, recap and formative feedback.  The next sequence of topics (2B, 2C and 2P) build on the concepts introduced in the first sequence.  2C continues to delve deeper into the nature of matter and introduces patterns based on atomic structure, 2B takes the ideas of how multicellular organisms are structured by looking at specific systems such as the digestion and respiratory systems. 2P introduces the concepts of forces, giving lots of contextual examples of how forces can change the ‘form’ on an object.  Energy features in each of the four physics topics at KS3 and ideas about energy are developed in each of them.  Biological processes feature in each of the four biology topics at KS3 and ideas about these processes are developed in each of them.  The nature of matter features in each of the four chemistry topics at KS3 and ideas about how matter changes are developed in each of them.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 7 Biology curriculum, please click here.

Year 8 Biology
Year 8 Autumn Term Spring Term
Unit Title Genes and Evolution Ecosystems and Biological Processes
Key Question What causes variation between organisms? How do different organisms relate to and depend on one another?
Threshold Concepts

There is variation between individuals of the same species. Some variation is inherited, some is caused by the environment, and some is a combination.

 

Natural selection is a theory that explains how species evolve and why extinction occurs.

 

Inherited characteristics are the result of genetic information, in the form of sections of DNA called genes, being transferred from parents to offspring during reproduction.

 

Organisms in a food web (decomposers, producers and consumers) depend on each other for nutrients. So, a change in one population leads to changes in others.

 

Plants and algae do not eat, but use energy from light, together with carbon dioxide and water to make glucose (food) through photosynthesis. They either use the glucose as an energy source, to build new tissue, or store it for later use.

 

Respiration is a series of chemical reactions, in cells, that breaks down glucose to provide energy and form new molecules. Most living things use aerobic respiration but switch to anaerobic respiration, which provides less energy, when oxygen is unavailable.

Link to Prior Knowledge This unit builds on the knowledge on reproduction in humans which was introduced in Year 7. This unit builds on the genes and evolution unit by looking at how variations across organisms affect ecosystems.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

In Year 8 we build on the core concepts that were introduced in Year 7.  In chemistry, we build on the nature of matter by looking at the chemical changes that take place based on the rearrangement of atoms.  In biology, we look the variation of multicellular organisms, the causes of this variation and then focus two of the most important biological processes that are used by multicellular organisms to survive. In physics, we build on energy transfers by looking at how the idea of waves.  We build on electricity and forces by looking at the nature of electromagnetism and role of gravity in our solar system.  In Y8 we also introduce some more difficult ideas which help students make the transition to GCSE.  This includes looking at genes in biology, reaction properties in chemistry and wave properties in physics.  In Year 8 we continue to alternate between the three subject areas of science every 6 weeks, so as not to hit cognitive overload.  At the end of each 6 week topic, a week of study is dedicated to revision, recap and formative feedback.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 8 Biology curriculum, please click here.

Year 9 Biology

 

Year 9

Autumn Term 1
Unit Title Cells and  Cell Division
Key Question How do cells function within organisms?
Threshold Concepts

Plant and animal cells (eukaryotic cells) have a cell membrane, cytoplasm and genetic material enclosed in a nucleus.

 

Cells may be specialised to carry out a particular function.

 

In mature animals, cell division is mainly restricted to repair and replacement.

 

Substances may move into and out of cells across the cell membranes via diffusion.

 

A stem cell is an undifferentiated cell of an organism which is capable of giving rise to many more cells of the same type.

 

The nucleus of a cell contains chromosomes made of DNA molecules.

 

In mitosis one set of chromosomes is pulled to each end of the cell and the nucleus divides.

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Links to KS3 topic on cells in Y7, where the structures of plant and animal cells were first introduced
Autumn Term 2
Unit Title Organisation and the digestion system
Key Question How does the digestive system work?
Threshold Concepts

 

The digestive system is an example of organ system, where several organs work together to digest and absorb food

 

Enzymes catalyse specific reactions in living organisms due to the shape of their active site.

 

Digestive enzymes convert food into small soluble molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

 

 

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Links to KS3 topic on organisms 1 in Y7, where the digestive system was first introduced and students should therefore already know the organs of the digestive system.
Spring Term 1
Unit Title Non-communicable diseases
Key Questions

What are non-communicable diseases and what is their impact?

 

Threshold Concepts

In coronary heart disease layers of fatty material build up inside the coronary arteries, narrowing them.

 

Health is the state of physical and mental well-being.

Diseases, both communicable and non-communicable, are major causes of ill health.

 

Lifestyle risk factors are linked to an increased rate of a disease.

Cancer is the result of changes in cells that lead to uncontrolled growth and division.

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Lifestyle risk factors were first introduced in the Y7 organisms 1 topic without going into detail about the types of non-communicable diseases.
Spring Term 2
Unit Title Communicable Diseases, Prevention and Treatment
Key Questions

What are communicable diseases and what is their impact?

 

Threshold Concepts

Communicable diseases are caused by pathogens – microorganisms that can be spread from one organism to another.

 

The body has developed a range of mechanisms to defend itself from pathogens.

 

Lifestyle can contribute to our risk of developing communicable diseases.

 

If a pathogen enters the body the immune system tries to destroy the pathogen.

Vaccination involves introducing small quantities of dead or inactive forms of a pathogen into the body to stimulate the white blood cells to produce antibodies.

Link to Prior Knowledge Microorganisms were introduced in series of Y8 lectures that looked at food hygiene and food poisoning bacteria.
Summer Term
Unit Title Adaptations
Key Questions How do species within an ecosystem interact with each other and how are they adapted to particular conditions.
Threshold Concepts

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.

 

In order to continue to benefit from these services humans need to engage with the environment in a sustainable way.

Link to Prior Knowledge This was first introduced in Y8 in both biology topics, looking at variation and ecosystems.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

A1:Cells, specialised cells and Microscopy: cells are the fundamental building block of all organisms, and knowledge of their structure and functions is required in many of the biology topics that follow. Microscopy is a practical skill that will be used throughout the rest of the course. A2: The digestive system as an organ system is a logical step up from cells. It introduces the key concept in biology of enzymes as a biological catalyst; a fundamental concept required in other areas of the course. SP1: The non-communicable disease topic could be split up and spaced throughout the course e.g. cardiovascular disease with the study of the circulatory system but it is placed here as part of the delivery of whole school PSHE. SP2 Communicable disease is required before we can go on to teach the ideas of response to disease and follows on from the study of cells (e.g. prokaryotes). S1: Response to disease contains more difficult concepts and could be delivered after the circulatory system topic, but it follows on from the communicable disease topic and it is a biology paper 1 topic. S2: This topic needs to be completed in the summer term so that the practical work can take place outdoors when plants are flowering. It could be done in year 10 but it is a simple topic conceptually and is more suitable for Y9 students (it is a paper 2 topic however).

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 9 Biology curriculum, please click here.

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 9 GCSE Biology curriculum, please click here.

Year 10 Biology
Year 10 Autumn Term 1
Unit Title Plants
Key Question How do plants harness the energy of the Sun?
Threshold Concepts

Plants harness the Sun’s energy in photosynthesis in order to make food.

 

Photosynthesis liberates oxygen which has built up over millions of years in the Earth’s atmosphere

 

Photosynthesis is represented by the equation:

carbon dioxide + water ->glucose + oxygen

 

Water may move across cell membranes via osmosis. Osmosis is the diffusion of water from a dilute solution to a concentrated solution through a partially permeable membrane.

 

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Photosynthesis was first covered in Y8 during the biological processes topic.
  Autumn Term 2
Unit Title Respiration
Key Question How do cells produce energy using respiration?
Threshold Concepts

Cellular respiration is an exothermic reaction which is continuously occurring in living cells.

 

Respiration in cells can take place aerobically (using oxygen) or anaerobically (without oxygen), to transfer energy.

 

During exercise the human body reacts to the increased demand for energy.

 

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Respiration was first covered in Y8 during the biological processes topic.
  Spring Term 1+2
Unit Title Nerves and Hormones
Key Question How does the body bring about fast responses through the nervous system and how does the body brings about much slower changes through the hormonal system?
Threshold Concepts

The nervous system enables humans to react to their surroundings and to coordinate their behaviour.

 

Information from receptors passes along cells (neurones) as electrical impulses to the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is the brain and spinal cord. The CNS coordinates the response of effectors which may be muscles contracting or glands secreting

hormones.

 

Reflex actions are automatic and rapid; they do not involve the conscious part of the brain.

 

Homeostasis is the regulation of the internal conditions of a cell or organism to maintain optimum conditions for function in response to internal and external changes.

 

The endocrine system is composed of glands which secrete chemicals called hormones directly into the bloodstream.

 

The pituitary gland in the brain is a ‘master gland’ which secretes several hormones into the blood in response to body conditions.

 

Blood glucose concentration is monitored and controlled by the pancreas.

During puberty reproductive hormones cause secondary sex characteristics to develop.

Fertility can be controlled by a variety of hormonal and non-hormonal methods of contraception.

Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands in times of fear or stress. It increases the heart rate and boosts the delivery of oxygen and glucose to the brain and muscles, preparing the body for ‘flight or fight’.

 

 

Link to Prior Knowledge This is the first time that the nervous and hormonal system has been introduced, although there are links to the KS3 topic on human reproduction.
  Summer Term
Unit Title Reproduction
Key Questions How do organisms reproduce and how does this lead to variation in offspring?
Threshold Concepts

Sexual reproduction involves the joining (fusion) of male and female gametes:

•        sperm and egg cells in animals

•        pollen and egg cells in flowering plants.

In sexual reproduction there is mixing of genetic information which leads to variety in the offspring. The formation of gametes involves meiosis.

Asexual reproduction involves only one parent and no fusion of gametes. There is no mixing of genetic information. This leads to genetically identical offspring (clones). Only mitosis is involved.

 

Link to Prior Knowledge This topic builds on the Y8 unit on genes and evolution where students have been already introduced to how genetic information is passed on to offspring.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

A1: All of the plant topics have been combined together at the start of Y10 where it is hoped students will be more receptive to them and that the overlap between topics allows reinforcement of the ideas. Osmosis is a paper 1 topic and normally comes earlier in Y9 but it is one of the most conceptually difficult topics for students and we have chosen to move it here where it fits nicely with the plant transport topic. A2: Photosynthesis is a key concept that underpins the ecology topics. It follows on nicely from plant structure and links to the next topics on feeding relationships. Respiration is a key concept that students find more difficult, it could be studied after digestion and before active transport. SP1: Homeostasis is a more conceptually difficult topic found in paper 2 it draws upon many of the earlier key concepts e.g. specialised cells, enzymes, biological molecules, circulation, it needs to be taught later in the course and could come after the genetics topic. SP2: The more difficult regulation of the menstrual cycle is completed next. S1: Human impacts on the environment is a self-contained topic that could come earlier or later in the sequence, the concepts are suitable for Y9,10 or 11 although adaptations and decay should be taught first. S2: This is a difficult topic conceptually and younger students would find it difficult – it has therefore been left as late as possible in the teaching sequence.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 10 Biology curriculum, please click here.

Year 11 Biology
Year 11 Autumn Term
Unit Title Evolution
Key Question How does a change in the inherited characteristics of a population over time lead to variation?
Threshold Concepts

Gene mutations occur continuously and on rare occasions can affect the functioning of the animal or plant.

 

Variation generated by mutations and sexual reproduction is the basis for natural selection; this is how species evolve.

 

In sexual reproduction there is mixing of genetic information which leads to variety in the offspring. The formation of gametes involves meiosis.

The genetic material in the nucleus of a cell is composed of a chemical called DNA. DNA is a polymer made up of two strands forming a double helix. The DNA is contained in structures called chromosomes.

 

Differences in the characteristics of individuals in a population is called variation and may be due to differences in:

·         the genes they have inherited (genetic causes)

·         the conditions in which they have developed (environmental causes)

·         a combination of genes and the environment.

 

Selective breeding (artificial selection) is the process by which humans breed plants and animals for particular genetic characteristics.

 

Genetic engineering is the process which involves modifying the genome of an organism by introducing a gene from another organism to give a desired characteristic.

Charles Darwin, as a result of observations on a round the world expedition, backed by years of experimentation and discussion and linked to developing knowledge of geology and fossils, proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection.

 

In the mid-19th century Gregor Mendel carried out breeding experiments on plants. One of his observations was that the inheritance of each characteristic is determined by ‘units’ that are passed on to descendants unchanged.

Link to Prior Knowledge

This topic builds on the Y8 unit on genes and evolution where students have been already introduced to the different types of variation and how they are caused.  Darwin’s observations were also introduced in this topic.

 

  Spring Term
Unit Title Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Key Question How are humans are effecting biodiversity and what are the natural systems that support it?
Threshold Concepts

Feeding relationships within a community can be represented by food chains. All food chains begin with a producer which synthesises molecules. This is usually a green plant or algae which makes glucose by photosynthesis.

 

Consumers that kill and eat other animals are predators, and those eaten are prey. In a stable community the numbers of predators and prey rise and fall in cycles.

 

Temperature, water and availability of oxygen affect the rate of decay of biological material.

 

A great biodiversity ensures the stability of ecosystems by reducing the dependence of one species on another for food, shelter and the maintenance of the physical environment.

 

Humans reduce the amount of land available for other animals and plants by building, quarrying, farming and dumping waste.

 

The efficiency of food production can be improved by restricting energy transfer from food animals to the environment.

Link to Prior Knowledge This builds on the Year 8 topic on ecosystems where students looked at food chain and webs and looked at the way different organisms are dependent on each other within an ecosystem.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

A1: A difficult key concept that needs to be taught after adaptations and genetics when students are more mature. It comes early in Y11 so that there is time for retrieval practice. A2: November mock exams as part of the whole school reporting cycle. SP1: Genetic engineering follows on from genetics and evolution and artificial selection topic. SP2 and S1 and S2 Revision and exams

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 11 Biology curriculum, please click here.

Year 7 Chemistry
Year 7 Autumn Term Spring Term
Unit Title Matter 1 Matter 2
Key Question What are the physical properties of solids, liquids and gases? What are the properties of elements and compounds?  How does the periodic table show how the patterns of elements?
Threshold Concepts

Properties of solids, liquids and gases can be described in terms of particles in motion but with differences in the arrangement and movement of these same particles.

 

The method chosen to separate a mixture depends on which physical properties of the individual substances are different.

All matter is made up of atoms. Each element is made up of a different type of atom. A single atom does not have the properties of that element.

 

A compound is made up of two or more types of atom joined together. As different atoms are joined than in the separate elements, the compound has properties that are distinct from the elements that are made up of its constituent atoms.

 

The periodic table shows how elements behave and patterns in reactivity.

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Students have covered the properties of solids, liquids and gases and various separating techniques in the KS2 curriculum, but this is limited to general properties rather than looking at how the particles are arranged Students are introduced to the idea that matter is made of particles in the first topic in Y7, now they look at the types of substances that exist – elements, compounds and mixtures
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

We begin with core concepts in the three subject areas of science.  We look at the nature of matter in chemistry, multicellular organisms in biology and electricity and energy transfer in physics.  These are essential concepts that build on ideas from primary school science.  We alternate between the three subject areas of science to demonstrate to students the broad areas of study required in secondary science.  We spend 6 weeks on each topic area so as not to hit cognitive overload with younger students.  At the end of each 6 week topic, a week of study is dedicated to revision, recap and formative feedback.  The next sequence of topics (2B, 2C and 2P) build on the concepts introduced in the first sequence.  2C continues to delve deeper into the nature of matter and introduces patterns based on atomic structure, 2B takes the ideas of how multicellular organisms are structured by looking at specific systems such as the digestion and respiratory systems. 2P introduces the concepts of forces giving lots of contextual examples of forces can change the ‘form’ on an object.  Energy features in each of the four physics topics at KS3 and ideas about energy are developed in each of them.  Biological processes feature in each of the four biology topics at KS3 and ideas about these processes are developed in each of them.  The nature of matter features in each of the four chemistry topics at KS3, and ideas about how matter changes are developed in each of them.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 7 Chemistry curriculum, please click here.

Year 8 Chemistry
Year 8 Autumn Term Spring Term
Unit Title Reactions 1 Reactions 2
Key Question How are some chemicals classified in terms of their acidity and how do metals react?

How do different substances react and interact with one another?  What are some of the reactions that take place in everyday life and in natural processes?

 

Threshold Concepts

The pH of a solution depends on the strength of the acid: strong acids have lower pH values than weak acids.

 

Mixing an acid and alkali produces a chemical reaction, neutralisation, forming a chemical called a salt and water.

 

Acids have a pH below 7, neutral solutions have apH of 7, alkalis have a pH above 7

 

Metals are good conductors of thermal energy, electrical energy and have high melting and boiling points.  The reactivity of a metal can be described in terms of the reactivity series and its tendency to react with oxygen, water and acids.

During a chemical reaction bonds are broken (requiring energy) and new bonds formed (releasing energy). If the energy released is greater than the energy required, the reaction is exothermic. If the reverse, it is endothermic.

 

Carbon is recycled through natural processes in the atmosphere, ecosystems, oceans and the Earth’s crust (such as photosynthesis and respiration) as well as human activities (burning fuels).

 

Most metals are found combined with other elements, as a compound, in ores. The more reactive a metal, the more difficult it is to separate it from its compound.

Link to Prior Knowledge Students will have used the particle model in Y7 to see how atoms can rearrange during chemical reactions.  This topic provides some examples of this. Students will have used the particle model in Y7 to see how atoms can rearrange during chemical reactions.  This topic provides some examples of this.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

In Year 8 we build on the core concepts that were introduced in Year 7.  In chemistry, we build on the nature of matter by looking at the chemical changes that take place based on the rearrangement of atoms.  In biology, we look the variation of multicellular organisms, the causes of this variation and then focus two of the most important biological processes that are used by multicellular organisms to survive.  In physics, we build on energy transfers by looking at how the idea of waves.  We build on electricity and forces by looking at the nature of electromagnetism and role of gravity in our solar system.   In Y8 we also introduce some more difficult ideas which help students make the transition to GCSE.  This includes looking at genes in biology, reaction properties in chemistry and wave properties in physics.  In Year 8 we continue alternate between the three subject areas of science every 6 weeks so as not to hit cognitive overload.  At the end of each 6-week topic, a week of study is dedicated to revision, recap and formative feedback.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 8 Chemistry curriculum, please click here.

Year 9 Chemistry

 

Year 9

Autumn Term 1 Autumn Term 2 & Spring Term 1 Spring Term 2 & Summer Term 1 Summer Term 2
Unit Title Atomic structure and the periodic table Bonding Rates of Reaction Energy Changes
Key Question How does the structure of an atom affect the chemical properties of an element? How do atoms bond with other atoms and how does the atomic structure of a substance affect its properties What are the factors that affect the speed of a chemical reaction? How does energy transfer during a chemical reaction?
Threshold Concepts

The periodic table provides chemists with a structured organisation of the known chemical elements from which they can make sense of their physical and chemical properties.

 

The historical development of the periodic table and models of atomic structure provide good examples of how scientific ideas and explanations develop over time as new evidence emerges.

 

The arrangement of elements in the modern periodic table can be explained in terms of atomic structure which provides evidence for the model of a nuclear atom with electrons in energy levels.

Chemists use theories of structure and bonding to explain the physical and chemical properties of materials.

 

Analysis of structures shows that atoms can be arranged in a variety of ways, some of which are molecular while others are giant structures.

 

Theories of bonding explain how atoms are held together in these structures.

 

Scientists use this knowledge of structure and bonding to engineer new materials with desirable properties.

 

The properties of these materials may offer new applications in a range of different technologies.

The rate of a chemical reaction can be found by measuring the

quantity of a reactant used or the quantity of product formed over

time.

 

Factors which affect the rates of chemical reactions include: the concentrations of reactants in solution, the pressure of reacting gases, the surface area of solid reactants, the temperature and the presence of catalysts.

 

Energy is conserved in chemical reactions. The amount of energy in the universe at the end of a chemical reaction is the same as before the reaction takes place.

 

An exothermic reaction is one that transfers energy to the surroundings so the temperature of the surroundings increases.

 

An endothermic reaction is one that takes in energy from the surroundings so the temperature of the surroundings decreases.

 

Chemical reactions can occur only when reacting particles collide with each other and with sufficient energy. The minimum amount of energy that particles must have to react is called the activation energy.

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Students will have covered some elemental trends in the periodic table from the Y7 topic, but this goes into much more detail in terms of atomic structure. This builds directly on from for first Y9 unit Students looked at the ways chemical reactions work in Y8 but did not look at the factors affecting the speed of a chemical reaction Students have already looked at energy changes in Year 8 but this was only covered in a qualitative manner.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

We believe it is important to start the GCSE course with the key concepts that underpin the study of chemistry. The idea that the arrangement of elements in the modern periodic table can be explained in terms of atomic structure underpins the nature of matter, and this then leads on to the nature of bonding and the structure of different substances. Whilst these two units (C1 and C2) are conceptually challenging for Y9 students, we know that the concepts covered underpin everything they will study in GCSE.  We have developed the curriculum structure so that students keep coming back to these (see highlighted in green in Y10 and Y11) so that they reinforce their understanding of the underpinning concepts in chemistry across their studies.  Students then move on to the rates (C6) and energy (C5) units in Y9 which looks at some of the properties of chemical reactions.  We have chosen these so that students will develop their mathematical and practical skills in the early parts of their GCSE studies. These units are not as conceptually challenging, but allow students to do lots of investigating, observing, experimenting or testing out ideas and thinking about them.  This is why we have brought these forward to Y9.  In Y9 chemistry we do not particularly differentiate between combined science or triple award in terms of sequencing.  This is to allow opportunities to see which students can cope with the rigours of the more difficult triple award units that are to follow in Y10 and Y11.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 9 Chemistry curriculum, please click here.

Year 10 Chemistry
Year 10 Autumn Term 1 Autumn Term 2 Spring Term
Unit Title Quantitative Chemistry Metals reactivity and acids Electrolysis
Key Question How do we work out the mass of reactants needed or products made in a chemical reaction? How do metals react and what are the properties and reactions of acids/bases? How can electricity be used to break down a chemical compound?
Threshold Concepts

The law of conservation of mass states that no atoms are lost or made during a chemical reaction so the mass of the products equals the mass of the reactants.

 

Chemical amounts are measured in moles. The symbol for the unit mole is mol. The mass of one mole of a substance in grams is numerically equal to its relative formula mass.

 

 

Metals react with oxygen to produce metal oxides. The reactions are oxidation reactions because the metals gain oxygen.

 

A more reactive metal can displace a less reactive metal from a compound.

 

Acids are neutralised by alkalis (eg soluble metal hydroxides) and bases (eg insoluble metal hydroxides and metal oxides) to produce salts and water, and by metal carbonates to produce salts, water and carbon dioxide.

 

When an ionic compound is melted or dissolved in water, the ions are free to move about within the liquid or solution.

 

These liquids and solutions are able to conduct electricity and are called electrolytes.

 

Metals can be extracted from molten compounds using electrolysis.

 

Electrolysis is used if the metal is too reactive to be extracted by reduction with carbon or if the metal reacts with carbon.

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Conservation of mass was covered qualitatively in a Y8 chemistry topic.

Students have already been introduced to metal and acid reactions in Y7 and Y8.

 

This builds on the atomic structure and bonding units studied in Year 9
  Summer Term    
Unit Title Organic Chemistry    
Key Question How are carbon compounds made and what are they used for?    
Threshold Concepts

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.

   
Link to Prior Knowledge This builds on the atomic structure and bonding units studied in Year 9

 

 

 
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

Year 10 continues with units that build into each other, as per the GCSE specification.  However, we also ensure that interleaved practice is a key part of our delivery.  So we revisit C1 and C2 during the year as well as reviewing C3 and C4 again at the end of the year. In Y10 we do not quite follow the order of the specification.  This is because we see the importance of introducing types of chemical reactions from C4 before looking at the calculations involved in chemical reactions in C3.  This allows us to teach C3 with more experimental context rather than basing it on purely theoretical ideas which would be difficult for students of middle/low-ability. In Y10, the triple award students follow similar topics to the combined science students, but each topic has more content so they are not in sync with each other from the start of Autumn 2.  This means that setting for triple award has to be finalised by Autumn 2. We ensure that there is appropriate assessment and feedback at the end of each unit, which is why we split the large C4 unit into two parts to enable more bespoke assessment and review.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 10 Chemistry curriculum, please click here.

Year 11 Chemistry
Year 11 Autumn Term 1 Autumn Term 2 / Spring Term 1 Spring Term 2
Unit Title Chemical Analysis Chemistry of the Atmosphere Using Resources
Key Question How do we detect specific chemicals? How has the atmosphere formed and how does its composition affect us today? How do chemists develop products that are useful for everyday life?
Threshold Concepts

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.

For 200 million years, the proportions of different gases in the atmosphere have been much the same as they are today:

• about four-fifths (approximately 80%) nitrogen

• about one-fifth (approximately 20%) oxygen

• small proportions of various other gases, including carbon dioxide, water vapour and noble gases.

 

An increase in average global temperature is a major cause of climate change. There are several potential effects of global climate change.

 

The gases released into the atmosphere when a fuel is burned may include carbon dioxide, water vapour, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. Solid particles and unburned hydrocarbons may also be released that form particulates in the atmosphere.

 

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.

Link to Prior Knowledge This builds on the mixtures and separation topics covered in both Y7 and Y9. This builds on an introduction to the atmosphere which was covered in Y8. This builds on an introduction to types of chemicals covered in Y7 and Y8.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale In Year 11, the triple award and combined science students are on very different topic streams.  We follow the order the specification with this year group but we ensure that we review C1 and C2 again as part of interleaved practice and also review C5 and C6 which was covered in Y9.  This is essential as C7-C10 are the real-world applications of the core knowledge that has been taught in C1-C6.  We feel that students in Y11 are able to work through the application units at this stage as they should have the core knowledge, but we ensure it is appropriately revised at the start of each lesson (See SoW).

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 0 Chemistry curriculum, please click here.

Year 7 Physics
Year 7 Spring Term 1 Summer Term
Unit Title Energy and electricity Forces
Key Question How does energy transfer and what is electricity? What are forces?
Threshold Concepts

We can describe how jobs get done using an energy model where energy is transferred from one store at the start to another at the end.  When energy is transferred, the total is conserved, but some energy is dissipated, reducing the useful energy.

Current is a movement of electrons and is the same everywhere in a series circuit. Current divides between loops in a parallel circuit, combines when loops meet, lights up bulbs and makes components work.

If the overall, resultant force on an object is unbalanced, its motion changes and it slows down, speeds up or changes direction.  One effect of a force is to change an object’s form, causing it to be stretched or compressed. In some materials, the change is proportional to the force applied.

Pressure acts in a fluid in all directions. It increases with depth due to the increased weight of fluid, and results in an upthrust. Objects sink or float depending on whether the weight of the object is bigger or smaller than the upthrust.

Link to Prior Knowledge Students would have worked with circuits in primary school in terms of electrical devices being connected to a power supply, but the ideas of voltage, current and resistance have not been introduced.

Students would know the idea that we cannot see a force, just its effects. A change in the motion or shape of an object indicates that a

force is acting on it.  This would have been investigated in primary school.

Knowledge and sequencing rationale

We begin with core concepts in the three subject areas of science. We look at the nature of matter in chemistry, multicellular organisms in biology and electricity and energy transfer in physics. These are essential concepts that build on ideas from primary school science.  We alternate between the three subject areas of science to demonstrate to students the broad areas of study required in secondary science. We spend 6 weeks on each topic area so as not to hit cognitive overload with younger students.  At the end of each 6-week topic, a week of study is dedicated to revision, recap and formative feedback.  The next sequence of topics (2B, 2C and 2P) build on the concepts introduced in the first sequence.  2C continues to delve deeper into the nature of matter and introduces patterns based on atomic structure, 2B takes the ideas of how multicellular organisms are structured by looking at specific systems such as the digestion and respiratory systems. 2P introduces the concepts of forces giving lots of contextual examples of forces can change the ‘form’ on an object.  Energy features in each of the four physics topics at KS3 and ideas about energy are developed in each of them.  Biological processes feature in each of the four biology topics at KS3 and ideas about these processes are developed in each of them. The nature of matter features in each of the four chemistry topics at KS3 and ideas about how matter changes are developed in each of them.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 7 Physics curriculum, please click here.

Year 8 Physics
Year 8 Autumn Term Summer Term
Unit Title Waves Space and Electromagnetism
Key Question What are waves and how do we detect them? How do the planets in the solar system interact?
Threshold Concepts

The idea of waves is useful because it is the key to explaining how energy can be transferred from one object to another object by radiation, even when the objects are not touching.

 

Waves carry information that can be detected by humans or manufactured detectors. Understanding waves helps us to communicate, explore the universe, and transfer energy to where we want it.

The solar system can be modelled as planets rotating on tilted axes while orbiting the Sun, moons orbiting planets, and sunlight spreading out and being reflected.

 

Magnetic materials, electromagnets and the Earth create magnetic fields which can be described by drawing field lines to show the strength and direction

 

Link to Prior Knowledge Students will have looked at the basic properties of sound and light in primary school. Students would have looked at the way the earth works in space as well as some properties of magnets in primary school.
Knowledge and sequencing rationale

In Year 8 we build on the core concepts that were introduced in Year 7.  In chemistry, we build on the nature of matter by looking at the chemical changes that take place based on the rearrangement of atoms. In biology, we look the variation of multicellular organisms, the causes of this variation and then focus two of the most important biological processes that are used by multicellular organisms to survive.  In physics, we build on energy transfers by looking at how the idea of waves.  We build on electricity and forces by looking at the nature of electromagnetism and role of gravity in our solar system.   In Y8 we also introduce some more difficult ideas which help students make the transition to GCSE.  This includes looking at genes in biology, reaction properties in chemistry and wave properties in physics.  In Year 8 we continue alternate between the three subject areas of science every 6 weeks so as not to hit cognitive overload.  At the end of each 6-week topic, a week of study is dedicated to revision, recap and formative feedback.

 

If you would like more in depth information about the Year 8 Physics curriculum, please click here.

Year 9 Physics

Year 9

Autumn Term 1

Autumn Term 2 & Spring Term 1

Spring Term 2

Unit Title

Forces 1

Energy 1

Domestic Electricity

Key Question

What impact do different forces have on objects?

What is energy and how is it transferred?

How do we safely transfer electricity in our homes?

Threshold Concepts

Momentum = mass × velocity [p=mv]

 

When a force acts on an object that is moving, or able to move, a change of momentum occurs.

 

For a given braking force, the greater the speed of the vehicle, the greater the stopping distance.

 

A force that stretches (or compresses) a spring does work and elastic potential energy is stored in the spring.

There are changes in the way energy is stored when a system changes.

 

The amount of energy stored in or released from a system as its temperature changes can be calculated using the equation:

change in thermal energy = mass ×specific heat capacity × temperature change

 

Whenever there are energy transfers in a system only part of the energy is usefully transferred. The rest of the energy is dissipated so that it is stored in less useful ways. This energy is often described as being ‘wasted’.

 

Most electrical appliances are connected to the mains using three-core cable.

 

Everyday electrical appliances are designed to bring about energy transfers. The amount of energy an appliance transfers depends on how long the appliance is switched on for and the power of the appliance.

 

 

Link to Prior Knowledge

Forces and the effect of forces were introduced in a dedicated topic in Y7.

The idea of energy stores and energy pathways was first introduced in a Y7 topic on energy and electricity.

The principles of electrical circuits were introduced in a topic on energy and electricity in Y7.

Year 9

Summer Term 1

Summer Term 2 (sets 1 and 2 only)

 

Unit Title

Particles 

Atomic Structure

Key Question

What is the particle model?

 

Threshold Concepts

The particle model is widely used to predict the behaviour of solids, liquids and gases and this has many applications in everyday life

The basic structure of an atom is a positively charged nucleus composed of both protons and neutrons surrounded by negatively charged electrons.

 

In an atom the number of electrons is equal to the number of protons in the nucleus.

 

Some atomic nuclei are unstable. The nucleus gives out radiation as it changes to become more stable. This is a random process called radioactive decay.

Link to Prior Knowledge

This links into work done on the particle model in the Y7 topic on matter.

This links into a chemistry topic covered at the start of Y9 on the structure of an atom.

Knowledge and sequencing rationale

–          Forces 1 introduces practical measurements and mathematical skills early on, where we move from the concrete to the abstract models of forces and their mathematical representations. Understanding forces can help to explain how many other physical processes come about.

–          Energy 1 introduces energy stores and thermal energy and connects this with real-world energy issues resources, introducing reasoned thinking skills and practical skills.

–          Electricity 1 introduces current flow and potential difference and links this to every-day application, and follows from energy transfer concepts introduced previously.

–          Particle model of matter introduces kinetic theory, which underpins thermal energy.

–          Following this with atomic structure for the triple group is a natural extension as we consider energy stores even smaller than individual particles. Early introduction of this topic also explains some concepts in the electricity topic.

 

Year 10 Physics

Year 10

Autumn Term 1

Autumn Term 2 & Spring Term 1

Spring Term 2

Unit Title

Circuit Electricity

Energy 2

Waves 1

Key Question

How does electricity flow in a circuit and what factors affect this?

What are some of the ways we can calculate changes in energy involved when a system is changed?

How do we classify waves and what are their properties?

Threshold Concepts

Electric current is a flow of electrical charge. The size of the electric current is the rate of flow of electrical charge.

 

The current (I) through a component depends on both the resistance (R) of the component and the potential difference (V) across the component.

 

There are two ways of joining electrical components, in series and in parallel. Some circuits include both series and parallel parts.

 

The amount of elastic potential energy stored in a stretched spring can be calculated using the equation:

elastic potential energy = 0.5 × spring constant × extension2

Ee = ½ k e2

 

A force does work on an object when the force causes a displacement of the object.

 

Power is defined as the rate at which energy is transferred or the rate at which work is done.

 

Waves may be either transverse or longitudinal.

 

The ripples on a water surface are an example of a transverse wave.

 

Longitudinal waves show areas of compression and rarefaction.

 

The amplitude of a wave is the maximum displacement of a point on a wave away from its undisturbed position.

 

Link to Prior Knowledge

This builds on the energy and electricity topic covered in Y7 as well as the domestic electricity topic covered in Y9

 

 

Year 10

Summer Term (sets 1+2 only)

Summer Term

 

Unit Title

Waves 2

Forces 2

Key Question

How do we classify waves and what are their properties?

 

Threshold Concepts

Waves can be reflected at the boundary between two different materials.

 

Waves can be absorbed or transmitted at the boundary between two different materials.

 

Electromagnetic waves form a continuous spectrum and all types of electromagnetic wave travel at the same velocity through a vacuum (space) or air.

 

 

The weight of an object may be considered to act at a single point referred to as the object’s ‘centre of mass’.

Weight is the force acting on an object due to gravity. The force of gravity close to the Earth is due to the gravitational field around the Earth.

 

The weight of an object and the mass of an object are directly proportional.

 

Link to Prior Knowledge

This builds on the waves topic covered earlier in Y10 for all students.

This builds on the previous forces topic covered in Y9

Knowledge and sequencing rationale

Year 10 is a spiralled curriculum, revisiting the Y9 topics and adding a more mathematical and abstract conceptual edge to the real-world applications seen in year 9. In general, the more challenging material has been left for this year. Waves is also introduced as a new topic. In general, there is time to revisit the Year 9 material in a review lesson, with each of the Y9 topics being reviewed at least once during Y10 for combined science students.

 

Year 11 Physics

Year 11

Autumn Term 1

Autumn Term 2

Unit Title

Electromagnetism

Space Physics

 

Key Question

How do magnetic fields work and what is the connection between electricity and magnetism?

How does our solar system work and how is the universe expanding?

 

Threshold Concepts

The region around a magnet where a force acts on another magnet or on a magnetic material (iron, steel, cobalt and nickel) is called the magnetic field.

 

The direction of the magnetic field at any point is given by the direction of the force that would act on another north pole placed at that point.

 

When a current flows through a conducting wire a magnetic field is produced around the wire.

 

Within our solar system there is one star, the Sun, plus the eight

planets and the dwarf planets that orbit around the Sun. Natural satellites, the moons that orbit planets, are also part of the solar system.

Our solar system is a small part of the Milky Way galaxy.

The Sun was formed from a cloud of dust and gas (nebula) pulled together by gravitational attraction.

A star goes through a life cycle. The life cycle is determined by the size of the star.

Gravity provides the force that allows planets and satellites (both natural and artificial) to maintain their circular orbits.

There is an observed increase in the wavelength of light from most distant galaxies. The further away the galaxies, the faster they are moving and the bigger the observed increase in wavelength. This effect is called red-shift.

 

 

Link to Prior Knowledge

This builds on the content covered in Y8 on magnets and an introduction to electromagnetism

This builds on the content covered in Y8 on earth and space.

 

Knowledge and sequencing rationale

Combined science groups will see just two new topics in year 11, and then spend considerable time reviewing and applying what has been seen in Years 9 and 10. A specific area of focus is the re-teaching of Forces 1 content from Y9 which was potentially omitted for middle/low ability groups (Suvat, vectors, tangents to curves). The other topics are somewhat stand-alone but generally build on concepts introduced so far.
Triple award students will extend their knowledge of the waves and forces topics and also apply themselves to space physics which builds on atomic structure and forces 1 from year 9. Electromagnetism feeds back into their knowledge of the national grid.

 

A Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Science Staff