Science

Science at Junior Cycle

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Subject Overview

Science essentially deals with knowledge and understanding of our world. The study of science is concerned with the understanding of a body of scientific knowledge and the development of scientific skills through practical activities. It contributes to the development of logical thinking and reasoning, and skills of observation, measurement, interpretation, numeracy, problem solving and decision making.
Junior Certificate Science provides a suitable preparation (but is not a requirement) for the study of one or more science subjects at senior cycle.

Content

The science syllabus contains the three main areas:

  1. Biology
    1A Human Biology – food, digestion and associated body systems
    1B Human Biology – the skeletal/muscular system, the senses and human reproduction
    1C Animals, plants and micro-organisms
  2. 2. Chemistry
    2A Classification of substances
    2B Air, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water
    2C Atomic structure, reactions and compounds
  3. 3. Physics
    3A Force and energy
    3B Heat, light and sound
    3C Magnetism, electricity and electronics

Both Ordinary level and Higher level students must study all three sections.

Assessment

There are two assessment components: coursework (35% of the marks) and an examination paper (65% of the marks). The coursework is common to both Ordinary level and Higher level. There are separate examination papers for each level.

Status

The current, revised syllabus was introduced in 2003.

Documentation

Junior Certificate Science Syllabus
Junior Certificate Science – Guidelines for Teachers
We did that last year (56KB); Article from info@ncca (September 2007)

Related links/ Useful Science Websites

State Examinations Commission
Department of Education and Science
Junior Certificate Science Support Service
Irish Science Teachers Association
Scoilnet
http://www.scienceunleashed.ie/
http://www.seai.ie/Schools/Secondary_Schools/Subjects/Junior_Certificate_Science/


 

Biology at Senior Cycle

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Subject Overview

Biology is the study of life. Through the study of biology students employ the processes of science to explore the diversity of life and the inter-relationships between organisms and their environment. They become aware of the use of living organisms and their products to enhance human health and the environment. They are provided with the knowledge, skills and understanding to pursue further education, training and employment in biology-related fields, and to make judgements on contemporary issues in biology and science that impact on their daily lives and on society.

The syllabus consists of approximately 70% biological knowledge, understanding and skills; the remaining 30% deals with the technological, political, social and economic aspects of biology.

Content

Subject content is presented at Ordinary level and Higher level in units and sub-units:

  1. Biology – The Study of Life
    1.1. The Scientific method
    1.2. The Characteristics of Life
    1.3. Nutrition
    1.4. General Principles of Ecology
    1.5. A Study of an Ecosystem
  2. The Cell
    2.1. Cell Structure
    2.2. Cell Metabolism
    2.3. Cell Continuity
    2.4. Cell Diversity
    2.5. Genetics
  3. The Organism
    3.1. Diversity of Organisms
    3.2. Organisation of the Vascular Structures
    3.3. Transport and Nutrition
    3.4. Breathing System and Excretion
    3.5. Responses to Stimuli
    3.6. Reproduction and Growth

Depth of treatment, associated contemporary issues, technology and practical activities are listed.

Assessment

Leaving Certificate Biology is assessed by means of a terminal examination paper at each level. Students are required to keep a record of their practical work over the two years of the course.

Status

The syllabus was introduced into schools in September 2002 and first examined in June 2004. The science subjects are included in the first phase of syllabus review under the senior cycle developments.

Documentation

Leaving Certificate Biology Syllabus (Ordinary level and Higher level)
Leaving Certificate Biology – Guidelines for Teachers
Leaving Certificate Biology – Support Materials (Laboratory Handbook for Teachers)
Siollabas Bitheolaíochta (Gnáthleibhéal agus Ardleibhéal)

Related links/ Useful Biology Websites

State Examinations Commission
Department of Education and Science
Biology Support Service
Irish Science Teachers Association
Scoilnet 
http://leavingbio.net/
http://www.biology.ie/leaving-cert-biology-stuff.php


 

Chemistry at Senior Cycle

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Subject Overview

The subject aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate. The syllabus consists of approximately 70% pure chemistry; the remaining 30% deals with the social and applied aspects of chemistry.

Content

Subject content is presented at Ordinary level and Higher level under the headings:

  1. Periodic Table and Atomic Structure
  2. Chemical Bonding
  3. Stoichiometry, Formulas and Equations
  4. Volumetric Analysis
  5. Fuels and Heats of Reaction
  6. Rates of Reaction
  7. Organic Chemistry
  8. Chemical Equilibrium
  9. Environmental Chemistry: Water
    Option 1
    1A: Additional Industrial Chemistry
    1B: Atmospheric Chemistry
    Option 2
    2A: Materials
    2B: Additional Electrochemistry and the Extraction of Metals

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Mandatory experiments are listed at the end of each main syllabus section.

Assessment

Leaving Certificate Chemistry is assessed by means of a terminal examination paper at each level. Students are required to keep a record of their practical work over the two years of the course.

Status

The syllabus was introduced into schools in September 2000 and was first examined in June 2002. The science subjects are included in the first phase of syllabus review under the senior cycle developments.

Documentation

Leaving Certificate Chemistry Syllabus (Ordinary level and Higher level)
Leaving Certificate Chemistry – Guidelines for Teachers
Siollabas Ceimice (Gnáthleibhéal agus Ardleibhéal)

Related links/ Useful Chemistry Websites

State Examinations Commission
Department of Education and Science
Chemistry Support
Irish Science Teachers Association
Scoilnet
http://chemistry.slss.ie/
http://www.leavingcertsolutions.com/chemistry_home.htm


 

Physics at Senior Cycle

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Subject Overview

This subject aims to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their application to everyday life. It offers a general education in physics for all students, enabling them to develop an understanding of the scientific method and their ability to observe, to think logically, and to communicate effectively. Science, technology and society (STS) is an integral part of the syllabus so that students can be aware of the principles of the applications of physics in the everyday world.

Content

Subject content is presented at Ordinary level and Higher level under the headings:

  • Mechanics
  • Temperature
  • Heat
  • Waves
  • Vibrations and Sound
  • Light
  • Electricity
  • Modern Physics
    Option 1: Particle Physics (HL only)
    Option 2: Applied Electricity (HL only)

At Higher level, there is a deeper, more quantitative treatment of physics.

Students follow a course of practical work, with prescribed experiments in each of the main sections of the syllabus. Students are required to keep a record of this work.

Assessment

Leaving Certificate Physics is assessed by means of a terminal examination paper at each level. Students are required to keep a record of their practical work over the two years of the course.

Status

The syllabus was introduced into schools in September 2000 and was first examined in June 2002. Physics is included in the first phase of the review of Leaving Certificate subjects as part of the senior cycle developments being undertaken by the NCCA.

Documentation

Leaving Certificate Physics Syllabus (Ordinary level and Higher level)
Leaving Certificate Physics – Guidelines for Teachers
Siollabas Fisice (Gnáthleibhéal agus Ardleibhéal)

Related links/ Useful Physics Websites

State Examinations Commission
Department of Education and Science
Physics Support
Irish Science Teachers Association
Scoilnet
http://physics.slss.ie/
http://www.thephysicsteacher.ie/
http://www.sip.ie/sip069/Documents/physicspage.html


 

Physics and Chemistry at Senior Cycle

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Subject Overview

The Physics and Chemistry syllabus is a discrete syllabus and students presenting for this subject in the Leaving Certificate examination may not present for either of the individual syllabuses Leaving Certificate Physics or Leaving Certificate Chemistry.

Content

The syllabus consists of the following main topics:

  • Mechanics including velocity, acceleration, mass, work, and energy
  • Light – optics: the laws of reflection and refraction, mirrors and lenses
  • Light – wave theory; electromagnetic spectrum and photoemission
  • Introduction to static and current electricity
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism
  • Heat, temperature and kinetic theory
  • Structure of the atom and the Periodic Table,
  • Radioactivity
  • Molecular theory; structure and shape of simple molecules
  • Chemical bonding – ionic, covalent and metallic bonds
  • Chemical reactions and chemical equations including relative atomic mass
  • Introduction to thermochemistry and the First law of Thermodynamics
  • Chemical reactions: acid-base theory; oxidation and reduction
  • Electrochemistry and the activity series
  • The chemistry of hydrogen, oxygen and chlorine
  • Introduction to organic chemistry

Physics and Chemistry is an experimental and practical subject and practical work by students is regarded as an integral part of the course. A list of suitable experiments to be undertaken by students is included in each section of the syllabus.

Assessment

Leaving Certificate Physics and Chemistry is examined at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. Assessment is by terminal examination paper. Higher level candidates are expected to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding than are Ordinary level candidates. Records of practical work done by students should be kept and be available for inspection.

Status

The syllabus was first introduced in the 1970s. A revised syllabus is being finalised by the NCCA, with the title Chemical and Physical Science. No implementation date has been set for the revised syllabus.

Documentation

Leaving Certificate Physics and Chemistry Syllabus (Ordinary level and Higher level)
Siollabas Fisice agus Ceimice (Gnáthleibhéal agus Ardleibhéal)

Related links/ Useful Physics-Chemistry Websites

State Examinations Commission
Department of Education and Science
Irish Science Teachers Association
Scoilnet