As part of the Western Australian Curriculum, our Science aim is to encourage and ensure that students develop an:
- Interest in science as a means of expanding their curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions about and speculate on the changing world in which they live
- Understanding of the vision that science provides of the nature of living things, of the Earth and its place in the cosmos, and of the physical and chemical processes that explain the behaviour of all material things
- Understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry and the ability to use a range of scientific inquiry methods, including questioning; planning and conducting experiments and investigations based on ethical principles; collecting and analysing data; evaluating results; and drawing critical, evidence-based conclusions
- Ability to communicate scientific understanding and findings to a range of audiences, to justify ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims
- Ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of science while taking into account ethical and social implications of decisions
- Understanding of historical and cultural contributions to science, as well as contemporary science issues and activities and an understanding of the diversity of careers related to science
- Solid foundation of knowledge of the biological, chemical, physical, Earth and space sciences, including being able to select and integrate the scientific knowledge and methods needed to explain and predict phenomena, and to appreciate the dynamic nature of science knowledge.
To achieve these aims, the Science Learning Area has a dedicated team of teachers from all the major Science areas, including Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Within these areas, we offer a comprehensive Lower School program, from Years 7 to 10, based on the Western Australian Curriculum. Within the Upper School program, we offer all of the four WACE subjects – Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry and Physics – from Year 11 to Year 12.
The Western Australian Science Curriculum has three interrelated strands, called Science Understanding, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Inquiry Skills. Together, these three strands of the science curriculum provide students with understanding, knowledge and skills through which they can develop a scientific view of the world.
At Busselton Senior High School, we include all three strands within our teaching programs:
1) Outline of Science Understanding
Science understanding is evident when a person selects and integrates appropriate science knowledge to explain and predict phenomena, and applies that knowledge to new situations. Science knowledge refers to facts, concepts, principles, laws, theories and models that have been established by scientists over time.
The Science Understanding strand consists of four sub-strands, with the content described by year level. Each sub-strand has key concepts which we seek to develop within our learning program. A more detailed outline of each sub-strand is available at the School Curriculum and Standards Authority website but a brief description of the focus and key concepts for each sub-strand is given below:
The Biological Sciences sub-strand is concerned with understanding living things. The key concepts developed within this sub-strand are that a diverse range of living things have evolved on Earth over hundreds of millions of years, and that living things are interdependent and interact with each other and their environment.
The Chemical Sciences sub-strand is concerned with understanding the composition and behaviour of substances. The key concepts developed within this sub-strand are that the chemical and physical properties of substances are determined by their structure at an atomic scale, and that substances change and new substances are produced by rearranging atoms through atomic interactions and energy transfer.
The Earth and Space Sciences sub-strand is concerned with Earth's dynamic structure and its place in the cosmos. The key concepts developed within this sub-strand are that the Earth is part of a solar system that is part of a larger universe, and the Earth is subject to change within and on its surface, over a range of timescales, as a result of natural processes and human use of resources.
The Physical Sciences sub-strand is concerned with understanding the nature of forces and motion, and matter and energy. The two key concepts developed within this sub-strand are that forces affect the behaviour of objects and that energy can be transferred and transformed from one form to another.
2) Outline of Science as a Human Endeavour
This strand highlights the development of science as a unique way of knowing and doing, and the role of science in contemporary decision making and problem solving. It acknowledges that, in making decisions about science practices and applications, ethical and social implications must be taken into account. This strand also recognises that science advances through the contributions of many different people from different cultures and that there are many rewarding science-based career paths.
This strand has no formal assessment but the Science as a Human Endeavour ethos is included throughout the programme.
3) Outline of Science Inquiry Skills
Science inquiry involves the following skills:
- Identifying and posing questions
- Planning, conducting and reflecting on investigations
- Processing, analysing and interpreting evidence
- Communicating findings
Science investigations are activities in which ideas, predictions or hypotheses are tested and conclusions are drawn in response to a question or problem. Investigations can involve a range of activities, including experimental testing, field work, locating and using information sources, conducting surveys, and using modelling and simulations.
In science investigations, collection and analysis of data and evidence play a major role. This can involve collecting or extracting information and re-organising data in the form of tables, graphs, flow charts, diagrams, prose, keys, spreadsheets and databases. Therefore, skills from other learning areas, such as Maths, are very important.
Assessment and Reporting for Science
Assessment and Reporting within the Science Learning Area is according to the school policy.
In lower school, this includes reporting on the sub-strands from Science Understanding. Assessment of Science Inquiry Skills is on-going throughout the year and reporting on this strand only occurs at the end of the year.
Upper School WACE reporting is according to Semester units and a final Year grade, based on these units.
Extra-Curricular Activities in Science
Extra-curricular activities are important to extending student interest and knowledge, and are included where required. These include educational trips to Perth, for zoo-based activities or physics activities; local excursions, such as environmental trips and cave excursions; national competitions, such as the National Chemistry Quiz; local activities, such as the Cows Create Careers program; and guest speakers and presenters from various backgrounds to talk to the students.
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths
Finally, we believe Science is vitally important and so, we have implemented a STEM program within our Learning Area for all students. The intention of our STEM program is to make students aware of the importance of STEM subjects and the range of careers that are and will be possible in the future based on STEM. This is a world-wide focus and we hope to do our small part at Busselton Senior High School to promote this important area.
We look forward to your children attending our school and enjoying the thrill and excitement of learning Science. With Science, our world will always be a better place.