5. Content

This section gives some examples of how the principles and teaching methods can be combined to teach a particular topic. Since this is designed to be a "pre-A-level" course, the content is that of the National Curriculum (NC).

Important topics, not presently in the NC can be found at:Additional material.

Both sets of aims, developed earlier, are applicable to the serious science pupil:

Sample topics

For sample material use the navigation under the Curriculum: Contents tab.

Supporting Theories

For pupils to be considered as "scientists" and able to tackle A-level science, they need to be familiar with the main explanatory frameworks" or theories used by scientists. It is essential that new knowledge is built around theory and not as a set of facts.

This table lists the main theories applicable to school and links them to content.

The theories are:

Theory used in Explanation Example
Atomic theory 1:Particles particles treating atoms and molecules as elastic spheres kinetic motion of gases
Atomic theory 2: Bonding chemical reactions that chemical bonds are formed by sharing or exchanging electrons covalent bonding
Atomic theory 3: Radioactivity particles that some nuclei are unstable and decay carbon dating
Electron flow theory electricity that electricity is a flow of electrons electronics, motors
Conservation of mass particles that matter is not created or destroyed the mass of the reactants is the same as the mass of the products
Conservation of energy energy that energy is not created or destroyed the energy in a hot object is lost to its surroundings as it cools
Cell theory organisms living things are made of cells, too small to see complex organisms have a range of specialist cells
Germ theory human health many diseases are caused by microscopic organisms the flu virus, food poisoning
Theory of evolution genetics/biosphere that new species evolve by natural selection the variety of life
Genetic theory genetics that the organism is determined by the structure of its DNA inherited characteristics, plant breeding, cloning
Gaia theory biosphere that the Earth's ecosystem is a self-regulating entity constant level of oxygen in the atmosphere
Theory of gravity forces and motion that all matter attracts all other matter evolution of stars and planets.
Laws of motion forces and motion that the effects of forces is predictable and can be calculated acceleration, circular motion
Big bang theory planets and the universe that the origin of the universe was an explosion 14bn yrs ago red-shift, galaxy formation
Plate tectonics theory planets and the universe that the surface of the Earth is broken into moving plates proximity of ocean trenches and volcanoes
Wave theory waves that energy can travel without a net movement of material EM spectrum, tsunami

Reasoning: Too often a "content centered" curriculum fails to build the foundations of a concept and pupils are left learning facts. "Theories" are simple statements which bring together a wide range of facts under a single explanatory story. This mimics the way the brain classifies and stores information. Pupils report : "I didn't have to learn it, because I understood it".

Many excellent teachers "go back to basics" at the beginning of a new topic rather than following the Scheme of Work.

Navigation to contents pages

additional material
Year 7

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