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Science

Summary

Key Stage 3 Science at Gordon’s enables students to engage in understanding and learning Science as well as applying their knowledge to a myriad of contexts. Students study Biology, Chemistry and Physics in Years 7, 8 and 9 and develop their understanding of investigative approaches by planning and conducting many practicals. Our aim is to maintain their curiosity, which our students have in abundance.

There are many extra-curricular opportunities for students at all levels of the school including trips and competitions. Selected students in Years 8 and 9 participate in the Salter’s Festival of Chemistry and the SATRO competitions. 

Summary

The department has a very strong academic record at both GCSE and A-level. Students take either the three single sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Combined Science or ELC Science. The route that students study is dependent on their performance at KS3. We follow the AQA syllabus for all our KS4 qualifications.

There is a strong emphasis placed in our lessons on working scientifically which is a key component in the GCSE specifications. Science lessons involve students actively constructing their learning, often via practical activities. Developing our students’ analytical skills will benefit their subject understanding and they can apply these skills in their future studies.

A group of keen scientists in Year 10 represent the school at the annual Siemen’s Challenge and we take selected students to listen to eminent scientists speak at GCSE Science Live. We have invited university professors to speak to our students to inspire them to study Science further. Recent topics have been developments in stem cell research and robotics. 

Course details

Biology

  1. Cell biology
  2. Organisation
  3. Infection and response
  4. Bioenergetics
  5. Homeostasis and response
  6. Inheritance, variation and evolution
  7. Ecology

TYPICAL ACTIVITIES

Practical experiments, group and pair work, individual research topics, class discussions and demonstrations.

Chemistry

  1. Atomic structure and the periodic table
  2. Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
  3. Quantitative chemistry
  4. Chemical changes
  5. Energy changes
  6. The rate and extent of chemical change
  7. Organic chemistry
  8. Chemical analysis
  9. Chemistry of the atmosphere
  10. Using resources

TYPICAL ACTIVITIES

Practical experiments, group and pair work, individual research topics, class discussions and demonstrations

Physics

  1. Energy
  2. Electricity
  3. Particle model of matter
  4. Atomic structure
  5. Forces
  6. Waves
  7. Magnetism and electromagnetism
  8. Space physics

TYPICAL ACTIVITIES

Practical experiments, group and pair work, individual research topics, class discussions and demonstrations.

Combined Science

  1. Cell biology
  2. Organisation
  3. Bioenergetics
  4. Infection and response
  5. Homeostasis and response
  6. Inheritance, variation and evolution
  7. Ecology
  8. Atomic structure and the periodic table
  9. Bonding, structure, and the properties of matter
  10. Quantitative chemistry
  11. Chemical changes
  12. Energy changes
  13. The rate and extent of chemical
  14. change
  15. Organic chemistry
  16. Chemical analysis
  17. Chemistry of the atmosphere
  18. Using resources
  19. Energy
  20. Electricity
  21. Particle model of matter
  22. Atomic structure
  23. Forces Waves
  24. Magnetism and electromagnetism

TYPICAL ACTIVITIES

Practical experiments, group and pair work, individual research topics, class discussions and demonstrations.

Summary

All three Sciences are popular choices for further study at AS and A level, with many of our students electing to study Science or Science-related courses at some of the top universities in the country. We follow the AQA syllabus for all our KS5 qualifications. Students are offered opportunities to attend lectures and to participate in National competitions including Olympiads.

Biology is the study of living systems. The subject covers a wide array of knowledge encompassing aspects of life from molecular levels, through cells, tissues and organisms and on to populations and ecosystems. This wide spectrum is reflected in the structure of the A Level course and enables students to go on to higher study at university, or enter a science-based work place.

A-level Chemistry attempts to answer the big question ‘what is the world made of’ and it’s the search for this answer that makes this subject so fascinating. From investigating how one substance can be changed drastically into another, to researching a new wonder drug to save millions of lives, the opportunities that chemistry provides are endless.

“Life, The Universe and Everything”.  Physics is the study of why everything is the way it is and how the Universe works.  A level Physics begins to explore the fundamental workings of the world around us, from the particles that make up all matter to the forces involved in the Big Bang, taking in the bizarre possibilities of Quantum physics along the way.

Course details

Biology

Topic 1:  Biological Molecules
Topic  2: Cells
Topic 3: Organisms exchange substances with their environment
Topic 4: Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

Topics 1 – 4 taught in Year 12. Also in Year 12 students complete 6 Required Practicals. These will be assessed in the exams.

Topic 5: Energy transfers in and between organisms
Topic 6:  Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environment
Topic 7:  Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
Topic 8:  The control of gene expression

Topics 5 – 8 taught in Year 13. Also in Year 13 students complete 6 Required Practicals. These will be assessed in the exam.

 

Chemistry

Year 12

Physical chemistry: Atomic structure, Amount of substance, Bonding, Energetics, Kinetics, Chemical equilibria, Le Chatelier’s principle and Kc, oxidation, reduction and redox equations.
Inorganic chemistry: Groups 2 the alkaline earth metals, Group 7 the halogens, periodicity.
Organic chemistry: Indroduction to organic chemistry, Alkanes, Halogenoalkanes, Alkenes, Alcohols, Organic analysis.
Also in Year 12 students complete 6 Required Practicals. These will be assessed in the exams.

Year 13

All of the above in addition to the following topics:
Physical chemistry: Thermodynamis, Acids and Bases, Electrode potentials and electrochemical cells, Rate equations, Equilibrium constant Kp for homogeneous systems.
Inorganic chemistry: Transition metals, Reactions of ions in aqueous solution, Properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides.
Organic chemistry: Optical isomerism, Aldehydes and ketones, Carboxylic acids and derivatives, Aromatic chemistry, Amines, Polymers, Amino acids, proteins and DNA, Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Chromatography, Organic synthesis. Also in Year 13 students complete 6 Required Practicals. These will be assessed in the exams and provide the evidence for the Practical Endorsemen

Physics

Topic 1: Measurements and errors

Topic 2: Particles and radiation

Topic 3:  Waves and optics
Topic 4: Mechanics and materials

Topic 5:  Electricity

Topics 1 – Five taught in Year 12. Also in Year 12 students complete 6 required practicals. These will be assessed in public examinations.

Topic 6: Further Mechanics

Topic 7:  Fields

Topic 8: Nuclear Physics

Topic 9:  Option Topic

Topics 6 – 9 taught in Year 13. Also in Year 13 students complete 6 more required practicals. These will be assessed in public examinations.

Entry Criteria

Biology: GCSE grade 7 in Biology or 7-7 in Combined Science.

Chemistry: GCSE grade 7 in Chemistry or 7-7 in Combined  Science.

Physics: GCSE grade 7 in Physics or 7-7 in Combined Science and must take AS Level Mathematics