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Lower School Science

“What scientists are attached to is journeys into the unknown and discovering things that are completely unexpected and baffling and surprising.”

Brian Cox

The aims of Lower School Science are:

  • to encourage the development of confident science students able to apply knowledge and skills which reflect their understanding of the subjects and topics covered.
  • to deliver a comprehensive Lower School Science curriculum which has sufficient breadth and depth.
  • to foster and develop the scientific ‘Big Ideas’ through working scientifically, practical methods, scientific method, literacy, and numeracy.

Lower School Science includes aspects of health and safety and very important laboratory practices.  This is introduced to students allowing them to nurture their understanding of how a laboratory is run.  The curriculum is taught in a way which builds up the ‘Big Ideas’ in Science.  It allows practical, mathematical and literacy opportunities to be developed.  All 3 sciences are covered across the Lower School Science curriculum.

Key Concepts

Working scientifically

Scientific attitudes – accuracy, precision, risk

Experimental skills and investigations – enquiry based practicals, predictions, sampling, measuring, observations

Analysis and evaluation – mathematical concepts, error, data, patterns

Measurement – units, equations, calculations

Content – this incorporates the ‘Big Ideas’ in the 3 Sciences which include:

Biology – Structure and function of living organisms, Material cycles and energy, Interactions and interdependencies, Genetics and evolution

Chemistry – The particulate nature of matter, Chemical reactions, Energetics, Materials, Earth and Atmosphere

Physics – Energy, Motion and forces, Waves, Electricity and electromagnetism, Matter

Key Skills

Practical – manipulating scientific apparatus and developing scientific techniques including measurement

Investigative – understanding the idea of scientific enquiry

Analytical – handling data and evidence

Problem solving – developing an inquisitive mind

Mathematical – manipulating numbers, data, and statistics

Evaluative – use of evidence in explanation, justifying experimental techniques

What is taught?

In Years 7 and 8 the students follow the Oxford Smart Activate curriculum for Key Stage 3. In the Lower School, students complete ’10 Big Ideas’ modules, designed to prepare students for GCSE study. These are:

  1. Organisms 1 & 2
  2. Matter 1 & 2
  3. Reactions 1& 2
  4. Energy 1 & 2
  5. Inheritance 1 & 2
  6. Forces 1 & 2
  7. Waves 1 & 2
  8. Electromagnetism 1 & 2
  9. Earth Sciences 1 & 2
  10. Ecosystems 1 & 2

Academic Literacy in Lower School Science

Students will be expected to explain phenomena scientifically through the recall and application of scientific key terms, vocabulary, and concepts. They will need to use terms linked to scientific enquiry. To do this, students will be encouraged to keep vocabulary and key term glossaries, engage in independent research and the reading of a variety of texts, take part in discussions and debates. They will be questioned regularly, set written tasks and key term tests.

Students are encouraged to extend their interest in Lower School Science by… 

Reading around the subject

Utilising the LRC resources

Watching relevant documentaries or programmes

Conducting further research on a topic of interest

Utilising the EY Stem app

Attending Science club

Enrichment Opportunities

Science club – students can take part afterschool in STEM-related practical activities

LABRATS – a help club run by sixth form Science students

Trips and visits