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Key Stage 3 - Science


The Key Stage 3 curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

The principal focus of science teaching in Key Stage 3 is to develop a deeper understanding of a range of scientific ideas in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Pupils are taught to see the connections between these subject areas and become aware of some of the big ideas underpinning scientific knowledge and understanding.

They are encouraged to relate scientific explanations to phenomena in the world around them and start to use modelling and abstract ideas to develop and evaluate explanations.

Through the content of biology, chemistry and physics, pupils are taught:

Scientific attitudes

  • to pay attention to objectivity and concern for accuracy, precision, repeatability and reproducibility
  • to understand that scientific methods and theories develop as earlier explanations are modified to take account of new evidence and ideas, together with the importance of publishing results and peer review
  • to evaluate risks.

Experimental skills and investigations

  • to ask questions and develop a line of enquiry based on observations of the real world, alongside prior knowledge and experience
  • to make predictions using scientific knowledge and understanding
  • to select, plan and carry out the most appropriate types of scientific enquiries to test predictions, including identifying independent, dependent and control variables, where appropriate
  • to use appropriate techniques, apparatus, and materials during fieldwork and laboratory work, paying attention to health and safety
  • to make and record observations and measurements using a range of methods for different investigations; and evaluate the reliability of methods and suggest possible improvements
  • to apply sampling techniques.

Analysis and evaluation

  • to apply mathematical concepts and calculate results
  • to present observations and data using appropriate methods, including tables and graphs
  • to interpret observations and data, including identifying patterns and using observations, measurements and data to draw conclusions
  • to present reasoned explanations, including explaining data in relation to predictions and hypotheses
  • to evaluate data, showing awareness of potential sources of random and systematic error
  • to identify further questions arising from their results.


  • to understand and use SI units and IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) chemical nomenclature
  • to use and derive simple equations and carry out appropriate calculations
  • to undertake basic data analysis including simple statistical techniques.