ScienceBack to Subject Information
Welcome to the Science Curriculum, whicj includes the subjects Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Combined Science..
The intent of the Science curriculum at The de Ferrers Academy is to provide the students with the foundations for the understanding of the world through the teaching of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. It is intended that the students will learn the essential aspects through knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science.
It is also the aim of the curriculum to encourage students to understand how science is used to make predictions on how things will behave and to analyse and explain their observations. Students will also develop a secure understanding of each key scientific concept in order to allow them to progress further. Through all of this the students will also benefit from extending their own scientific vocabulary.
The curriculum is taught in weekly lessons. Years 7, 8 and 9 have three hours of Science a week, 1 hour of Biology, 1 hour of Chemistry and 1 hour of Physics, which is usually taught, where possible, by a subject specialist. Years 10 and 11 have 5 hours of Science per week that are split between the three Science disciplines. Each class receives 1 hour of Biology, 1 hour of Chemistry and 1 hour of Physics. The other 2 hours are rotation lessons where students rotate in 4 week / 8 week blocks equally between each specialism. Year 12 and Year 13 receive 5 hours per week of their chosen course of either A-Level Biology, A-Level Chemistry, A-Level Physics or CTEC Applied Science.
Lessons in all key stages are planned so that students develop an understanding of the nature, processes and methods involved in scientific enquiry. Throughout the three disciplines of Science “working scientifically” is embedded within lessons where students are provided with opportunities to apply their mathematical knowledge.
Each lesson should begin with a “Do Now” task to check and activate prior knowledge, to introduce objectives and lesson questions, to connect to previous learning and incorporate retrieval, low stakes quizzes/tests and whole class feedback activities. The aims of this are:
• To improve students’ long-term retention of key scientific concepts and knowledge to help improve fluency, transfer and reduce cognitive load.
• To help develop a culture of high expectations, exemplary behaviour and scientific rigour within every classroom.
• The systematic approach to retrieval practice ensures key knowledge and skills are recalled at specific intervals, leveraging the ‘spacing effect’ and ‘testing effect’ to build durable learning. The systematic approach ensures that 'information is repeated in a distributed fashion or spaced over time, it is learned more slowly but it is repeated much longer’ (Roediger & Pyc, 2012).
• To develop students who are capable of selecting required approaches from a variety of different interleaved questions, rather than providing solutions to a ‘blocked’ set of questions from the same topic.
Where the questions included in the systematic retrieval practice are not deemed appropriate for the students at that time, staff are encouraged to adapt the questions which are included according to the needs of the class.
Science lessons should then continue to follow the four part structure with “I Do & We Do” task in order to introduce new knowledge in small steps, giving clear and detailed explanations using concrete examples, followed by the use of questions to check understanding that provide opportunities for students to develop. Here incomplete and incorrect models can be used to develop understanding and dispel misconceptions.
Students then complete “You Do” tasks that provide opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding via examples, non-examples, visuals/dual coding, interleaved tasks, spaced practice and variation theory. Teaching staff should scaffold more difficult tasks and provide systematic feedback to ensure students ‘practice right’. This can be achieved through live marking.
Finally students complete an “Exit Ticket”. This is a short task which allows students to demonstrate how well they have understood the lesson’s key ideas. Here encapsulating tasks can be used to show current understanding/misconceptions and promote future retention.