Sciences

From discussions of climate change, the latest ideas around stem cells, to the prospect of having holidays on the Moon, Science has never been more topical and relevant to our everyday lives.

At Gresham’s we believe that Science is a method of exploring and knowing about how and why the Earth and Universe works. The Gresham’s Science curriculum encourages students to investigate ideas and facts and so develop their ideas and understanding about the Universe we live in. For our students to have control over their lives we believe that they must become scientifically literate and numerate.

The Department

The Department is served by five fully experienced teachers with a technician. Based in its own suite of two fully equipped laboratories, a preparation room and staff work room, the team works collaboratively and actively to develop teaching and resources.

Objectives

The Department’s objective is to build on and develop student’s existing ideas, providing them with a high quality education which will help prepare them for life in the 21st Century. That science continues to change our lives and is a crucial part of the world’s future prosperity is integral to the course.

Aims

The Department’s aim is to ensure that all students:

  • develop their scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding in biology, chemistry and physics.
  • develop their understanding of the facts, hypotheses, processes and methods in science through practical work, research and discussion.
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand what science can do, today and in the future.
  • are able to communicate their ideas effectively, clearly and critically using appropriate scientific language.
  • are expected to be able to apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding in the collecting, presenting and analysing of data.

Visits and activities

The Department gives students in all years experiences outside the laboratory which are designed to enable them to experience science in action in the real world. Visits and activities include Holt Hall, the Green Britain Centre and the Salters Chemistry competition.

Science in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6: Junior Science

Building on their previous experiences, students are encouraged to investigate the world around them by asking relevant questions. Practicals and research-based lessons encourage students to recognise and understand the need for fair testing and the value of being able to predict outcomes. Different methods of recording and presenting their data are introduced and used. Students develop their skills in communication presenting their results and data in a variety of ways: verbally, written and using charts and graphs. In Year 6 our budding scientists take part in a school Science Fair which concludes their learning at Key Stage 2.

A summary of the topics covered are:

Living things – animals, plants, humans, including feeding, life cycles and reproduction.
Materials – reversible and irreversible changes, properties of solids, liquids and gases, separation techniques.
Physical aspects – light, sound, forces and the solar system.

Science in Years 7 and 8

Students’ ideas and understanding gained in Junior Science are further developed by being taught the three separate sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In addition, were appropriate, students are stretched to enter for scholarships at Gresham’s and other schools. Each subject has one 75 minute period per week which is supported by Preps. The curriculum has been designed to extend into Year 9, giving students a seamless transfer to the Senior School.

Biology

What is Biology? Biology is the study of life and the changes that take place with and around all living things.

There is a very strong likelihood of the existence of alien life forms being a reality in other solar systems. The study of Biology covers every planet and object in the Universe.  Everything that is alive on Earth is made up of cells. Students explore the world of plants and animals in detail. They also explore the source, cause and effect of diseases and the implications the have for our planet. As climate change becomes of increasing concern students investigate the way we effect our environment and the possible consequences for the future of the Earth.

Chemistry

What is Chemistry? Chemistry is the study of matter and the changes that take place with that matter.

Everything on Earth, in our solar system, in our galaxy and in the Universe is made of matter. Matter is the name that scientists have given to everything that you can touch, see, feel, or smell. In Chemistry, pupils are led on a voyage of scientific discovery in which they learn how materials form, their various attributes and how they transform when chemical reactions occur. The relevance and importance of Chemistry is highlighted with the realisation that Chemistry is everywhere and Chemical reactions occur when you breathe, eat, cook or just sit there reading. We also make links to practical uses and ethical implications, for example, within the realms of medicine, industry and the environment.

Physics

What is Physics? Physics is described as the study of matter and energy and  how they relate to each other.

Students are encouraged to explore fundamental questions: how did the universe begin? how and of what is it made? how it going to change? what laws govern the behaviour of objects in the universe? Everything in the universe has an effect on every other thing. As Physicists, students study those effects and the implications these have on our everyday and future lives.