Science - Curriculum Vision
Head of Department - Ms Helen Scott
The science curriculum teaches scientific knowledge and content as well as the skills that are authentic to the discipline and so will allow students to begin to think like a scientist. It is our intention that across all key stages, students can access the practical skills required to be a scientist and that we develop their understanding of the mathematical skills which will help them process, analyse and evaluate experimental data. Our aim is to provide a robust, knowledge rich curriculum that allows all learners to emerge informed, articulate, and well able to hold their own intellectually at university and beyond. Not only this, but also, our curriculum aims to develop “citizen scientists” who are able to engage with Science when it overlaps with their lives; for example when making healthcare decisions for themselves and their families or when deciding on the type of car they might purchase.
Biology - Chemistry - Physics
While our topics are organised into Biology, Chemistry and Physics, one of the strengths of the Ark Science Mastery approach is how it makes explicit the links between the domains and therefore we expect pupils to think of themselves as “scientists” until they reach KS5, when A Level students might describe themselves as “biologists”, “chemists”, physicists. BTEC students, who study all 3 subjects within the course, will of course continue to identify as “scientists”.
At KS3 students will be taught the core, foundational knowledge in each of the three disciplines, they will begin to grapple and make sense of why things happen, feeding their growing curiosity. The most challenging and difficult topics will be introduced early in KS3 to give the students more than one opportunity at studying and grappling with these. Core skills, such as using equations, identifying variables and drawing conclusions, will be presented here; we will use a “junior version” of what we expect at KS4 and beyond, rather than oversimplifying and losing meaning. At KS4 students will deepen and secure their foundational knowledge and begin to use, interpret and justify why practical procedures happen, what they tell us and how we can modify them for the benefit of human and animal population. At KS5, pupils can study A-Level Science, which deepens their understanding of each subject discipline, preparing pupils for further education. A BTEC Extended Diploma in Biomedical Science will also be available for pupils who are interested in pursuing a career in a practical aspect of Biology.
We need to ensure that the curriculum is designed to provide multiple repeat experience of subject thinking to enable abstract concepts to take on specific meaning, experiences which stem from threshold concepts. These threshold concepts are paramount to understand Science in terms of breadth and depth of the domain: Cells, Energy, Forces, Ecology, Homeostasis, Atoms, Matter and Chemical Reactions.
Each year students cover topics within a threshold. The complexity of the content deepens and become more challenging as students progress through the school years. This model ensures that pupils can internalise key concepts and use them in ever-more sophisticated ways throughout their school career. It is not only subject content, but also the mathematical and working scientifically skills which are built into the curriculum in this way. Our knowledge rich curriculum is structured as a narrative overtime, which includes a fertile question for each topic to provide a golden thread through a sequence of learning allowing students to make links in and across the sciences.
The curriculum was designed by considering what a successful scientist looks like at A level and beyond and then mapping concepts back through each year. We have, by necessity, included all the content currently included in the AQA Separate Award, but have also included concepts not covered by the specification, but considered important to a deep understanding of scientific ideas. A good example of this is the fact that in Year 7 we cover pregnancy, so pupils understand its role in reproduction. We also cover space which is a topic of interest but to enable the students to understand the world around them, according to the GCSE specifications this is only taught to Triple which would disadvantage other students so we teach this early and to all. We include Triple Science content in Y7-9 as it means that every child has the option of taking Triple Science for GCSE when they pick options at the end of Year 9.
Cells are alive
Bodies are systems
Characteristics are inherited
Organisms are interdependent
Ecosystems cycle resources
Species show variation
Structure determines properties
Reactions rearrange matter
Earth systems interact
Forces predict motion
Fields produce forces
Energy is conserved
Electricity transfers energy
Radiation transfers energy