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Cowra High School

Cowra High School

Knowledge is power

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Science Years 7-10

Science is mandatory for all students from Year 7 to Year 10.

Science is a fun and exciting exploration of the Living World, the Physical World, the Chemical World and Earth and Space.

In Science students will engage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities in order to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Science develops students’ skills, knowledge and understanding in explaining and making sense of the biological, physical and technological world. Through applying the processes of Working Scientifically students develop understanding of the importance of scientific evidence in enabling them as individuals and as part of the community to make informed, responsible decisions about the use and influence of science and technology on their lives.

Through their study of Science, students develop knowledge of scientific concepts and ideas about the living and non-living world. They gain increased understanding about the unique nature and development of scientific knowledge, the use of science and its influence on society, and the relationship between science and technology.

Students actively engage individually and in teams in scientific inquiry. They use the processes of Working Scientifically to plan and conduct investigations. By identifying questions, making predictions based on scientific knowledge and drawing evidence-based conclusions from their investigations, students develop their understanding of scientific ideas and concepts, and their skills in critical thinking and problem-solving. They gain experience in making evidence-based decisions and in communicating their understanding and viewpoints.

Course requirements

At least 50% of the course time will be allocated to hands-on practical experiences. All students are required to undertake at least one research project during each of Stage 4 and Stage 5. At least one project will involve hands-on practical investigation. At least one Stage 5 project will be an individual research task.


Science Years 11 and 12

The suite of Science courses is designed to extend and provide authentic and relevant learning experiences for NSW students.

The courses are rigorous and designed to prepare students for a future in STEM learning and enterprises. The depth studies within these exciting, revitalised courses provide opportunities for students to consolidate their learning, develop competence and express their creativity.

Students can select from a range of board developed courses, including:

-          Biology

The Year 11 course investigates cellular structure and provides a base for understanding the way in which multicellular organisms transport and absorb nutrients and carry out gas exchange. Exploring variations in the structures and functions of organisms provides an understanding of the effects of the environment on living things and how this leads to biodiversity.

The Year 12 course investigates reproduction, inheritance patterns and the causes of genetic variation in both plants and animals. Applications of this knowledge in biotechnology and various genetic technologies are explored in the light of their uses in the treatment, prevention and control of infectious and non-infectious diseases.

-          Chemistry

The Year 11 course develops the knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to the properties and structures of matter, the types and drivers of chemical reactions and how we measure the quantities involved in these processes.

The Year 12 course builds on the concepts introduced in Year 11 by examining particular classes of chemicals, processes and a variety of chemical reactions which incorporate organic compounds and acid/base equilibrium reactions. The course challenges students to apply this knowledge to the investigation of a range of methods used in identifying and measuring quantities of chemicals which leads to an understanding of the structure, properties and trends of and between classes of chemicals.

-          Physics

The Year 11 course develops student’s knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to the study of motion, how we describe it and what causes it. The course also examines energy in its different forms and how we describe and measure electricity and magnetism and their interrelated effects.

The Year 12 course provides avenues for students to apply the concepts they were introduced to in Year 11 to motion in two dimensions, electromagnetism, theories of light, the atom and the Universe.

-          Investigating science

The Investigating Science Stage 6 course may be studied as a stand-alone course or in combination with any other science course(s). Students studying Investigating Science as a stand-alone course may select to study Science Extension in Year 12.

The Year 11 course focuses on the centrality of observation in initiating the scientific process and examines the human tendency to draw inferences and make generalisations from these observations. Students learn about the development and use of scientific models and the similarities and differences between scientific theories and laws.

The Year 12 course builds on the skills and concepts learnt in Year 11 with students conducting their own scientific investigations and communicating their findings in scientific reports. Students are provided with the opportunity to examine the interdependent relationship between science and technology and apply their knowledge, understanding and skills to scientifically examine a claim. The course concludes with students exploring the ethical, social, economic and political influences on science and scientific research in the modern world.

-          Earth and Environmental science

The Year 11 course investigates compositional layers of the Earth, the origins of minerals, tectonic movements and energy transformations that occur and includes the study of human impact on the Earth’s resources and its surface.

The Year 12 course investigates how the processes of plate tectonics, the formation of water and the introduction of life interact with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and climate. Investigation of hazards, the mitigation of their effects and resource management are also considered which leads to an understanding of the need to centralise the theme of sustainability for the long term welfare of our planet and all forms of life dependent upon it.

-          Science extension

Students who have shown an achievement in, and/or aptitude for, any of the Stage 6 Science courses: Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Investigating Science or Physics, in Year 11 may choose to study Science Extension in Year 12.

Science Extension is a new course with a focus on the authentic application of scientific research skills to produce a Scientific Research Report generally acceptable for publication. Students propose and develop a research question, formulate a hypothesis and develop evidence-based responses to create their Scientific Research Report which is supported by a Scientific Research Portfolio. The four modules integrate the skills of Working Scientifically within the course content to form the framework for the Scientific Research Project.