Key Stage 4 Year 10

Pupils follow the AQA GCSE Core Science course. This includes a practical exam (ISA) which is worth 25% of the grade awarded. The three subject papers make up the other 75% and this is examined in June of this year.




Good health


A combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise is needed to help keep the body healthy. Our bodies provide an excellent environment for many microbes which can make us ill once they are inside us. Our bodies need to stop most microbes getting in and deal with any microbes which do get in. Vaccination can be used to prevent infection.


Nerves and hormones:


The nervous system and hormones enable us to respond to external changes. They also help us to control conditions inside our bodies. Hormones are used in some forms of contraception and in fertility treatments. Plants also produce hormones and respond to external stimuli.


The use and abuse of drugs:


Drugs affect our body chemistry. Medical drugs are developed and tested before being used to relieve illness or disease. Drugs may also be used recreationally as people like the effect on the body. Some drugs are addictive. Some athletes take drugs to improve performance. People cannot make sensible decisions about drugs unless they know their full effects.


Interdependence and adaptation:


Organisms are well adapted to survive in their normal environment. Population size depends on a variety of factors including competition, predation, disease and human influences. Changes in the environment may affect the distribution and behaviour of organisms.


Energy and biomass in food chains:


By observing the numbers and sizes of the organisms in food chains we can find out what happens to energy and biomass as it passes along the food chain.


Waste materials from plants and animals:


Many trees shed their leaves each year and most animals produce droppings at least once a day. All plants and animals eventually die. Microorganisms play an important part in decomposing this material so that it can be used again by plants. The same material is recycled over and over again and can lead to stable communities.


Genetic variation and its control:


There are not only differences between different species of plants and animals but also between individuals of the same species. These differences are due partly to the information in the cells they have inherited from their parents and partly to the different environments in which the individuals live and grow. Asexual reproduction can be used to produce individuals that are genetically identical to their parent. Scientists can now add, remove or change genes to produce the plants and animals they want.




Particular genes or accidental changes in the genes of plants or animals may give them characteristics which enable them to survive better. Over time this may result in entirely new species. There are different theories of evolution. Darwin’s theory is the most widely accepted.





The fundamental ideas in chemistry:

Atoms and elements are the building blocks of chemistry. Atoms contain protons, neutrons and electrons. When elements react they produce compounds.

Limestone and building materials:


Rocks provide essential building materials. Limestone is a naturally occurring resource that provides a starting point for the manufacture of cement and concrete.


Metals and their uses:


Metals are very useful in our everyday lives. Ores are naturally occurring rocks that provide an economic starting point for the manufacture of metals. Iron ore is used to make iron and steel. Copper can be easily extracted but copper-rich ores are becoming scarce so new methods of extracting copper are being developed. Aluminium and titanium are useful metals but are expensive to produce. Metals can be mixed together to make alloys.


Crude oil and fuels:


Crude oil is derived from an ancient biomass found in rocks. Many useful materials can be produced from crude oil. Crude oil can be fractionally distilled. Some of the fractions can be used as fuels. Biofuels are produced from plant material. There are advantages and disadvantages to their use as fuels. Fuels can come from renewable or non-renewable resources.


Other useful substances from crude oil:


Fractions from the distillation of crude oil can be broken down (cracked) to make smaller molecules including unsaturated hydrocarbons such as ethene. Unsaturated hydrocarbons can be used to make polymers and ethane can be used to make ethanol. Ethanol can also be made by fermentation.

Plant oils and their uses:


Many plants produce useful oils that can be converted into consumer products including processed foods. Emulsions can be made and have a number of uses. Vegetable oils can be hardened to make margarine. Biodiesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oils.


Changes in the Earth and its atmosphere:


The Earth and its atmosphere provide everything we need. The Earth has a layered structure. The surfaces of the Earth and its atmosphere have changed since the Earth was formed and are still changing. The atmosphere has been much the same for the last 200 million years and provides the conditions needed for life on Earth. Recently human activities have resulted in further changes in the atmosphere. There is more than one theory about how life was formed.





The transfer of energy by heating processes and the factors that affects the rate at which that energy is transferred:

Energy can be transferred from one place to another by work or by heating processes. We need to know how this energy is transferred and which heating processes are most important in a particular situation.

Energy and efficiency:

Appliances transfer energy but they rarely transfer all of the energy to the place we want. We need to know the efficiency of appliances so that we can choose between them, including how cost effective they are, and try to improve them.


The usefulness of electrical appliances:


We often use electrical appliances because they transfer energy at the flick of a switch. We can calculate how much energy is transferred by an appliance and how much the appliance costs to run.


Methods we use to generate electricity:


Various energy sources can be used to generate the electricity we need. We must carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of using each energy source before deciding which energy source(s) it would be best to use in any particular situation. Electricity is distributed via the National Grid.


The use of waves for communication and to provide evidence that the universe is expanding:


Electromagnetic radiations travel as waves and move energy from one place to another. They can all travel through a vacuum and do so at the same speed. The waves cover a continuous range of wavelengths called the electromagnetic spectrum. Sound waves and some mechanical waves are longitudinal, and cannot travel through a vacuum. Current evidence suggests that the universe is expanding and that matter and space expanded.


Key stage 4 BTEC in Applied Science


This is a two year course leading to a level 2 qualification worth the equivalent of 2 GCSEs at grade C. It is partly assessed through class based assignments (internal) and partly through examination (external).


Key Stage 4 Year 11

Pupils follow the AQA GCSE Additional Science course. This includes a practical exam (ISA) which is worth 25% of the grade awarded. The three subject papers make up the other 75% and this is examined in June of this year.




Cells and simple cell transport:

All living things are made up of cells. The structures of different types of cells are related to their functions. To get into or out of cells, dissolved substances have to cross the cell membranes.


Tissues, organs and organ systems:


The cells of multicellular organisms may differentiate and become adapted for specific functions. Tissues are aggregations of similar cells; organs are aggregations of tissues performing specific physiological functions. Organs are organised into organ systems, which work together to form organisms.


Organisms and their environment:


Living organisms form communities, and we need to understand the relationships within and between these communities. These relationships are affected by external influences.


Proteins – their functions and uses:


Proteins have many functions, both inside and outside the cells of living organisms. Proteins, as enzymes, are now used widely in the home and in industry.


Aerobic and anaerobic respiration:


Respiration in cells can take place aerobically or anaerobically. The energy released is used in a variety of ways.

The human body needs to react to the increased demand for energy during exercise.


Cell division and inheritance:


Characteristics are passed on from one generation to the next in both plants and animals. Simple genetic diagrams can be used to show this. There are ethical considerations in treating genetic disorders.



Changes in the environment of plants and animals may cause them to die out. The fossil record shows that new organisms arise, flourish, and after a time become extinct. The record also shows changes that lead to the formation of new species.





Structure and bonding:


Simple particle theory is developed in this unit to include atomic structure and bonding. The arrangement of electrons in atoms can be used to explain what happens when elements react and how atoms join together to form different types of substances.


How structure influences the properties and uses of substances:


Substances that have simple molecular, giant ionic and giant covalent structures have very different properties. Ionic, covalent and metallic bonds are strong. However, the forces between molecules are weaker, eg in carbon dioxide and iodine. Metals have many uses. When different metals are combined, alloys are formed. Shape memory alloys have a range of uses. There are different types of polymers with different uses. Nanomaterials have new properties because of their very small size.


Atomic structure, analysis and quantitative chemistry:


The relative masses of atoms can be used to calculate how much to react and how much we can produce, because no atoms are gained or lost in chemical reactions. There are various methods used to analyse these substances.

Rates of reaction:


Being able to speed up or slow down chemical reactions is important in everyday life and in industry. Changes in temperature, concentration of solution, gas pressure, surface area of solids and the presence of catalysts all affect the rates of reactions. Catalysts can help to reduce the cost of some industrial processes.


Acids, bases and salts


Soluble salts can be made from acids, and insoluble salts can be made from solutions of ions. When acids and alkalis react the result is a neutralisation reaction.




Ionic compounds have many uses and can provide other substances. Electrolysis is used to produce alkalis and elements such as aluminium, chlorine and hydrogen. Oxidation–reduction reactions do not just involve oxygen.






Forces and their effects:


Forces can cause changes to the shape or motion of an object. Objects can move in a straight line at a constant speed. They can also change their speed and / or direction (accelerate or decelerate). Graphs can help us to describe the movement of an object. These may be distance–time graphs or velocity–time graphs.


The kinetic energy of objects speeding up or slowing down:


When an object speeds up or slows down, its kinetic energy increases or decreases. The forces which cause the change in speed do so by doing work. The momentum of an object is the product of the object’s mass and velocity.


Currents in electrical circuits:


The current in an electric circuit depends on the resistance of the components and the supply.


Using mains electricity safely and the power of electrical appliances


Mains electricity is useful but can be very dangerous. It is important to know how to use it safely.


Electrical appliances transfer energy. The power of an electrical appliance is the rate at which it transforms energy.


Most appliances have their power and the potential difference of the supply they need printed on them. From this we can calculate their current and the fuse they need.


What happens when radioactive substances decay, and the uses and dangers of their emissions:


Radioactive substances emit radiation from the nuclei of their atoms all the time. These nuclear radiations can be very useful but may also be very dangerous. It is important to understand the properties of different types of nuclear radiation. To understand what happens to radioactive substances when they decay, we need to understand the structure of the atoms from which they are made. The use of radioactive sources depends on their penetrating power and half-life.


Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion:


During the process of nuclear fission, atomic nuclei split. This process releases energy, which can be used to heat water and turn it into steam. The steam drives a turbine, which is connected to a generator and generates electricity.

Nuclear fusion is the joining together of atomic nuclei and is the process by which energy is released in stars.



Key stage 4 BTEC in Applied Science


This is a two year course leading to a level 2 qualification worth the equivalent of 2 GCSEs at grade C. It is partly assessed through class based assignments (internal) and partly through examination (external).