Science at Mount Lawley

Science in Years 7 to 10

Over Years 7 to 10, students develop their understanding of microscopic and atomic structures; how systems at a range of scales are shaped by flows of energy and matter, interactions due to forces and develop the ability to quantify changes and relative amounts.

Year 7 Science

In 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.

By the end of Year 7, students describe techniques to separate pure substances from mixtures. They represent and predict the effects of unbalanced forces, including Earth's gravity, on motion. Students explain how the relative positions of Earth, the sun and moon affect phenomena on Earth. They analyse how the sustainable use of resources depends on the way they are formed and cycle through Earth systems. Students classify and organise diverse organisms based on observable differences and predict the effect of human and environmental changes on interactions between organisms. Students describe situations where scientific knowledge has been used to solve a real-world problem. 

Students identify questions that can be investigated scientifically. They plan fair experimental methods, identifying variables to be changed and measured. Students select equipment that improves fairness and accuracy and describe how they considered safety. Students draw on evidence to support their conclusions. They summarise data from different sources, describe trends and refer to the quality of their data when suggesting improvements to their methods. They communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations.

Year 8 Science

In 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.

By the end of Year 8, students compare physical and chemical changes and use the particle model to explain and predict the properties and behaviours of the states of matter. They identify different forms of energy and describe how energy transfers and transformations cause change in simple systems. Students compare the processes of rock formation. They describe the relationship between structure and function at cell, organ and body system levels. Students examine the different science knowledge used in occupations. They explain how evidence has led to an improved understanding of a scientific idea and where science knowledge is used in various occupations.

Students construct questions that they can investigate scientifically. They consider safety and ethics when planning investigations, including designing field or experimental methods. Students identify variables to be changed, measured and controlled. They construct representations of their data to identify and analyse patterns and trends and use these when justifying their conclusions. Students explain how modifications to methods could improve the quality of their data. They identify and apply their own scientific knowledge to evaluate claims made by others. Students use appropriate language and representations to communicate science ideas, methods and findings.

Year 9 Science

In 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.

By the end of Year 9, students explain chemical processes and natural radioactivity in terms of atoms and energy transfers and describe examples of important chemical reactions. They describe wave and particle models of energy transfer and apply these to explain phenomena. Students explain global features and events in terms of geological processes and timescales. They analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter. Students describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments.

Students design questions that can be investigated. They design methods that include the control and measurement of variables and systematic collection of data and describe how they considered ethics and safety. Students analyse trends in data, identify relationships between variables and inconsistencies in results. They analyse their methods and the quality of their data and suggest actions to improve the quality of their evidence. They evaluate others' methods and explanations from a scientific perspective and use appropriate language and representations when communicating their findings and ideas.

Year 10 Science

In the Year 10 curriculum, students explore systems at different scales and connect microscopic and macroscopic properties to explain phenomena. Students explore the biological, chemical, geological and physical evidence for different theories, such as the theories of natural selection and the Big Bang.

Students 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.

By the end of Year 10, students analyse how the periodic table organises elements and use it to make predictions about the properties of elements. They explain how chemical reactions are used to produce particular products and how different factors influence the rate of reactions. Students apply relationships between force, mass and acceleration to predict changes in the motion of objects. They explain the concept of energy conservation and represent energy transfer and transformation within system. Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth's spheres. They describe the evidence for scientific theories that explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on Earth. Students explain the processes that underpin heredity and evolution. Students analyse how the models and theories they use have developed over time.

Students develop questions and hypotheses and independently design and improve appropriate methods of investigation. They describe how they have considered reliability, safety, fairness and ethical actions in their methods. When analysing data, selecting evidence and developing conclusions, students identify any sources of uncertainty. They evaluate the validity and reliability of claims made in secondary sources with reference to the evidence cited. Students construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations to communicate science ideas.

Science in Year 11 and 12

In Years 11 and 12, students have the ability to select ATAR courses or General courses, depending on the ability and recommendation of their Year 10 teacher. The ATAR courses offered are Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology and Physics. The General course offered is Integrated Science.


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

Students develop a range of practical skills and techniques through investigations and fieldwork in authentic contexts, such as marine reefs, endangered species, urban ecology or biotechnology. Scientific evidence is used to make informed decisions about controversial issues


The Chemistry ATAR course equips students with the knowledge, understanding and opportunity to investigate properties and reactions of materials. Theories and models are used to describe, explain and make predictions about chemical systems, structures and properties. Students recognise hazards and make informed, balanced decisions about chemical use and sustainable resource management. Investigations and laboratory activities develop and appreciation of the need for precision, critical analysis and informed decision making. 

This course prepares students to be responsible and efficient users of specialised chemical products and processes at home or in the workplace. It also enables students to relate chemistry to other sciences, including biology, geology, medicine, molecular biology and agriculture, and prepares them for further study in the sciences.

Human Biology

The Human Biology ATAR 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.

Practical tasks are an integral part of this course and develop a range of laboratory skills; for example, biotechnology techniques. Students learn to evaluate risks and benefits to make informed decisions about lifestyle and health topics, such as diet, alternative medical treatments, use of chemical substances and the manipulation of fertility.


In the Physics ATAR course, students will learn how energy and energy transformations can shape the environment from the small scale, in quantum leaps inside and atom's electron cloud, through the human scale, in vehicles and the human body, to the large scale, in interactions between galaxies. Students have opportunities to develop their investigative skills and use analytical thinking to explain and predict physical phenomena. Students plan and conduct investigations to answer a range of questions collect and interpret data and observations and communicate their findings in an appropriate format. Problem-solving and using evidence to make and justify conclusions are transferable skills that are developed in the course.

Integrated Science

The Integrated Science General course enables students to investigate science issues in the context of the world around them. It encourages students to develop their scientific skills of curiosity, observation, collection and analysis of evidence, in a range of contexts. The multidisciplinary approach, including aspects of biology, chemistry, geology and physics, further encourages students to be curious about the world around them and assume a balanced view of the benefits and challenges presented by science and technology. Students conduct practical investigations that encourage them to apply what they have learnt in class to real-world situations and systems.