Junior Cycle Science is a compulsory core subject for all pupils. The new specification for Junior Cycle Science focuses on the development of students’ knowledge of and about science through the unifying strand, Nature of science, and the four contextual strands: Physical world, Chemical world, Biological world, and Earth and space. Through exploring these four contextual strands, our students develop a sceintifically accurate understanding of the world in which the live. One of they key aims of Junior Cycle Science is for students to become scientifically literate, in a world where science are technology are being more embedded in our day to day lives.
In addition to learning and understanding scientific facts, junior cycyle science affords students the opportunity to engage in scientific practises through Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) and Effective Research (ER). IBL is a method of teaching & learning in which the students engage in science the way scientists do. Student's develop and test hypotheses by developing their own investigations. As opposed to traditional science classes, where students followed a procedure, the teacher only provides support and feedback as the students develop their own experiments. The teacher also help to guide the students to correctly interpret the results and think of ways to extend their learning. ER enables students to pick a broad topic about science in society and help students correctly research unbiased sources of information. The teacher prompts students to consider what is a reliable source and how to intrepet the facts in light of a bigger question, that informs our views on society.
It has been designed for a minimum of 200 hours of timetabled student engagement across the three years of junior cycle. Students will undertake two Classroom-Based Assessments that will relate to priorities for learning and teaching such as investigating, and communicating in science, while at the same time develop their knowledge and understanding of science, which are vital to working like a scientist. Students will also complete an Assessment Task worth 10% of their final grade before taking a two hour common level written examination at the end of third year. JCSP Science is an offer for students needing additional help with Junior Science.
The first CBA is an Extended Experimental Investigation (EEI), which gives students an opportunity to research a question they have about some science-related phenomena they have come across in the course of the three years of their studies. The development of inquiry, collaborative, practical, recording and reporting skills will be central here, such as posing questions and making predictions, working with others, designing experiments, conducting experiments, generating and recording primary data, processing and analysing the data to make valid conclusions, and communicating the method used, data recorded, findings, and reflections on the investigation.
The second CBA is a Science in Society Investigation (SSI), which gives students an opportunity to explore a scientific topic or issue. The development of research and reporting skills are central here, for example searching for information, discriminating between sources, documenting sources used, presenting evidence in a report, applying knowledge of science to new situations and analysing different points of view on the issue, drawing conclusions and communicating personal opinion(s) based on the evidence.
The Assessment Task links to the principal objective of the SSI, which is to analyse the information/secondary data collected, evaluate the claims and opinions studied, and draw evidence-based conclusions about the issues involved. The knowledge and skills developed by students during this Classroom-Based Assessment emerge from their growing awareness of scientific inquiry.