Science is about understanding all that is around you, whether it be explanations of the natural environment, how forces and energy interact, or what everything is actually made of. Students develop the skills of observing and recording evidence, finding and analysing patterns of data, and evaluating the reliability of results. Alongside practical skills, students use ICT skills to research important information about materials and the earth (Chemistry), energy and forces (Physics) and all variety of life as well as human health (Biology). Science at Brook Green Centre for Learning ensures that students are actively engaged in learning in the natural environment.
Science promotes and develops social and emotional aspects of learning such as the ability to work together as a team, to ask and answer questions confidently, and to share and see value in different opinions and points of view. Literacy is reinforced in every lesson and numeracy is enhanced within every practical task.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 the course is written to meet the requirements of The National Curriculum and is divided into units lasting from two to six weeks. The topics covered in year seven include Working in the Laboratory, Particles, Cells, Electricity, Solutions, Forces, and Acids & Alkalis. The topics covered in year eight include Elements and Compounds, Chemical Reaction, Space & Solar System, Sound, Light, Reproduction, Respiration, Plants and the Earth’s Energy. Year 9 offers the following topics: Electromagnetism, Energy, Reactions of Metals, Using Chemistry, Fitness & Health, and Materials & Resources.
Throughout the Year 8 and 9 topics, elements of the KS4 courses are introduced, and much of the work will contribute towards the KS4 coursework portfolios, enabling more flexibility and practical work in Years 10 & 11. Students also take Entry Level exams at the end of each unit.
Key Stage 4
Many of the current Year 11 students have embarked on the AQA GCSE Science B course, which aims to provide insight into and experience of how science works. The intention of the GCSE course is to stimulate the curiosity of the learners and encourage them to engage with science in their everyday lives. The units covered are My World (Unit 1), My Family and My Home (Unit 2), and Making My World a Better Place (Unit 3). Each unit covers equal parts of Chemistry, Biology and Physics, and there is a terminal one-hour exam for each of the three units, taking place in June of Year 11. A controlled assessment of practical skills makes up the remainder of the weighting for the GCSE.
Many of the current Year 10 students are starting the AQA GCSE course in Biology, as the exam requirements are changing. Biology allows students to encounter topics that are very important for their future, regardless of what they do after leaving Brook Green. Topics include Cell Biology, Organisation, Infection and Response, Bioenergetics, Homeostasis and Response, Inheritance Variation & Evolution, Ecology, and Key Ideas in Biology. For these students there is no practical coursework, but practical investigative skills as well as mathematical skills will be assessed alongside knowledge and understanding, within two 1 ¾ - hour exams to be taken at the end of Year 11.
Some Year 10 and 11 students are entered for Level 1 Pathways Applied Science (QCF, WJEC Board). Students unable to reach Level 1 will still be entered for Entry Level Science (WJEC Board). The Entry Level and Level 1 Science offer more practical opportunities than the GCSE Science, and have less emphasis on external exams. The Entry Level Science course is completed by all, starting in Year 9, to enable grounding of scientific principles and practical skills.
Practical Skills are the most appropriate way to assess Key Stage 3 work. This tends to guide assessment of Chemistry, Biology and Physics, as well as class discussions and ICT skills. End-of-Unit tests are also given in Key Stage 3 as further preparation to Key Stage 4 requirements. Assessment of skills and conceptual knowledge occurs across Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Assessment incorporates thinking scientifically, reinforces social and emotional aspects of learning such as communication, collaboration and team-building. Practical skill assessment allows for an accurate yet individual assessment. Science assessment at Brook Green Centre for Learning opens up a dialogue between the teacher and learner, which continues through KS4.