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Jan Peaston (Curriculum Leader)
A Wee Taste of Spirit
For the past 3 years (2017, 2018 and 2019) S1 students have completed a topical science unit in partnership with North British Distillery called a Wee Taste of Spirit. The students carry out practical activities to discover how the grains are turned into whisky. Students also get a chance to think about the costs involved, further developing their numeracy skills, and find out where their waste products go and how it is linked to the heating here at school. At the end of the topic students are tasked with deciding where would be a good site for a new distillery. Students are able to develop their literacy and group work skills. Representatives from the distillery join us for the judging panel.
Young SET Ambassadors
In 2012 we entered two teams of 6 S2 students into the Young SET competition. The project was identifying means of saving energy in the school (or home). One of our teams was second in the competition and we were awarded £50.
The 2013 project examined Wind Power Energy. The team comprised 6 S2 students and they had to identify means of saving energy in the school using wind power. The team came second in the competition and we were awarded £50.
Our S2 students were linked with British Distillers and their project was to look at ways of saving water. The team comprised 4 S2 students and their entry was highly commended.
We aim to provide a blend of excellent direct teaching and active learning. Science is an exciting subject and is all about exploring ideas and investigating how things work. We aim for every lesson to involve practical work so that students can find things out for themselves. We make use of formative assessment techniques and involve students in the assessment of their work and that of their peers. We also use ICT in every lesson in the form of specially written interactive SMART boards activities. We are currently developing our skills with iPads with a view to incorporating these exciting new devices into our lessons.
Many students choose to continue to study Science specialising in one or more of Biology, Chemistry and Physics higher up the school.
Practical work is the basis of scientific study and we have 8 modern and well equipped laboratories that students work in. All laboratories are equipped with interactive whiteboards and a computer. Experimental work is backed up by textbooks and other resources, many of which have been written by our own staff, to really focus on helping students progress in their learning.
Our school science technician is invaluable in providing support for all the practical work that is carried out.
S1, S2 and S3:
Our new Curriculum for Excellence courses is designed to deliver the Experiences and Outcomes within Science. Concepts are taught under topic headings like “Energy Flow and Living Things” and “Forces and Weight”. Students are actively involved in their learning and are expected to contribute to investigations, debates and carry out presentations to develop and demonstrate their understanding.
Assessments are carried out during or at the end of topics and students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding by either “making, saying, writing or doing”. Practical skills are developed as the students move up the school. There are summative “written tests” as well to help to prepare the students for the upper school. Students are also developing their scientific literacy and numeracy throughout all of their time in Science.
S1 students also cover 2 Topical Science areas; Sugar in Drinks and a Wee Taste of Spirit. The latter is completed through a partnership with North British Distillery.
- ‘The Human Machine’ topic summary
- ‘Acids, Alkalis and Chemical Cells’ topic summary
- ‘Light and Waves’ topic summary
In S3 students study a Fragile Earth topic that continues the broad general education before they specialise in at least one of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Extra Curricular Activities
The faculty gets involved in other activities as they arise
- S1/2 STEM Club Thursday T001
- S6 EES Challenge
- S1/2 Science Master class at Heriot-Watt University
- S1-2 Sci Fun organised by the University of Edinburgh
- Young SET award in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh