Porthcawl Comprehensive School / Ysgol Gyfun Porthcawl

Science

Dr G Wellington (Head of Chemistry and Head of the Faculty of Science)
Mrs M Callister (Head of Biology)
Mr J Morgan (Head of Physics)

Studying science will broaden your understanding of the world around you. Science makes a positive impact on people's lives and in many cases, it saves lives. Scientists use their expertise to develop real solutions to real problems. At Porthcawl you will study the three sciences – biology, chemistry and physics.

Biology covers life and living things in all their forms, from incredibly tiny microbes to giant redwood trees and blue whales. It studies how they survive, move about, feed and interact with their environment.

Chemistry is the study of substances and chemicals, what they are made of and how they differ from each other in their many properties and features. Chemists also look at how these substances change when they react together.

Physics deals with matter, energy, movement and the structure of the Universe. It is also concerned with machinery and technology.

Key Stage 3

Biology – Year 7

Terms 1 and 2 – Practical Skills and Cells, Tissues and Organs

Practical skills - safety, apparatus, measuring time and length, results tables and graphs. Cells, tissues and organs - use of microscope, specialised cells, tissues and organs of humans and plants.

Term 2 – Classification of Living Things

Classification of living things - brief classification of plants, more detail on classification of animals including vertebrates and invertebrates and then the 5 groups of vertebrates and some invertebrate groups.

Term 3 – Adaptations

Adaptations - look at adaptations of animals and plants to their environment e.g. camels hump for life in the desert.

Biology – Year 8

Term 1 – Reproduction in Plants and Animals

Plant reproduction including the structure of a flower, human reproduction including the structure and function of the male and female reproductive system, sperm and egg, development of a baby. Microbes – looking at yeast and bread mould, growing bacteria on agar jelly, compost.

Term 2 – Microbes

Topic continued from term 1. Cholera – a project looking at various aspects of health and disease, the final piece of work is specifically looking at cholera.

Term 3 – Food Chains

Feeding relationships including food chains, food webs, predators and prey, pyramids of number and energy in an ecosystem.

Biology – Year 9

Term 1 – Breathing and Respiration

Label and give functions of the respiratory system, look at the differences in the air we breathe in and out. An important practical enquiry into the effect of exercise on breathing and/or heart rate. Drugs – study the effects of legal and illegal drugs.

Term 2 – Food, Diet and Digestion

Look at nutrients and their role in our body, label and discuss the functions of the digestive system including a look at the role of the enzyme amylase for digestion of starch

Term 3 – Start the GCSE Science course

We always aim to complete at least one topic in the Summer term.

Ways in which parents can help

  1. Look over work in the booklets – the tasks, the levels awarded and the target levels.
  2. Support pupils with homework.
  3. Watching TV programmes, reading magazines, newspaper articles relating to biology.

Useful Websites

  1. BBC Bitesize Science
  2. The Student Resource Centre and Hwb - the welsh Government learning platform
  3. S-cool

Chemistry – Year 7

  • Term 1 – Chemistry Skills, Acids and Alkalis
  • Term 2 – Separating Techniques
  • Term 3 – Materials

Ways in which parents can help

  1. Research tasks – help by searching the Internet for relevant sites for research e.g. Famous scientists, everyday acids and alkalis, separating techniques in everyday life e.g. desalination, different types of filter.
  2. Help when exploring different types of acid and alkali found at home.
  3. General help and support – keep an eye on homework marks (in booklets) and test marks. Help explain to pupils how to access higher levels.

Useful Books/Magazines/Publications

  1. Scientific magazines such as New Scientist.
  2. KS3 revision guides (e.g. Letts, CGP) are of limited use.

Useful websites

  1. KS3 Bitesize – Science
  2. S-Cool
  3. Google as a search engine for research tasks

Chemistry – Year 8

  • Term 1 – States of matter
  • Term 2 – Elements, compounds and mixtures
  • Term 3 – Salts and solubility

Ways in which parents can help

  1. Pupils should be trying to improve their levels in Science. Parents can help to explain to pupils how they can achieve the next level from the booklets and help sheets that are provided by staff. This reinforces the message given by staff.
  2. Research into common elements and compounds from the Internet.
  3. Keep an eye on progress e.g. test marks and assessment levels.

Useful Books/Magazines/Publications

  1. General science magazines e.g. New Scientist
  2. There are plenty of up-to-date and eas(ier)-to-read textbooks in the school library which will give pupils background information on the above topics. Pupils can borrow these books from the library.

Chemistry – Year 9

  • Term 1 – Reactivity Series, Rates of Reaction
  • Term 2 – Oxidation and reduction
  • Term 3 – Start of GCSE Science courses

Ways in which parents can help

  1. This is a key year for pupils in Science as we have to report the level that each pupil has achieved. Parents should help pupils achieve the best level that they can by looking at their booklets, monitoring progress and explaining how to access higher levels.
  2. Specific topics can be reinforced by parents such as rusting and corrosion, global warming, acid rain. There is plenty of information on the Internet on these topics.
  3. Discussing option choices with pupils. During year 9 the pupils have to decide whether to opt for Double or Triple Science. Parental support is welcomed in this process.

Useful Books/Magazines/Publications

  1. Plenty of relevant books in the school library that pupils can borrow
  2. General magazines such as New Scientist.

Physics – Year 7

  • Term 1 – Magnetism
  • Term 2 – Electricity
  • Term 3 – Electrostatics

Ways in which parents can help

  1. With research tasks that appear throughout the topics, such as famous scientists and uses of magnets.
  2. Each pupil constructs a periscope in year 7 to take home, parents can get involved and ask questions as to its workings and uses.
  3. Check that booklets are up to date and that tests are being revised for through use of homework planner.

Physics – Year 8

  • Term 1 – Earth in Space
  • Term 2 – Motion and Forces
  • Term 3 – Sound

Ways in which parents can help

  1. With research tasks that appear throughout the topics, such as sky watch, designing a space station, building a planisphere, designing ear defenders, fast and slow.
  2. Parents can help specifically with the sky watch where the movements of stars are plotted through the course of a night.
  3. Check that booklets are up to date and that tests are being revised for through use of homework planner.

Physics – Year 9

  • Term 1 – Energy
  • Term 2 – Application of Physics
  • Term 3 – GCSE Topic 1

Ways in which parents can help

  1. With research tasks that appear throughout the topics, such as energy loss of a table tennis ball, the hydrogen powered car, the uses of and workings of snow shoes.
  2. Parents can help with the research into the Archimedes claw a section in the moments topic.
  3. Check that booklets are up to date and that tests are being revised for through use of homework planner.

Useful website

  1. KS3 bitesize
  2. Furry Elephants

Useful Books/Magazines/Publications

  1. Revision guides will contain some useful summaries.
  2. Scientific journals like "The New Scientist".
  3. Keeping abreast of the newspapers when science features in the front pages e.g. when the speed of light was broken in CERN with a neutrino.

Key Stage 4

Science

There are 4 possible options offered by the school:

  • Triple Science (3 separate GCSEs – Biology, Chemistry & Physics)
  • Science and Additional Science (Double Science) (2 GCSEs)
  • BTEC Science
  • Entry Level Science

Triple or Double Science?
Click here to view a document to help you decide between triple and double science.

Triple Science

This is by far the most popular of the Science courses where pupils gain three separate grades at GCSE, one for each Science. These courses and the grades obtained are independent of each other and they provide an excellent basis for the further study of the Sciences. The course structure is identical for all three Sciences:

Three external 1 hour written papers in the summer of Year 11 with a controlled assessment undertaken during lesson time. Each of these units are worth 25% of the final mark on which the grade is based.

Science and Additional Science

This course is split into two 1 year GCSE courses; Science and Additional Science. The two GCSE grades obtained are independent of each other. The course structure is the same in both Year 10 and Year 11:

Three external 1 hour written papers (one for each of the Sciences) in the summer of Year 11 with a controlled assessment undertaken during lesson time. Each of these units is worth 25% of the final mark on which the grade is based.

BTEC Science

This course is undertaken for those pupils who at the end of Year 10, following their external exams, have no realistic chance of achieving a GCSE grade in Science. It is a much more vocational course which relies heavily on coursework rather than exams. This allows pupils to achieve a BTEC in Science (level 2).

Entry Level Science

The entry level course is based on a number of units:

  • Oral assessment, practical assessment, unit tests and a written paper.
  • Pupils who achieve Entry Level in Science will then be considered for GCSE Science or BTEC Science, dependent on progress.

Key Stage 5

KS5 - Science (Biology/Chemistry/Physics)

Biology

AS consists of two assessment units.

In unit one students study basic biochemistry and cell organisation. Topics include; biological compounds, cell membranes and transport, nucleic acids and their function, enzymes and cell division.

Unit two focuses on biodiversity and physiology of body systems. Topics studied include; adaptations for gas exchange, adaptations for nutrition, and evolution.

A level consists of the above plus a further three units:

The first is titled energy, homeostasis and the environment. Students will study the importance of ATP, the biochemistry of photosynthesis, respiration, microbiology, how control systems co-ordinate and regulate processes and the nervous system.

The second A2 unit titled variation and inheritance includes the topics applications of reproduction and speciation.

Practical work is integral to the course and a practical examination is undertaken as part of the A2 course.

Assessment Procedure
  • AS 2 x 1.5 hour written papers. Each contributes 20% to the A level qualification.
  • A2 2 x 2 hour written papers. Each contributes 25% to the A level qualification.
  • Practical examination, this contributes 10% to the A level qualification.
Entry Requirements

Pupils require at least a C grade, although a B grade on higher tier is perferable. A C grade in English and Maths is also advisable.

Progression

An A level in Biology allows a student to progress to a range of degrees in higher education. It also gives access to various careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, physiotherapy, nursing and biochemical subjects etc.

Chemistry

This specification is divided into a total of 5 units, 2 AS units and 3 A2 units.

The weightings in brackets show the percentage of the total A level qualification for that unit.

AS (2 units)
  • AS Unit 1 (20%) - The Language of Chemistry, Structure of Matter and Simple Reactions
  • AS Unit 2 (20%) - Energy, Rate and Chemistry of Carbon Compounds
A Level (the above plus a further 3 units)
  • A2 Unit 3 (25%) - Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
  • A2 Unit 4 (25%) - Organic Chemistry and Analysis
  • A2 Unit 5 (10%) - Practical Examination
Assessment Procedure
  • AS Units: Written examinations of 1 hour 30 minutes each. Short answer questions, structured and extended answer questions.
  • A2 Units: Written examinations of 1 hour 45 minutes each. Short answer questions, structured and extended answer questions.
  • A2 Unit 5: Practical examination
Entry Requirements

It is essential that pupils achieve at least a B Grade on the Higher Tier at GCSE.

Progression

An A level in Chemistry allows a student to progress to a range of degrees in higher education. It also gives access to various careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, engineering, pharmaceuticals, and the biochemical industry etc.

Physics

AS consists of two assessment units, Unit 1 and Unit 2.

  • Unit 1 covers motion, energy and matter.
  • Unit 2 covers electricity and light.
A Level consists of three assessment units, Units 3, 4 and 5.
  • Unit 3 covers oscillations and nuclei.
  • Unit 4 covers fields as well as several optional topics.
  • Unit 5 contains an internally assessed investigation.
Assessment Procedure
  • AS - Unit 1 and Unit 2 are both 1 hour 30 minutes written papers and contribute 50% each to the total mark.
Entry Requirements

It is essential that pupils achieve at least a B. This must be gained by sitting the Higher Tier at GCSE.

Progression

An A level in Physics allows a student to progress to a range of degrees in higher education. It also gives access to various careers in medicine, dentistry, engineering, computing, electronics and the telecommunications industry etc.

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