Science

mercy college amanda huke

Ms Amanda Huke - Head of Learning Area

Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting and important questions about the biological, physical and technological 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 desire to make sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.

Science at Mercy College provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of important science concepts and processes, the practices used to develop scientific knowledge, of science’s contribution to our culture and society, and its applications in our lives. The curriculum supports students to develop the scientific knowledge, understandings and skills to make informed decisions about local, national and global issues and to participate, if they so wish, in science-related careers. 

In addition to its practical applications, learning science is a valuable pursuit in its own right. Students can experience the joy of scientific discovery and nurture their natural curiosity about the world around them. In doing this, they develop critical and creative thinking skills and challenge themselves to identify questions and draw evidence-based conclusions using scientific methods.

 

Year 7-10 students learn General science through a “core” science syllabus, composed of the following:

Science Inquiry Skills involves identifying and posing questions; planning, conducting and reflecting on investigations; processing, analysing and interpreting evidence; and communicating findings.

Science investigations are activities in which ideas, predictions or hypotheses are tested and conclusions are drawn in response to a question or problem. Investigations can involve a range of activities.  Students at Mercy will investigate the speed of a falling object, the temperature at which ice melts, the amount of vitamin C in fruit juices, the material that is the best insulator, the effect of temperature on rates of reaction and the motion of a toy car.

Biology - is concerned with understanding living things. The key concepts developed 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; and the form and features of living things are related to the functions that their body systems perform. Through Biology, 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 tothe next. Students are introduced to the cell as the basic unit of life and the processes that are central to its function. 

Chemistry - is concerned with understanding the composition and behaviour of substances. The key concepts developed are that: the chemical and physical properties of substances are determined by their structure at an atomic scale; and that substances change and new substances are produced by rearranging atoms through atomic interactions and energy transfer. 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. 

Physics – is concerned with understanding the nature of forces and motion, and matter and energy. The two key concepts developed are that: forces affect the behaviour of objects; and that energy can be transferred and transformed from one form to another. Through studying Physics 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 

Earth and Space Sciences - is concerned with Earth’s dynamic structure and its place in the cosmos. The key concepts developed are that: Earth is part of a solar system that is part of a larger universe; and 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. 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.      

 

In Year 11 and 12 students can participate in ATAR courses in Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology and Physics and a General course in Human Biology. 

ATAR Biology

A unique appreciation of life and a better understanding of the living world are gained through studying the Biology course. This course encourages students to be analytical, to participate in problem-solving and to systematically explore fascinating and intriguing aspects of living systems, from the microscopic level through to ecosystems. 

ATAR Chemistry

The Chemistry course equips students with the knowledge, understanding and opportunity to investigate properties and reactions of materials.  Students predict chemical effects, recognise hazards and make informed, balanced decisions about chemical use and sustainable resource management. Investigations and laboratory activities develop an appreciation of the need for precision, critical analysis and informed decision making.

ATAR Human Biology

The Human Biology course gives students a chance to explore what it is to be human—how the human body works, the origins of human variation, inheritance in humans, the evolution of the human species and population genetics. Through their investigations, students research new discoveries that increase our understanding of human dysfunction, treatments and preventative measures. 

ATAR Physics

In the Physics course, students investigate the natural and built world around them in a wide and interesting range of contexts. They discover how we exploit radioactivity in industrial testing and in the treatment of diseases, why we use different materials in heating and cooling systems, how we use electric and magnetic fields in machines, and how our understanding of light and sound waves helps us to communicate. Students will learn how energy and energy transformations can shape the environment from the small scale, in quantum leaps inside an atom’s electron cloud, through the human scale, in vehicles and the human body, to the large scale, in interactions between galaxies.

General Human Biology

The Human Biology General course gives students a chance to explore how the human body works. Students focus on bones, muscles, nerves and hormones, and how they maintain the body to act in a coordinated manner. The causes and spread of disease and how humans respond to invading pathogens are studied, as well as the role of males and females in the process of reproduction.

 

Staff:   

  • Mrs Amanda Huke – Head of Science
  • Mrs Maya DelaHaye – Chemistry teacher
  • Ms Ward – Chemistry teacher
  • Mrs Milici – Human Biology teacher
  • Mr Gomes – Human Biology teacher
  • Mr Pushpanathan – Physics teacher
  • Ms Breen – Science teacher
  • Dr Aulfrey – Science teacher
  • Ms Musuruca – Science teacher
  • Mr Ross – Science teacher