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Science
 
Science Curriculum Website.

In line with the philosophy of the IST, the Science Department offers a broad and balanced science curriculum, which is largely compatible with the UK National Curriculum in years 7 to 9. In years 10 and 11, students choose 2 or 3 of the Cambridge IGCSE separate science examinations (Physics, Chemistry and/or Biology). I.B. students in years 12 and 13 study for at least one (maximum two) of the three sciences, at either Standard or Higher Level. The department also provides specialist science teaching for Year 6 students in a programme designed by the head of department, which is taught in the secondary school laboratories.

The Science Department aims to give students the opportunity to enjoy science as a practical, hands-on activity, through which they will:

  • value and challenge each other's ideas, hypotheses and theories;
  • develop their practical skills;
  • learn the application and importance of technology;
  • maintain and direct their natural spirit of enquiry;
  • develop an understanding of scientific methods and concepts;
  • acquire a broad base of scientific knowledge;
  • learn to communicate scientific ideas and findings;
  • become aware of the influence of science and technology on society (and vice versa);
  • discuss the ethical implications of science and the moral responsibilities of scientists.

English
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International Baccalaureate


Accordingly, our two laboratories are fully equipped with state-of-the-art educational and technological equipment to allow students to work individually or in pairs for all experiments. We have a complete set of data-logging and video-logging equipment as well as a video microscope and other specialist equipment.

Whilst our teachers write their own schemes of work, these draw on professionally produced teaching materials at all levels. The Spotlight Science course (Stanley Thornes) is used as the basis for our integrated science course in years 7 to 9. The course follows a 'spiral curriculum' model where topics are re-visited each year in greater depth. Most topics deal with aspects of Physics, Chemistry and Biology through a thematic approach, though in Year 9 there is some separation of the subjects to prepare students for their choices at IGCSE. The IGSCE courses are based on the Stanley Thornes IGCSE 'Sciences for You' series, which dovetail well with Spotlight Science. At IB level, many different texts are used, but the courses are based loosely around the Heinemann Advanced Science series.

 

All schemes of work are written as web pages, which are accessible via the school network as well as the World Wide web. Changes can be made quickly by teachers and students, ensuring that the material is always fresh and relevant. This 'hypertext curriculum' approach has been shown to improve differentiation, as well as effectively maintain the high level of enthusiasm shown for science by our students. Advanced students make use of 'extension work' available through the web site; students with language or learning difficulties use 'extra help' worksheets, and students of all abilities benefit from the extra time our teachers have at their disposal as a result of the hypertext curriculum. The science web site is also used for celebrating achievement via the display of students' work as well as facilitating access other teaching materials, such as CD ROMs, the Internet, Video and Data Logging activities.

Small-scale, cross-curricular projects are a regular feature of science lessons, and schemes of work are regularly adapted to allow such work to take place. Developing strategies to deal with the major cross-curricular skills outlined in the school's cubic curriculum is a high priority, as is increasing our differentiated resources for a wide range of abilities, cultures and experience. Early signs from our initial work are most encouraging, showing significant improvement in independent study habits, increased motivation and improved efficiency for both students and teachers.

 

 

Teaching is almost invariably through practical work where students are encouraged to work collaboratively but think independently. Students often frequent the laboratories during their free time, coming with questions about their investigations or science concepts, as well as ideas for future work. This contact is encouraged and a group of students is working to set up a mini-farm, which will serve as a resource for both secondary and primary schools.