Lower School Science
“What scientists are attached to is journeys into the unknown and discovering things that are completely unexpected and baffling and surprising.”
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.
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
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:
- Organisms 1 & 2
- Matter 1 & 2
- Reactions 1& 2
- Energy 1 & 2
- Inheritance 1 & 2
- Forces 1 & 2
- Waves 1 & 2
- Electromagnetism 1 & 2
- Earth Sciences 1 & 2
- 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
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