Year 9 Level Description
The science inquiry skills and science as human endeavor 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 organized into teaching and learning programs are decisions to be made by the teacher.
Incorporating the key ideas of science
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 and interactions due to forces and develop the ability to quantify changes and relative amounts.
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.
Multi-cellular organisms rely on coordinated and interdependent internal systems to respond to changes to their environment (ACSSU175)
- describing how the requirements for life (for example oxygen, nutrients, water, and removal of waste) are provided through the coordinated function of body systems such as the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous, and excretory systems
- explaining how body systems work together to maintain a functioning body using models, flow diagrams, or simulations
- identifying responses using nervous and endocrine systems
- investigating the response of the body to changes as a result of the presence of micro-organisms
- investigating the effects on humans of exposure to electromagnetic radiations such as X-rays and microwaves
Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)
- exploring interactions between organisms such as predator/prey, parasites, competitors, pollinators, and disease
- examining factors that affect population sizes such as seasonal changes, destruction of habitats, introduced species
- considering how energy flows into and out of an ecosystem via the pathways of food webs, and how it must be replaced to maintain the sustainability of the system
- investigating how ecosystems change as a result of events such as bushfires, drought, and flooding.
All matter is made of atoms that are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons; natural radioactivity arises from the decay of nuclei in atoms (ACSSU177)
- describing and modeling the structure of atoms in terms of the nucleus, protons, neutrons, and electrons
- comparing the mass and charge of protons, neutrons, and electrons
- describing in simple terms how alpha and beta particles and gamma radiation are released from unstable atoms
Chemical reactions involve rearranging atoms to form new substances; during a chemical reaction mass is not created or destroyed (ACSSU178)
- identifying reactants and products in chemical reactions
- modeling chemical reactions in terms of rearrangement of atoms
- describing observed reactions using word equations
- considering the role of energy in chemical reactions
- recognizing that the conservation of mass in a chemical reaction can be demonstrated by simple chemical equations
Chemical reactions, including combustion and the reactions of acids, are important in both non-living and living systems and involve energy transfer (ACSSU179)
- investigating reactions of acids with metals, bases, and carbonates
- investigating a range of different reactions to classify them as exothermic or endothermic
- recognizing the role of oxygen in combustion reactions and comparing combustion with other oxidation reactions
- comparing respiration and photosynthesis and their role in biological processes
- describing how the products of combustion reactions affect the environment.
The theory of plate tectonics explains global patterns of geological activity and continental movement (ACSSU180)
- recognizing the major plates on a world map
- modeling sea-floor spreading
- relating the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic activity to constructive and destructive plate boundaries
- considering the role of heat energy and convection currents in the movement of tectonic plates
- relating the extreme age and stability of a large part of the Australian continent to its plate tectonic history.
Energy transfer through different mediums can be explained using wave and particle models (ACSSU182)
- exploring how and why the movement of energy varies according to the medium through which it is transferred
- discussing the wave and particle models and how they are useful for understanding aspects of phenomena
- investigating the transfer of heat in terms of convection, conduction and radiation, and identifying situations in which each occurs
- understanding the processes underlying convection and conduction in terms of the particle model
- investigating factors that affect the transfer of energy through an electric circuit
- exploring the properties of waves, and situations where energy is transferred in the form of waves, such as sound and light.
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 (ACSHE157)
- investigating the historical development of models of the structure of the atom
- investigating how the theory of plate tectonics developed, based on evidence from sea-floor spreading and occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic activity
- considering how ideas about disease transmission have changed from medieval time to the present as knowledge has developed
- investigating the work of scientists such as Ernest Rutherford, Pierre Curie, and Marie Curie on radioactivity and subatomic particles
- investigating how models can be used to predict the changes in populations due to environmental changes, such as the impact of flooding or fire on rabbit or kangaroo populations.
Advances in scientific understanding often rely on developments in technology and technological advances are often linked to scientific discoveries (ACSHE158)
- considering how common properties of electromagnetic radiation relate to its uses, such as radar, medicine, mobile phone communications, and microwave cooking
- investigating technologies involved in the mapping of continental movement
- considering how the development of imaging technologies has improved our understanding of the functions and interactions of body systems.
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 (ACSHE160)
- investigating how technologies using electromagnetic radiation are used in medicine, such as in the detection and treatment of cancer
- using knowledge of science to test claims made in advertising or expressed in the media
- investigating the use of nanotechnology in medicine, such as the delivery of pharmaceuticals
- describing how science is used in the media to explain a natural event or justify actions
- evaluating claims relating to products such as electrical devices, fuels, indigestion tablets
- considering the impact of technological advances developed in Australia, such as the cochlear implant and bionic eye
- considering the impacts of human activity on an ecosystem from a range of different perspectives
- considering how communication methods are influenced by new mobile technologies that rely on electromagnetic radiation
- recognizing aspects of science, engineering, and technology within careers such as medicine, medical technology, telecommunications, biomechanical engineering, pharmacy, and physiology
Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE228)
- considering how technologies have been developed to meet the increasing needs for mobile communication
- investigating how scientific and technological advances have been applied to minimizing pollution from industry
- considering how choices related to the use of fuels are influenced by environmental considerations
- investigating the work of Australian scientists such as Fiona Wood and Marie Stoner on artificial skin
- considering safe sound levels for humans and implications in the workplace and leisure activities
- investigating contemporary science issues related to living in a Pacific country located near plate boundaries, for example, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand
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 models of energy transfer and apply these to explain phenomena. They 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. They describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments and predict how future applications of science and technology may affect people’s lives.
Students design questions that can be investigated using a range of inquiry skills. They design methods that include the control and accurate measurement of variables and systematic collection of data and describe how they considered ethics and safety. They analyse trends in data, identify relationships between variables and reveal inconsistencies in results. They analyse their methods and the quality of their data, and explain specific 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 to specific audiences.