Head of Department: Mr S. Home | shome@scissett.com 

Science is taught in two fully equipped laboratories which are well resourced and looked after by a full time technician. Pupils are normally taught Science by only one member of staff each year. To provide continuity pupils often keep the same Science teacher in Key Stage Three who is an experienced subject specialist. All teachers follow schemes of work written “in house” and which follow closely the new National Curriculum and which build on the science that is taught in the First schools (details below).

Throughout their time at Scissett Middle School, pupils are regularly assessed by open-ended tasks or by summative topic tests. Strategies to improve literacy and numeracy are incorporated into schemes of work and teachers look for opportunities to develop these skills in Science lessons. In addition, pupils take part in a wide range of activities such as practical work, using subject software, individual, paired and group work. Science has sets of laptops for pupils to use in each laboratory. Throughout the course the skills needed to be an effective scientist are taught and link in with the National Curriculum strand of “Working Scientifically”.

Click here to see how British Moral Values are taught in Science.

Year 6

Term Topic Brief overview of content
Autumn 1 Basic Laboratory Skills Pupils are introduced to a wide range of laboratory equipment and procedures including managing risks and dangers. Lots of hands-on experiments provide a stimulating start to the course!
  Forces Looking at a range of different forces: gravity, air resistance, water resistance & friction. Developing an understanding of balanced & unbalanced forces & their effects. Investigating how mechanisms, like levers, pulleys & gears, help us to use smaller forces.
Autumn 2 Animals including Humans

Exploring the structure of the heart & lungs. The double circulation through the lungs & the rest of the body is explained & children learn more about blood! How does exercise affect pulse rate? Why is exercise good for us & what can harm the body, including smoking and illegal drugs.

Spring 1 Properties and changing Materials Revising the three states of matter & properties of materials. Introducing further properties: solubility & thermal conductivity. Separating materials using a range of methods & understanding that some changes are irreversible. Discussing the formation of new materials.
Spring 2

Living things and their Habitats

Looking at the history of classification of living things from Aristotle to the present day. Studying the binomial system introduced by Linnaeus & the 7 levels of classification used today. Understanding why classification is important & use & create classification keys.
Summer 1 Electricity Revision of simple circuits & then lots of hands on experience with symbols, diagrams & incomplete circuits. Two enquiries about the length of wire in a circuit & the use of cells. Compare series & parallel circuits then face some challenges!
Summer 2 Evolution and inheritance

Discussion of fossils as evidence of life millions of years ago & study the life of Mary Anning. Comparing offspring with parents & seeing how plants/animals are adapted to habitats. Looking at Darwin, Wallace & Mendel’s contributions to our understanding of evolution.


Year 7

Term Topic Brief overview of content
Autumn 1 Particles

States of matter, arrangements of particles. Pure substances and mixtures. Separating techniques. Introduction to acids, alkalis and indicators.


Autumn 2 Energy and Electricity Fuels and energy resources. Energy changes, conservation of energy. Electrical circuits, current - including use of an ammeter. Series and parallel circuits. Short circuits and electrical safety. Introduction to resistance.
Spring 1 Cells and Reproduction

Microscopes. Plant and animal cells, specialised cells and unicellular organisms. Cells, tissues and organs.

Reproduction in humans. Fertilisation, gestation and birth. The role of the placenta. The menstrual cycle. Revision of plant reproduction.

Spring 2 Forces and Space (revision)

Balanced and unbalanced forces. Newtons as units. The effect of forces on stationary and moving objects. Gravity and magnetism as examples of non-contact forces.

Space revision to include: days, seasons. Sun as a star. Light years as a unit of distance.

Summer 1 Environment  Adaptations in plants and animals (focusing on polar bears and turtles). Ecosystems. The bee as an important insect pollinator. Food webs, pyramids of numbers.
Summer 2 Rocks Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The rock cycle. Weathering and erosion.


Year 8

Term Topic Brief overview of content
Autumn 1 Digestion and Breathing

Healthy diets. Food groups. The human digestive system. Importance of diffusion in absorption of nutrients. 

The human breathing system including the effects of exercise, smoking and asthma.

Autumn 2 Sound and Light

Sound as a vibration, echoes, reflection and absorption of sound. Frequency of sound waves. The need for a medium. The loudspeaker and microphone. Auditory range of human and animals and the ear. 

Speed of light. Ray model to explain reflection and refraction. The human eye. Convex lenses. The prism. Colours of light. Filters and how we see different coloured objects.

Spring 1 Heat Energy Heat transfer by conduction, convection and radiation leading to the thermal equilibrium. Insulators. Revision of conservation of energy during transfers.
Spring 2 Elements and the Periodic Table

Atoms, elements and compounds. Chemical symbols and formulae. The Periodic Table – chemical groups and patterns in the table. Properties of metals, non-metals and their oxides. 

Different types of chemical reactions including the energy changes involved. Chemical equations (word and symbol).

Acids, alkalis, pH, neutralisation in more detail. Salts.

Summer 1 Forces

Magnetism and magnetic fields.

Speed, distance and time calculations. Distance-time graphs. Relative motion.

Mass and weight. Equilibrium and opposing forces. Forces on stretched springs.

Summer 2 Respiration and Photosynthesis

Aerobic and Anaerobic respiration in humans and micro-organisms. 

Fermentation in yeast.

The importance of photosynthesis. The reactants and products involved. The need for minerals.

Animal House

Bowser, our bearded dragon

A number of pupils in Year 8 spend lunchtimes caring for the bearded dragon "Bowser".

In addition some pupils take him home for the holidays.

Animal House also look after the Department's fish.


The Year 7 Science Club has fun with experiments that could be carried out at home such as dissecting fish, making sherbet and experimenting with eggs. This takes place in the Spring term.

The Year 6 Science Club is based on the Salters Chemistry Club and takes place in the Summer term. Pupils carry out fun experiments in chemistry such as “bouncing bubbles”, “fire writing” and “bath bombs”!

The Year 8 Science Club focuses on electronics. Pupils learn how to solder and build circuits such as a moisture tester and electronic xylophone. This takes place in the Autumn term.

In addition, a Science homework help session is held in one of the labs.

The Year 8 STEM Club (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is run in collaboration with the Mathematics and Design Technology Departments. Some of the more able pupils attend each week to undertake challenging activities such as building and programming robots, rocket building and programming a virtual racing car. This club is designed to challenge and extend these pupils whilst at the same time teaching them the relevance of the STEM subjects to many careers. The club runs from October to June.


Each year a group of pupils takes part in the Salters Festival of Chemistry at Leeds University. Also at Leeds some of our Year 8 pupils visit the Festival of Science during National Science week. This trip is a collaboration between Scissett and Kirkburton Middle Schools and Shelley College.

Kinetic Theatre

Pupils in Year 6 were treated to a visit by the Kinetic Theatre company on November 12th in the school hall. The theme was "The Bunsen Towers Mystery" which used an interactive and fun approach with songs and storytelling to teach pupils about solids, liquids, gases and particle theory. The show was a lot of fun to watch and pupils really enjoyed the experience, consolidating their knowledge and having an introduction to some new ideas.

Careers in this subject

  • Health
  • Engineering
  • Environment
  • Computing
  • Technological industries
  • Research and development
  • Academia
  • Media

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17 April 2020

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