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    Science

    “An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature’s answer.”

    Maxwell Planck

    Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

    Staff

    Mrs S Bartlett (Curriculum Lead)
    Mr P Blair (Subject Lead Biology)
    Mr M Sayer (Subject Lead Physics)
    Mr R Goldman
    Mrs R Corrente
    Mrs V Fielding
    Mrs A Goldswain
    Mrs K House
    Mrs D Kanasewich

    Mr K Grant
    Mrs S Munday (Technician)
    Ms H Holman (Technician)

    Vision

    To cultivate a spirit of curiosity and inquiry, emboldening students to see the world analytically, to innovate and lead in the applications of science to problem solving in the future.

     

    Intent

    The science curriculum at DGGS has been developed to enable students to make links between the scientific disciplines throughout their studies. Across key stages 3 and 4 content has been organised into the 10 Big Ideas of Science. This emphasis on the key ideas and their relevance allows students to build a coherent picture of the nature of science and the broader applications of science across all aspects of society, which they can further develop with progression to the A level sciences.

    Lessons follow the aims of the National Curriculum to equip students with an understanding of the concepts, processes and methods of science, to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. Scientifically literate students are skilled critical thinkers able to analyse evidence and apply their scientific understanding to local, national and global issues. The scope and range of career opportunities in the scientific disciplines to which students can aspire are highlighted throughout their studies, with an emphasis on strong female role models in their fields.

    To enrich our curriculum, a range of co-curricular opportunities add challenge and stimulate interest. Clubs, Crest awards, national competitions, conferences, outside speakers, projects and a wide range of trips are offered as well as the opportunity for students to mentor those in lower year groups. Across all Key Stages, throughout the year, students participate in enrichment days where we can explore more ambitious practical and theoretical concepts in innovative and challenging ways.

    Key Stage 3: Students in Year 7 and 8 study our new Key Stage 3 Science curriculum which organises the big ideas and topics into clear objectives. The content is planned through 10 Big Idea headings: forces, electromagnetism, energy, waves, matter, reactions, Earth, organisms, ecosystems and genes. Each idea contains four smaller topics: the building blocks for the big ideas. Using the Big Ideas, the generalisations, principles and models which connect concepts are at the heart of our curriculum. This knowledge base provides the threshold that enables students to progress to the more complex scientific material presented at GCSE.

    In Year 7 students experience an introductory course in science to bridge the transition from primary school. This covers procedural knowledge about working safely in science, acquainting them with the fundamental investigative approaches common to all branches of science and an opportunity to experience the wider practical opportunities that secondary science provides.

    Year 8 takes the students into a deeper exploration of the Big Ideas and offers a higher level of challenge. Time has been built into this stage of the course to complete extended practical investigations and exploration of how scientific ideas have developed to further develop students’ disciplinary skills concerning the scientific enquiry processes.

    Throughout the KS3 course concepts are revisited with multiple opportunities for students to review and re-engage with their previous learning. Students are encouraged to make links between their previous and current learning in the three science disciplines and other areas of the curriculum. Scientific literacy skills are a key focus at KS3, with students regularly reviewing scientific articles and completing extended writing tasks.

    Key Stage 4: Students at GCSE study either AQA GCSE Separate Sciences or AQA Combined (Trilogy) Science, taught in five set groups. These courses allow students to explore a wide range of scientific concepts and calculations. During their studies, students are exposed to a range of practical skills and more complex practical techniques. In year 9 all students cover topics from the Combined Science course establishing the fundamental core concepts. Starting the course in year 9 enables students sufficient study time to delve into topics in depth and develop their application skills. Units continue to follow the Big Ideas themes allowing students to review and build on their KS3 foundations. From year 10 onwards the groups follow either the Separate Science curriculum or continue with Combined Science.

    Through either route the GCSE aims to progressively develop themes over the 3 years. In Biology these are cells and organisation, disease and bioenergetics, biological responses, ecology, genetics and reproduction. For Chemistry the key areas are atoms, bonding and moles, chemical reactions and energy changes, rates, equilibrium and organic chemistry, analysis and the Earth’s resources. Whilst in Physics students will learn about energy and energy resources, particles at work, forces in action, waves, electromagnetism and space.

    The curriculum has been planned so that strands of each theme are covered every year to allow for retrieval of prior information and development of ideas as students advance and refine their conceptual understanding over time.

    Key Stage 5: Biology, Chemistry and Physics A levels are offered. A STEM Access Course is provided for students with lower GCSE grades in the sciences or mathematics to provide additional support for a successful transition to studying the science at A level.

     

    Biology A Level
    Vision

    We aim to develop students of Biology with an enduring and powerful passion for the Life Sciences; students equipped to leverage their knowledge of living systems both directly through their deep understanding of the underlying principles but also indirectly in informing the ethical frameworks within which science operates in the modern world.

     

    Intent

    A-Level Biology is a popular choice in the sixth form where we follow the OCR Biology A specification. The course content provides plenty of challenge for students aspiring to apply for any degree linked to the life sciences from medicine to agriculture. The course builds on the fundamental principles of Biology learnt at GCSE and challenges the students to deepen their understanding of bioenergetics, genetics and cellular communication in interesting ways.

    The course comprises a foundation unit covering cells and biochemistry. Exchange and transport is studied, followed by units on classification, biodiversity, disease and ecology. In Year 13 students are introduced to the more challenging subject matter of bioenergetics,

    communication and genetic control. All students complete a minimum of 12 practical activities during the course which count towards their practical endorsement.

    There is a strong emphasis on out-of-class experiences including field work carried out over 3 days locally as well as attendance at the Biology in Action conference. Students are encouraged to enter the Biology Olympiad, an annual competition run by the Institute of Biology. We are fortunate in our links with the University of Kent, Department of Biosciences where students have been able to observe electron and confocal microscopy at first hand as well as mass spectrometry. The student led Biology Society gives sixth form students the opportunity to develop their own projects with an industrial partner, most recently investigations concerning the pollination of tomatoes by bees.

     

    Chemistry A Level
    Vision

    Chemistry is a wonderfully fascinating subject. We aim to inspire students to engage with the diverse and ubiquitous applications of Chemistry and how it shapes the world around us.

    Chemistry is about matter, specifically how matter changes. When studying Chemistry, we look at the behaviour of atoms, molecules and ions and how this determines the world we live in. It affects our shapes, sizes, biology and even how we feel on a given day. Everything around us, whether man-made or natural, relates to Chemistry.

    Many everyday things, that we now take for granted, have links to the world of Chemistry. For example, mobile phones are advancing year upon year due to the advances in Material Science – a branch of Chemistry. From the understanding of how and why there was a hole in the ozone layer to the myriad consumer goods we use every day – all embrace Chemistry.

    Intent

    Studying A-Level Chemistry allows students to secure the fundamental ideas of Chemistry in preparation for the plethora of Chemistry related careers.

    In the beginning of Year 12, challenging concepts at GCSE such as quantitative chemistry, redox and ionic equations are reviewed and consolidated to ensure that students have the essential transferrable skills which can be applied for the duration of their A-Level. New chemical concepts in both physical and organic chemistry are introduced and interleaved forming the foundations of A-level Chemistry. Students are also introduced to the Practical Endorsement of Chemistry in which practical skills, knowledge and application of chemical ideas are developed into Year 13.

    In Year 13, more challenging concepts are covered, such as rates and equilibria, acids, bases, pH and buffers, redox titrations and electrochemical cells, aromatic chemistry, organic functional groups, organic synthesis, and analytical techniques. This allows the broadening of knowledge and understanding in physical and organic Chemistry learnt in Year 12.

    Physics A Level
    Vision

    Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental science that plays a major role in the future progression of humankind.

    At A Level, our aim is to create the very best physicists. Our students are motivated to think like a physicist and are challenged to understand how things work from first principles. We push them to draw connections from the real world and solve complex problems whilst developing their mathematical and analytical skills in familiar and unfamiliar contexts.

    Intent

    At DGGS our students follow the AQA Physics (7408) course. In Year 12, our students build on the underlying concepts of Physics learnt at GCSE. Through the study of particles and radiation, waves, mechanics and electricity, they begin to tackle some of the big questions about the nature of matter and the possible solutions to major problems such as energy production. In Year 13, students are introduced to the more demanding subject matter of further mechanics, fields, thermal physics, radioactivity and nuclear energy. This further study allows students to look at specific areas of Physics in more detail and very importantly discover how they are all interconnected. We strive to give all students a strong and secure working knowledge of the world of Physics, allowing them to best find a solution to any question they face inside and outside of school.

    Practical work is an essential part of the course and students develop strong working scientifically skills so that they understand how experiments can provide evidence, can critically evaluate data and link this to theory. On successful completion of the practical work, a practical endorsement is issued on the exam certificate.

     

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