Science

Oatley Senior Campus offers students the full complement of NESA Science courses. Students have the opportunity to study up to three of these courses in any combination. Experienced teachers support the learning of all students in modern laboratory settings.

A Platinum stream is offered in the Chemistry, Physics and Biology courses to cater for the needs of High Potential and Gifted students.

Biology offers learning experiences in the context of organisms and living systems. The Year 11 course focuses on the cellular nature of life and the organisation of organisms into ecosystems, while the year 12 course explores human health and genetics.

 The course suits people with an interest in human health or the natural world and those with a desire to pursue a career in the medical, sport or scientific worlds.

 A significant practical component of the course allows students to develop strong laboratory and research skills. Practical experiences include field studies, incursions and excursions.

Biology students are well prepared for careers in health science and for university Science and Medical courses.

Chemistry involves investigating the atoms and molecules that participate in making substances. Both the year 11 and 12 courses concentrate on chemical reactions and chemical laboratory techniques. However the year 11 course focuses on the fundamentals of atoms and the driving forces of reactions. The year 12 course extends student knowledge to include organic molecules and the applications of chemical ideas in today’s world.

The course suits people with an interest in pursuing a career in Science or Engineering and those that have a keen interest in how things work and what things are made of. Students with sound mathematical skills generally find the course content manageable.

Chemistry has a strong practical basis with most lessons including a laboratory investigation. Students are able to build their competency of laboratory techniques and develop a deep understanding of materials.

Students are well prepared for university courses in Science and Engineering. Many university subjects require completion of a Chemistry course as a prerequisite.

Earth and Environmental Science covers the scientific fields of geology and environmental science. The year 11 course investigates topics ranging from the origin of the Earth to the organisation of natural systems and the effect of humans on these. The year 12 course focuses on plate tectonics and climate change.

A series of excursions and field experiences are an important part of the course. These contribute to developing a deeper understanding of our physical world and the risks the Earth faces in the future.

Those students with an interest in the natural world and those with a desire to study Earth Sciences at university would gain great benefit from the course. 

 In this course students develop strong research and field investigation skills. They are able to communicate effectively and model complex concepts. 

The course prepares students well for university courses in Science and Geography.

Investigating Science is a new course that includes content from the four main sciences: Biology; Chemistry; Geology and Physics. Although it has value for students as a stand-alone subject, it has been designed to support study in each of these subjects.

The subject explores the philosophy and ideas driving science in the world today. The year 11 course includes investigations of scientific models, theories and laws, while the year 12 course explores Science’s relationship with society and the value of scientific investigations.

The course has a strong practical basis, with over 35 hours of each course dedicated to scientific investigations. These investigations include recreating famous historical experiments, field work and student driven research.

The course suits students who wish to build their investigation skills and develop an overview of science knowledge and its application.

 The course enables students to develop their laboratory, research and communication skills, and prepares them well for university courses in any field.

Physics explores the underlying laws and patterns that control our universe. Students learn about concepts that challenge and stretch their existing ideas of the world. The year 11 course explores motion, waves and thermodynamics, while the year 12 course covers electromagnetism, relativity and the universe.

Physics involves using mathematics to solve problems and to explain scientific phenomena. The course also includes a significant practical component, with student initiated investigations involving making measurements, building models and compiling data. A series of depth studies involving individual experimental projects are also undertaken.

 The course suits students with an interest in discovering the underlying reasons for phenomena, and for those with a desire to study Science or Engineering at university. Students with a sound ability in mathematics have an advantage in the subject.

 Physics students develop strong problem solving, data manipulation and experimental skills. They are well prepared for university, in particular for Science and Engineering degrees. It is important to note that Physics is recommended for any university Engineering courses.

Science Extension is a 1 unit course offered to year 12 students who wish to pursue a major research project. Students who have shown an achievement in any of the Stage 6 Science courses in Year 11 may choose to study Science Extension in Year 12.

The course requires students to propose and develop a research question, formulate a hypothesis and develop evidence-based responses to create their Scientific Research Report which is supported by a Scientific Research Portfolio. The research report is expected to be at a standard acceptable for publication.

 Science Extension caters for students who excel in one other Science subject and those that have a desire to further develop their research skills.

Science Extension students are well prepared for university courses, having the analytical and investigative skills necessary for success at a tertiary level.