Science is a way of investigating, understanding and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence – including making observations, carrying out investigations and modelling and communicating and debating with others – in order to develop scientific knowledge, understanding and explanations. Scientific progress comes from logical, systematic work and from creative insight, built on a foundation of respect for evidence. Different cultures and periods of history have contributed to the development of science.
Why study science?
Science is able to inform problem solving and decision making in many areas of life. More and more many of the major challenges and opportunities that confront our world need to be approached from a scientific perspective, taking into account social and ethical considerations.
By studying science, students:
develop an understanding of the world, built on current scientific theories
learn that science involves particular processes and ways of developing and organising knowledge and that these continue to evolve
use their current scientific knowledge and skills for problem solving and developing further knowledge
use scientific knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about the communication, applications and implications of science as these relate to their own lives and cultures and to the sustainability of the environment
Mā te whakaaro nui e hanga te whare;
mā te mātauranga e whakaū.
Big ideas create the house;
knowledge maintains it.
Science in Year 12 and 13
Students are able to continue their science education and specialise in one or more of the specialist science subjects of Chemistry, Biology and Physics. With small class sizes we have differentiated programmes of learning to cater for the differing abilities and interests of individual students.
Study toward Scholarship in Chemistry, Biology or Physics is offered to students studying toward Level 3 in that subject. It requires a broad and sound knowledge and understanding of the concepts covered at Level 2 and 3 in the subject. It requires critical thinking skills and the ability to communicate their ideas well on paper. It is a self-motivated study with teacher guidance.
Science is compulsory in these year levels and is arranged around five strands:
The Nature of Science – an overarching, unifying strand. Through it students learn what science is and how scientists work. They develop the skills, attitudes, values and science literacy to build a foundation for understanding the world they live in.
The Material World – this involves the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. This strand enables students to use their understanding of the fundamental properties of chemistry to make sense of the world around them.
The Living World – this is about living things and how they interact with each other and the environment. This strand enables students to make more informed decisions about significant biological issues such as genetic engineering; whether to allow mining on conservation land etc.
The Physical World – this strand provides explanations for a wide range of physical phenomena united by the concept of energy, which is transformed from one form to another without loss. Knowing about physics enables students to understand a wide range of contemporary issues and challenges and potential technological solutions.
Planet Earth and Beyond – this is about the interconnecting systems and processes of the Earth, the other parts of the solar system and the universe beyond. It enables students to confront the issues facing our planet and make informed decisions about the protection and wise use of Earth’s resources.
In Years 9 and 10 all students cover the same core topics which encompass the above five strands, so that all students enter Year 11 with the same baseline knowledge and skills.
The Year 11 programme is geared toward the make-up of students in a particular class. Whilst the content is centred around the above five strands, the Achievement Standards that each class undertakes depends on the students in them, their ability and interest. The Year 11 programme provides a foundation for students who wish to continue their education in one of more of the specialist science subjects.