Teachers tell us that the national curriculum programme of study for Key Stage 3 science means moving to a new theme almost every lesson. This approach, apart from taking the fun out of both teaching and learning science, leads to superficial and fragmented understanding.
Students then arrive at KS4 with plenty of knowledge of individual concepts, but few deeper connections. It’s these deeper connections that help them deal with the unfamiliar contexts and the higher demand they will face with the new and more challenging GCSEs.
Lay great foundations with AQA’s KS3 syllabus
To support teachers at KS3, AQA has created a free syllabus* that complements the programme of study, organising the content into 10 big ideas each with mastery goals. This provides a flexible alternative which can be taught over two or three years.
Like a specification, it provides you with a framework to explain the content you need to teach and what students should know by the end of KS3. It includes enriched extension activities for students who have mastered the key concepts. AQA’s supporting resources also include topic tests and transition tests to support a better understanding of student progress and provide feedback to help plan suitable interventions.
A spiral design for understanding
Each big idea topic contains four smaller topics that build in complexity. This allows multiple interactions with the concepts, which will better prepare students when presented with information in an unfamiliar context.
The syllabus breaks down each topic in to two areas of mastery goals: Know and Apply. More challenging Extend objectives are provided throughout for students who can move beyond the mastery.
The syllabus also provides comprehensive coverage of working scientifically to get students working in similar ways to scientists. It is broken down in to 16 enquiry activities such as testing hypotheses and drawing conclusions.
Why has AQA created a KS3 syllabus?
Stella Paes, AQA Head of Science, explains why they created the KS3 syllabus with Sheffield Hallam University. “People may not realise AQA is a charity and any money we make gets invested back into education. We hope this syllabus helps science teachers to better plan a high quality curriculum that not only helps prepare students for future qualifications but helps students enjoy learning science.”
*If you have already downloaded our draft version, you’ll find that we have only made a few minor adjustments based on your feedback to improve the clarity of content in this final version.
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