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  • Science Stages 45


  • The Board of Studies has made all reasonable attempts to locate owners of third party copyright material and invites anyone from whom permission has not been sought to contact the Copyright Officer, Board of Studies NSW. Tel: (02) 9367 8111; fax: (02) 9367 8484.

    Board of Studies NSW 1998

    Published by

    Board of Studies NSW

    GPO Box 5300

    Sydney 2001


    Tel: (02) 9367 8111

    Fax: (02) 9367 8484


    ISBN 0 7313 4187 2

    November 1998


  • Contents

    Introduction 5

    Rationale 6

    Overview 7

    Aim 8

    Objectives 8

    Content 9

    Contexts 9

    Prescribed Focus Areas 11

    Domain 13

    Core and Optional Content 16

    Student Research Project 17

    Outcomes 18

    Stage 4 18

    Stage 5 19

    Objectives, Outcomes and Content 20

    Prescribed Focus Areas 20

    Domain: Models, theories and laws and structures and systems 22

    Domain: Interactions 30

    Domain: Skills 32

    Domain: Values and attitudes 37

    Assessment of Student Achievement 38

    Designing Assessment Programs for Science Stages 45 38

    A Selection of Assessment Instruments and Techniques Appropriate for Science 39

    The Outcomes Being Assessed 40

    School Certificate 40

    School-based Assessment for the School Certificate 41

    Program Evaluation 41

    Prior Knowledge 43

    Key Competencies 47

    Glossary of Terms 48

  • 5

    Science Stages 45 Syllabus

    IntroductionAll students study Science from Stages 1 to 5. In Stages 1 to 3, Science is incorporated in the Science andTechnology K6 Syllabus. At Stage 6, students may elect to study one or more courses in specific scienceareas, an integrated science course or no science at all.

    Stages 13 Science and Technology

    The study of Science and Technology in Years K6 is intended to develop students competence,confidence and responsibility through their experiences in science and technology within a broadframework. Students learn about the natural and made environments by investigating, by designing andmaking and by using technology. Technology in this syllabus is concerned with the purposeful andcreative use of resources in an effort to meet perceived needs or goals.

    Stages 45 Science

    The study of Science in Stages 4 and 5 develops students scientific knowledge and understanding, skillsand values and attitudes within broad areas of science that encompass the traditional disciplines ofPhysics, Chemistry, Biology and the Earth Sciences. As well as acquiring scientific knowledge and skills,students apply their understanding to everyday life and develop an appreciation of science as a humanactivity. Students learn about the need to conserve, protect and maintain the environment, the use andimportance of technology in advancing science and the role of science in developing technology. Studentsalso develop an appreciation of, and skills in, selecting and using resources and systems to solve problems.

    Stage 5 Students with Special Education Needs

    Students with special education needs are eligible to receive the School Certificate by entering a SpecialProgram of Study. In Science, this course of study focuses on developing a students knowledge andunderstanding of the physical environment, the living environment and peoples interaction with theseenvironments.

    Stage 6 Science Courses

    The Science courses offered in Stage 6 recognise that students may take different pathways beyond Stage 6;some continue with further study in science, some continue with further study in other areas and othersmove on to the workforce. The Science courses offered in Stage 6 include Physics, Chemistry, Biology,Earth and Environmental Science as well as an integrated Science course. The subject matter of thesecourses recognises the different needs and interests of students by providing a structure that builds uponthe foundations laid in Stage 5 yet recognises that students entering Stage 6 have a wide range ofabilities, circumstances and expectations.

    As Stage 5 marks the end of compulsory science education for students in NSW, it is important that allstudents are provided with the opportunity to be scientifically literate by the end of this stage. TheStages 45 syllabus recognises differing needs by providing a structure that allows teachers to planlearning experiences to encourage positive attitudes towards lifelong learning in science. The syllabus alsoproduces the necessary foundation for the development of knowledge and understanding, skills and valuesand attitudes for the Stage 6 courses. It aims to produce students who can identify situations, eitherdirectly or through various media, where the application of science is relevant to their day-to-day lives.These students should be able to apply their understanding of science to critically evaluate products,claims and situations that purport to have a scientific or technological basis.

  • RationaleScience has developed as a field of intellectual activity as people have sought to discern and explainpatterns of events and phenomena in the world around them. It has progressively developed into alearning discipline with its own customs, procedures and fields of investigation.

    Science has accumulated a body of knowledge that leads to explanations for a variety of phenomena andinteractions in our surroundings. Science investigates phenomena over a range of scales from thesubatomic to the cosmological, from events that take place almost instantaneously to processes thatoccur over millions of years, from the origins of the universe to contemporary phenomena, and itextrapolates to future events.

    Science in Stages 4 and 5 attempts to provide students with a contemporary and coherent science educationso that they may better understand the natural and technological world in which they live and make apositive contribution to the decisions that shape it. This is achieved by expressing the content in terms of:

    Contexts these are chosen by the teacher to increase students motivation, conceptualunderstanding, literacy and/or confidence. Context is needed not only to hold students interest butto give coherence to the knowledge and understanding, skills and values and attitudes beingdeveloped. The choice of appropriate contexts should encourage students to participate and engagein the learning process, identify and extend connections between their learning and theirexperiences, develop literacy skills, increase scientific literacy and increase their personal andsocietal power in a broad range of situations.

    Prescribed Focus Areas these identify the different emphases that can be applied to learningexperiences. Attention to the Prescribed Focus Areas will assist students to develop anunderstanding that scientific activity has become an integral part of the culture in which we liveand, as such, contributes to a distinctive view of the world. The Prescribed Focus Areas increasestudents knowledge and understanding of science as an ever-developing body of knowledge, theprovisional nature of scientific explanations, the complex relationship between evidence and ideasand the impact of science on society.

    Domain this is the conceptual framework of knowledge and understanding about phenomena, skillsrelated to carrying out investigations, values about, and attitudes towards, science. By undertakinglearning experiences related to the Domain, students are expected to increase their understanding ofidentified models, theories and laws, structures and systems and interactions. Students furtherincrease their expertise in particular skill areas and develop areas in which they will develop positivevalues and attitudes.

    The content is therefore presented in terms of the frameworks (Context) within which learning experiencesare related to the area being studied, the knowledge and understanding, skills and values and attitudes ofthe area being studied (Domain) and the emphases that are given to the area being studied (PrescribedFocus Areas).


    Science Stages 45 Syllabus

  • OverviewThe following diagram summarises the relationship between various elements of the syllabus.


    Science Stages 45 Syllabus

    An independent learner

    creative, responsible, scientifically literate, confident, ready to take their place as a member of society


    states the overall purpose of the syllabus



    define in broad terms the associated knowledge and understanding,

    skills and values and attitudes


    define the intended results of teaching

    set within a background of ongoing assessment aimed at assisting students to learn

    PrescribedFocus Areas

    identify emphases thatare applied to what is

    being learned


    are chosen by the teacher to increase motivation,conceptual meaning,

    literacy and/or confidence

    Domaincontains knowledge andunderstanding, skills, andvalues and attitudesto be learned

  • AimThe aim of the Science Stages 45 Syllabus is to provide learning experiences through which students will:

    acquire scientific knowledge and skills and develop understanding about phenomena within andbeyond their experience;

    develop an appreciation of science as a human activity and apply their understanding to theireveryday life;

    develop positive values about and attitudes towards themselves, others, lifelong learning, scienceand the environment.


    Knowledge and understanding

    Students will develop knowledge and understanding of:

    the history of science;

    the nature and practice o