“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.”
Edwin Powell Hubble
Key Stage 3
Our Key Stage 3 (KS3) programme at Verulam follows the two-year AQA KS3 curriculum based around the ’10 Big Ideas’. These are 10 strands of science that build from Year 7 right through to Year 11. The Big Ideas are broken down into four sub strands outlined in the table below. Our Earth Big Idea is taught as project-based learning for students to present during British Science Week at our annual Science Fair.
|Big Idea||Year 7||Year 8|
|Matter||Particle model||Separating mixtures||Elements||Periodic Table|
|Earth (project based learning)||Earth Structure||Climate|
|Reactions||Acids and alkalis||Metals and non-metals||Chemical energy||Types of reaction|
|Energy||Energy transfer||Energy costs||Work||Heating and cooling|
|Waves||Sound||Light||Wave effects||Wave properties|
At KS3 we especially focus on a ‘mastery curriculum’ which is designed to give our students an excellent foundation in the fundamentals and basic concepts of Science. With a secure knowledge of these at KS3, our students acquire the necessary building blocks for entering the Key Stage 4 (KS4) curriculum in preparation for GCSE.
We use low-stake testing in KS3 across the 10 Big Ideas, and use the information from these tests to immediately intervene where any misconceptions arise.
We place a strong focus on the new vocabulary and equations found in Science. Accordingly, there is a definition and equations test for each sub-strand of the Big Ideas.
Each academic year, for every Big there is a 25 mark test based on Know (10 marks), Apply (10 marks) and Extend (5 marks). We then spend two lessons on feedback on the first test, targeting areas for development, before students sit a second test on that Big Idea. It is the second test that is used for data tracking. This gives students the opportunity to improve their results from test 1 to test 2.
Home learning has two strands in science: the definitions and equations for each Big Idea and an online home learning tool called Educake.
Educake questions will be set so there are questions for students to work through every week. Students can use any resources they have at home to help them with these questions.
Students should spend 30 minutes a week on the definitions & equations and 30 minutes a week on Educake.
At Verulam we offer a host of science-related enrichment clubs, opportunities and experiences that enables our curious students to explore and deepen their passion for the subject.
Chief among these is our STEM Club which was recently awarded the Innovation/Project of the Year at the Herts Advertiser’s School Awards 2019. STEM Club aims to help our students understand how science, technology, engineering and maths combine to shape the world around them. This year the club has worked with Transport for London and delivered outstanding work in the Infinity Water and WaterAid’s Challenge which aimed to increase awareness around water shortages.
Year 7 – CREST award, Verulab, STEAM Club, British Science Week, Science Fair
Year 8 –Verulab, STEAM Club, British Science Week, STEM CED, Science Fair
Year 9 – Big Bang Fair Trip, STEAM Club, British Science Week, TED Talks Club
Year 10/11 –STEAM Club, British Science Week, TED Talks Club
Year 12/13 – A Level lecture series trips, British Science Week, STEAM Club
Where can Science take you?
A Science qualification can open many doors into careers both within the discipline and outside of it. Examples of careers include:
- Environmental science
- Research scientist
- Veterinary science
- Medical and scientific illustrators
- Biomedical sciences
- Civil Service
Over the last few years Verulam has a number of successful applicants to Oxford and Cambridge to study the sciences and medicine.
How parents can support their child’s learning?
Parents can support their children by checking the weekly completion of Educake. At KS3 regular testing of your son’s definitions and equations will help them retain this knowledge and put them in good stead for their scientific understanding of new concepts.
There is an extensive amount of content within the science curriculum so revisiting concepts with your son from prior chapters will help him when it comes to the synoptic papers. This can be done through Book Polishing, summary pages or choosing aspects of the checklists within their exercise books to test them.
In Year 10 and 11 they will also have parallel study to be working through to help support them for their upcoming exams. Ensuring students have a plan of how they will work through this will help them manage their revision.
GCSE AQA Combined Science specification:
GCSE AQA Biology specification:
GCSE AQA Chemistry specification:
GCSE AQA Physics specification: