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Thirsk School

& Sixth Form College

    GCSE Science

    What do we learn about?

    • At key stage 4 sciences is split into two courses Science (GCSE A) and Additional Science
    • GCSE Science A introduces students to fundamental ideas in scientific theory and helps them learn practical skills through topical investigations. It covers the same content as the Unit 1 of the single Science GCSEs for Biology, Chemistry and Physics
    • This course can be used for the Science component of the English Baccalaureate if grades A*- C are achieved in both Science A and GCSE Additional Science
    • There is much practical work and topics covered include: Electricity, Polymers and Inheritance. Pupils also see where the subjects meet in topics such as: Energy, Carbon cycle and Particles
    • The course will develop skills and use knowledge and understanding to test scientific questions and define scientific problems
    • Pupils will plan and carry out investigative activities, including appropriate risk management, in a range of contexts ,to answer a range of questions from ‘How strong is a plastic bag to What affects how quickly Slime moves’
    • By collecting, selecting, processing, analysing and interpreting primary and secondary data to provide evidence pupils will further their appreciation of key everyday events
    • Pupils learn to recognise bias and to evaluate some of the methodology, evidence and data needed to be informed about the issues they face such as Genetic engineering, using nanoparticles and nuclear fuels
    • Biology topics covered are: Human Biology, Evolution and the Environment. Followed by Cells Organs and Populations in term one. Genetics and Enzymes in term two of year 11 Additional Science
    • Chemistry topics covered are: ‘What can we get from rocks?’ and’ Oils Earth and Atmosphere‘ followed by Bonds Structures and Chemical Calculations in term one and Salts Rates and Electrolysis in term two in year 11 Additional Science
    • Physics topics covered are: Energy and Energy resources and Radiation and the Universe and finally   In Year 11 Additional science…Forces and their effects, Electricity and the Atom

    How is students’ learning assessed?

    • During the course of each topic students will assess their work and that of their peers using the guidelines. Practical work will largely receive verbal feedback and be peer –assessed Some of the homework  tasks will be assessed especially as it may  consist of  exam –style questions, past papers, or activities that prepare you for the more formal written or practical assessments.
    • Teacher marked homework will be accompanied by written and /or verbal feedback, and all internal assessment will receive written feedback so that targets can be reviewed. This will be about once per subject per term
    • Internal assessments take place at the end of each topic, at the end of each unit and via the mock-examinations.
    • External assessments consist of three written papers at the end of the courses- in year eleven. [Three 1 hour papers one in each of the three science subjects].This  in addition the practical skills are formally assessed via ISAs. This assignment is compulsory subject one will be assessed in year 10 the other early in year 11. They include both written and practical tasks and are set by the exam board. At present the ISA is worth 25% of the total marks.

    How can students learn beyond the classroom?

    • Gain some work experience in the area of science. Talk to family and friends who work in a science related field, (mechanics, nurses, electricians, physiotherapists…) or who have studied science.
    • Contact and look for courses run by universities during the summer term .There are a number of local universities now offering open days and Taster events specifically aimed at 13-16 year olds.
    • Regularly visit the AQA website to obtain past papers and mark-schemes and swap notes with peers about the other useful web-sites such as S-Cool chemistry and BBCbitesize. These sites have interactive revision tools, notes and quizzes to help you learn and navigate your way through the course.
    • Read periodicals such as the ‘Science review’ Look out for information published by the STEM Science and Engineering organisations.
    • Continue to watch the science and Natural History programs on the television

    Who teaches in this subject area?

    Mrs K Walsh - Head of Department

    Miss G Dolan – Head of Year 10

    Dr D Evans

    Mrs R Elliot – SENCo

    Mrs S King

    Mr S Lee

    Mr G Pentland – Head of Sixth Form

    Miss N Simms - 2 i/c Department