The Science Department strives to create an environment which favours the pursuit of excellence and the development of the school values alongside. We are committed to developing thinking skills and the building of a knowledge base that informs future actions and lifestyles.
Students are encouraged to express their own ideas in an environment that is supportive and respects the dignity of the individual and their right to hold different opinions on issues. They are taught to recognise that scientific understandings evolve and must be adapted to reflect new discoveries.
The Science curriculum promotes awareness of our place in, and impact on, the environment and society. Concepts of diversity, sustainability and conservation are presented as challenging aspects of Science.
School developed resources have been written for use in the lower school years, offering a curriculum that challenges and extends students and forms a very strong foundation for the rigour of upper school science courses.
All students in Year 7 follow a common course of five units, beginning with:
Investigating (Science Inquiry Skills)
This course is an introduction to secondary science. Its aim is to provide students with the prerequisite knowledge and skills needed for all further secondary science studies. It covers:
an introduction to the science laboratory and laboratory skills safety in the use of science equipment.
an introduction to the scientific method and its terminology
using these methods to carry out investigations to solve problems.
Physics 7 (Physical Science)
There are many forces in nature. Students investigate forces, how they are measured and what they can do. All sorts of devices, tools and machines are used to put these forces to work. Students investigate simple machines and how they work.
Earth and Space Science 7
Students look at the positions of the sun, Earth and moon and there effect on changes in seasons and tides. How solar and lunar eclipses occur. The sun is an important source of energy and students investigate its effect on renewable and non-renewable resources and how it drives the water cycle.
Biology 7 (Biological Science)
All the millions of living things can be sorted into groups using differences. Classification uses these differences to help organise the diversity of life. Students investigate the characteristics of living things and the way they are classified into taxonomic groups. How we name living things scientifically. Students also look at how living things interact through food chains and webs and how human activity can affect these interactions.
Chemistry 7 (Chemical Science)
Chemical substances can be elements, compounds or mixtures. Students look at the properties of these groups and how they can be separated using a range of techniques.
Thinking Science Program
All Year 7 students are also participating in the Thinking Science program. This program is aimed to improve student’s cognitive development through the use of problem solving activities. It encourages students to work cooperatively and allows students to reflect ion their own thinking and problem solving processes. The program is structured to run over two years and will therefore continue in their science lessons in Year 8.
After an Investigating “refresher” unit all students complete a common course of four units:
Biology 8 (Biological Sciences)
This unit has two sections. The first deals with the structure and function of cells and also the science of microscopy. The second section allows students to study the structure and function of four systems of the human body and involves dissection activities and demonstrations.
Chemistry 8 (Chemical Sciences)
This unit teaches the fundamentals of particle theory and goes on to cover atomic theory. Students learn to read chemical formulas for elements and compounds. They look at a range of chemical reactions and learn to represent these using simple equations.
Earth Space Science 8
This unit begins with a study of rocks, minerals and crystal formation. It continues with a study of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, the rock cycle, and the special area of fossils.
Physics 8 (Physical Sciences)
This unit introduces students to energy concepts and to the types of energy. They learn to distinguish between the renewable and non-renewable sources of energy and consider the idea of efficiency.
While there are extension Science classes in Year 9, all students follow a common course of Science units
Biology 9; (Biological Sciences)
This unit has two sub-units:
Human Biology; This introduces students to the idea of interdependence of body systems and develops their understanding of the role of the nervous and endocrine systems in controlling the internal environment and achieving body balance. The unit lays the foundations for future studies in year ten and in senior school Human Biology.
Ecology: Ecology includes:
a study of humans and their relationship with their environment
the effect that non-living things have on the kinds of organisms that can live in an area
the effect that living organisms have on other living organisms
how matter and energy are used in the living world
the effect of human activities on nature
the use and conservation of the environment.
Physics 9 Electricity (Physical Sciences)
Students will learn about the science and technology of household energy and its uses. For example, an electric toaster uses electrical energy and changes it to heat energy which cooks the toast. As energy consumers, students will be able to make informed decisions regarding the safe use, purchase and conservation of energy. This subject covers:
what is meant by an electric current
use of Ohm’s law
the production, detection and transfer of electrical energy
making electric circuits
the use of the heating, lighting and magnetic effects of an electric current and interpreting circuit diagrams
the ways in by which household energy and appliances may be used safely.
This unit begins with a revision of elements, compounds and formulas. It moves on to cover atomic structure and the related concepts of atomic number and mass number, extending to a coverage of ion formation and radioactivity. Students learn about acids, bases and their reactions, followed by reactions involved in the production of greenhouse gases and of acid rain. Extension classes will formula-writing and balancing equations in more detail.
In Year 10 most students follow a common Pathway 3 program. Pathway 1 and 2 students; however, study units that prepare them for ATAR Science courses in Senior School.
Pathway 1 Units:
Physics/Earth Space Science 10
This is the most challenging pathway in Year 10 and leads to any Year 11 Science ATAR courses.
Pathway 2 Units:
Chemistry 10.1 (common with Pathway 1)
Biology 10.1 (common with Pathway 1)
Physics 10 (Pathway 2 version)
Biology 10.2 (Human Biology)
This course is of intermediate challenge. Some students have gone on to study ATAR Physics and Chemistry from this pathway and many have gone on to study ATAR Human Biology in Senior School. However, it is suitable for students who will not go on to study any ATAR Science after Year 10.
Pathway 3 Units:
This is designed for those students who do not wish to do ATAR Science courses in Year 11. It allows them to study units which are less mathematical. If completed successfully, this pathway will allow students to select General Integrated Science.
Consumer Science (Science as a Human Endeavour)
This course raises students’ consumer awareness though the study of:
Food labelling and additives
Packaging and recycling
Investigating Human Health (Science Inquiry Skills)
Students investigate inherited and infectious diseases of humans as well as some of the ways that we use microbes. Ways in which diseases are spread and inherited are considered along with methods of treatment and prevention..
This Chemical World (Chemical Sciences)
In the first part of the unit, students re-visit the concepts of elements, compounds and mixtures before investigating the properties and uses of metals, the process of corrosion and the benefits of alloys. In the second section, students investigate some of the practical applications of chemistry; paper-making, soap-making, moisturizers and dyes.
Fast Physics (Physical Sciences)
Students learn the physics of motion in the context of driving a motor vehicle. Speed, acceleration, stopping distances and collisions are all considered and calculated before finishing with a section on car safety.