The Science Department is one of the largest departments in St. Patrick’s Grammar School and delivers a broad based curriculum to all Key Stage 3 students and to the majority of Key Stage 4 students. At present we also have about fifty students who study sciences at AS and A2 level. At each level we try to cultivate an interest in science and a confident understanding of the subject. Teachers in the department work hard to ensure that all students can access the curriculum at each level, whatever their ability.
KEY STAGE 3
In Years 8, 9 and 10 all students study science for five periods per week and they study Biology, Chemistry and Physics for one term each year. Students are given the opportunity to do a wide range of experiments and investigations to develop their practical skills. During Key Stage 3 we try to arrange a number of educational visits for all students, for example to the Navan Centre during Science week.
During each term students are regularly assessed using end of topic tests which are both summative and formative. At the end of Years 8 and 9, students are given a test based on the whole year’s work. At the end of Year 10, students sit an exam based on the three years of Science study.
The science curriculum studied at Key Stage 3 is an excellent foundation for those who wish to go on to study science at Key Stage 4 and beyond and is interesting and related to Science in everyday life.
Students at Key Stage 3 have the opportunity to use sensors and data loggers to obtain and record data which can be used to generate a graph using a computer. The IT suite in the department is fully equipped with a class set of laptops and is regularly used by all students to enhance their study and learning and to present their work.
We offer CCEA Double Award Science Modular to our Key Stage 4 students. We follow the modular course and Year eleven students sit modular examinations in November, February and May. Each student takes a module in Biology, a module in Chemistry and a module in Physics. These tests are worth 20% for the subject. Each of the five groups rotate at the end of a module and all groups are taught by a subject specialist. At the end of May and the beginning of June, Year 11 students complete one of their two coursework assignments, which are each worth 12.5% of the total subject marks.
In Year 12 students complete the remaining modules in Biology, Chemistry and Physics which are examined in terminal papers in June. They also complete the remaining coursework assignment in the first term.
The Science Department has a high expectation of our Key Stage 4 students, who usually achieve a success rate close to one hundred percent for grades A* to C.
Double Award Science is a sound basis for those students who wish to study a Science subject at AS or A2 level and is interesting and related to Science in our everyday lives.
The six modules studied are:
- Living organisms and processes
- Reproduction and genetics
- Using materials and understanding reactions
- Patterns, problems and processes
- Forces and energy
- Waves, light, sound, electricity, magnetism and earth in space
We offer Biology, Chemistry and Physics at AS and A2 level. Average class sizes are approximately twenty and we have an expectation that all students will achieve a grade in the range A* to C at A2 level. In Biology we follow the CCEA specification whilst in Chemistry and Physics we follow the AQA specification. Each AS specification provides a smooth pathway from Double Award Science and a route to a wide range of vocational and academic courses in Further Education. The specifications for each subject are challenging and require determined and consistent work from the students throughout the two years. Students, however, have a sense of achievement when they achieve their best possible grade in these subjects and soon realise the true value of hard work and determination. The specifications provide a wide range of opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of how Science works in everyday contexts.
In AS Biology the modules are:
- Molecules and cells
- Organisms and biodiversity
- Practical skills in AS Biology
In A2 Biology the modules are:
- Physiology and ecosystems
- Biochemistry, genetics and evolutionary trends
- Investigational and practical skills in Biology
In AS Chemistry the modules are:
- Foundation chemistry
- Chemistry in action
- Investigative and practical skills in AS chemistry
In A2 Chemistry the modules are:
- Kinetics, equilibria and organic chemistry
- Energetics, redox and inorganic chemistry
- Investigative and practical skills in A2 chemistry
In AS Physics the three modules are:
- Particles, quantum phenomenon and electricity
- Mechanics, materials and waves
- Investigative and practical skills in physics
In A2 physics the three modules are:
- Fields and further mechanics
- Nuclear and thermal physics and turning points in physics
- Investigative and practical skills in physics