Year 10 Level Description
The science inquiry skills and science as a human endeavour strands are described across a two-year band. In their planning, schools and teachers refer to the expectations outlined in the achievement standard and also to the content of the science understanding strand for the relevant year level to ensure that these two strands are addressed over the two-year period. The three strands of the curriculum are interrelated and their content is taught in an integrated way. The order and detail in which the content descriptions are organised into teaching and learning programs are decisions to be made by the teacher.
Incorporating the key ideas of 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.
Transmission of heritable characteristics from one generation to the next involves DNA and genes (ACSSU184)
- describing the role of DNA as the blueprint for controlling the characteristics of organisms
- using models and diagrams to represent the relationship between DNA, genes and chromosomes
- recognising that genetic information passed on to offspring is from both parents by meiosis and fertilisation
- representing patterns of inheritance of a simple dominant/recessive characteristic through generations of a family
- predicting simple ratios of offspring genotypes and phenotypes in crosses involving dominant/recessive gene pairs or in genes that are sex-linked
- describing mutations as changes in DNA or chromosomes and outlining the factors that contribute to causing mutations.
The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of living things and is supported by a range of scientific evidence (ACSSU185)
- outlining processes involved in natural selection including variation, isolation and selection
- describing biodiversity as a function of evolution
- investigating changes caused by natural selection in a particular population as a result of a specified selection pressure such as artificial selection in breeding for desired characteristics
- relating genetic characteristics to survival and reproductive rates
- evaluating and interpreting evidence for evolution, including the fossil record, chemical and anatomical similarities, and geographical distribution of species.
The atomic structure and properties of elements are used to organize them in the Periodic Table (ACSSU186)
- recognizing that elements in the same group of the periodic table have similar properties
- describing the structure of atoms in terms of electron shells
- explaining how the electronic structure of an atom determines its position in the periodic table and its properties
- investigating the chemical activity of metals
Different types of chemical reactions are used to produce a range of products and can occur at different rates (ACSSU187)
- investigating how chemistry can be used to produce a range of useful substances such as fuels, metals, and pharmaceuticals
- predicting the products of different types of simple chemical reactions
- using word or symbol equations to represent chemical reactions
- investigating the effect of a range of factors, such as temperature and catalysts, on the rate of chemical reactions.
The universe contains features including galaxies, stars, and solar systems, and the Big Bang theory can be used to explain the origin of the universe (ACSSU188)
- identifying the evidence supporting the Big Bang theory, such as Edwin Hubble’s observations and the detection of microwave radiation
- recognizing that the age of the universe can be derived using knowledge of the Big Bang theory
- describing how the evolution of the universe, including the formation of galaxies and stars, has continued since the Big Bang.
Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere (ACSSU189)
- investigating how human activity affects global systems
- modeling a cycle, such as the water, carbon, nitrogen, or phosphorus cycle within the biosphere
- explaining the causes and effects of the greenhouse effect
- investigating the effect of climate change on sea levels and biodiversity
- considering the long-term effects of loss of biodiversity
- investigating currently occurring changes to permafrost and sea ice and the impacts of these changes
- examining the factors that drive the deep ocean currents, their role in regulating global climate, and their effects on marine life.
Energy conservation in a system can be explained by describing energy transfers and transformations (ACSSU190)
- recognizing that the Law of Conservation of Energy explains that total energy is maintained in energy transfer and transformation
- recognizing that in energy transfer and transformation, a variety of processes can occur, so that the usable energy is reduced and the system is not 100% efficient
- comparing energy changes in interactions such as car crashes, pendulums, lifting, and dropping
- using models to describe how energy is transferred and transformed within systems
The motion of objects can be described and predicted using the laws of physics (ACSSU229)
- gathering data to analyze everyday motions produced by forces, such as measurements of distance and time, speed, force, mass, and acceleration
- recognizing that a stationary object, or a moving object with constant motion, has balanced forces acting on it
- using Newton’s Second Law to predict how a force affects the movement of an object
- recognizing and applying Newton’s Third Law to describe the effect of interactions between two objects.
SCIENCE AS HUMAN ENDEAVOUR
Scientific understanding, including models and theories, is contestable and is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community (ACSHE191)
- considering the role of different sources of evidence including biochemical, anatomical, and fossil evidence for evolution by natural selection
- investigating the development of the Watson and Crick double helix model for the structure of DNA
- investigating the history and impact of developments in genetic knowledge
- investigating the development of the periodic table and how this was dependent on experimental evidence at the time
- considering the role of science in identifying and explaining the causes of climate change
- recognizing that Australian scientists such as Brian Schmidt and Penny Sackett are involved in the exploration and study of the universe.
Advances in scientific understanding often rely on technological advances and are often linked to scientific discoveries (ACSHE192)
- recognizing that the development of fast computers has made possible the analysis of DNA sequencing, radio astronomy signals, and other data
- considering how computer modeling has improved knowledge and predictability of phenomena such as climate change and atmospheric pollution
- researching examples of major international scientific projects, for example, the Large Hadron Collider and the International Space Station
- considering how information technology can be applied to different areas of science such as bioinformatics and the Square Kilometre Array.
People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE194)
- describing how science is used in the media to explain a natural event or justify people’s actions
- predicting future applications of aspects of nanotechnology on people’s lives
- recognizing that the study of the universe and the exploration of space involve teams of specialists from the different branches of science, engineering, and technology
- using knowledge of science to test claims made in advertising
- considering how the computing requirements in many areas of modern science depend on people working in the area of information technology
- considering the scientific knowledge used in discussions relating to climate change
- investigating the applications of gene technologies such as gene therapy and genetic engineering
- evaluating claims relating to environmental footprints
- recognizing that scientific developments in areas such as sustainable transport and low-emissions electrical generation require people working in a range of fields of science, engineering, and technology.
Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE230)
- investigating technologies associated with the reduction of carbon pollution, such as carbon capture
- considering innovative energy transfer devices, including those used in transport and communication
- investigating the use and control of CFCs based on scientific studies of atmospheric ozone
- recognizing that financial backing from governments or commercial organizations is required for scientific developments and that this can determine what research is carried out
- considering the use of genetic testing for decisions such as genetic counseling, embryo selection, identification of carriers of genetic mutations, and the use of this information for personal use or by organisations such as insurance companies or medical facilities.
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. They explain the concept of energy conservation and represent energy transfer and transformation within systems. They apply relationships between force, mass and acceleration to predict changes in the motion of objects. Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres. They evaluate the evidence for scientific theories that explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on Earth. They explain the processes that underpin heredity and evolution. Students analyse how the models and theories they use have developed over time and discuss the factors that prompted their review.
Students develop questions and hypotheses and independently design and improve appropriate methods of investigation, including field work and laboratory experimentation. They explain how they have considered reliability, safety, fairness and ethical actions in their methods and identify where digital technologies can be used to enhance the quality of data. When analysing data, selecting evidence and developing and justifying conclusions, they identify alternative explanations for findings and explain any sources of uncertainty. Students evaluate the validity and reliability of claims made in secondary sources with reference to currently held scientific views, the quality of the methodology and the evidence cited. They construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for specific purposes.