Science provides a way of answering interesting and important questions about the world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives. Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our innate desire to make sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.
Head of Faculty
Miss Elisabeth Schaefer
Science Week fun at Jimmies with Physics Experiment - Levitation - Meissner Effect
St James College students celebrated National Science Week 12-20 August.
Students witnessed demonstrations using liquid nitrogen to demonstrate some fun Science activities.
The Year 7 and 8 students made ice-cream and the Year 11 and 12 Physics students proved levitation is real by showing how to make a magnetic field around a ceramic disk that acts as a superconductor when it is cooled. A Neodymium magnet was levitated above the ceramic disk.
At St James College Junior Science is a core subject and the curriculum taught is supplied to us from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.
Junior Science has three interrelated strands: Science Understanding, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Inquiry Skills.
There are four sub-strands of Science Understanding. These are:
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
- living things are interdependent and interact with each other and their environment
- the form and features of living things are related to the functions that their body systems perform
Through this sub-strand, students investigate living things, including animals, plants, and micro-organisms, and their interdependence and interactions within ecosystems. They explore their life cycles, body systems, structural adaptations and behaviours, how these features aid survival, and how their characteristics are inherited from one generation to the next. Students are introduced to the cell as the basic unit of life and the processes that are central to its function.
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
- substances change and new substances are produced by rearranging atoms through atomic interactions and energy transfer.
In this sub-strand, students classify substances based on their properties, such as solids, liquids and gases, or their composition, such as elements, compounds and mixtures. They explore physical changes such as changes of state and dissolving, and investigate how chemical reactions result in the production of new substances.
Students recognise that all substances consist of atoms which can combine to form molecules, and chemical reactions involve atoms being rearranged and recombined to form new substances. They explore the relationship between the way in which atoms are arranged and the properties of substances, and the effect of energy transfers on these arrangements.
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:
- Earth is part of a solar system that is part of a larger universe
- 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.
Through this sub-strand, students view Earth as part of a solar system, which is part of a galaxy, which is one of many in the universe and explore the immense scales associated with space. They explore how changes on Earth, such as day and night and the seasons relate to Earth’s rotation and its orbit around the sun. Students investigate the processes that result in change to Earth’s surface, recognising that Earth has evolved over 4.5 billion years and that the effect of some of these processes is only evident when viewed over extremely long timescales. They explore the ways in which humans use resources from the Earth and appreciate the influence of human activity on the surface of the Earth and the atmosphere.
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
- that energy can be transferred and transformed from one form to another
Through this sub-strand students gain an understanding of how an object’s motion (direction, speed and acceleration) is influenced by a range of contact and non-contact forces such as friction, magnetism, gravity and electrostatic forces. They develop an understanding of the concept of energy and how energy transfer is associated with phenomena involving motion, heat, sound, light and electricity. They appreciate that concepts of force, motion, matter and energy apply to systems ranging in scale from atoms to the universe itself.
There are two sub-strands of Science as a Human Endeavour. These are:
This sub-strand develops an appreciation of the unique nature of science and scientific knowledge, including how current knowledge has developed over time through the actions of many people.
This sub-strand explores how science knowledge and applications affect peoples’ lives, including their work, and how science is influenced by society and can be used to inform decisions and actions.
There are five sub-strands of Science Inquiry Skills. These are:
- Questioning and predicting
- Planning and conducting
- Processing and analysing data and information
Identifying and constructing questions, proposing hypotheses and suggesting possible outcomes.
Making decisions regarding how to investigate or solve a problem and carrying out an investigation, including the collection of data.
Representing data in meaningful and useful ways; identifying trends, patterns and relationships in data, and using this evidence to justify conclusions.
Considering the quality of available evidence and the merit or significance of a claim, proposition or conclusion with reference to that evidence.
Conveying information or ideas to others through appropriate representations, text types and modes.
For more details please see the ACARA curriculum documents on the links below.
This information about Junior Science is taken (and may have been modified) from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website http://www.acara.edu.au/default.asp, accessed the 1st September 2015.
In 2015, St James College introduced an elective called Inquiry Science. Inquiry Science mainly aims to develop working scientifically skills through investigations and projects with an emphasis on students working collaboratively to acquire the knowledge and process skills necessary to achieve a desired outcome. Inquiry Science complements the Junior Science core subject and is done in addition to Junior Science.
Although, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) supports 2 types of senior subjects in the area of science, currently St James College only offers Authority Subjects.
Authority subjects are two year courses and are based on syllabuses that have been approved and issued by the QCAA. Results in Authority subjects can count in the calculation of OPs and FPs.
St James College offers the following Senior Science subjects:
Biology is the study of life in its many manifestations. It encompasses studies of the origin, development, diversity, functioning and evolution of living systems and the consequences of intervention in those systems.
The study of Biology provides students with opportunities to:
- gain insight into the scientific manner of investigating problems pertaining to the living world
- experience the processes of science, and that leads to the discovery of new knowledge
- develop a deeper understanding and aesthetic appreciation of the living world.
Participation in Biology enables students to engage in creative scientific thinking and to apply their knowledge in practical situations. The study of Biology will help students foresee the consequences of their own and society’s activities on the living world. This will enable them to participate as informed and responsible citizens in decision-making processes, the outcomes of which will affect the living world now and in the future.
Understanding of biological concepts, as well as general science knowledge and skills, is relevant to a range of careers, including those in medical, veterinary, food and marine sciences, agriculture, biotechnology, environmental rehabilitation, biosecurity, quarantine, conservation and eco-tourism.
For more information please see the QCAA site on the links below.
The study of Chemistry provides students with a means of enhancing their understanding of the material world around them, a way of achieving useful knowledge and skills and a stepping stone for further study. It adds to and refines the development of students’ scientific literacy. An understanding of Chemistry is essential for many vocations.
Participating in Chemistry will immerse students in both the practical and contextual aspects of the discipline, through working scientifically and enacting scientific inquiries, investigations and experiments. It will facilitate the growth of student awareness of the constructions of chemical understandings from academic, personal, social and global perspectives.
An understanding of chemistry is relevant to a range of careers, including those in forensic science, environmental science, engineering, medicine, pharmacy and sports science. Additionally, chemistry knowledge is valuable in occupations that rely on an understanding of materials and their interactions, such as art, winemaking, agriculture and food technology. Some students will use this course as a foundation to pursue further studies in chemistry, and all students will become more informed citizens, able to use chemical knowledge to inform evidence-based decision making, and engage critically with contemporary scientific issues.
For more information please see the QCAA site on the links below.
The study of Physics gives students a means of enhancing their understanding of the world around them, a way of achieving useful knowledge and skills, and a stepping stone for further study. An understanding of Physics adds to and refines the development of students’ scientific literacy. Two clear reasons emerge for the study of Physics at senior level. First, it is the study of the universe and how it works, and second, its applications have produced and continue to produce benefits to our society.
Participating in Physics will immerse students in both the practical and the contextual aspects of the discipline. It will facilitate the growth of student awareness of the construction of physical understandings from personal, social and global perspectives. It will encourage students to think creatively and rationally about physics. Students will be challenged to understand and act responsibly on physics-related issues and to communicate effectively in a range of modes.
Studying Physics provides students with a suite of skills and understandings that are valuable to a wide range of further study pathways and careers. It will enable students to become citizens who are better informed about the world around them and who have the critical skills to evaluate and make evidence-based decisions about current scientific issues. The subject will also provide a foundation in physics knowledge, understanding and skills for those students who wish to pursue tertiary study in science, engineering, medicine and technology.
This information about Senior Science is taken (and may have been modified) from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority website https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/1941.html, accessed the 1st September 2015.
Science Curriculum Information
Further information on all department curriculum offerings are offered in pdf files by clicking the links below:
Science Research Links
Visit this page for useful website links related to all things science!
- Curriculum Overview
- Middle School (Years 7-10)
- Senior School (Years 11-12)
- Subjects Available
- Vocational Education and Training
- Teaching & Learning Support