What happens in this subject?
The aim of science at DSTC is to educate and empower scientific students for the future, by fostering an enthusiasm that lasts a lifetime. We aim to develop a variety of transferable skills that can be used to help students progress in many disciplines including data gathering, manipulation, analysis & interpretation, independence, team working, practical and research skills. Our students will become critical thinkers with regard to science media & knowledge they are confronted with in order to make informed decisions throughout their lives. Furthermore, we aim to encourage many girls to continue studying science at a higher level and give them opportunities to see themselves and people like them as scientists by presenting images and examples of females doing important jobs within science fields.
Building on from KS2 or KS3
KS2 learning focuses on the scientific method and some basic knowledge in science. We aim to build on this by developing the working scientifically skills to include using data and more complex graphs and delving more deeply into ideas like precision, accuracy, error and repeatability. We also teach how evidence helps us develop our scientific understanding and how peer review is used in real life to check our theories.
In terms of scientific knowledge and understanding we challenge pupils to make links between the 3 scientific disciplines and relate scientific explanations to the real world. Students will also be encouraged to use modelling and abstract ideas to develop explanations in science. The big ideas that are introduced are structure and function in living organisms, particles and energy transfer.
The biggest extracurricular focus in science should be with literacy. Reading and comprehension are essential for science learning and so there is a focus on getting students reading challenging passages and writing to consolidate their own ideas. This is via curriculum literacy tasks and literacy homeworks, as well as embedded into lessons as a normal part of the learning process.
Students work through the AQA Activate Oxford Scheme of work with some amendments to ensure all the 'working scientifically' skills are included. They are taught in mixed ability sets with one grammar set (tutor groups) and we aim to give KS3 one teacher so that they are able to form strong relationships. They have 4 lessons per week.
KS3 students are included in science trips during activities weeks and British science week activities during March. They are also invited to Science club & homework workshops.
Students study AQA Combined Science or AQA Separate Sciences - Biology, Chemistry and Physics at GCSE. We follow the AQA Oxford 'Kerboodle' scheme of work with some amendments to focus and consolidate the 'working scientifically' skills and required practicals. Students are taught in mixed ability sets with one higher tier set and separate triple classes. They have 5 lessons per week for combined and 8 lessons per week for triple, always with a specialist in each of the sciences.
Year 11 assessments use past exam questions to help familiarise students with the language and depth needed to be successful. The use of key command words during lessons also helps embed key skills with regard to exam techniques. Intervention is used to fill gaps in knowledge identified by topic assessments and classwork. A blended learning approach is being further developed with more use of Google Classroom, independent learning and digital resources to support work done in the classroom.
Aspirations and KS5
Pathways at DSTC can include A-levels in Biology and Chemistry as well as BTEC study in Applied Science or Health and Social Care. Many of our students aim to go on to study Nursing or Health and Social care subjects like Early years practitioners.
Outside the classroom, our Science students will be given the opportunity to enrich their knowledge and passion for the subject through some of our exciting trips. These include visiting universities to gain an insight into further study opportunities or receive exciting lectures on up and coming Science topics.