At City Heights, we believe that science is crucial to everyday life and our science curriculum has been written to reflect this belief and to ensure that our students understand and appreciate the world that they live in. We have written a set of core questions that we believe every student needs to know the answer to in order to participate successfully in their school life as well as being able to make decisions that will have a positive impact on society.
Our vision is:
To develop a deep body of knowledge that builds upon conceptual understanding and thinking skills progressively from Year 7 – 11. Our curriculum will translate into a structure and narrative where each key concept will provide an additional step towards mastery where:
- Skills and knowledge are connected and embedded in every teaching activity, so that students receive regular practice with enquiry, numeracy and literacy skills.
- Student knowledge and skills are evaluated using pre-assessment, diagnostic assessments and summative assessments to inform next phase of learning
- Students are confident in key skills/concepts that encourage enjoyment and passion for science.
Learners need to be encouraged to learn that there are 3 distinct disciplines in science: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Year 7 – 9 will follow the national curriculum using the AQA KS3 mastery science specification, which enables a natural progression to GCSE content. This also provides the key foundation knowledge for the AQA 9-1 specification. Year 9 have a unique opportunity to partake in foundation bridge year, where previous key concepts are recapped and re-taught to secure knowledge and understanding before undertaking the GCSE syllabus. The big ideas will be interleaved across the years up to and including Year 11, with the goal of continual learning, where teachers will ensure that basics are embedded and all students are secure in knowledge. Every year, the idea is that all fundamental components are built upon, revisiting prior knowledge.
Across each group, each discipline is split up into 3-4 big ideas that are studied each year. These include:
- Biology – organisms, ecosystems, genes,
- Chemistry – matter, reactions, earth,
- Physics – forces, electromagnets, energy waves
Year 7s will begin with introduction to science to close any gaps that may have occurred during Primary learning and to provide basic skills for all students to access the curriculum. So that learners have a broad coverage and can revisit key information in topics; topics are sequenced in order of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The earlier topics are needed first to secure knowledge that needs to be built upon in future topics. For example, in Year 7, we will learn about cells as learners will have had some experience at KS2, this also shows learners the building blocks for all life. This topic has to be taught prior to human reproduction due to the fact that the gametes (sex cells) are referred to. Another example is that we teach matter: particle model prior to teaching metals and non-metals so that learners are equipped to identify whether a material is a solid, liquid or gas.
We have carefully mapped the substantive knowledge that we want students to learn to ensure that within each year, the topics within each big idea lead into each other building on the knowledge gained in the previous topic. Throughout our curriculum, disciplinary knowledge will also be taught through carefully planned practical’s/projects/research tasks etc that are completed within the topic but there will be a greater emphasis on substantive content has been mastered.
The key to ensuring students master the content of the 3 main disciplines will be through continuous retrieval practice in the form of a variety of formative assessment strategies in each lesson, these assessments will be based on the core questions for that topic. Once teachers are confident that all students have mastered the content, they will move on to the new content. At the end of a topic the assessment will consist of three parts, firstly we will assess whether students can answer core questions from a previous topic, the second part will assess whether students can answer the core questions from this topic and then the third and final part is where students can apply their knowledge of that topic to a new situation.
In Year 7, we start off with an introduction to science unit to ensure that all students have the basic skills to access the curriculum. Movement and cells are taught at the beginning
The following year the pattern is repeated, the foundations mastered in Year 7 will be built upon and developed further introducing new knowledge and learning for the students to engage with. This process continues until the end of Year 11 when students have gained the knowledge and skills, they require to be successful adults and effective leaders in whichever career they pursue.
For further details on the Science Curriculum please click the relevant button below