Sciences & Psychology

“The science of today is the technology of tomorrow.”

Edward Teller

Excellent grades with 100% A*-C in A Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Specialised teaching with separate topics taught for Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Exciting trips and visits to a number of venues including universities.

Popular at A Level with pupils going on to study medicine, engineering and more.

Inspiring enquiring minds.

Maths book

Key Stage 3

During Key Stage 3 pupils build on their scientific knowledge and understanding and make connections between different areas of science.

Pupils use scientific ideas and models to explain phenomena and events and understand a range of applications of science. They think about positive and negative effects of scientific and technological developments. Pupils doing Key Stage 3 do more quantitative work, carrying out investigations on their own and with others. They evaluate their work, communicating clearly what they did and its significance. Key Stage 3 students learn about how scientists work together on present day scientific developments, and about the importance of experimental evidence in supporting scientific ideas.

At Lincoln Minster School, the National Curriculum in Science is followed. This means that four areas of science are studied:

  • Scientific enquiry
  • Life processes and living things
  • Materials and their properties
  • Physical processes

These areas are integrated into a combined course consisting of units covering specific topics, e.g. Forces, Reproduction, Elements and Compounds. Great emphasis is placed on practical work so that pupils have the chance to experience many different scientific activities. Each unit of work has a core of material which all pupils study but less able students can be supported through this, whilst the more able carry out extension activities. Each unit is assessed, usually at the end of a three or four week period with a variety of tasks used to assess the students such as tests, presentations, assessed practicals. At KS3 students are taught in their banded timetable groups.

Exams are held at the end of each academic year, the results of which are used alongside school results to determine their timetable groups.

Science is a very popular subject at Key Stage 3 and our pupils particularly enjoy the ‘hands on’ nature of the subject. In the last year we have had a forensic science day and held an ambitious but hugely enjoyable science fair.
Key Stage 3 prepares our pupils well for the GCSE Science, Additional Science and Separate Science Courses where Physics, Chemistry and Biology are taught by specialists. Many students then go on to study one or more of these subjects at A level.

GCSE

Pupils start the AQA GCSE Science: Trilogy course in the Lent Term while in Year 9.

Initially they all study the first modules of the GCSE Science course. An internal exam at the end of Year 9 allows a decision to made about options they may take from Year 10 onwards.

Some of our brightest students may be offered the opportunity to study some extra aspects of the Science curriculum in order to gain three GCSE grades in the separate Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). Others will study combined award science which covers aspects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics and leads to two GCSE grades.

Candidates taking both the dual award and the separate awards will have the experience necessary to progress to appropriate level 3 (which include A Level) qualifications.

All courses are offered at both Foundation Level or Higher Level with the new grading system from 9-1 with 9 being the highest. The qualification is linear which means that students will sit all their exams at the end of the course. There are six papers: two biology, two chemistry and two physics. Each of the papers will assess knowledge and understanding from distinct topic areas.el course early.

A Level – Biology

Studying biology gives you the opportunity to understand the living world.

It lets you understand the processes that control living organisms and gives you insights into the nature of life on earth. You will study fascinating topics, learning interesting facts. In addition, biology is a rigorous scientific discipline and training in it will give you a real understanding of the nature of science; how we use scientific method to begin to understand the world around us.

Lessons in biology will also give you an opportunity to discuss real world issues with ethical, moral and social dimensions based on a solid understanding of the science that underpins these topics. Rapid developments in biotechnology, ecology, medicine and applied genetics are changing the world we live in; as a citizen of the 21st century you will need to make informed choices.

Studying biology will give you the information that you will need whether you chose to follow a career in science or not. It will help you to develop an independent approach to your studies and will help to develop communication, practical and presentation skills. Biology is not an easy option but the hard work it requires is more than paid back in the pleasure it will bring you as you see the world around you in a different light.

Course requirements

Students must have studied dual award or separate sciences at GCSE Higher Tier and whilst students can complete the course with B grades, students are more likely to have successful A level outcomes if they have achieved A grades or above.

Course content and methodology

At Lincoln Minster School we study the OCR course leading to A2 qualifications. The course bridges the gap between GCSE and A Level standard of thinking and problem solving. Students in Year 12 study two module areas. These extend upon some topics studied at GCSE such as cell structure and biological molecules; and introduce new areas such as the biology of nucleotides and nucleic acids.

Year 13 builds on the Year 12 topic areas and develops a more extensive understanding of biochemistry, biodiversity and disease but also introduces fields at the forefront of biological research in Genetics, Cellular Control and Manipulating Genomes. Students will be taught by two Biology teachers, who share the teaching of the course.

Practical skills are practised through the course and are formally assessed by the teachers using tasks outlined in the specification.

Assessment

Assessment is by means three units taken at the end of Yr 13 with a practical endorsement reported separately to the student’s grade.

Component 1: Biological Processes
(written exam, 2 hours 15 minutes, 37% of grade)

Component 2: Biological Diversity
(written exam, 2 hours 15 minutes, 37% of grade)

Component 3: Unified Biology
(written exam, 1 hour 30 minutes, 26% of grade)

Component 4: Practical endorsement
(not examined and reported separately)

A Level – Chemistry

Chemistry is as up to date as the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the air you breathe and the car you ride in.

Almost every aspect of your daily lives is affected or controlled by Chemistry. Chemists create new materials and test existing ones. They are involved in engineering, fuel technology, electronics, space travel and every other form of modern science. A world without chemists and chemistry would be a very difficult place in which to live.

Course requirements

Students must have studied dual award or separate sciences at GCSE Higher Tier and whilst students can complete the course with B grades, students are more likely to have successful A level outcomes if they have achieved A grades or above. Supporting grades in Maths are also a requirement.

Course content and methodology

Students in Year 12 study four modules, a practical module which is assessed internally and three units of theory. Topic areas for the theory modules include: atoms, compounds, bonding and equations, acid-base and redox reactions as well as organic chemistry.

There is a significant mathematical content to the A level with topics on energy changes, stoichiometry and reaction rates involving not only an understanding of the theory but a good foundation in mathematics.

Year 13 builds on the year 12 topic areas and introduces a more detailed study of physical, organic and analytical Chemistry. Students will be taught by two Chemistry teachers, who share the teaching of the course.

Assessment

Component 1: Periodic table, elements and physical chemistry
(written exam, 2 hours 15 minutes, 37% of grade)

Component 2: Synthesis and analytical techniques
(written exam, 2 hours 15 minutes, 37% of grade)

Component 3: Unified chemistry
(written exam, 1 hour 30 minutes, 26% of grade)

Component 4: Practical endorsement for chemistry
(not examined and reported separately)

A Level – Physics

In many ways, Physics is the fundamental Science subject.

It deals with the obscure; matters from the smallest scale of sub-atomic particles to the largest scale with thought provoking questions about the Universe. It also deals with the everyday; Physics certainly is one of the most relevant subjects in the running of our daily lives. If you are the sort of person who has always asked “How?”, “Why?”, and always want to know how and why things work, then Physics may just be the subject for you.

Course requirements

Students must have studied dual award or separate sciences at GCSE Higher Tier and whilst students can complete the course with B grades, students are more likely to have successful A level outcomes if they have achieved A grades or above. Supporting grades in Maths are also a requirement.

Course content and methodology

At Lincoln Minster School  we study the OCR course leading to A2 qualifications. The course bridges the gap between GCSE and A Level standard of thinking and problem solving. Students in Year 12 study two module areas. These extend upon some topics studied at GCSE such as forces and electricity; and introduce new areas such as the physics of materials and quantum physics.

Year 13 builds on the Year 12 topic areas, develops a more extensive understanding of field theories and diagnostic techniques in medicine but also introduces the fields at the forefront of Physics research in Cosmology, Particles, and Nuclear Physics.

Pupils will be taught by two Physics teachers, who share the teaching of the course. Practical skills are practiced through the course and are formally assessed by the teachers using tasks outlined in the specification.

Assessment

Component 1: Modeling physics
(written exam, 2 hours 15 minutes, 37% of grade)

Component 2: Exploring physics
(written exam, 2 hours 15 minutes, 37% of grade)

Component 3: Unified physics
(written exam, 1 hour 30 minutes, 26% of grade)

Component 4: Practical endorsement for chemistry
(not examined and reported separately)

A Level – Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of people, the mind and human behaviour.

The mind is something intangible that exists within our brains – an unseen process of enzymes, chemicals and electric current moving within the structure of our neural networks that dictates why we feel, think and behave in the way we do. This is what psychologists strive to understand.

How does the memory work? Is eye-witness testimony reliable? How important are the first attachments a baby forms? What effect can day care have on a child’s development? What causes stress and how does it actually affect a person physiologically? Is it ‘evil’ people who carry out evil acts, or can there be something about a particular situation that could lead even ‘normal’ people to become perpetrators of evil? How can minority groups bring about change in society? What is abnormality, and how can mental illness be treated?

These are some of the questions posed during the A level course, but as a Science, Psychology is not particularly interested in the individual students’ personal opinions or anecdotal evidence. Students who take Psychology need a combination of curiosity and scepticism, and an interest in human nature.

Course requirements

Psychology students need to have a good command of English and at least a grade C in Maths at GCSE. The subject has a significant amount of science in its content so a solid foundation in Biology in particular is very useful.

Course content and methodology

The course is divided into 3 parts:

  • 1. Introductory Topics in Psychology
    This part of the course focuses on the study of social influence, memory, attachment and psychopathology.
  • 2. Psychology in Context
    This involves the study of research methods, biopsychology and introduces students to the different approaches or paradigms used in Psychology.
  • 3. Issues and Options in Psychology
    Here we are concerned with issues and debates in Psychology. In addition we will be studying relationships as well as the topic of schizophrenia in some detail. Finally we have chosen our final area of study to be forensic psychology.

Each of the three parts of the specification is examined separately and has equal weighting. Throughout the course there will be opportunities to carry out practical investigations and research methods will form part of the final examination.

Assessment

We take the AQA A Level examination in Psychology; this examination board is the most popular choice for schools and colleges offering Psychology.

The examination consists of three papers taken at the end of Year 13. The exams consist of a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions. There is no coursework in this specification.

Computer keyboard

Supporting Advanced Performance

The Advanced Performance Team, led by our Director of Studies, seeks to advise staff on how we – as a teaching body – can identify, monitor and experientially enhance the educational opportunities of able, gifted and talented pupils at  Lincoln Minster School.

How do we cater for AP students in Science?

Science is a very popular subject with our AP students; the majority of our Sixth Form cohort take at least one science A Level. Within the school, students are placed in sets based on their strengths at KS3 and KS4. Higher attainment groups are provided with more demanding material. Within lessons AP students are provided with extension material to develop their depth of understanding and their higher order thinking skills.

Tasks within practical science are often open ended allowing the most able to develop their skills while taking ownership of their own learning. Students will also complete longer project tasks. At KS4 AP students will take three GCSEs in Science in an accelerated program, in the time it takes other students to complete two. This affords them greater stimulation and pace within lessons while still freeing up curriculum time to develop a broad range of other curricular studies. Sixth form students have had the benefit of master classes from University professors and examiners.

Encouraging Advanced Performance outside of lessons

AP Students take part in the UL Gifted and Talented day for Science, this involves them carrying out project work in preparation for the competition day. The annual summer school is a week of science activities. In the past this has involved forensic science and space exploration.

AP science students have visited Oxford on a residential trip, touring Christ Church and Lincoln College and the Museums with the AP co-ordinator. They have also have visited the Magna Science Park with the AP Co-ordinator. Sixth form students have taken part in a physics competition hosted by the University of Lincoln with one being names as the Young Physicist of the Year by the Ogden Trust.

Keen environmentalists help out with the school Pre Prep Environmental club and there is also a science club enrichment activity. The school also enters teams for the National Cipher Challenge which is run by GCHQ and the University of Southampton.

Beyond Lincoln Minster School

 

Biology

As well as providing an understanding of living systems biology opens many doors to an exceptionally wide range of future career options. Medicine, Veterinary Sciences, Dentistry, Nursing, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy all need an understanding of biology. Students often go into other fields such as Ecology, Biotechnology, Genetics, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Radiography, Food Sciences, Dietetics, Physiotherapy, Plant Studies, Zoology, Marine Biology; the list is very long and highlights how useful a qualification in biology can be.

Chemistry

An A level in Chemistry allows you to develop a range of generic skills requested by both employers and universities. For instance, a successful A level chemist will be an effective problem-solver and be able to communicate efficiently both orally and with the written word. You will be competent at using data and applying Mathematical skills to often abstract concepts. It is little wonder then, that one of the major employers of graduate Chemists are the banking and financial industries.

Physics

Physics is highly thought of by employers in a huge range of careers as a result of the problem solving skills that become highly developed during the course. It is also important to many that Physicists are statistically the highest paid Scientists! Students studying A-Level Physics can go onto a huge variety of degrees and careers including: Physics, Scientific Research, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronic/Electronic Engineering, Medicine, Aeronautical Engineering, Architecture, Computing.

Psychology

Any pupils who are considering a career in any of the caring services, or in teaching, marketing or business, will find an understanding of Psychology useful. In Psychology students will learn how to analyse arguments and evidence, test hypotheses and make informed judgements – all skills valued by Higher Education and employers.

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