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Alexandra College

Science

In science we strive to offer quality teaching of the subject, we set high priorities in the department for effective teaching.

Science is compulsory for all students from first to fourth year.

In fourth year students take modules in science. A large percentage of students then go on to choose at least one science subject in the Leaving Certificate programme. We offer agricultural science, biology, chemistry and physics to senior students.

MISSION

Science is a very broad subject, covering a wide range of distinct areas.

These range from the highly technical and electronic areas, to simple ecological studies of nature, and include a study of the physical world, and the nature of materials.

In delivering a science education to students at Alexandra College, we strive to:

  • Foster an appreciation of the beauty and diversity of organisms present in the natural world.
  • Encourage curiosity, and a desire for discovery for discovery of new ideas and concepts. Develop a lifelong interest in all things science-related.
  • Nurture a wish in students to pursue further education in scientific areas and a career in Science.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

Aims at junior cycle should;

  • encourage the development of manipulative, procedural, cognitive, affective and communication skills through practical activities that foster investigation, imagination, and creativity
  • provide opportunities for observing and evaluating phenomena and processes and for drawing valid deductions and conclusions.
  • enable students to acquire a body of scientific knowledge.
  • appropriate to their age, and an understanding of the relevance and applications of science in their personal and social lives
  • foster an appreciation of and respect for life and the environment, while at the same time developing awareness of the potential use, misuse and limitations of science, and of health and safety issues relating to science
  • provide a balanced understanding of the physical, biological and chemical dimensions of science, thus facilitating the further study of science in the senior cycle.
  • develop a sense of enjoyment in the learning of science.

BIOLOGY

The aims are;

  • to contribute to students’ general education 
through their involvement in the process of scientific investigation and the acquisition of biological knowledge and understanding
  • to encourage in students an attitude of scientific enquiry, of curiosity and self-discovery through:

(i) individual study and personal initiative

(ii) team work

(iii) class-directed work

  • to develop an understanding of biological facts and principles
  • to enhance an interest in and develop an appreciation of the nature and diversity of organisms
  • to create an awareness of the application of biological knowledge to modern society in personal, social, economic, environmental, industrial, agricultural, medical, waste management and other technological contexts
  • to develop in students an ability to make informed evaluations about contemporary biological issues.

CHEMISTRY

The aims are;

  • To stimulate and sustain students’ interest in, and enjoyment of, chemistry
  • To provide a relevant course for those students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level
  • To provide a foundation course in chemistry for those students who will continue their studies in chemistry or in related subjects
  • To encourage an appreciation of the scientific, social, economic, environmental and technological aspects of chemistry and an understanding of the historical development of chemistry
  • To illustrate generally how humanity has benefited from the study and practice of chemistry
  • To develop an appreciation of scientific method and rational thought
  • To develop skills in laboratory procedures and techniques, carried out with due regard for safety, together with the ability to assess the uses and limitations of these procedures
  • To develop skills of observation, analysis, evaluation, communication and problem- solving.

PHYSICS

The aims are;

  • to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their application to everyday life and technology
  • to develop an appreciation of physics as a human endeavour, thereby enriching the students’ experience of life
  • to provide a reasonably broad perspective of physics, thus developing an understanding of the physical environment and of how human beings interact with it
  • to provide a general education in physics for all students, whether or not they proceed to further studies in physics
  • to develop the ability to observe, to think logically, and to communicate effectively
  • to develop an understanding of the scientific method
  • to develop an appreciation of physics as a creative activity, using informed intuition and imagination to create an understanding of the beauty, simplicity and symmetry in nature.

AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE

The Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science syllabus is designed to provide pupils with the necessary skills, practical experience and knowledge in a range of agricultural and scientific principles.

An agricultural background is not a necessity, and the course covers a wide variety of topics. As well as being classroom and lab orientated, a number of field trips and excursions to farms, universities and laboratories will allow those undertaking the course see the practical applications of their learning. Throughout the two year course the students will keep a portfolio of their practical experience, which will be assessed and contribute to their overall grade in the Leaving Certificate.

TIMETABLED PERIODS FOR SCIENCE

  • First Year: One Double Class and one Single Class.
  • Second Year: One Double Class and two Single Classes.
  • Third Year: One Single Class and two Double Classes
  • Transition Year: One Double Class and one Single Class.
  • Senior classes: Two Double Classes and one Single Class.

Note: Class duration: 40 minutes, except for last class of the day (35 minutes), all classes are 37 minutes on Fridays.

FIELD TRIPS

  • TY trip to W5 in Belfast.
  • Multiple farm trips for Agricultural science
  • Ecology for Biology and Agricultural science
  • Science talks during science week
  • TY science/history trip to London

WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT?

Usage of ICT is high with teachers and students.

Students are encouraged to carry out science projects, we run our own science fair in February/March each year.

Two 5th year students are selected annually following a rigorous application process to travel on an internship to the faculty of Translational Medicine at the university of Pennsylvania in June each year.

We run an annual science lecture with invited speakers from across the science spectrum.

We have an annual science week with various activities and challenges that cater to all student abilities.

We offer a bursary to the leaving certificate student achieving the highest CAO results who takes a science based discipline at third level in Ireland.

PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR

  • Science Lecture
  • Science week
  • Upenn internship
  • Ecology trip
  • Farm trips
  • ISTA science quizzes
  • Science Olympiads
  • Young scientist
  • Scifest
  • W5

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Integration of key skills and development of learning outcomes through the syllabuses in recognition of coming changes to junior cycle and senior cycle sciences.

Seamless integration of ICT: in many cases student work is produced digitally and submitted to shared online course management systems for considered feedback and review.