As part of their GCSEs, Year 11 have been studying the origins of the early Earth and its atmosphere. The main theory is that 4.6 billion years ago, the atmosphere was mainly carbon dioxide with some nitrogen and no oxygen. This is very much like the atmosphere of Mars or Venus today. The students need to be able to describe the composition of the early atmosphere and describe all the steps that took place to allow the atmosphere to change into our modern-day atmosphere. To represent this and link into our current ‘Arts Across the Curriculum’ theme, Year 11 were tasked with creating a storyboard to detail all the key moments; the evolution of plants, the formation of the oceans and decreased volcanic activity, that allowed the atmosphere to evolve into what we currently have today. We then went onto look at how we have now started to change our current atmosphere and how this is causing climate change. This links very well with current affairs after 3 different storms occurring in just 1 week, leading to the first red weather warning in 4 years!
By using storyboards, it allows students to visualise the changes that took place and enables them to focus on the main ideas to allow them to create better links for retrieval of the knowledge at a later date. There were some excellent examples and some well-deserved Head’s Commendations awarded! Great job, Year 11!
This term, Year 10 Separate Scientists have been learning about static electricity. They have also learnt about the dangers of static electricity and the need for anti-static floors in hospitals. They know that when two insulating materials are rubbed together, the friction causes the electrons to be transferred. The electrons move from one material to the other and then each object becomes charged. The object that loses the electrons becomes positive and the object that gains electrons become negatively charged.
They then carried out many small experiments to answer the following questions. Maybe you could ask them to discuss the answers with you at home?
How does the balloon stick to the wall?
Why does your hair stand on end when you go down a plastic slide?
Why does your hair stand on end when you hold the dome on the Van Der Graaff?
How can you bend water or pick up paper with a plastic rod?
Mrs Honeyman, Associate Assistant Headteacher and Curriculum Leader for Science
Year 11 have been working on a tricky area of genetics. To make protein synthesis more digestible, we spent time breaking the process into small sections using pictorial representations to make a complex idea more accessible.
Applying this method to other complicated concepts will hopefully make the revision process less daunting and more fun!
Mrs Hall, Deputy Headteacher and Teacher of Science
In the unit ‘Organisms 2’, the Year 8 students have been learning about organ systems within the human body. The students enjoyed learning about the organs of the digestive system, as well as the structure and mechanisms of the respiratory system. They also learnt about the effect of factors such as exercise, asthma and smoking on the health of the respiratory system which resulted in a lot of discussion. Year 8 students were then inspired to produce leaflets and posters to highlight the dangers of smoking.
Congratulations to our Year 8 Netball (A Team) who won their first netball match of 2022 on Tuesday 22nd February against Leyland St Mary’s! The score was 26-3. It was an outstanding performance. Their next match is on Monday 7th March against All Hallows Catholic High School. We wish them luck!
Players’ player of the match: Charlotte P.
Coach’s player of the match: Ruby R.
Team players: Charlotte P (Captain), Ruby R (Assistant Captain), Chloe W, Amy M, Phoebe B, Darcey P, Georgia J and Hattie C.
On the 25th December 2021, the James Webb telescope was launched into space. This telescope has been designed to be able to seek light from the first galaxies in the early universe and allow NASA to explore our Solar system and other planets orbiting other stars.
Before the telescope could start taking images and sending images back to Earth, it needed to unfold itself.
On the 4th January 2022, the sunshield on the telescope was deployed. The sunshield protects the telescope from the light and heat of the sun. The sunshield is crucial because it keeps the scientific instruments on the telescope at a temperature of -380 F (Fahrenheit) so that the telescope is cold enough to observe faint infrared light.
On the 8th January 2022, the mirror on the telescope was fully deployed. The mirror has 18 segments and each of these now needs to move to align the telescope optics; a process which is going to take a few months. Therefore, the first images will not be received until June or July.
Watch out for further news on the telescope in future newsletters.
On Tuesday 8th February, a number of Year 10 students were invited to Runshaw College to take part in a Forensic Psychology Workshop. It was a very interesting session as we were taught about the American and British methods of offender profiling. As a group, we created a psychological formulation of a real criminal. At the end of the morning, we got to have a short session on psychopathy, which gave us an insight into A-level psychology. It was a very informative and fun trip. It was a great opportunity for us to experience college life and think about all the different career paths using STEM subjects.
Year 9 have started GCSE Biology with the unit, ‘Cell Biology’. This unit underpins the rest of the Biology course and looks at how living organisms are made up of cells, how they differentiate and how substances are exchanged and transported in and out of them.
Part of this unit is the topic of Stem cells. This is a vast area of research and since the AQA Biology specification was put together, there have been advances in this research. Students have studied what a stem cell is, where they are found and the diseases they can treat. They have considered the advantages and disadvantages of stem cells from bone marrow and embryos.
This was also the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of careers as a clinical scientist and look at some of the current research. Students spent one lesson on an article on stem cell research and also discussed some pathways into stem cell careers and how stem cell research can benefit society.
To consolidate their knowledge, students completed a composite task getting them to look at the benefits of stem cells. Prior to this, they spent some time looking at what the word evaluate means and completed some tasks using examples from past exam questions. They then had to evaluate the use of bone marrow and embryos as a source of stem cells for the treatment of MS. They had to decide which method was best and why.
In early February, all of Year 11 had a short Zoom session about Chromatography, including the possible careers that this could lead to. Chromatography is a scientific technique used to separate and identify a mixture of compounds and is used is a wide range of industries including food testing, medicine, pharmaceutical sciences and the oil and gas sector.
We also know from advanced information from AQA, that for the 2022 GCSEs, chromatography is going to be assessed for combined science, which is another reason that pupils should understand the theory and the method for chromatography, as well as being able to analyse chromatograms.
After a review of the technique, the girls were able to use their analytical skills to identify a Pepsi thief from a line-up. The residue from each of their mugs had been tested and by comparing these chromatograms with a known Pepsi sample, the ‘Beverage Bandit’ could be identified.
Throughout the GCSE Science course, you will learn lots of equations in your Physics lessons. You need to ensure that you know all of these equations.
Download this app on your phones to learn your GCSE Physics equations… wherever you are!
The app works a like a pack of index cards. Hit the Q button to get rapid quiz questions. The difficulty adjusts itself automatically or set this yourself using the + and – buttons. Turn on game to test yourself against the clock.
Select the equations you want to focus on. Pick a particular topic or create your own list using emoji labels. Sort the cards according to your scores or set your own star rating.
You can also select the ‘use’ mode where you will be given a constant stream of calculations. You can also pick the topic and the difficulty level. Use the built-in physics calculator and units keyboard to enter your answer and get instant marking feedback.
Here are some examples of questions from the app. Download the app and get learning!