The Science department is housed in eight purpose-built laboratories. At Key Stage 3 staff teach across all three Science disciplines. From Key Stage 4 and beyond staff will then teach their individual specialisms.
The science teaching at Diss High School aims to give all children a strong understanding of the world around them whilst acquiring specific skills and knowledge to help them to think scientifically, to gain an understanding of scientific processes and also an understanding of the uses and implication of Science today and for the future.
At Key Stage 3 (KS3) Science is taught as discrete units but ensuring that students are exposed to all three disciplines as often as possible. Students will develop a wider, and specialised vocabulary enabling them to communicate scientific ideas to a range of different audiences. Students will aim to develop their cross-curricular skills by using suitable mathematical processes to analyse and process information in Science.
At KS3 students will have six lessons a fortnight where they will cover the national curriculum and lay the foundations for their GCSEs. The lessons will be a mix of theory and practical sessions with an end of unit assessment for each topic. An extended writing task for each unit is assessed at key points in the topic which aims to build confidence in scientific writing and exam technique. After each assessment, students will be given the opportunity to reflect on their learning and improve key areas based on suitable feedback.
Student assessment scores are entered onto a centralised department spreadsheet, students are given a grade which allows us to see progress across the whole year group. We keep previous years data to compare progress with that made by previous year groups. Students should be able to follow instructions to safely carry out practical work in science.
By the end of Year 9 students should be able to progress onto either GCSE combined Science or enter the GCSE Separate Science courses.
Studying science develops a host of skills which will make you desirable to employers. You will be expected to problem solve, take careful measurements and record observations accurately. You will need to be able to apply information in novel circumstances and also be able to manipulate numbers.
An education in science will allow you to access many areas of the job market and look to work in established scientific professions as well as those breaking new ground. Some of those careers can be found here.
How can I help my child?
Science is more than just what we learn in the classroom. To help your child with Science try to expose them to some outside of school. This could be as simple as watching a documentary on space or wildlife, visiting a place of scientific interest or getting/borrowing books like “Horrible Science”. Ensuring they have done their homework is always important but helping them to revise by getting your child to explain key concepts to you or revising with them would also help.
Students in Years 7-9 receive an average of 3 hours of Science lessons per week. Students follow schemes of work developed in the school based around the OUP Activate scheme.
Students are provided with opportunities to develop their practical skills during the course of Years 7 and 8. We also look to use this as a good foundation for GCSE study. Topics covered in Key Stage 3 include Reproduction, Atoms, elements and compounds, Forces, Light, Cells, Reactions, Sound, Ecosystems, Separation techniques, Electricity and magnetism, Adaptation and Inheritance, Metals and acids, Motion and pressure and Energy.
Key Stage 3 is important to ensure that all students obtain a good foundation across the Science disciplines. As the majority of students will have had a limited experience of practical science at primary school it is important that they can familiarise themselves with laboratory equipment, and become competent in its use.
Each student will receive on average 2 hours of Biology, Chemistry and Physics teaching per week with a subject specialist. Practical work is an integral part of the GCSE course and all subjects will gain experience of all of the required practicals for the relevant course. In addition to this practical work is used to support learning where possible and to help develop skills required for further education.
Biology topics include Cell Biology, Organisation, Infection and response, Bioenergetics, Homeostasis and response, Inheritance, variation and Evolution and Ecology. Chemistry includes Atomic structure and the periodic table, Bonding, structure and the properties of matter, Quantitative chemistry, Chemical changes, Energy changes, The rate and extent of chemical change, Organic chemistry, Chemical analysis, Chemistry of the atmosphere and Using Resources. Physics topics include Energy, Electricity, Particle model of matter, Atomic structure, Forces, Waves and Magnetism and electromagnetism.