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Faculty: STEM

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

Carl Sagan

Aims & Philosophy

From the moment you are born, and throughout your life, you are surrounded by Science – the air you breathe, the food you eat and the clothes you wear – they’re all Science. Whether you want to care for penguin colonies in Antarctica or work in a dynamic business environment, Science can help you. From research in space, to the depths of the oceans, Science helps you understand the world around you and opens up lots of career opportunities. Science students are highly valued for their numerical, linguistic and analytical skills.

 

Key Stage 3

In Forms I and II girls are taught all three sciences by one teacher. We roughly follow the Exploring Science scheme, with a big emphasis on developing practical skills and the girls’ knowledge of ‘How Science Works’. The main concern of the department is that the girls enjoy their science lessons and retain their sense of awe and wonder whilst becoming even better scientists.

In Form III girls are taught by individual specialist teachers. For the first term we take the opportunity to explore science that the girls may not get a chance to study again. In Biology we look at various forensic techniques and the girls investigate a live ‘murder’, then move on to muscles and bones. In Chemistry we study the reactions of metals and metal compounds and patterns of reactivity. In Physics we look at forces and space. In the second term all girls start the GCSE Science A course allowing flexibility for a range of abilities, some to do the separate sciences and others to follow the more traditional route of double award.

 

GCSE Science (AQA)

Every student at Heathfield School is required to take Science. Students start to cover the GCSE content in the Third Form allowing those more able to access three separate Science GCSEs.

All students in the top science set are entered for the three separate science GCSEs. This involves them taking all 3 written units for each of the sciences at the end of their 5th Form year.

Students not taking the three separate Sciences will take Combined Science which covers Biology, Chemistry and Physics through a series of six different written examinations each worth. Students then gain a numerical grade from a 17 point scale from 1-1 to 9-9.

For all of the Science GCSEs students will have to complete compulsory experiments and their practical skills and techniques will be examined in the written examinations.

All students irrelevant of which route they have followed are able to go onto study science at A level providing they attain sufficiently good grades at GCSE.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Extracurricular science activities form an integral part of the Heathfield experience. A wide variety of different activities and learning experiences takes place outside of the classroom.

For one week each year we celebrate Science Week and activities are run each day during lunch. Activities have included an Interhouse rocket building and launching competition in Assembly, the creation of ice cream using liquid nitrogen, and chip pan fires singeing the ceiling.

Other events have included the annual Third Form CSI Heathfield forensics investigation which investigates a live ‘murder’. This year it was the Director of Studies, who dramatically collapsed during lunch.

As a department we enter a number of competitions each year including The Salters’ Chemistry Competition for four members of the Second Form; this takes place at one of the universities around the country and provides students with an insight into science in the workplace, and the Biology Challenge set by the Institute of Biology for 3rd and 4th Formers .

Other opportunities to use Science come about as part of the weekend activities such as trips to Science museums and the production of beauty products including as make-up and soap. Alternatively there is a Science Club with a variety of activities including the Chemistry of Fireworks and Rockets, Dissection and Robotics. Girls in Forms I-III are also encouraged to participate in the CREST Awards. They have to plan and carry out their own research and produce a written report of their findings. Topics covered last year included properties of different types of chocolate and finding the best formulation for a bath bomb.