All scientific knowledge and understanding has been discovered by experiment, so we try to make experimentation central to learning at every level at BSJ.
Science for Years 7 to 9
From years 7 to 9 (ages 11 to 13), students at BSJ learn science within the MYP framework. Within the first few weeks of the first term, students will be learning by doing experiments in well-equipped laboratories. They start by learning the practical skills they will need from the very start, and they very soon progress to planning and carrying out their own experiments.
The MYP is based around learning by inquiry and this approach works very well in science. Students follow a course based on 9 units, starting in Year 7 with Practical Skills and Experimentation and ending in Year 9 with The Human Body.
Each student’s progress is assessed regularly against MYP criteria to ensure that their knowledge and understanding, research skills, communication of scientific ideas and critical thinking skills are continually developed and celebrated.
Every unit is supported by its own website, which outlines key facts and big ideas through embedded tasks and presentations, with links to a wide variety of in school and online resources.
Science for Years 10 and 11
In Years 10 and 11 (ages 14 to 16) all students follow the EDEXCEL IGCSE courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, leading to either triple award or dual award IGCSE certificates. In both options, the three sciences are taught by subject specialists and in the same allocated time. This allows some flexibility within the scheme. Both options are excellent preparatory courses for sixth form studies, including IB higher level sciences. The full range of grades can be earned in both courses. The difference between the two courses is the breadth of content. In dual award, there is one third less content, leading to two IGCSEs in Science. In triple award, the three sciences are graded separately, leading to three separate IGCSE awards.
Students who enjoy and are good at science usually choose to take triple award science. Students who find science more difficult, often benefit from the reduced content required for the dual award. Some students who take on a lot of extra curricular activities also prefer to take the double award to ease the pressure at exam times.
The key areas of knowledge, understanding and application are addressed in both courses, with a strong emphasis on investigative, practical work throughout the two year course. Grades awarded are based entirely on final examinations. For dual award students, there is a 2 hour, externally marked examination in each of the three subjects. For triple award candidates, there is an additional 1 hour 15 minute examination in each of the subjects. There is no examined coursework.
Science for Years 12 and 13
Post-16, students take their scientific interests further in the IB Diploma Programme. Students can specialise in one or two Sciences by taking courses in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics at either Standard or Higher Level. Students may also opt to take the Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) course, which is currently only offered at standard level. All science courses are offered in Option Group 4, and in at least one other option group. This arrangement is normally flexible enough to suit most students’ needs, but we always try to accommodate all sensible choices.
Students are taught their IB courses by subject specialists through varied and stimulating methods, ranging from practical investigation and experimentation, through to computer modelling. Coursework plays an important role in the courses and builds on the investigative skills learned earlier. The students also work collaboratively on a ‘Group 4 Project’ to develop problem solving, research, communication and teamwork. Whatever a student’s interests in Science we aim to stimulate a love of learning and develop each as a successful individual.