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 analytical, 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 Biology ATAR course has three interrelated strands: Science Inquiry Skills, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Understanding which build on students’ learning in the Year 7–10 Science curriculum. The Year 11 syllabus is divided into two units, each of one semester duration, which are typically delivered as a pair.

Unit 1: Ecosystems and biodiversity

In this unit, students analyse abiotic and biotic ecosystem components and their interactions, using classification systems for data collection, comparison and evaluation.

The current view of the biosphere as a dynamic system composed of Earth’s diverse, interrelated and interacting ecosystems. In this unit, students investigate and describe a number of diverse ecosystems, exploring the range of biotic and abiotic components to understand the dynamics, diversity and underlying unity of these systems.

Unit 2: From single cells to multicellular organisms

The cell is the basic unit of life. Although cell structure and function are very diverse, all cells possess some common features.  In this unit, students examine inputs and outputs of cells to develop an understanding of the chemical nature of cellular systems, both structurally and functionally, and the processes required for cell survival. Students investigate the ways in which matter moves and energy is transformed and transferred in the processes of photosynthesis and respiration, and the role of enzymes in controlling biochemical systems.

Multicellular organisms typically consist of a number of interdependent systems of cells organised into tissues, organs and organ systems. Students examine the structure and function of plant and animal systems at cell and tissue levels in order to describe how they facilitate the efficient provision or removal of materials to and from all cells of the organism.

Prerequisite: Semester 1 Year 10 Science Course 1 (Extension) or Course 2 (Mainstream) – B grade or above and students must maintain this grade to the end of the year.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Chemistry, the study of matter and its interactions, is an indispensable human activity that has contributed essential knowledge and understanding of the world around us.

The Chemistry course equips students with a knowledge and understanding of chemistry to enable them to appreciate the natural and built environment, its materials, and interactions between them. The course helps students to predict chemical effects, recognise hazards and make informed, balanced decisions about chemical use and sustainable resource management. This enables students to confidently and responsibly use the range of materials and substances available to them.

Chemistry requires observation, investigation, experimentation, collection and evaluation of data and the application of new understandings.

The Chemistry ATAR course has three interrelated strands: Science Inquiry Skills, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Understanding which build on students’ learning in the Year 7–10 Science curriculum. The Year 11 syllabus is divided into two units, each of one semester duration, which are typically delivered as a pair.

Unit 1: Chemical fundamentals: structure, properties and reactions

In this unit, students use models of atomic structure and bonding to explain the macroscopic properties of materials. Students develop their understanding of the energy changes associated with chemical reactions and the use of chemical equations to calculate the masses of substances involved in chemical reactions.

Unit 2: Molecular interactions and reactions

In this unit, students 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.  Students investigate the unique properties of water and the properties of acids and bases, and use chemical equations to calculate the concentrations and volumes of solutions involved in chemical reactions.

The Chemistry course aims to equip students to become informed citizens able to participate in discussion of challenging social and environmental issues. The course enables students to relate chemistry to other sciences including biology, physics, geology, medicine, molecular biology and agriculture, and to take advantage of vocational opportunities that arise through its application. It also helps them to prepare for further study and to be responsible and efficient users of specialised chemical products and processes at home or in the workplace.

Prerequisite: Semester 1 Year 10 Science Course 1 (Extension) or Course 2 (Mainstream) – A grade and students must maintain this mark to the end of the year.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

This ATAR course explores our planet as a dynamic global system involving interactions between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and the biosphere. A multidisciplinary approach, including geological and environmental sciences, encourages students to be curious about the world around them and to apply scientific principles to develop a balanced view of the benefits and challenges presented by the utilisation of resources.

Students conduct practical investigations and have the opportunity to participate in field-based excursions that encourage them to apply what they have learnt in class to real world situations.

This course provides an understanding of the minerals and energy industry and its contribution to Western Australia’s economy.

The Earth and Environmental Science ATAR course has three interrelated strands: Science Inquiry Skills, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Understanding which build on students’ learning in the Year 7–10 Science curriculum. The Year 11 syllabus is divided into two units, each of one semester duration, which are typically delivered as a pair.

Unit 1: Earth Systems

The Earth consists of interacting systems, including the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. A change in any one sphere can impact on others. In this unit, students build on their existing knowledge of Earth by exploring the development of understanding of Earth’s formation and its internal and surface structure. Students study the processes that formed the oceans and atmosphere. They review the origin and significance of water at Earth’s surface, how water moves through the hydrological cycle, and the environments influenced by water, in particular, the oceans, ice sheets and groundwater.

Students critically examine the scientific evidence for the origin of life, linking this with their understanding of the evolution of Earth’s hydrosphere and atmosphere. They review evidence from the fossil record that demonstrates the interrelationships between major changes in Earth’s systems and the evolution and extinction of organisms.

Unit 2: Earth Processes

Earth system processes require energy.  In this unit, students explore how the transfer and transformation of energy from the sun and Earth’s interior enable and control processes within and between the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. Students examine how the transfer and transformation of heat and gravitational energy in Earth’s interior drive movements of Earth’s tectonic plates. They analyse how the transfer of solar energy to Earth is influenced by the structure of the atmosphere. Students use inquiry skills to collect, analyse and interpret data relating to energy transfers and transformations and cycling of matter.

Note: Participation in fieldwork is an essential component of the course. The course includes a number of fieldtrips, including an annual trip to Kalgoorlie.

Prerequisite: Semester 1 Year 10 Science Course 1 (Extension) or Course 2 (Mainstream) – B grade or above and students must maintain this grade to the end of the year.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Human Biology covers a wide range of ideas relating to the functioning human. Students learn about themselves, relating structure to function and how integrated regulation allows individuals to survive in a changing environment. They research new discoveries that are increasing our understanding of the causes of dysfunction, which can lead to new treatments and preventative measures.

As a science, the subject matter of this course is founded on knowledge and understanding that has been gained through systematic inquiry and scientific research. They learn to think critically, to evaluate evidence, to solve problems and to communicate understandings in scientific ways.

An understanding of Human Biology is valuable for a variety of career paths. The course content deals directly and indirectly with many different occupations in fields, such as science education, medical and paramedical fields, food and hospitality, childcare, sport and social work. Appreciation of the range and scope of such professions broadens their horizons and enables them to make informed choices. This helps to prepare all students, regardless of their background or career aspirations, to take their place as responsible citizens in society.

The Year 11 syllabus is divided into two units, each of one semester duration, which are typically delivered as a pair.

Unit 1: The Functioning Human Body

Cells are the basic structural and functional unit of the human body. Cells contain structures that carry out a range of functions related to metabolism, including anabolic and catabolic reactions. The respiratory, circulatory, digestive and excretory systems control the exchange and transport of materials in support of metabolism, particularly cellular respiration. The structure and function of the musculo-skeletal system provides for human movement and balance as the result of the co-ordinated interaction of the many components for obtaining the necessary requirements for life.

Unit 2: Reproduction and Inheritance

This unit provides opportunities to explore, in more depth, the mechanisms of transmission of genetic materials to the next generation, the role of males and females in reproduction, and how interactions between genetics and the environment influence early development. The cellular mechanisms for gamete production and zygote formation contribute to human diversity.

The transfer of genetic information from parents to offspring involves the replication of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), meiosis and fertilisation. The reproductive systems of males and females are differentially specialised to support their roles in reproduction, including gamete production and facilitation of fertilisation. The female reproductive system also supports pregnancy and birth. Reproductive technologies can influence and control the reproductive ability in males and females.

Prerequisite: Semester 1 Year 10 Science Course 1 (Extension) or Course 2 (Mainstream) – B grade or above and students must maintain this grade to the end of the year.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

In Physics, the course allows students to learn how energy and energy transformations can shape the environment from the small scale, in the quantum leaps inside an 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.

Unit 1: Thermal, Nuclear and Electrical Physics

An understanding of heating processes, nuclear reactions and electricity is essential to appreciate how global energy needs are met. Students investigate heating processes, apply the nuclear model of the atom to investigate radioactivity, and learn how nuclear reactions convert mass into energy. They examine the movement of electrical charge in circuits and use this to analyse, explain and predict electrical phenomena.

Contexts that can be investigated in this unit include technologies related to nuclear, thermal, or geothermal energy, the greenhouse effect, electrical energy production, large-scale power systems, radiopharmaceuticals, and electricity in the home; and related areas of science, such as nuclear fusion in stars and the Big Bang theory.

Unit 2: Linear Motion and Waves

Students develop an understanding of motion and waves which can be used to describe, explain and predict a wide range of phenomena. Students describe linear motion in terms of position and time data, and examine the relationships between force, momentum and energy for interactions in one dimension. Students investigate common wave phenomena, including waves on springs, and water, sound and earthquake waves.

Contexts that can be investigated in this unit include technologies such as accelerometers, motion detectors, global positioning systems (GPS), energy conversion buoys, music, hearing aids, echo locators, and related areas of science and engineering, such as sports science, car and road safety, acoustic design, noise pollution, seismology, bridge and building design.

Prerequisite: Semester 1 Year 10 Science Course 1 (Extension) or Course 2 (Mainstream) – A grade and students must maintain this grade to the end of the year.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Psychology is the scientific study of how people think, feel and act. It aims to answer important questions such as what factors influence human development. While there are other disciplines that overlap with psychology's main aim to understand humans, psychology is rigorous in its use of scientific method. This allows for systematic exploration into the complexities of human behaviour based on evidence gathered through planned investigations.

Psychology is very useful, both to individuals assisting us to improve ourselves and our relationships, and to society as a whole. Through this course, students gain valuable insights and understandings into both themselves and their worlds. Methods of communication studied enhance personal communication skills, both within the field of psychology and in the context of daily life. Students also develop important research skills as they engage in the exploration and evaluation of data to illustrate how empirical procedures are used to examine phenomena such as intelligence and personality.

This course is designed to integrate the understanding of scientific principles, the acquisition of psychological knowledge and the application of both in an enjoyable and contemporary way. The study of psychology is highly relevant to further studies in the health professions; education, human resources, social sciences, sales, media and marketing and management.

Unit 1:

This unit focuses on a number of concepts that enable students to gain an understanding of how and why people behave the way they do. Students learn about the human brain and explore the impact of external factors on behaviour, such as physical activity and psychoactive drugs. Cognitive processes, such as sensation and perception, and selective and divided attention are investigated.  Students examine different types of relationships and the role of verbal and non-verbal communication in initiating, maintaining and regulating these.  Students are introduced to ethics in psychological research and carry out investigations

Unit 2:

This unit focuses on developmental psychology. Students analyse twin and adoption studies to gain insight into the nature/nurture debate and look at the role of play in assisting development. Students explore what is meant by the term personality and examine historical perspectives used to explain personality. They also explore behaviour and causes of prejudice.  Psychological research methods studied in Unit 1 are further developed in Unit 2.

This syllabus continues to develop science inquiry skills, building on those acquired in the Year 7–10 Science Curriculum.

Prerequisite: Semester 1 Year 10 Science Course 1 (Extension) or Course 2 (Mainstream) – B grade or above and students must maintain this grade to the end of the year.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

The Integrated Science General course is inclusive and aims to be attractive to students with a wide variety of backgrounds, interests and career aspirations.

The Integrated Science course is a course grounded in the belief that Science is, in essence, a practical activity. The course involves students in research and investigations that develops a variety of skills, including the use of appropriate technology, an array of diverse methods of investigation, and a sense of the practical application of the domain.

This course enables students to investigate science issues in the context of the world around them, and encourages student collaboration and cooperation with community members employed in scientific pursuits. It requires them to be creative, intellectually honest, to evaluate arguments with scepticism, and to conduct their investigations in ways that are ethical, fair and respectful of others.

The Integrated Science course has three interrelated strands or outcomes: Science Inquiry Skills, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Understanding which build on students’ learning in the Year 7–10 Science curriculum. The Year 11 syllabus is divided into two units, each of one semester duration, which are typically delivered as a pair.

Unit 1

In this unit students develop an understanding of the processes involved in the functioning of systems from the macro level (cycles in nature and Earth systems) to systems at the organism, cellular and molecular level. They investigate and describe the effect of human activity on the functioning of cycles in nature. By integrating their understanding of Earth and biological systems, students come to recognise the interdependence of these systems.

Possible topics include:

  • Environmental degradation
  • Marine biology
  • Sustainability and biodiversity
  • Water
  • Biotechnology

Unit 2

In this unit students will investigate the properties of elements, compounds and mixtures, and how substances interact with each other in chemical reactions to produce new substances. They explore the concepts of forces, energy and motion and recognise how an increased understanding of scientific concepts has led to the development of useful technologies and systems.

Possible topics include:

  • Forensic science
  • Rocketry
  • Kitchen chemistry
  • Cosmetics
  • Marine archaeology
  • Mining

Prerequisite:  Nil

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Students will do topics from the same three science fields in Units 3 and 4.

Australia is an island nation, with Western Australia’s mainland and islands having approximately twenty-one thousand kilometres of coastline. It is therefore relevant to Western Australians to study the sea and how people interact with it. The Marine and Maritime Studies General course provides opportunities for students to apply theoretical knowledge through practical activities with a focus on active learning experiences both within and outside of the classroom.

The Marine and Maritime Studies course is designed to facilitate achievement of the following outcomes.

Outcome 1 – Marine and maritime knowledge
Outcome 2 – Marine and maritime skills
Outcome 3 – Marine and maritime application

The Year 11 syllabus is divided into two units, each of one semester duration, which are typically delivered as a pair.

Unit 1

This unit introduces students to marine science through the examination of water properties and methods used to conduct water testing. In oceanography, students learn about wind formation, tides, waves and currents, including Western Australian ocean currents. Students examine Western Australian recreational and commercial fishing issues and how they are managed through rules and regulations.

Unit 2

This unit introduces students to the marine ecosystem, with a focus on the four main zones and the adaptations of marine life to survive in each zone. Western Australian examples of marine life will be identified and classified into the major groups. Food webs for each ocean zone will be studied. Students examine the importance of marine protected areas, marine parks, reserves and sanctuary zones, and the role of Western Australian agencies and organisations in the protection and management of marine life.

As the course will include snorkelling lessons and also a number of field trips including a five day camp, there will be extra fees of approximately $450 that will be required.

Prerequisite:  Nil

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

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