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 aims to understand a large number of observations in terms of
a much smaller number of broad principles. Science knowledge is contestable and
is revised, refined and extended as new evidence arises.
Australian Curriculum: Science 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.
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. The wider benefits of this ‘scientific literacy’ are well established,
including giving students the capability to investigate the natural world and
changes made to it through human activity.
ability to think and act in scientific ways helps build the broader suite of
capabilities in students as confident, self-motivated and active members of our
In Foundation, students observe and describe the behaviours and properties of everyday objects, materials and living things. They explore change in the world around them, including changes that impact on them, such as the weather, and changes they can effect, such as making things move or change shape. They learn that seeking answers to questions they pose and making observations is a core part of science and use their senses to gather different types of information.
Year 1, students infer simple cause-and-effect relationships from their
observations and experiences, and begin to link events and phenomena with
observable effects and to ask questions. They observe changes that can be large
or small and happen quickly or slowly. They explore the properties of familiar
objects and phenomena, identifying similarities and differences. Students begin
to value counting as a means of comparing observations, and are introduced to
ways of organising their observations.
In Year 2, students describe the components of simple systems, such as stationary objects subjected to pushes or pulls, or combinations of materials, and show how objects and materials interact through direct manipulation. They observe patterns of growth and change in living things, and describe patterns and make predictions. They explore the use of resources from Earth and are introduced to the idea of the flow of matter when considering how water is used. They use counting and informal measurements to make and compare observations and begin to recognise that organising these observations in tables makes it easier to show patterns.
Year 3, students observe heat and its effects on solids and liquids and begin
to develop an understanding of energy flows through simple systems. In
observing day and night, they develop an appreciation of regular and
predictable cycles. Students order their observations by grouping and
classifying; in classifying things as living or non-living they begin to
recognise that classifications are not always easy to define or apply. They
begin to quantify their observations to enable comparison, and learn more
sophisticated ways of identifying and representing relationships, including the
use of tables and graphs to identify trends. They use their understanding of
relationships between components of simple systems to make predictions.
Year 4, students broaden their understanding of classification and form and
function through an exploration of the properties of natural and processed
materials. They learn that forces include non-contact forces and begin to
appreciate that some interactions result from phenomena that can’t be seen with
the naked eye. They begin to appreciate that current systems, such as Earth’s
surface, have characteristics that have resulted from past changes and that
living things form part of systems. They understand that some systems change in
predictable ways, such as through cycles. They apply their knowledge to make
predictions based on interactions within systems, including those involving the
actions of humans.
Year 5, students are introduced to cause and effect relationships through an
exploration of adaptations of living things and how this links to form and
function. They explore observable phenomena associated with light and begin to
appreciate that phenomena have sets of characteristic behaviours. They broaden
their classification of matter to include gases and begin to see how matter
structures the world around them. Students consider Earth as a component within
a solar system and use models for investigating systems at astronomical scales.
Students begin to identify stable and dynamic aspects of systems, and learn how
to look for patterns and relationships between components of systems. They
develop explanations for the patterns they observe.
Year 6, students explore how changes can be classified in different ways. They
learn about transfer and transformations of electricity, and continue to
develop an understanding of energy flows through systems. They link their
experiences of electric circuits as a system at one scale to generation of
electricity from a variety of sources at another scale and begin to see links
between these systems. They develop a view of Earth as a dynamic system, in
which changes in one aspect of the system impact on other aspects; similarly,
they see that the growth and survival of living things are dependent on matter
and energy flows within a larger system. Students begin to see the role of
variables in measuring changes and the value of accuracy in these measurements.
They learn how to look for patterns and to use these to identify and explain
relationships by drawing on evidence.
Year 7, students explore the diversity of life on Earth and continue to develop
their understanding of the role of classification in ordering and organising
information. They use and develop models such as food chains, food webs and the
water cycle to represent and analyse the flow of energy and matter through
ecosystems and explore the impact of changing components within these systems.
They consider the interaction between multiple forces when explaining changes
in an object’s motion. They explore the notion of renewable and non-renewable
resources and consider how this classification depends on the timescale
considered. They investigate relationships in the Earth-sun-moon system and use
models to predict and explain events. Students make accurate measurements and
control variables to analyse relationships between system components. They
explore and explain these relationships through appropriate representations and
consider the role of science in decision making processes.
Year 8, students are introduced to cells as microscopic structures that explain
macroscopic properties of living systems. They link form and function at a
cellular level and explore the organisation of body systems in terms of flows
of matter between interdependent organs. Similarly, they explore changes in
matter at a particle level, and distinguish between chemical and physical
change. They begin to classify different forms of energy, and describe the role
of energy in causing change in systems, including the role of heat and kinetic
energy in the rock cycle. Students use experimentation to isolate relationships
between components in systems and explain these relationships through
increasingly complex representations. They make predictions and propose
explanations, drawing on evidence to support their views while considering
other points of view.
Year 9, students consider the operation of systems at a range of scales. They
explore ways in which the human body as a system responds to its external
environment and the interdependencies between biotic and abiotic components of
ecosystems. They are introduced to the notion of the atom as a system of
protons, electrons and neutrons, and how this system can change through nuclear
decay. They learn that matter can be rearranged through chemical change and
that these changes play an important role in many systems. They are introduced
to the concept of the conservation of matter and begin to develop a more
sophisticated view of energy transfer. They begin to apply their understanding
of energy and forces to global systems such as continental movement.
develop their understanding of atomic theory to understand relationships within
the periodic table. They understand that motion and forces are related by
applying physical laws. They learn about the relationships between aspects of
the living, physical and chemical world that are applied to systems on a local
and global scale and this enables them to predict how changes will affect
equilibrium within these systems.
Year 11 and 12 Biology
Units 1 and 2, students build on prior learning to develop their understanding
of relationships between structure and function in a range of biological
systems, from ecosystems to single cells and multicellular organisms. In Unit
1, students analyse abiotic and biotic ecosystem components and their
interactions, using classification systems for data collection, comparison and
evaluation. In Unit 2, students investigate the interdependent components of
the cell system and the multiple interacting systems in multicellular
Units 3 and 4, students examine the continuity of biological systems and how
they change over time in response to external factors. They examine and connect
system interactions at the molecular level to system change at the organism and
population levels. In Unit 3, students investigate mechanisms of heredity and
the ways in which inheritance patterns can be explained, modelled and
predicted; they connect these patterns to population dynamics and apply the
theory of evolution by natural selection in order to examine changes in
populations. In Unit 4, students investigate system change and continuity in
response to changing external conditions and pathogens; they investigate
homeostasis and the transmission and impact of infectious disease at cellular
and organism levels; and they consider the factors that encourage or reduce the
spread of infectious disease at the population level.
Year 11 and 12 Chemistry
Unit 1, students use models of atomic structure and bonding to explain the
macroscopic properties of materials and to predict the products and explain the
energy changes associated with chemical reactions. In Unit 2, they continue to
develop their understanding of bonding models and the relationship between
structure, properties and reactions, including consideration of the factors
that affect the rate of chemical reactions.
Units 3 and 4, students further develop their knowledge of chemical processes
introduced in Units 1 and 2, including considering energy transfers and
transformations, calculations of chemical quantities, rates of reaction and
chemical systems. In Unit 3, students investigate models of equilibrium in
chemical systems; apply these models in the context of acids and bases and
redox reactions, including electrochemical cells; and explain and predict how a
range of factors affect these systems. In Unit 4, students use models of
molecular structure, chemical reactions and energy changes to explain and apply
synthesis processes, particularly with consideration of organic synthesis; and
they consider current and future applications of chemical design principles.
Year 11 and 12 Physics
Units 1 and 2, students further investigate energy, motion and forces, building
on the ideas introduced in the F–10 Australian Curriculum: Science. In Unit 1,
students investigate energy production by considering heating processes,
radioactivity and nuclear reactions, and investigate energy transfer and
transformation in electrical circuits. In Unit 2, students describe, explain
and predict linear motion, and investigate the application of wave models to
light and sound phenomena.
Units 3 and 4, students are introduced to more complex models that enable them
to describe, explain and predict a wider range of phenomena, including, in Unit
4, very high speed motion and very small scale objects. In Unit 3, students
investigate models of motion in gravitational, electric and magnetic fields to
explain how forces act at a distance, and use the theory of electromagnetism to
explain the production and propagation of electromagnetic waves. In Unit 4,
students investigate how shortcomings in existing theories led to the
development of the Special Theory of Relativity, the quantum theory of light
and matter, and the Standard Model of particle physics.