Year 8 Science Overview
Much of the content for Year 8 Science is part of a wider curriculum that continues through from Years 7-10. Each year’s learning builds on learning from the last and students learn to connect increasingly complex understanding about the world.
These four years are aimed at helping students develop understanding of microscopic and atomic structures and how different systems, both within the body and within the natural world, are shaped by energy and forces. Students also look at how change occurs because of these interactions. So, in short, science gets serious!
What do students learn in Year 8 Science?
The introduction to the concept of cells as microscopic structures is a major part of the Year 8 Science curriculum. Through this, students are introduced to some interesting biological topics, such as the processes involved in the systems in the body and how matter and energy flows between organs. They also look at how changes in matter occur at a particle level both chemically and physically.
To illustrate these changes, they investigate the role of heat and kinetic energy in the life cycle of a rock, as an example of systems occurring in the natural world. Importantly, Year 8 students also further their learning in the development of hypotheses and learn how to draw on evidence to support their views, while still remaining aware of the views of others.
What content strands are included in the Year 8 Science curriculum?
As in previous years, there are three content strands in the Year 8 Science curriculum: Science understanding; Science as a human endeavour; and Science inquiry skills. Here’s what’s included in each of these strands:
Science understanding includes:
Biological sciences: Students learn that cells are the basic units of living things and that they have specialised structures and functions. They investigate multi-cellular organisms and how they contain systems of organs carrying out specialised functions that enable them to survive and reproduce.
Chemical sciences: This learning looks into the properties of the different states of matter, which can be explained in terms of the motion and arrangement of particles, and how differences between elements, compounds and mixtures can be described at a particle level. Also, how chemical change involves substances reacting to form new substances.
Earth and space sciences: An indepth look into sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks and their containment of minerals which are formed by processes that occur within Earth over a variety of timescales.
Physical sciences: How energy appears in different forms, including movement (kinetic energy), heat and potential energy, and how energy transformations and transfers cause change within systems.
Science as a human endeavour includes:
Nature and development of science: How scientific knowledge has changed peoples’ understanding of the world and is refined as new evidence becomes available, and how this knowledge can develop through collaboration across the disciplines of science and the contributions of people from a range of cultures.
Use and influence of science: An investigation into solutions to contemporary issues that are found using science and technology, including how this may impact on other areas of society and may involve ethical considerations. How people use science understanding and skills in their occupations and the ways in which these have influenced the development of practices in areas of human activities.
Science inquiry skills include:
Questioning and predicting: Students identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge.
Planning and conducting: Students work collaboratively and individually to plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, while ensuring safety and ethical guidelines are followed. They also measure and control variables, select equipment appropriate to the task and collect data with accuracy.
Processing and analysing data and information: Students construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys and models to represent and analyse patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate. They also summarise data, from their own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions based on evidence.
Evaluating: Developing the ability to reflect on scientific investigations including evaluating the quality of the data collected and identifying possible improvements, and using scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to evaluate claims based on evidence.
Communicating: Students communicate ideas, findings and evidence-based solutions to problems using scientific language, representations, and digital technologies as appropriate.
How is Year 8 Science assessed?
A combination of supervised assessments, research assignments and experimental investigations will be used to assess student’s learning in Year 8 Science. Some of this will be in the form of a written response to an experiment, showing learning through explanation, while others will be done in the lab or the field, showing learning in the real world.
A strong working knowledge of the Science Understanding strand will allow students to display their inquiry skills to good effect in practical assessments.
How does a Year 8 student study for Science?
While much of the science curriculum is practical, students will work on some written assessments throughout the year. This will include looking into the life cycle of a rock, as well as comparing different modes of sustainable energy and how their systems work. To achieve well in these assessments, it really helps to have a good knowledge of science vocabulary. This can be studied through EP’s vocabulary builder and creating flashcards. Start with five or six terms and build from there.
Year 8 Science provides an excellent introduction to wider concepts that help students to understand how the world works, both in terms of their own bodies and larger systems in nature and society. This will often spark a new interest in students as they make sense of their observations. It can be exciting to see how science knowledge pervades many different disciplines – including technology, sociological behaviour and health.
By establishing a good understanding of science basics, regular completion of homework and study tasks, they should find the curriculum achievable and be prepared to carry on into Year 9 with confidence.
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