Science at KS3

In Years 7 – 9 students receive 6 lessons in science per fortnight. The subject encompasses a variety of biology, chemistry and physics topics including:

  • Forces and motion
  • The reactions of acids, alkalis
  • Light and sound
  • Respiration and photosynthesis
  • Energy and fuel
  • Inheritance and selection
  • Fitness & health
  • Gravity and space
  • Energy and electricity
  • Chemistry and the environment

Students follow a bespoke scheme of learning, written by the Science Department at Launceston College. The scheme of learning has been designed specifically to develop the knowledge and skills needed to ultimately succeed in GCSE science and beyond. Strong emphasis is placed on developing science specific practical skills along with cross-curricular literacy and numeracy.

Students are assessed in two main ways in science these include end of topic content tests and practical skills assessments.

The end of topic content tests help students to understand their strengths and weaknesses within a module, as well as developing exam question based skills in readiness for GCSE science.

The end of topic practical assessments are usually linked to a research based homework to prepare them for the assessment. Students have to write an extended piece of work covering all aspects of a practical write up, such as

  • Method
  • Equipment list
  • Variables
  • Risk assessment
  • Results
  • Graph
  • Conclusion
  • Evaluation

These assessments are specifically designed to prepare them for the required practical element of GCSE science, to familiarise the students with the techniques and skills they need to complete practical work in a suitable manner. They also allow students to challenge themselves to research further into the topic and extend their learning, as well as develop their own experiments, promoting creative thought and enquiry.

Additional opportunities

The science department also offer a number of extra-curricular opportunities which students may wish to pursue whilst in KS3. These include

  • GCSE Astronomy
  • GCSE Geology
  • Eco Club
  • Various enrichment opportunities throughout the year, recent trips have included visiting the Peninsula medical school and a national robotics competition

GCSE Astronomy and Geology will be run in period 6 lessons 15:15-16:15 each week depending on staff availability and student interest and offered to students in year 8 upwards. These are optional subjects offered to students who are interested. It gives the students the chance to study subjects outside of the main curriculum and pursue their passion for these subjects. They can also sit the exam when they are ready and therefore earn themselves an additional GCSE prior to starting KS4.

Eco Club: This runs at lunchtime and helps students to develop their environmental interests and awareness. Activities include tackling environmental issues in school and raising general student awareness of global issues.

How can we as parents help?

Parents and carers can support students by helping them to revise for the content tests, KS3 revision guides will be available to purchase (should you wish) once a year (generally at the start of the academic year) which cover Yr 7-9 content. These are usually available at a discounted rate if purchased from school, compared to general sale, although they are also available from all major outlets.

These revision guides are very helpful but not essential, there are lots of useful websites that students can use to revise from. This list also includes websites that have useful practical information, which could be used when students are preparing their homework for the practical assessments.

Useful websites:

BBC Bitesize for KS3

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zng4d2p

Science Journal for Kids: interesting articles aimed at students (really useful to help students pursue their scientific interests and extend beyond the syllabus)

http://www.sciencejournalforkids.org/?gclid=CJzEkpqY29QCFemd7QodYPAAmw

Nuffield Foundation: useful for biology practical’s

http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-biology

Royal Society of Chemistry: useful for chemistry practical’s

http://www.rsc.org/learn-chemistry/resource/listing?searchtext=&fcategory=all&filter=all&reference=nuffpract&Keyword=KCN00000009

Institute of Physics: useful for physics practical’s

http://practicalphysics.org/