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Science has been taught in US schools since the 1850s, but in UK schools, it has been taught in one form or another since the first century. However, it was not made compulsory until the 1988 Education Act with the creation of the National Curriculum.
In England, science is split into 3 main disciplines; Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
The word biology is derived from ‘bios’, a Greek word meaning life. Overall, the study of biology can be split into: (a) physiology (living systems), (b) botany (plants) and (c) zoology (animals).
The word chemistry is thought to come from the Arabic word alchemist. It is the study of natural and man-made compounds and elements.
The word physics comes from the Greek word physis, meaning nature. It is the study of mechanics (motion), optics (light), quantum (particles) and sonics (sounds).
Science is taught from year 1 all the way through to GCSE. The subjects are not split until KS4. until then they are simply taught as science. Every year group has a specific set of topics that are taught.
|Year 1||Year 2|
|Plants||Animals including humans|
|Animals including humans||Animals including humans|
|Everyday materials||Living things and their habitats|
|Seasons||Uses of everyday materials|
|Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6|
|Plants||Living things and their habitats||Living things and their habitats||Living things and their habitats|
|Animals including humans||Animals including humans||Animals including humans||Animals including humans|
|Rocks||States of matter||Properties and changes of material||Evolution and inheritance|
|Light||Sound||Earth and space||Light|
|Forces and magnets||Electricity||Forces||Electricity|
Below is a rough guideline of what is taught in KS3 science across KS3:
|Topics||Year 7||Year 7/8||Year 8||Year 8/9|
|Electromagnets||Voltage and resistance||Current||Electromagnets||Magnetism|
|Energy||Energy costs||Energy transfer||Work||Heating and cooling|
|Waves||Sound||Light||Wave effects||Wave properties|
|Matter||Particle model||Separating mixtures||Periodic table||Elements|
|Reactions||Metals and non-metals||Acids and alkalines||Chemical energy||Types of reaction|
GCSE Science is compulsory but there is the option to take either combined science or triple science. In most cases, the school will determine which one each child takes.
In England, approximately 75% of students take double/combined science. In fact, many schools do not offer triple science as an option (sometimes it is simply because the school does not have the capacity to offer both triple and double).
If you are thinking of a career in engineering, medicine or any science-related research or industry, then you will usually be required to take individual science GCSE.
Often, children will move to 6th form college to take A-level science. You can still take individual A-level science having taken double science, but it will be harder, given that each subject will not have been covered in as much depth.
Many students see triple science as too much work and feel that most universities don’t care whether it is double or triple science GCSE. Oxbridge will most certainly acre, as will most universities if you are looking to pursue a degree in one of the sciences.
This is sometimes called combines science. This was introduced in 2006 and is different from the old “Double Science” in that the new combined science covers all three sciences, whereas the old double science only covered two sciences.
Students study all three sciences but will only be awarded 2 GCSEs. Obviously, it will not be in as much detail as the triple science option as it will cover ⅔ of the course content. The grade awarded for the two GCSE’s is based across all three sciences.
This is where each of the three topics is covered and tested individually, with grades awarded based on only that subject.
For a full breakdown of each subject and topic, please use these links:
A strong maths base is important for a high grade in science.
The four key maths areas are:
• data handling
• mathematical/calculation computation
At Redbridge Tuition, science lessons begin in year 7. In years 7 to 9 (Key Stage 3) science is combined, so the classes are 1 hour per week and include all three sciences.
In years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4), science is split into three subjects; biology, chemistry and physics and are taught separately. Again each class is 1 hour per week.
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