Science Year 7 – Year 10
The PLC Science course introduces students to a wide range of science ideas and topics, providing a global view of past and present issues and developing the skills to communicate scientific ideas effectively. Although these topics lay the foundation for future studies of Science, the main emphasis is on providing the students with a broad scientific background helping them to draw links between science and everyday life.
The science course will offer a learning experience that will develop students’ critical thinking and research skills through the concepts of change, systems and relationships. These topics include the commonly known areas of Biological, Chemical, Physical, and Earth and Space Sciences.
The Science content includes the three strands of science understanding, science inquiry skills and science as a human endeavour. The three strands of the curriculum are interrelated and their content is taught in an integrated way.
Each topic is made relevant to the interests of the students and provides them with opportunities to explore science within different contexts, integrating with other subjects where appropriate. There is a significant emphasis on student centred learning throughout the course, with students accepting a greater degree of responsibility for their own learning as they progress from Years 7 to 10. The range of student ability is catered for by a differentiated curriculum that allows students to progress in a manner that best suits their individual needs and abilities.
Over Years 7 to 10, students develop their understanding of microscopic and atomic structures; how systems at a range of scales are shaped by flows of energy and matter and interactions due to forces, and develop the ability to quantify changes and relative amounts.
In Year 7, students explore the diversity of life on Earth and start to develop an understanding of the role of classification in ordering and organising information. They use and develop models such as food chains and food webs to represent and analyse the flow of energy and matter through ecosystems and explore the impact of changing components within these systems. They consider the interaction between multiple forces when explaining changes in an object’s motion. They explore the notion of renewable and non-renewable resources and consider how this classification depends on the timescale considered. They investigate relationships in the Earth-sun-moon system and use models to predict and explain events. Students make accurate measurements and control variables to analyse relationships between system components. They explore and explain these relationships through appropriate representations and consider the role of science in decision-making processes.
In Year 8, students are introduced to cells as microscopic structures that explain macroscopic properties of living systems. They link form and function at a cellular level and explore the organisation of body systems in terms of flows of matter between interdependent organs. Similarly, they explore changes in matter at a particle level, and distinguish between chemical and physical change. They begin to classify different forms of energy, and describe the role of energy in causing change in systems, including the role of heat and kinetic energy. Students use experimentation to isolate relationships between components in systems and explain these relationships through increasingly complex representations. They make predictions and propose explanations, drawing on evidence to support their views while considering other points of view.
In Year 9, students consider the operation of systems at a range of scales. They explore ways in which the human body as a system responds to its external environment. They are introduced to the notion of the atom as a system of protons, electrons and neutrons, and how this system can change through nuclear decay. They learn that matter can be rearranged through chemical change and that these changes play an important role in many systems. They are introduced to the concept of the conservation of matter and begin to develop a more sophisticated view of energy transfer. They begin to apply their understanding of energy and forces to global systems such as continental movement.
In Year 10, the science course consists of three core subjects – Physics, Chemistry and Biology, which are taught by subject specialists to ensure a depth of content. The Physics course covers the topics of motion, forces and energy. The Chemistry unit covers collision theory, reactivity series, rates of reaction, hydrocarbons, bonding and an introduction to stoichiometry. The Biology unit includes genetics and an introduction to evolution.
In the Year 10 curriculum, students explore systems at different scales and connect microscopic and macroscopic properties to explain phenomena. Students explore the biological, chemical, and physical evidence for different theories. The three core subjects are taught by subject specialists to ensure a depth of content.
Students develop their understanding of atomic theory to understand relationships within the periodic table. They understand that motion and forces are related by applying physical laws. They learn about the relationships between aspects of the living, physical and chemical world that are applied to systems on a local and global scale and this enables them to predict how changes will affect equilibrium within these systems.
Each of these courses is designed not only to align with the Western Australian Curriculum for Science, but also to prepare the students for WACE and IB Diploma courses.