Core and Additional Science
The course consists of a mixture of all three science specialisms – Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Students will complete seven hours of science lessons every complete two week rotation of the timetable.
What are the components of this course?
Students will study the Core Science course during the second half of Year 9 and until the summer of Year 10. This includes 4 modules which include three examined modules – Core Biology (B1), Core Chemistry (C1) and core Physics (C1) which will be examined at the end of Year 10 (currently with three single hour exams). In addition to these students complete one piece of GCSE coursework under controlled conditions in class time. Each module is worth 25% of the final grade.
The full course specification can be found at: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/science-a-4405/spec-at-a-glance
Students will study the Additional Science course during Year 11. This includes 4 modules which include three examined modules – Biology (B2), Chemistry (C2) and Physics (P2) which will be examined at the end of Year 11 (currently with three single hour exams). In addition to these students complete one piece of GCSE coursework under controlled conditions in class time. Each module is worth 25% of the final grade.
The full course specification can be found at : http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/AQA-ADDSCI-W-SP-14.PDF
Core Science Year 10
This module consists of looking at our health and what gives us healthy lifestyles including diet and exercise, disease and pathogens are also studied including our defences both natural and scientifically developed against them.
Students study nerves and hormones in animals linking directly to the menstrual cycle and in plants. They then look at drugs and the effects of drugs on areas of the body such as the nervous system and look at why drug testing is essential in modern day medicine.
Adaptations in the wild are looked at in both animal and plant kingdoms which also includes looking in depth at competition and extinction linked to competition. This links into looking at ecosystems and energy transfers in food chains and to why decay occurs.
The final part of the biology module is focused on genetic advances in science in areas such as cloning and genetic engineering. It looks at how these are possible but also consider if they should be allowed (SMSC). This genetics module also introduces the theories of evolution and looks in detail at why Darwin’s theory is the most accepted in current times. It also looks at the initial problems this theory caused in society when it was published (SMSC).
The core chemistry module introduces atomic structure in more detail than taught at the previous Key Stages. This detail can then be applied to further chemistry modules taught later. Once students understand the basic atomic structure and chemistry linked to it they then study different ores in the Earth’s crust and our uses of them. Students will study limestone and its uses and chemistry in detail before looking at different metals and their properties linking to again to atomic structure and how metals are separated from their natural ores.
In the second half the chemistry module students study the chemistry of oils. This begins looking at the processes of distillation of crude oil and subsequent methods to make useful products from the crude oil. This includes looking in detail at the atomic structure of alkanes and alkenes and how we can create polymers. Students will then look at alternative oil supplies including plant oils and how these can be used in fuel, food and as emulsions.
The final part of the module looks at the Earth and Atmosphere. In this part of the module students will research how the current atmosphere has evolved and look at the Miller Urey Experiment to try and recreate the first life on the planet. It will also involve looking at the theory of continental shift and how this can explain earthquakes and volcanoes.
Core Physics takes work students have completed at Key Stage 3 and moves it forward to develop their understanding of more difficult physical concepts. The module starts by building on heat transfer work from Year 8 when conduction, convection, radiation, evaporation and condensation are looked at in detail. Students then study energy changes and uses and look at the efficiency of energy transfers developing skills and being able to interpret sankey diagrams (Numeracy).
In the second part of the module students wills study electricity and it uses in addition to understanding how we create it and the different options we have in the future for this. Students will look in detail at all the non-renewable and renewable options for electrical generation. They will look at this in both an environmental aspect but also in a cost and effect on bills in the future (SMSC).
The final part of the module focusses on waves and energy being transferred in the form of waves. This includes studying sound waves and the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will study different parts of the spectrum and understand its uses and dangers. The use of the spectrum and an understanding of waves will finally be used to look at evidence that our universe is expanding which is our evidence for the Big Bang.
The study of Chemistry builds upon the key idea of “particles” which is prevalent throughout all of the Key Stage 3 modules linked to Chemistry and in GCSE Core Chemistry. Students develop an understanding of the structure of atoms allowing them to look into how atoms become stable through bonding. Beyond this they then look at the four typical structures groups that substances can form and use this to explain the general properties of materials.
Section two delves into quantitative chemistry. Students learn about the chemical “mole” and how this enables scientists to count the number of atoms or molecules in a sample. Beyond this comes the analytical aspect of the subject where unknown substances can be identified by calculating the percentage composition and/or empirical formula of a substance. This is furthered through the study of qualitative analysis such as chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). The latter being one of the most useful techniques available to the modern chemist.
The third section of work investigates how quickly chemical reactions occur and how this can be altered by changing various conditions such as temperature, surface area, concentration and the addition of a catalyst. This is a practical intense part of Additional Chemistry and gives students the opportunity to develop their investigative skills. They then use the particle model to explain why changing these conditions have an effect on the rate of reaction.
Section four deals with acids and their chemical opposites, bases. Students consider how acids can be neutralised through the use of different types of base and how the salts that are formed can be obtained. This then leads into the formation of insoluble salts and how this is an important part of water treatment to ensure toxic metals are removed from water that is piped to our homes.
The final part covers the process of electrolysis, a massively useful process of splitting up compounds to obtain the valuable metal contained within. The students start by investigating the basic principle of the process before moving onto examining the industrial electrolysis of aluminium oxide and brine.
The aim of this module is to expand upon students’ knowledge of Biology from both Key Stage 3 and the GCSE Core Biology module. The first part of this module focusses on the building blocks of all living things, starting with cells building up to organ systems. As a result students will be able to explain how cells are specialised for their function as a key component of an organ system. Pupils will go on to look at the two types of cell division, mitosis and meiosis. Meiosis then allows inheritance to be taught, due to the creation of gametes which allows for variation. Pupils will be able to explain, with the help of genetic diagrams how characteristics are inherited.
GCSE pupils will recap the two key processes in Biology; photosynthesis and respiration. Students will look at understanding the factors that affect the rate of photosynthesis and will then be able to applying this understanding to specific methods farming and crop growing. Respiration will be assessed and the uses of the energy produced analysed so that pupils are able to discuss the chemical energy used by the body when running a race, for example. These are major components of A Level Biology so need to be understood well at GCSE.
The second part of the module will surround ecology. Students will look at the distribution of organisms and understand methods of sampling these organisms. This is an interesting topic where (weather permitting) pupils will be able to practically apply their understanding. It is also focussed on at A Level so provides students with an excellent platform for their future study.
The final part of the module looks at proteins, more specifically enzymes and their function. This links nicely to some of the chemistry modules. Speciation is also taught within this module and concludes the topic by expanding on the core work completed on Darwin’s theory of evolution by asking key questions such as; why do we have evolution and how are new species created?
This module takes work covered in Key Stage 3 and GCSE Core Physics to a much more detailed and numeracy based level. In this module motion is studied where students will look at calculating acceleration and be able to use graphs to work out distances and speeds etc that are travelled. The module then links this work on motion firstly to forces and then to energy and momentum.
The second part of the module focusses on electricity and explains how and why electricity acts as it does in circuits. Students will then link this understanding to how mains electricity is supplied and the safety methods we have to place on our electrical appliances to avoid accidents.
The final part of the module focuses on the different types of radioactivity and the properties they show us. The students will then study how this can be used in electrical generation and potentially be the answer to the world’s current energy crisis.
What are the success rates in this course?
In the Science Department we have a very high success rate, typically over 90% of students gain A –C grades.
Where can I find extra support online to help improve my grade in this course?
There are multiple websites available for our courses. Parents should be aware that we study AQA Core Science Specification A. The following websites are particularly recommended by our teachers:
BBC Bitesize Website:
Arden VLE: https://vle.arden.solihull.sch.uk/app/os
Do you recommend any books for this course?
There are many books and revision guides available for our courses. Parents should be aware that we study AQA Core Science Specification A. The department does sell AQA endorsed revision Core Science Revision guides for students priced at £3.50 each which is a discounted price. The following books are particularly recommended by our teachers:
AQA Science A Textbook: ISBN: 0007414625
AQA Additional Science ISBN: 9780007414567
When should I revise and can I get any past papers online?
Revision of topics should be a consistent part of student life and students who do well in GCSE science will be the ones who work hard and regularly revise and review topics.
Past papers for AQA GCSE Core Science A can be found at:
Past papers for AQA GCSE Additional Science can be found at:
What can I do next with this course?
Science opens the doors to many, many careers.
Following the Core and Additional Science route does not preclude students from studying A level Science subjects. We are able to provide pupils who opt for science A levels the opportunity to compete work to enable pupils to have the required level of background knowledge, the same as their peers who have studied the triple science route.