Student-centred learning is the core principle of the Science Department. We are able to provide an individualised learning experience for students through continued investment in the best staff development, equipment, IT systems and resources. We employ a discovery learning approach by putting scientific practical experiences in the hands of all our students as they progress through the Key Stages. The extra-curricular profile of our department is extensive including visits to the CERN Large Hadron Collider, sending balloons into space and many partnerships with local industries. The success of our student-focused approach is evidenced by vast A Level numbers and a constant number of student spending extra time in the department with their teachers.
Imparting passion for our subject to students of all abilities is incredibly important to our staff. We constantly work together to refine our Curriculum and develop new strategies to overcome barriers to engagement in Science.
Virtual Learning Environment
What sets the Cockermouth School Science Departments apart is it’s virtual learning environment. Lessons are available online including videos of experiments and demos, explanation, worksheets, extensions and even exemplar exercise book to model the quality of work expected. Here students can revisit lessons to consolidate their learning, reflect and improve their work. The VLE teaches students to study what will happen in their lessons before they arrive confident and ready to learn. As a result maximum value can be extracted from their time with teachers The Science Department VLE aims to incorporate parents into our academic community by allowing students to share their Science lessons with their parents at home.
Key Stage 3
Year 7 & 8
Following in-house scheme of work closely linked and covering the National Curriculum content include:
Year 7 - Cells, reproductions & variation, adaptations, the senses.
Year 8 - Photosynthesis, digestion, respiration & the heart, microbes and disease and fieldwork skills.
Year 7 - Particles & solutions, acids & alkalis and laboratory safety.
Year 8 - Chemical reactions, metals, periodic table, chemical concepts.
Year 7 - Forces, electricity and magnetism.
Year 8 - Kinetic theory, waves and energy resources.
Students in year 7, 8 and 9 will sit assessments in both January and June.
Year 7 and 8 sit two combined science papers in both January and June.
Key Stage 4
Year 9, 10 & 11
AQA Science (Trilogy) and Chemistry
Chemistry topics covered over the three years –
Year 9 - Fundamental chemistry & the periodic table, rates of reactions, chemistry of the atmosphere.
Year 10 - Energy and chemical change, chemical analysis, bonding and structure and properties.
Year 11 - Quantitative chemistry, organic chemistry and equilibrium.
There will be a progress test at the end of each topic. Mock examinations will also be used.
AQA science (Trilogy) and Biology
Biology topics over the three years –
Year 9 - Cells structure, transport and division, infectious disease.
Year 10 – Plant and animal physiology, non-communicable disease, photosynthesis and respiration.
Year 11 - Ecology, variation, inheritance and evolution, control systems – nerves and hormones.
With a progress test at the end of each topic. Year 9 exams June, Year 10 exams March and Year 11 mock exams January.
AQA Science (Trilogy) and Physics
Physics topics covered over the three years –
Year 9 - Atomic structure and the particle model
Year 10 - Energy, magnetism and forces.
Year 11 - Electricty and waves.
There will be a progress test at the end of each topic. Mock examinations will also be used.
Each discipline also requires a number of compulsory practicals (CPACs) to be carried out throughout the course. Whilst, these will not contribute directly as a coursework element, they may be used in questions in the GCSE assessment papers.
Year 9 sit three papers in each window, one biology paper, one chemistry and one Physics.
Year 10 sit mock papers in biology, chemistry and physics in their mock window in March with a second set of year 10 mocks in June/July.
Year 11 with sit three mock papers in January, one paper in each of biology, chemistry and physics.
Key Stage 5
Year 12 & 13
AQA Chemistry topics covered over the two years -
Physical chemistry –
Year 12 - Atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, kinetics, chemical equilibria, redox.
Year 13 - Thermodynamics, rate equations, equilibrium constant, electrochemistry, acids & bases.
Inorganic chemistry -
Year 12 - Periodicity, group ii, group vii, period 3 properties.
Year 13 - Transition metals, reactions of aqueous ions.
Organic chemistry –
Year 12 - Introduction to organic chemistry, alkanes, halogenoalkanes, alkenes, alcohols, organic analysis.
Year 13 - Optical isomerism, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins, DNA, organic synthesis, NMR, chromatography.
There will be a progress test at the end of each topic or collection of suitable topics. Past paper completion throughout the second year is mandatory too. Mock examinations will also be used over the two years.
AQA Physics topics covered over the two years –
Year 12 - Measurements and errors, particles and radiation, waves, mechanics, electricity.
Year 13 - Further mechanics and thermal physics, fields, nuclear physics and (optional unit) turning points in physics.
There will be regular assessments throughout the course. Past paper completion throughout the second year is mandatory too. Mock examinations will also be used over the two years.
AQA Biology topics covered over the two years –
Year 12 - Biological molecules, cells, organisms exchange substances with their environment, genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms. This content is followed by the Year 12 exams at the end of April. Summer term Year 12 - populations and ecosystems, control of heart rate and gene technology practical work.
Year 13 - Energy transfers in and between organisms, photosynthesis and respiration, populations and ecosystems, organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environment, genetics, populations and evolution, the control of gene expression.
During the autumn term Year 13 students carry out 3 days residential field work – Ford Castle, Northumberland.
Progress tests are carried out roughly every half term, incorporating all of the topics covered up to that point. Past paper completion throughout the second year is used to maintain a working knowledge of the content covered in Year 12 and in preparation for final exams in the summer. Year 12 exams and Year 13 mock examinations will also be used over the two years to inform progress.
Each discipline also requires a number of compulsory practical’s (CPACs) to be carried out throughout the course. Whilst, these will not contribute directly as a coursework element, they may be used in questions in the GCE assessment papers.
AQA Level 3 Certificate and Extended Certificate in Applied Science
Content is covered over two years;
5 mandatory units:
Units 1-3 in Year 12
Units 4-6 in Year 13
Unit 1 – Key concepts in science. (1.5hr exam)
Content: cell structure, transport mechanisms, the heart, homeostasis, breathing and cellular respiration, photosynthesis and food chain productivity, atomic structure, the periodic table, amount of substance, bonding, enthalpy changes, useful energy and efficiency, electricity and circuits, dynamics.
Unit 3 – Science in the modern world. (1.5hr exam with 60hrs of research, communication and teamwork provided first – based on pre-released material)
Content: Topic specific issues obtained from a variety of media sources, the public perception of science and the influence that the media have, the ethical, moral, commercial, environmental, political and social issues involved in scientific advances, and how these are represented, the roles and responsibilities that science personnel carry out in the science industry.
Unit 2 – Applied experimental techniques
Content: Investigations of; rate of respiration, light-dependant reaction in photosynthesis, volumetric analysis, colorimetric analysis, resistivity, specific heat capacity.
Unit 4 – The human body. (1.5hr exam)
Content: The digestive system and diet, the musculoskeletal system and movement, how oxygen is transported in the blood and how physiological measurements can be applied, the structure and function of the nervous system and brain, nerve impulses.
Unit 5 – Investigating science
Content: Prepare for a scientific investigation, carry out the investigation and record results, analyse result, draw conclusions and evaluate the investigation, present the findings of the investigation to a suitable audience.
Unit 6c – Organic chemistry
This unit is designed to introduce learners to the importance of preparative organic chemistry in a wide range of contexts, from pharmaceuticals, dyes, flavours and fragrances, to solvents and bio-diesel. The importance of yield, rate, purity of the compound made and characterisation using spectroscopic techniques will also be established. Learners will acquire a good understanding of the structures of functional groups and their reactions, the importance of isomerism, and the variety of practical synthetic methods that are available to preparative chemists. The importance of yield, rate, purity of the compound made and characterisation using spectroscopic techniques will also be established.
Outside the Classroom
The Science Department offers students a great deal of extra help and tuition outside of lesson time. Staff are always on hand at lunch times to offer individuals or small groups the required support and guidance. Outside of school the department puts on and gets involved in Balloon projects with React engineering, rocket displays for Primary school children and runs a very successful sixth form trip to CERN in Switzerland.