Year 9 Science

EP Science has an extensive library of smart Year 9 lessons that are fully aligned to the curriculum and enable students to build their confidence in basic maths skills and grow their problem solving strategies.

Year 9 Science Overview

In short, nature and the systems within it. Year 9 Science furthers students’ understanding of natural systems and how these interact. This year is bound to pique their interest with plenty of concepts and hands-on learning throughout the year. 

Continuing with the broader learning requirements covered across Years 7 to 10, students studying Year 9 Science will develop an understanding of microscopic and atomic structures, and deepen their understanding of how systems in nature are shaped by forces. An exciting opportunity to explore the physical world, Year 9 science is about understanding the flow of energy and matter in natural systems. At the same time, learners will develop the ability to quantify changes and relative amounts as part of their investigations.

What do students learn in Year 9 Science?

Underpinning the learning goals of Year 9 science is an exploration of systems at a range of scales. This includes systems in the human body – considering how they respond to the external environment in different ways, for example, as well as learning about biotic and abiotic components within ecosystems and how these can be interdependent. 

Atoms and their role in the system of protons, electrons and neutrons are introduced, along with how this system can change through nuclear decay. Students learn about the rearrangement of matter through chemical change and the role of these changes in systems.

While energy transfer has been introduced in previous years, students will develop a more sophisticated knowledge of the concept of conservation of matter and how energies move through systems. This will be applied to global systems, such as shifting of continents. Year 9 is certainly a year of digging deeper!

How is the learning content structured in Year 9 Science?

The same three content strands follow through in the Year 9 Science curriculum from Year 8: Science Understanding; Science as a Human Endeavour; and Science Inquiry skills. A quick rundown of the content follows: 

Science understanding includes:

Biological sciences: Students build on their understanding of cells from Year 8 to learn about multicellular organisms and their reliance on coordinated and interdependent internal systems to respond to changes to their environment. Ecosystems come into focus, and students will look at communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment, furthering their knowledge into how matter and energy flow through these systems.

Chemical sciences: Complexity builds in this strand as students learn how all matter is made of atoms composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. They discover how natural radioactivity arises from the decay of nuclei in atoms, and how chemical reactions involve rearranging atoms to form new substances. The white lab coats will get a moment as students learn about chemical reactions and find out how mass is not created or destroyed. They’ll also learn how chemical reactions, including combustion and the reactions of acids, are important in both non-living and living systems and involve energy transfer.

Earth and space sciences: Building on an understanding of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, and the processes that form them, Year 9 students will zoom out to look at the bigger picture. They learn the theory of plate tectonics and how it explains global patterns of geological activity and continental movement.

Physical sciences: Students study energy transfer through different mediums and learn how it can be explained using wave and particle models.

EP hosts an extensive bank of learning resources for Year 9 Science understanding

Science as a human endeavour includes:

Nature and development of science: Students learn how scientific understanding, including models and theories, is contestable and is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community. They also hone in on the connection between technological advances  and scientific understanding, learning that new scientific discoveries often result from technological change.

Use and influence of science:  This looks into how people use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and how advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities. Also examined is how the values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research.

Science inquiry skills include:

Science is a subject that generates curiosity in young people, and is key for developing the ability to think critically. Year 9 Science focuses on a particular set of inquiry skills that are highly transferable to other subject areas.

Questioning and predicting: Students learn to formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically.identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge. 

Planning and conducting: Students learn to plan, select and use appropriate investigation types, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data; assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods. They’ll also select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to collect and record data systematically and accurately – essential crossover skills for many future careers.

Processing and analysing data and information: They’ll analyse patterns and trends in data, including describing relationships between variables and identifying inconsistencies. The knowledge gained of scientific concepts will be useful to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence.

Evaluating: In Year 9 reflective thinking comes into play, including evaluating the quality of the data collected and identifying possible improvements, and using scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to evaluate claims based on evidence.  

Communicating: Students work on clearly and concisely communicating scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose. This includes constructing arguments – evidence-based, of course – and using the appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations.

Find out how EP can help Year 9 students build quality scientific inquiry skills

How is learning assessed in Year 9 Science? 

A good proportion of Year 9 Science is assessed through written work carried out in class and in the form of homework assignments, such as graphs and tables, and correctly labelled diagrams, all clearly presented and analysed. Students will also carry out experimental investigations, with their lab work and written analysis of these experiments assessed by their classroom teachers. 

The assessment work becomes longer in form in Year 9 as students design questions that can be investigated with an inquiry, and then carry out that inquiry using a range of skills. This might include carrying out investigative research into the ways in which the Earth changes, looking at snapshots in time as evidence of change. They may also look into the nutritional needs of the human body, in terms of the needs of its systems, and use the content of different meals as a practical example. Within this assessment, they will need to show how trends are analysed within the data collected and their consideration of ethics and safety.

How does a Year 9 student study for Science?

For Year 9 students, it is important to know and be able to clearly explain chemical processes and natural radioactivity in terms of atoms and energy transfers, with examples of important chemical reactions. This is something that can be studied at home through careful reading of notes and also by revisiting videos and material presented in class.

As well as knowing these concepts, students must be able to explain how they work in the real world. An example, which many students find interesting and engaging, is the study of global features and events in terms of geological processes and timescales. This can be investigated in more detail for those who are particularly interested, which will set students in good stead for Year 10 Science.

Similarly, the labelling of biological systems can be reinforced with repetition to ensure this knowledge is embedded. To be able to achieve well in written assessments throughout the year, it is beneficial to have a good knowledge of science vocabulary such as biological names and the names of the systems that make up the Earth’s processes. These terms can be studied through EP’s bank of science vocabulary lists and by creating some flashcards. Within EP’s online tools are plenty of options for gamifying this type of learning. Adding a little energy to the process can make all the difference!

Year 9 Science provides some key knowledge of how the body and systems within nature work, which is useful in many areas of future study. For most students, this information should also be engaging, as it relates to their lives in a practical sense, making it reasonably easy to stay on task in class and to achieve well as they continue on into Year 10 and the senior years of science.

Find out how EP can boost achievement in Year 9 Science

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