Fairvale High School

Focused. Aspiring. Inclusive. Respectful.

Telephone02 9604 3118

Emailfairvale-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au

Science

Head Teacher: Ms C Spirou

Science is the study of the physical, chemical, biological, astronomical and geological factors of the earth in the universe. Throughout the science courses offered at Fairvale High School students are given experiences to observe the situations that affect their world and their place in the world.

The aims of science education are to provide learning experiences through which students will:

  • acquire scientific knowledge and skills and develop understanding about phenomena within and beyond their experience
  • develop an appreciation of science as a human activity and apply understanding to their everyday life
  • develop positive values and attitudes about themselves, others, lifelong learning, science and the environment.

 

Stage 4

In Years 7 and 8, students will experience a range of context areas (topics) where aspects from all the branches of science will be integrated.

Year 7:

Students will study the following topics which use scientific concepts in these contexts:

  • Curiosity, Wonder and Questioning
  • What's The Matter
  • Rock My World
  • Totally Wild.

Year 8: 

Students will study the following topics which use scientific concepts in these contexts:

  • Don't Push It
  • Around the Garden
  • Chemical World.

​Stage 5

In Years 9 and 10, students will experience a range of context areas (topics) where aspects from all the branches of science will be integrated.

Year 9: 

Students will study the following topics which use scientific concepts in these contexts:

  • All Mixed Up
  • Disasters
  • Fast and Furious​

Year 10:

Students will study the following topics which use scientific concepts in these contexts:

  • The Universe
  • ​Survivor
  • Forensic Science

In 2019, Fairvale High School will for the first time offer science, technology, engineering and mathematics (iSTEM) as an elective subject for Year 9 students. The iSTEM course is a Board Developed Course and focuses on engaging students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is meant to challenge and excite the students with the possibilities of the future. It involves many 21st Century learning opportunities and emphasises the importance of inquiry based learning, where students are encouraged to learn by doing.

The modules in this new course include:

  • An introduction to STEM
  • Aerodynamics
  • Motion
  • Mechatronics
  • Surveying and Biomedical Innovations.

Students will also be undertaking a minor and major project in STEM.

Stage 6 - Preliminary and HSC

Years 11 and 12 subjects offered

Students in Years 11 and 12 are offered a range of Science subjects, taught by teachers who are have experience or qualifications in those subject areas. 

Subjects offered in Years 11 and 12 are:

Year 11

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Earth and environmental science
  • Investigating science (new course)

Biology

During Year 11 biology, students will examine the structure and function of organisms at both the cellular and tissue levels in order to describe how they facilitate the efficient provision and removal of materials to and from all cells in organisms.

They will be introduced to the study of microbiology and the tools that scientists use in this field.  Students will understand the importance of biodiversity in balancing the Earth’s ecosystems. Biodiversity can be affected slowly or quickly over time by natural selective pressures. Human impact can also affect biodiversity over a shorter time period. In this module, students learn about the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection and the effect of various selective pressures.

Students will investigate adaptations of organisms that increase the organism’s ability to survive in their environment. They will also engage in the study of past ecosystems and create models of possible future ecosystems so that human impact on biodiversity can be minimised.

Chemistry

During Year 11 chemistry, students will analyse trends and patterns in relation to the properties of pure substances and use these to predict the properties of other pure substances. They will use this knowledge to determine properties that allow separation. They will analyse trend and patterns that exist between chemical elements and atoms.

Students are introduced to the quantitative nature of chemistry where the use the mole concept to solve mathematical problems, make predictions and calculate the mass of reactants and products, whether solid, liquid or gas. All chemical reactions involve the creation of new substances and associated energy transformations.

Students will study how chemicals react, the changes in matter and energy that take place during these reactions, and how these chemical reactions and changes relate to the chemicals that are used in everyday life. They will also investigate factors that initiate and drive a reaction and conduct investigations to measure the heat energy changes that occur in chemical reactions.

Earth and environmental science

During Year 11 earth and environmental science, students will engage with rock composition and the origins of the component materials, including minerals. They will extend their knowledge of the earth and space from science Stage 5 by learning about soil, the rock cycle and technologies used to gather geological data. They will also explore technologies used to gather and interpret data, including absolute and relative dating of rocks.

Students will use the theory of plate tectonics to explain not only the location and causes of earthquakes and volcanoes, but also the location of mountain ranges (both above and under the oceans) and deep ocean floor trenches.

Students will study the energy transfer and transformations that occur within the earth and how they influence cyclic phenomena, including El Niño and La Niña. Students will further develop an understanding of the earth’s finite resources and how they should be used efficiently to prevent environmental damage.

Physics

During Year 11 physics, students will engage in the study of kinematics where they will describe, measure and analyse motion without considering the forces and masses involved in that motion.

Students will understand that scientific knowledge enables scientists to offer valid explanations and make reliable predictions, particularly in regard to the motion of an object. They will also examine the interactions and relationships that can occur between objects by modelling and representing these using vectors and equations. By exploring the behaviour of wave motion and examining the characteristics of wavelength, frequency, period, velocity and amplitude, students will further their understanding of the properties of waves.

Students will examine energy and its transfer, in the form of heat, from one place to another. Students will have the opportunity to examine how hot objects lose energy by conduction, convection and electromagnetic radiation. Students will also examine how the analysis of electrical circuits’ behaviour and the transfer and conversion of energy in electrical circuits has led to a variety of technological applications.

Investigating science 

During Year 11 investigating science, students will explore the importance of observation and the collection of quantitative and qualitative data in scientific investigations. They will conduct their own practical investigations, both individually and collaboratively, to demonstrate the importance of making detailed and accurate observations, determining the types of variables and formulating testable scientific hypotheses.

Students will engage in gathering primary and secondary-sourced data to assist them in conducting and reporting on investigations, and to further develop their understanding of the central roles of scientific questioning and collaboration in the pursuit of scientific truth.

Students will recognise that many scientific models have limitations and are modified as further evidence comes to light. This will allow them to construct and evaluate their own models. They will also examine how more complex models and theories require a wide range of evidence.

Year 12

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and environmental science
  • Physics
  • Senior science (discontinued by NESA after 2018)
  • Investigating science (new course 2019)
  • Extension science (new course 2019).​

Biology

During Year 12 biology, students will study living organisms, life processes and interactions between organisms and their environment. They will examines the processes and structures that plants and animals use to maintain a constant internal environment and the way in which characteristics are transmitted from generation to generation. They will do this via studying the following topics:

  • Maintaining a Balance
  • Blueprint of Life
  • The Search for Better Health
  • Communication. 

Chemistry

During Year 12 chemistry, students will study the physical and chemical properties of matter, with a focus on substances and their interactions. They will also provide chemical explanations and to predict events at the atomic and molecular level.

Students will expand their understanding of areas such as the search for new sources of traditional materials, the design and production of new materials, the management and monitoring of chemicals that have been developed and/or released as a result of human technological activity and the way in which environmental problems could be reversed or minimised.

Students will complete this via studying the following topics:

  • Production of Materials
  • The Acidic Environment
  • Chemical Monitoring and Management
  • Shipwrecks, Corrosion and Conservation. 

Earth and environmental science

During Year 12 earth and environmental science, students will the planet earth, its processes and its environment. They will examine the geological, physical and chemical evidence related to the evolution of Australia over time, current pressures and their effects on the Australian environment, and the indicators of environmental ill-health. Students will complete this via studying the following topics:

  • Tectonic Impacts
  • Environments Through Time
  • Caring for the Country
  • Introduced Species. 

Physics

During Year 12 physics, students will investigate natural phenomena, identifies patterns and applies models, principles and laws to explain their behaviour. They will also expand their understanding of areas such as relativity, the motor effect and solid state physics, and by focusing on space flight, motors and generators and the scientific advances involved in the development of semi-conductors and electronics.

Students will complete this via studying the following topics:

  • Space
  • Motors and Generators
  • From Ideas to Implementation
  • From Quanta to Quarks.

Senior science (2018)

During the Year 12 senior science course, students will investigate the importance of a range of biological molecules found in humans and other organisms, the physical and chemical properties of chemicals used by people on and in their bodies, and information systems.

Students will complete this via studying the following topics:

  • Lifestyles Chemistry 
  • Medical Technology: Bionics
  • Information systems
  • Disasters.

Investigating science (2019)

During Year 12 investigating science, students will learn that the experimental method is a dynamic process influenced by initial observations, new evidence, unexpected results or phenomena arising from the investigation. They will examine the interrelated roles of practical and secondary-sourced investigations. They will also explore the importance of accuracy, validity and reliability in relation to the investigative work of a scientist.

Students will also explore the dynamic relationship between science and technology where the continuing advancement of science is dependent on the development of new tools and materials. They will also consider experimental risks as they engage with the skills of working scientifically.

Students will investigate claims through conducting practical and secondary-sourced investigations and evaluate these based on scientific evidence. They explore examples of scientific claims made in the media and investigate the benefits of peer review. They will also explore the impacts of ethical, social, economic and political influences on science and its research.

Extension science (2019)

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 will 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.

In order to achieve this students will complete the following four modules:

  • The Foundations of Scientific Thinking
  • The Scientific Research Proposal
  • The Data, Evidence and Decisions
  • The Scientific Research Report.