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Science

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Introduction

The Science faculty at Kariong Mountains High School is committed to providing our students with a solid foundation in the nature and practice of Science as well as establishing firm connections between science in the classroom and science in their daily lives.

The goal of the Science faculty is to allow students to develop an appreciation for Science and to develop skills and processes that can be incorporated into their lives so as to better equip them for problem solving and coping with challenges they will face in both personal and professional aspects of their lives.

The Science faculty aims to present scientific concepts in an environment that is supportive, challenging and inquisitive and allowing students to explore science concepts hands on rather than just theoretical.

It is hoped that students will be inspired by Science and, if appropriate, channel this inspiration into a challenging, rewarding and ultimately fulfilling career.

Science students at KMHS

Stage 4 Science – Years 7 and 8

By the end of Stage 4 students use scientific inquiry by actively engaging in using and applying the processes of Working Scientifically. They identify questions and problems that they can test or research scientifically. They select and use appropriate strategies, understanding and skills to generate creative plausible solutions to identified problems. Individually and collaboratively they plan and conduct a range of types of first-hand investigations, including fieldwork and controlled experimental methods, ensuring that fairness, safety and ethical guidelines are followed.

Engaging in Scientific Inquiry

Students process and analyse data and information from first-hand investigations and secondary sources to identify trends, patterns and relationships, drawing relevant, evidence-based conclusions. They reflect on how the methods, strategies used and the quality of data obtained could be improved. Their ideas, methods and findings are communicated to a given audience using appropriate scientific language, representations and text types, with information sources acknowledged using a recognised method.

By engaging in scientific inquiry, students develop their knowledge of and about science ideas and concepts, as well as the nature, development and importance of scientific evidence. They explain how scientific knowledge changes as new discoveries and technological developments are made available, appreciating that new evidence leads to an improved understanding of the world.
Students describe the action of unbalanced forces on the motion of objects in everyday situations, including the Earth’s gravity. They discuss how developments in scientific knowledge and technology have contributed to finding solutions to problems involving the use of energy transfers and transformations in simple systems and how the solutions may impact on other areas of society.

Exploring Science in the Environment

Students relate the structure and function of living things to their classification, survival and reproduction. They predict the effects of environmental changes on ecosystems and how scientific understanding influences the development of some management practices. They explain the contribution and influence of scientific knowledge and technological advances in finding solutions to contemporary issues and that these solutions may involve ethical considerations.

Students describe the dynamic nature of models, theories and laws in developing scientific understanding of the Earth, solar system and observed properties and behaviour of matter. They describe processes occurring in and on the Earth and the time scales involved, as well as situations where understanding and skills from across the disciplines of Science are used in exploration for resources and obtaining and processing of materials. They explain how advances in scientific understanding influence the choices people make about resource use and management practices in shaping sustainable futures.

Students relate the physical and chemical properties of matter to how materials are processed and used by society in everyday life. They describe situations where scientific knowledge and collaboration between scientists generates solutions to obtaining and making new substances from the Earth’s spheres.

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Stage 5 Science – Years 9 and 10

By the end of Stage 5 students use scientific inquiry by actively engaging in using and applying the processes of Working Scientifically to increase their understanding of and about the world around them. By engaging in scientific inquiry, students develop their understanding of science ideas and concepts, how scientific knowledge is refined over time and the significance of scientific evidence in evaluating claims, explanations and predictions.

Investigating and Applying Scientific Understanding

Students formulate questions or hypotheses to be investigated scientifically. They apply scientific understanding and critical thinking skills to suggest possible solutions to identified problems. Individually and collaboratively they plan and undertake a range of types of first-hand investigations to accurately collect data using appropriate units, assessing risk and considering ethical issues associated with the method. They design and conduct controlled experiments to collect valid and reliable first-hand data.

In Stage 5 students process, analyse and evaluate data and information from first-hand investigations to draw conclusions consistent with the evidence, identifying sources of uncertainty and possible alternative explanations for findings. They assess the validity and reliability of claims made in secondary sources. They evaluate the methods and strategies they and others use and ways in which the quality of data could be improved, including the appropriate use of digital technologies. They communicate science ideas for specific purposes and construct evidence-based arguments using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations.

Students apply models, theories and laws to explain phenomena and situations involving energy, force and motion. They explain the concept of energy conservation, by describing energy transfers and transformations within systems.

Gaining Scientific Knowledge about Earth

Students describe changing ideas about the structure of the Earth, origins of the universe and the diversity of life on the Earth to illustrate how models, theories and laws are refined over time by the scientific community as new evidence becomes available. They describe situations where advances in scientific understanding may depend on developments in technology, and that technological advances are frequently linked to scientific discoveries.

Students explain how scientific understanding has contributed to knowledge about global patterns of geological activity and interactions between global systems. They analyse interactions between components and processes within biological systems and their responses to external changes. They use scientific evidence to assess whether claims, explanations and predictions are supported and can be used to evaluate predictions and inform decisions related to contemporary issues.

Students explain the organisation of the periodic table, chemical reactions and natural radioactivity in terms of atoms. They describe how different factors influence the rate of chemical reactions and the importance of a range of types of chemical reactions in the production of substances.

Understanding Science in Contemporary Society

By the end of Stage 5 students describe how the values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research and technological development in a variety of areas, including efficiency of use of electricity and non-renewable energy sources, the development of new materials, biotechnology, and plant, animal and human health. They outline examples of where the applications of the advances of science, emerging sciences and technologies significantly affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities.

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Stage 6 Subjects

Students choosing to study Science in their HSC are offered the following options:

Agriculture

The Preliminary course incorporates the study of the interactions between the components of agricultural production, marketing and management, while giving consideration to the issue of sustainability of the farming system. This is an ‘on-farm’, environment-oriented course.

The HSC course builds upon the Preliminary course. It examines the complexity and scientific principles of the components of agricultural production. It places greater emphasis on farm management to maximise productivity and environmental sustainability. The Farm Product Study is used as a basis for analysing and addressing social, environmental and economic issues as they relate to sustainability.

Biology

Biology is the study of living organisms, life processes and interactions between organisms and their environment.

The Preliminary course incorporates the study of the mechanisms and systems that living things use to obtain, transport and draw on materials for their own growth and repair; biotic and abiotic features of the environment and the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem; the evolution of life on Earth; and the effects of global changes on the diversity of Australian biota during the formation of the Australian continent.

The HSC course examines the processes and structures that plants and animals use to maintain a constant internal environment and the way in which characteristics are transmitted from generation to generation. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on the increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.

Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of the physical and chemical properties of matter, with a focus on substances and their interactions. Chemistry attempts to provide chemical explanations and to predict events at the atomic and molecular level.

In the Preliminary course, students will develop a knowledge of atomic structure, chemical changes, rates of reaction and relationships between substances by focusing on increasing students’ understanding of the Earth’s resources, the development of increasingly sophisticated methods to extract and use metals, the importance of water on Earth and high energy carbon compounds.

The HSC course builds on the concepts developed in the Preliminary course, expanding on areas such as the search for new sources of traditional materials, the design and production of new materials, the management and monitoring of chemicals that have been developed and/or released as a result of human technological activity and the way in which environmental problems could be reversed or minimised. Forensic chemistry is an available Year 12 option.

Earth and Environmental Science

Earth and Environmental Science is the study of the planet Earth, its processes and its environment.

The Preliminary course develops a knowledge of the physical and chemical features of the environment, the available resources and human impact on Australian environments and the interplay between the internal and external forces that constantly shape the Earth. It increases students’ understanding of these concepts by focusing on the unique nature of the Australian continent, its geology and environments and, in particular, the local environment and the effect of human impact on it.

The HSC course builds upon the Preliminary course. It examines the geological, physical and chemical evidence related to the evolution of Australia over time, current pressures and their effects on the Australian environment, and the indicators of environmental ill-health. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.

Physics

Physics investigates natural phenomena, identifies patterns and applies models, principles and laws to explain their behaviour.

The Preliminary course develops a knowledge of waves, motion, forces, fields, electricity and magnetism by focusing on increasing students’ understanding of current communication technologies, the use of electricity in the home, interaction involving vehicles (such as car crashes) and the mechanisms that maintain the physical conditions of planet Earth.

The HSC course builds on the concepts of the Preliminary course by expanding on areas such as relativity, the motor effect and solid state physics, and by focusing on space flight, motors and generators and the scientific advances involved in the development of semi-conductors and electronics. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on the increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.

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Homework

Homework is an important part of the Science philosophy at Kariong Mountains High School. It is an opportunity to not only consolidate the learning taking place each lesson, but also to extend and enrich the knowledge of students so as they can develop their own areas of interest in the broad arena of science.

Science homework may include:

  • Homework work sheets
  • Enrichment activities based on concepts taught in class
  • Consolidation and revision of concepts learnt
  • Research tasks to further enrich and deepen understanding.

Generally speaking, homework is suspended when students are working on formal assessment tasks.

Ideally students should regularly revise their class notes at home and note any questions or areas of difficulty that may arise so as learning is maximised.

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