Science at Buile hill is fascinating. Our highly skilled and motivated subject experts work hard to deliver a curriculum that puts engagement and progress at it's core. Science inspires pupils to question and explore the world around them, we have placed enquiry based learning at the centre of our curriculum, which provides pupils with the opportunity to appy the scientific method to test and explore scientific phenomena. This approach to teaching and learning encourages pupils to be independent, methodical and logical in their approach to their studies.
What is enquiry based learning (EBL)?
Pupils develop their own hypothosis to a real life problem, pupils then plan out a suitable way to test their hypothosis gathering valid results/data. Pupils then analyse their results/data and apply scientific theory to develop a conclusion to explain their findings.
The department is comprised of 6 fully stocked teaching laboratories serviced by a well resourced preparation room. We have a full time technician dedicated to the provision of apparatus and equipment.
Key Stage 3
During KS3 pupils study an accelerated curriculum that is tied to the National Curriculum. Pupils begin to study the basics of GCSE Science that will underpin their study of science as they progress through school. In years 7 & 8 some examples of the units studied are:
- Introduction to Science - basic lab techniques, collecting valid data, using equipment and measuring variables.
- Cells - structure of animal cells, the use of cells in medical research, the micro-level organisation of animals including tissues and organs.
- The Periodic Table - the study of the atom, the formation of compounds and types of bonding.
- Chemical Reactions - using reactants andproducts, the formation of new molecules, combustion and uses of acids and bases.
- Waves and Universe - the study of matter and energy, longitudinal and transverse waves, the properties of different waves.
- Waves and Energy - how energy is transferred using waves, how waves behave in different mediums, how lenses can be used to manipulate light, how sound is carried through the universe.
- DNA and Genetics - the structure and function of DNA including it's discovery, the limitations of breeding between different species, how new species form.
- Human Biology - the function of core organs and organ systems including the impact of smoking and drugs. The effect of diet and excercise on the human body.
In Key Stage 3 all pupils carry out dissection of organs including an eyeball, a heart and a set of lungs.
During year 9 pupils follow an enquiry based learning curriculum to develop important skills in the application of scientific method. Pupils are given problems to solve using equipment provided, they must generate their own method and collect their own data to test their prediction.
Some examples of the topics include:
- How can we produce human insulin using bacteria?
- What factors affect plant growth?
- How did life on earth begin?
- Why can't we reach the bottom of the oceans?
- How do we make drugs and medicines?
- Will it sink or will it float?
- What is specific heat capacity?
In KS3 all pupils carry out a rat dissection to model and understand the structure and function of the human body. As part of Biology pupils will also dissect a real brain and skull to better observe the central nervous system.
Key Stage 4
In KS4 pupils study AQA Science, they will follow one of two routes decided in partnership with the school Raising Achievement Coordinator, their KS3 teacher and parent input. Pupils study either Combined Science which leads to 2 GCSE's in science, or single sciences leading to 3 GCSE's in Biology, Chemistry & Physics. Each course lasts for two years and is assessed by a linear exam at the end of the course. Most pupils will take their final exams in the summer of year 11.
How are pupils assessed and monitored?
With the move towards linear GCSE assessment pupils be assessed via four formal exams which are taken at calendared points each year. The exam content is linear and will assess the pupils knowledge, shills and understanding on all the topics they have studied from September prior to the calendared exam. The exam data will be analysed and a level generated using their exam score, this will be measured against a target generated from their Key Stage 2 assessment result. This level will be reported back to pupils and parents via the schools progress check/pupil reporting system. A pupil making good progress should be making a minimum of two sublevels of progress each year.
The progress of our pupils is closely monitored by Key Stage leaders and the classroom teachers. Feedback is given in pupils exercise books via our 2-weekly diagnostic marking policy, this runs alongside the scheduled exams. Should a pupil be identified as underachieving an intervention plan is drawn up which may include a move to a different bench to work under close supervision, more fine tuned marking and feedback, an invitation to the period 6 extended day, or science mentoring.
Pupils carry out a mixture of small tasks and project homeworks throughout their study. GCSE pupils are often set past paper questions as well as enrichment activities to improve their knowledge, skills and understanding. Failure to complete homework is treated seriously and followed up using the schools sanctioning system.
We tap into the expertise of our academic teaching staff to provide an enriching programme of activities.
Examples of some of the clubs and activities:
Operating Theatre Live! - A course open to all year groups for those who wish to study medicine or other NHS related careers. Pupils carry out real dissection and practice surgical techniques on real specimens including attempting a real heart transplant guided by NHS surgeons.
Come Fly With Us! - Soon to launch is a series of workshops aimed at pupils who wish to work in aviation, travel and tourism. We will be working with airlines to bring in real pilots to work with pupils to design & construct aircraft parts fit for flight, to use geography and weather systems to plan flight paths, use forces and mathematics to plan approach patterns as well as experiencing cabin-crew safety training.