In the Science Years 7–10 Syllabus content is organised by strands in relation to the skills and the knowledge and understanding objectives and outcomes.
The skills strand is organised by the processes of Working Scientifically and specifies the development of the skills that students should be able to demonstrate by the end of Stage 4 and Stage 5. The content reflects the continuum with the Working Scientifically strand in K–6.
The processes of Working Scientifically are at the centre of teaching and learning. Students develop skills in applying the processes of Working Scientifically through regular, active participation in a range of collaborative and individual hands-on practical experiences, including at least one substantial student research project in each stage.
Through applying the processes of Working Scientifically, students use scientific inquiry to develop their understanding of science ideas and concepts, the unique nature of Science as a discipline and the importance of scientific evidence in making informed decisions about the use of science and technology.
The Working Scientifically strand involves students in the processes of:
Questioning and predicting
- identifying and constructing questions
- proposing hypotheses
- making predictions about possible outcomes
- working individually and collaboratively to plan and organise activities
- selecting appropriate methods, materials, specimens and equipment to complete activities
- identifying ways of reducing risks and addressing ethical guidelines in the laboratory and in the field
- working individually and collaboratively to locate and gather information from a variety of sources for a planned investigation
- increasing skills in performing first-hand investigations
- gathering first-hand data and information
- using time and resources effectively
- assessing risks and addressing ethical issues in using equipment, materials and chemicals safely
- accessing and collecting information from secondary sources using appropriately a variety of digital technologies
Processing and analysing data and information
- organising data and information to explain trends, patterns and relationships
- using critical thinking skills to analyse data and information, make predictions and evaluate evidence
- representing data and information in meaningful ways
- evaluating the quality of data, information, processes and evidence
- using evidence to draw and justify conclusions
- identifying issues and problems
- framing possible problem-solving processes
- using creative thinking to develop ideas and possibilities that are new and applying them in different and novel situations
- devising appropriate strategies to deal with issues and working through them in a logical and coherent way
- conveying information, ideas and findings of investigations to others through appropriate representations and digital technologies
- representing data and information in multi-modal texts
- presenting information and ideas using appropriate scientific language and text types.
The practical experiences, including the student research project, provide opportunities for students to engage in scientific inquiry during the course of their learning. Through applying the processes of Working Scientifically, students use scientific inquiry to develop their understanding of science ideas and concepts and the importance of scientific evidence-based conclusions.
Practical experiences should emphasise a range of types of hands-on activities and include:
- undertaking laboratory investigations, including fair tests and controlled experiments
- undertaking fieldwork and surveys
- researching by using a variety of print and multimedia, as well as internet and electronic sources of data and information
- using a range of strategies and technologies to collect and record data, including appropriate use of digital technologies, eg data loggers
- using and constructing models
- using or reorganising second-hand data, including those in spreadsheets and databases
- extracting and reorganising information in the form of flow charts, tables, graphs, diagrams, prose, keys, spreadsheets and databases
- using digital technologies, eg computer animations and simulations, to capture and analyse data and information
- presenting data and information in multi-modal texts.
Student research project
Class time should be allocated to assist students in clarifying their question or problem to be investigated, developing hypotheses and identifying variables to be controlled, measured or changed in fair tests. Students should also be supported in planning their investigations, carrying out research, evaluating evidence and conclusions, and communicating results, findings and explanations to others.
All students are required to undertake at least one substantial research project during Stage 4 and Stage 5:
- at least one project will involve hands-on practical investigation
- at least one Stage 5 project will be an individual task.
Students should choose investigations related to one of the topics they have studied or to an area of interest. They should be encouraged to address problems relevant to their immediate environment and use readily available materials to undertake their investigation. Apart from the mandatory Stage 5 individual project, projects may involve collaboration with peers.
The student research project can be used as an assessment for learning strategy to inform future teaching. It may also form part of the assessment of learning in the school-based assessment program.
In developing and delivering teaching programs teachers should be aware of, and adopt, relevant guidelines and directives of their education authorities and/or schools. Teaching programs should recognise and reflect relevant State and Commonwealth legislation, regulations and standards, including Work Health and Safety Standards, Chemical Safety in Schools and Animal Welfare guidelines. Teachers need to be aware of activities that may require notification, certification, permission, permits and licences.
Teachers should be aware that students may have food allergies that can result in anaphylaxis, a severe and sometimes sudden allergic reaction which is potentially life-threatening and always requires an emergency response. This is an important consideration in selecting the foods to be handled and consumed.
Knowledge and understanding
The Knowledge and Understanding strands specify the content for each stage and integrate content related to the understanding about the nature, development, use and influence of science with knowledge of scientific concepts, principles, models, theories and laws. Students develop their scientific understanding about the natural world and the unique nature of Science as a discipline through using and applying the processes of Working Scientifically.
Teachers choose contexts to assist students make meaning of and integrate the content. The choice of appropriate contexts for scientific learning should encourage students to further develop their understanding of science as a distinct view and way of thinking about the natural world.
The knowledge and understanding content is organised into four strands:
Physical World (PW)
The Physical World strand is concerned with understanding the nature of forces and motion, and matter and energy. The two key concepts developed within this strand are that forces affect the motion and behaviour of objects and that energy can be transferred and transformed from one form to another. Through this strand students gain an understanding of how the concepts of force, motion, matter and energy apply to systems ranging in scale from atoms to the universe itself.
Earth and Space (ES)
The Earth and Space strand is concerned with the Earth's dynamic structure and its place in the cosmos. The key concepts developed within this strand are that the Earth is part of a solar system that, in turn, is part of a larger universe and that the Earth is subject to change within and on its surface, over a range of timescales, as a result of natural processes. Students explore the ways that humans use resources from the Earth and appreciate the influence of human activity on the surface of the Earth and the atmosphere.
Living World (LW)
The Living World strand is concerned with understanding living things. The key concepts developed within this strand are that the cell is the basic unit of life and that there is a diverse range of living things that have evolved on Earth. Students will gain an appreciation of the interdependence of living things and how they interact with each other and the environment. Through this strand students gain an understanding of how the structure of living things relates to the functions that their body systems perform and how these features aid their survival.
Chemical World (CW)
The Chemical World strand is concerned with understanding the composition and behaviour of matter. The key concepts developed in this strand are that the chemical and physical properties of substances are determined by their structure on an atomic scale and that substances change and new substances are produced in chemical reactions by rearranging atoms through atomic interactions and energy transfer.
The syllabus content is designed so that the typical student can realistically address it in the indicative course time. Additional knowledge and understanding content is provided in recognition that some students will need to extend their learning by engaging with content beyond the syllabus. To broaden and deepen students' scientific understanding, teachers may develop extension units or incorporate additional content into units of study throughout their teaching program.
The additional knowledge and understanding content presented in the syllabus provides suggestions only, should not be considered an exhaustive list and is not required as prerequisite knowledge for any Stage 6 Science course. Additional content selected for the school learning program must be based on scientific understanding that is evidence-based and has been refined over time through review processes by the scientific community. All science ideas are theories and must be testable and measurable using the procedures of scientific inquiry.
- incorporate additional content into units of study throughout their teaching program or develop extension units in their teaching program. In this way, students' learning can be extended into areas of specific interest
- choose other contexts to reinforce the content of the syllabus. In this way, students can be given more time to acquire the skills, knowledge and understanding
- undertake remediation of knowledge, understanding and/or skills in addressing the outcomes and content of the syllabus.
For some students with special education needs, particularly those students with an intellectual disability, it may be determined that the Stage 4 and Stage 5 outcomes and content are not appropriate. For these students, Life Skills outcomes and content can provide a relevant and meaningful program. Refer to the Introduction for further information about curriculum options for students with special education needs. Years 7–10 Life Skills outcomes and content are in the Life Skills section of the syllabus.