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									Getting started guide
Supporting science, supporting you
    The business of qualifications is awash with acronyms and jargon aplenty. This page explains some of
    the more common Edexcel terms you’re likely to encounter.

     Science Subject Advisor   Our dedicated science specialist, who offers help and support across GCSE,
                               GCE and BTEC. Our Science Subject Advisor, Stephen Nugus, is supported
                               by colleagues across Edexcel, both in London and in Manchester.

     Information Manual        The bible for Exams Officers, containing all the information about entries,
                               option codes, post-results services and much else. This has now gone green
                               and is available online on the Edexcel website.

     EDI (Electronic           The system used by Exams Officers to obtain basedata on qualifications to
     Data Interchange)         to make registrations and entries.

     Edexcel Online (EOL)      Our secure website, used for most of our administration procedures, such as
                               looking up moderator details. You can find it at

     OPTEMS                    These forms are used to collect marks for controlled assessment and for
                               Estimated Grades. We use the same form as Attendance Registers for exams

     ePEN                      Electronic Performance Evaluation Network (ePEN) is the system that Edexcel
                               examiners use to mark student responses online.

     UMS                       A Uniform Mark Scale, or UMS, is a way of standardising the marking of
                               papers. Grade boundaries are set using raw marks. For each unit, raw marks
                               are mapped to uniform marks. These unit uniform mark scores then determine
                               the overall qualification grade.

     Awarding                  The process by which candidates’ work is graded.

     EAR                       Enquiries About Results – the system where clerical checks or re-marks can be
                               requested after results have been published.

     ResultsPlus               Our unrivalled online results analysis service, ResultsPlus gives you information
                               about the performance of your classes – or individual students – against the
                               national average.

     TFE                       Training From Edexcel, the department that deals with the organisation and
                               administration of INSET courses.

     Cash-in                   Also known as certification, the process of requesting a grade once all the
                               units for a qualification have been accrued.

     CAT / CAU                 Controlled assessment task / controlled assessment unit – the new name
                               for the modified internally assessed tasks that your students will complete.
                               These replace our old IAAs.

Why choose Edexcel?
Every student can fulfil their potential
To help students fulfil their potential, we have developed a new suite of GCSEs for science that put
good science at the heart of teaching, learning and assessment, and:

I is presented in extremely clear and detailed          I has a clear and achievable approach to new
  specifications                                          requirements for controlled assessment and
I has examination papers designed and                     practical work
  trialled to be accessible and with appropriate        I is designed to allow you to choose the best
  stretch                                                 learning pathway for each student
                                                        I supports you with help available online, on
                                                          the phone and locally.

An extremely clear and detailed specification
You will see that the specifications are extremely detailed. This is to:

I ensure that you have a clear idea about what          I make sure you don’t have to cover material
  might be assessed in an examination                      twice in successive units because the
I make it easy for you to plan                             progression of ideas is clear.

Examination papers designed and trialled to be accessible and with
appropriate stretch
The new GCSEs for 2011 bring with them new              In response to this opportunity, using research
regulatory requirements to test students using a        undertaken by our Assessment Design Team
variety of question types. The types we have            and in consultation with teachers, we have
included are:                                           developed examination papers that are:
I multiple choice questions                             I accessible – early question parts will
I short answer questions                                  generate confidence in students
I longer answer questions, testing quality of           I clear – the language is carefully checked and
  written communication.                                  simple rules are followed for consistency
This represents an opportunity to ensure the            I able to stretch students aiming for higher
exam papers remain accessible to students with            grades – longer answer questions are
a wide range of abilities, while also giving them         carefully written to ensure more able
an opportunity to excel.                                  students know what they need to do to
                                                          access all the marks and to ensure students
                                                          aiming for lower grades can gain some marks
                                                        I consistent – to ensure that students are
                                                          familiar with the paper style. This includes
                                                          producing Sample Assessment Materials
                                                          using the same quality control processes as
                                                          live papers.

    Why choose Edexcel?
    An achievable approach to new requirements for controlled
    assessment and practical investigations
    We have designed the controlled assessment            To help with planning and to develop skills, we
    and theory content to ensure that the                 have embedded a small number of practical
    controlled assessment:                                investigations in theory units. The benefits are
    I is easy to plan                                     two-fold:
    I is straightforward to mark                          I development of knowledge and skills can
    I follows a structure that helps test students’         happen simultaneously, thus maximising
      actual investigative skills                           teaching time
    I is based on students’ own practical work and        I a mix of theory and practical learning is more
      collection of secondary evidence – as                 likely to lead to secure acquisition of
      required by the Ofqual’s subject criteria.            knowledge and skills.

    Understanding of the scientific process and the ability to interpret the data as exemplified by these
    practical investigations is required in the examination papers. The best way to ensure this is to
    undertake practical investigations.

    Controlled assessment – Planning, Observations and Conclusions
    To allow students to experience what a full           For each controlled assessment we will produce
    investigation is like, within the limitations of a    specific marking support to help you apply the
    real school environment, the controlled               generic marking criteria. All controlled
    assessments have been split into three parts –        assessments are set to these generic criteria
    Planning, Observations and Conclusions. Marks         regardless of subject. This means that you can
    from each can be submitted separately or              apply generic criteria to award marks where a
    submitted as a set. Whole task responses, from        student gives an answer that you see is correct,
    which marks have been submitted, should be            but falls outside the specific marking guidance
    retained for moderation.                              for that controlled assessment.

    Transition from other Awarding Organisations made easy
    We've put in place a series of valuable support       I support from the Edexcel Science team,
    measures to make it easy for you to move to              who provide regular email updates
    Edexcel:                                              I pose questions to our Science Subject
    I curriculum guidance is available from your             Advisor, Stephen Nugus, who is on hand to
      local Curriculum Development Manager and               deal with your queries.
      Curriculum Support Manager

Designed to allow you to choose the best learning pathway for each
Depending on the learning approach that suits      We’ll provide you with high-quality guidance
them, and the progression route that they wish     and comprehensive teaching schemes,
to follow, different learning pathways can suit    enabling you to identify the best pathway for
different students.                                your students. You can use the schemes to set
There’s a great deal of shared content between     work that provides evidence that meets BTEC
our new GCSE in Science and BTEC Level 2 in        criteria and also forms a valuable part of your
Applied Science, as both are based on the Key      GCSE teaching. This will help you to:
Stage 4 programme of study. We’ve been             I see if a student works best with the GCSE or
working on ways that this overlap can benefit        the BTEC approach
you, your students and your centre:                I delay the decision on moving students
I with Edexcel approved GCSE and BTEC links          completely to GCSE or BTEC – depending
  your students achieve their potential by           on whether they become more interested in
  matching their learning styles to the right        following a vocational or academic route
  qualification                                    I gather evidence for BTEC assignments for
I our single sign-up process (from September         any students that move to a full BTEC course
  2011) ensures you receive the support suited     I ensure you can cover GCSE teaching in the
  to your combination of GCSE and BTEC               time available even if you are allowing
  students at the time you need it. It also          students to try the BTEC approach early on
  reduces the risk of fees for late registration     in your Key Stage 4 teaching
  of BTEC students.                                I introduce some of the motivational aspects
                                                     of the BTEC approach to all your students.

Supporting you with help available online, on the phone and locally
We recognise that the changing nature of           I Our Science Subject Advisor team is on the
teaching – with less time to travel to training,     end of the phone to help you with both
the need to continually review whether the           subject-related and administrative queries.
expectations of students, parents and the          I Our website is updated as new information
community are being met, and a greater               and support becomes available. Visit
number of qualifications to offer – means that to find:
you need more support available more quickly         I free teaching resources
than ever before.                                    I a Year 9 starter programme to help you
To help you we have committed to delivering            with transition
expert support locally, online and at the end of     I free guidance and support to help you
the phone.                                             teach GCSE with BTEC
I We will be running free Launch and Getting         I our free online results analysis service –
  Ready to Teach events.                               ResultsPlus – that gives you unrivalled
I Online events will be available from 4pm so          insight into exam performance
  you don’t have to miss teaching.                   I our ResultsPlus Mock Analysis Service –
I We will be working with your local authority         get an early feel for how your students are
  to set up cluster groups and briefings in your       coping with the new exam styles
                                                     I our Subject Advisor webpage and Ask the
                                                       Expert services.

    What’s new for 2011 Biology
    This section of the guide gives you an overview of what material is new, and what material you may be
    familiar with if you taught Edexcel’s 360 Science qualification.

    B1                                                                            B1
    Lesson                    Specification                 360 Science           Lesson                   Specification               360 Science
                              learning outcomes             specification match                            learning outcomes           specification match
    Lesson B1.1               1.1, 1.2, 1.3                 B1a 1.11              Lesson B1.27             3.15
    Classification                                                                Antiseptics practical
    Lesson B1.2               1.4, 1.5                      B1a 1.11              Lesson B1.28             3.16, 3.17, 3.18            B1a 1.1, B1a 1.2,
    Vertebrates and                                                               Interdependence and                                  B1a 1.3, B1a 1.4
    invertebrates                                                                 food webs
    Lesson B1.3               1.6, 1.7, 1.8 , 1.9, 1.19     B1a 1.11              Lesson B1.29             3.19
    Species                                                                       Parasites and mutualists
    Lesson B1.4               1.8, 1.9, 1.10                                      Lesson B1.30             3.20, 3.21, 3.22            B1a 1.5, B2 4.3
    Variation                                                                     Pollution
    Lesson B1.5               1.13, 1.14                    B1a 2.6               Lesson B1.31             3.23
    Variation practical                                                           Polutants and plant
                                                                                  growth practical
    Lesson B1.6               1.11, 1.15, 1.16
    Reasons for variety                                                           Lesson B1.32             3.24, 3.25                  B2 4.7, B2 4.8
                                                                                  Pollution indicators
    Lesson B1.7               1.12, 1.17, 1.18              B1a 1.2, B1a 1.7,
    Evolution                                               B1a 1.10 B2 4.6       Lesson B1.33             3.26                        B2 3.7
                                                                                  The carbon cycle
    Lesson B1.8               1.20 1.21                     B1a 2.1, B1a 2.2,
    Genes                                                   B1a 2.8               Lesson B1.34             3.27                        B2 3.8
                                                                                  The nitrogen cycle
    Lesson B1.9               1.22, 1.23, 1.24              B1a 2.4, B1a 2.6,
    Explaining inheritance                                  B1a 2.8
    Lesson B1.10              1.25. 1.26                    B1a 2.9
    Genetic disorders                                                             B2
    Lesson B1.11              2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4                                  Lesson                   Specification               360 Science
    Homeostasis                                                                                            learning outcomes           specification match

    Lesson B1.12              2.19, 2.20, 2.21              B1b 3.1, B1b 3.2,     Lesson B2.1              1.2, 1.3, 1.4               B2 3.1
    Sensitivity                                             B1b 3.3, B1b 3.5      Plant and animal cells

    Lesson B1.13               2.22                                               Lesson B2.2              1.1, 1.5
    Skin sensitivity practical                                                    Inside bacteria

    Lesson B1.14              2.23                          B1b 3.5, B1b 3.6      Lesson B2.3              1.6, 1.7                    B2 1.1, B2 1.2
    Responding to stimuli                                                         DNA

    Lesson B1.15              2.5, 2.6, 2.7                 B1b 3.8, B1b 3.13,    Lesson B2.4              1.8
    Hormones                                                B1b 3.14              DNA practical

    Lesson B1.16              2.8, 2.9, 2,10, 2.11, 2.12,                         Lesson B2.5              1.9, 1.10                   B1a 2.3
    Diabetes                  2.13                                                DNA discovery

    Lesson B1.17              2.16                                                Lesson B2.6              1.11, 1.12                  B1b 3.14, B3 1.20
    Tropic responses                                                              Genetic engineering
    practical                                                                     Lesson B2.7              1.13, 1.14, 1.15, 1.16      B2 2.1, B2 2.2, B2 2.3
    Lesson B1.18              2.14, 2,15, 2.17              B2 2.11, B2 2.12      Mitosis and meiosis
    Plant hormones                                                                Lesson B2.8              1.17, 1.18, 1.19            B2 2.17
    Lesson B1.19           2.17, 2.18                       B2 2.13               Clones
    Uses of plant hormones                                                        Lesson B2.9              1.19, 1.20, 1.21            B2 2.6, B2 2.8, B2.2.9,
    Lesson B1.20              3.1, 3.2                      B1b 4.3, B1b 4.4,     Stem cells                                           B2 2.18
    Effects of drugs                                        B1b 4.5, B1b 4.6,     Lesson B2.10             1.22, 1.23                  B2 1.8, B2 1.9
                                                            B1b 4.8               Protein manufacture
    Lesson B1.21              3.3                           B1b 4.1, B1b 4.2      Lesson B2.11             1.24, 1.25                  B2 1.8, B2 1.9
    Reaction times and                                                            Mutations
    drugs practical
                                                                                  Lesson B2.12             1.26, 1.27
    Lesson B1.22              3.4, 3.5                      B1b 4.1               Enzymes
    The damage caused
    by smoking                                                                    Lesson B2.13             1.32
                                                                                  Enzymes practical
    Lesson B1.23              3.6                           B1b 4.1, B1b 4.2
    The effects of alcohol                                                        Lesson B2.14             1.28, 1.29, 1.30, 1.31      C2 8.8
                                                                                  Enzyme action
    Lesson B1.24              3.7
    Ethics and transplants                                                        Lesson B2.15             2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4          B2 1.10, B2 1.11
                                                                                  Aerobic respiration
    Lesson B1.25              3.8, 3.9                      B1b 4.9
    Pathogens and                                                                 Lesson B2.16             2.5, 2.6
    infection                                                                     Aerobic respiration
    Lesson B1.26              3.10, 3.11, 3.12, 3.13,       B1b 4.10, B1b 4.14
    Antiseptics and           3.14                                                Lesson B2.17             2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10,   B2 1.12, B2 1.13,
    antibiotics                                                                   Anaerobic respiration    2.11                        B2 1.16, B2 1.17

B2                                                                       B3
Lesson                    Specification            360 Science           Lesson                   Specification             360 Science
                          learning outcomes        specification match                            learning outcomes         specification match
Lesson B2.18              2.13, 2.14               B2 3.2                Lesson B3.8              1.9, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12,    B1b 3.9, B1b 3.10,
Photosynthesis                                                           The menstrual cycle      1.13                      B1b 3.11
Lesson B2.19              2.16                                           Lesson B3.9              1.14, 1.5, 1.16           B1b 3.12
                                                                         Lesson B3.10             1.17, 1.18, 1.19          B3 1.15
Lesson B2.20              2.15                     B2 3.4                Sex determination
Limiting factors
                                                                         Lesson B3.11             2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5   B3 2.23, B3 2.24,
Lesson B2.21              2.17, 2.18, 2.19, 2.20                         Courtship                                          B3 2.25, B3 2.26
Water transport
                                                                         Lesson B3.12             2.6, 2.12                 B3 2.1, B3 2.2, B3 2.3,
Lesson B2.22              2.21                                           Behaviour                                          B3 2.4, B3 2.5, B3 2.27
Osmosis practical
                                                                         Lesson B3.13             2.6, 2.8
Lesson B2.23              2.22, 2.23               B1a 1.5               Behaviour practical
Organisms and their
                                                                         Lesson B3.14             2.6, 2.7                  B3 2.1, B3 2.2, B3 2.3,
                                                                         Learned behaviour                                  B3 2.4, B3 2.5
Lesson B2.24              2.22, 2.23
                                                                         Lesson B3.15         2.9, 2.10, 2.12               B3 2.6, B3 2.7, B3 2.8,
Populations and
                                                                         Animal communication                               B3 2.9
distributions practical
                                                                         Lesson B3.16             2.11, 2.13
Lesson B2.25              3.1, 3.2, 3.3            B1a 1.7, B1a 1.8,     Plant behaviour
Fossils and evolution                              B1a 1.9, B1a 1.10
                                                                         Lesson B3.17             2.14, 2.15
Lesson B2.26              3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7       B2 2.4                Human evolution
                                                                         Lesson B3.18             2.14, 2.16, 2.17, 2.18
Lesson B2.27              3.8                                            Human evolution
Blood                                                                    and behaviour
Lesson B2.28              3.9, 3.10
                                                                         Lesson B3.19             3.1, 3.2, 3.3             B2 1.4, B2 1.5
Lesson B2.29              3.9, 3.11
                                                                         Lesson B3.20             3.4
Circulatory system
                                                                         Yeast growth practical
Lesson B2.30              3.12, 3.13
                                                                         Lesson B3.21             3.5, 3.6, 3.7             B2 1.6
Digestive system
                                                                         Microorganisms for
Lesson B2.31              3.14, 3.15                                     food
Breaking down food
                                                                         Lesson B3.22             3.8, 3.9                  B3 1.1
Lesson B2.32              3.16                                           Yoghurt practical
                                                                         Lesson B3.23             3.10, 3.13                B3 1.6, B3 1.5, B3 1.20
Lesson B2.33              3.17                                           Enzyme technology
Digestive enzymes
                                                                         Lesson B3.24             3.11
                                                                         Lactase practical
Lesson B2.34              3.18                     B3 1.1, B3 1.4
                                                                         Lesson B3.25             3.12
Pro- and pre-biotics
                                                                         Pectinase practical
                                                                         Lesson B3.26             3.14, 3.18, 3.19          B3 1.10, B3 1.9,
                                                                         Global food security                               C1b 7.14
B3                                                                       Lesson B3.27             3.15, 3.16, 3.17, 3.18    B3 1.10, B3 1.11,
Lesson                    Specification            360 Science           A GM future?                                       B3 1.12, B3 1.13
                          learning outcomes        specification match
Lesson B3.1               1.31, 1.32
Lesson B3.2               1.29, 1.30
Plant defences
Lesson B3.3               1.26, 1.27, 1.28
Bacterial growth
Lesson B3.4               1.20, 1.21, 1.22         B1b 4.11, B1b 4.12
Lesson B3.5               1.23, 1.24, 1.25         B1b 4.6
Lesson B3.6               1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
The kidneys
Lesson B3.7               1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8
Inside the kidneys

    What’s new for 2011 Chemistry
    C1                                                                        C1
    Lesson                   Specification              360 Science           Lesson                    Specification               360 Science
                             learning outcomes          specification match                             learning outcomes           specification match
    Lesson C1.1              1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4         C1b 7.4               Lesson C1.26              5.11, 5.12
    The early atmosphere                                                      Acid rain
    Lesson C1.2              1.5, 1.6                   C1b 7.4               Lesson C1.27              5.13, 5.14, 5.15, 5.16      C1b 7.2, C1b 7.3,
    A changing                                                                Climate change                                        C1b 7.4, C1b 7.5,
    atmosphere                                                                                                                      C1b 7.6
    Lesson C1.3              1.7                                              Lesson C1.28              5.17, 5.18, 5.19            C1b 7.12, C1b 7.14
    Oxygen in the                                                             Biofuels
    atmosphere practical
                                                                              Lesson C1.29              5.20, 5.21, 5.22, 5.23      C1b 7.11
    Lesson C1.4          1.8, 1.9, 0.1                  C1b 7.3               Choosing fuels
    The atmosphere today
                                                                              Lesson C1.30              5.24
    Lesson C1.5              2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5,                         Fuels practical
    Rocks and their          2.6, 2.7
                                                                              Lesson C1.31              5.25, 5.26, 5.27, 5.28,     C2 5.4, C2 5.5,
                                                                              Alkanes and alkenes       5.29                        C2 5.6, C2 5.8
    Lesson C1.6            2.8, 2.9, 2.10               C1a 6.12
                                                                              Lesson C1.32              5.30, 5.31, 5.32            C2 5.1, C2 5.2
    Limestone and its uses
    Lesson C1.7              2.11
                                                                              Lesson C1.33              5.33, 5.34, 5.35            C2 5.14, C2 5.15,
                                                                              Polymerisation                                        C2 5.16
    decomposition of
    carbonates practical                                                      Lesson C1.34              5.36, 5.37                  C2 5.20
                                                                              Problems with
    Lesson C1.8              2.12, 2.13, 2.16, 0.2, 0.3, C1a 6.11             polymers
    Chemical reactions       0.4
    Lesson C1.9              2.14, 2.15, 2.17, 2.18,
    Reactions of calcium     0.4
    Lesson C1.10             3.1, 3.2, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3
                                                                              Lesson                    Specification               360 Science
                                                                                                        learning outcomes           specification match
    Lesson C1.11             3.3
                                                                              Lesson C2.1               1.1, 1.2                    C1a 5.5, C1a 5.6,
    Indigestion remedies
                                                                              Mendeleev                                             C1a 5.7, C1a 5.8,
                                                                                                                                    C1a 5.9, C1a 5.11,
    Lesson C1.12             3.4, 3.5                   C1a 6.2                                                                     C1a 5.12
    More neutralisation
                                                                              Lesson C2.2               1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7     C1a 5.10, C1a 5.13,
    Lesson C1.13             3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9         C1a 6.16              Structure of the the                                  C2 6.3
    Electrolysis practical                                                    atom
    Lesson C1.14             3.10, 3.11, 3.12, 0.5      C1b 7.23              Lesson C2.3               1.2, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11   C1a 5.9, C2 6.4,
    The importance of                                                         The modern periodic                                   C2 6.13, C2 6.14
    chlorine                                                                  table
    Lesson C1.15             3.13, 3.14                 C2 6.12, C1a 6.16     Lesson C2.4               1.12, 1.13                  C2 6.5
    Electrolysis of water                                                     Electron shells
    Lesson C1.16             4.1, 4.2, 4.3              C1a 6.4, C1a 6.5,     Lesson C2.5               2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4          C2 6.6, C2 6.7, C2 6.8
    Ores                                                C1a 6.8, C1a 6.9      Ionic bonds
    Lesson C1.17             4.4                                              Lesson C2.6               2.5, 2.6, 2.7               C2 6.9, C2 6.10
    Metal extraction                                                          Ionic compounds
                                                                              Lesson C2.7               2.8                         C2 6.9
    Lesson C1.18             4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8         C1a 6.6, C1a 6.7      Properties of ionic
    Oxidation and                                                             compounds
                                                                              Lesson C2.8               2.9, 2.10                   C1a 6.1, C1a 6.2,
    Lesson C1.19             4.9                        C1b 7.7               Solubility                                            C1a 6.3
    Recycling metals
                                                                              Lesson C2.9               2.11, 2.12, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4   C1a 6.3
    Lesson C1.20             4.10                       C1a 5.4               Precipitation practical
    Properties of metals
                                                                              Lesson C2.10              2.13, 2.14, 0.2, 0.3
    Lesson C1.21             4.11, 4.12, 4.13, 4.14     C2 6.2                Precipitates
                                                                              Lesson C2.11              2.15, 2.16                  C1a 5.1, C1a 5.4,
    Lesson C1.22             5.1, 5.2                   C1b 7.15              Ion tests                                             C3 3.6
    Crude oil
                                                                              Lesson C2.12              3.1, 3.2, 3.3               C2 7.9, C2 7.10
    Lesson C1.23             5.3, 5.4, 5.5              C1b 7.16, C1b 7.17    Covalent bonds
    Crude oil fractions
                                                                              Lesson C2.13              3.4, 0.5
    Lesson C1.24             5.6, 5.7                   C1b 7.2, C1a 6.16     Comparing chemicals
    Combustion                                                                practical
    Lesson C1.25             5.8, 5.9, 5.10             C1b 7.18, C1b 7.19,   Lesson C2.14              3.5, 3.6, 3.7               C2 7.4, C2 7.11
    Incomplete                                          C1b 7.20              Properties of covalent
    combustion                                                                substances

C2                                                                            C3
Lesson                    Specification             360 Science               Lesson                    Specification              360 Science
                          learning outcomes         specification match                                 learning outcomes          specification match
Lesson C2.15              3.8, 3.9                  C1b 7.22                  Lesson C3.1               1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 0.4         C3 3.1, C3 3.2, C3 3.3,
Immiscible and                                                                Water testing                                        C3 3.4, C3 3.5, C3 3.6
miscible liquids
                                                                              Lesson C3.2               1.3, 0.4                   C3 3.1, C3 3.2, C3 3.3,
Lesson C2.16              3.10, 3.11                                          Safe water                                           C3 3.4, C3 3.5, C3 3.6
                                                                              Lesson C3.3               1.4
Lesson C2.17              4.5                       C2 6.9, C2 7.4, C2 7.7,   Ion identification
Chemical classification                             C2 7.9
                                                                              Lesson C3.4               1.5
Lesson C2.18              4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4        C1a 5.17, C1a 5.18,       Safe limits
Metallic bonding and                                C1a 5.19, C1a 5.20,
                                                                              Lesson C3.5               2.1, 2.2, 2.3              C3 3.7, C3 3.8, C3 4.18
transition metals                                   C1a 5.21, C1a 5.3,
                                                                              Water solutes
                                                    C1a 5.4, C1a 5.7,
                                                    C1a 5.8, C2 7.7,          Lesson C3.6               2.4, 2.5                   C3 4.18
                                                                              Hard and soft water
Lesson C2.19              4.1, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8        C2 6.19
Alkali metals                                                                 Lesson C3.7               2.6
                                                                              Determining dry mass
Lesson C2.20              4.1, 4.9, 4.10            C1a 5.18, C1a 5.19,       practical
Halogens                                            C2 6.19
                                                                              Lesson C3.8               2.7, 2.8, 2.9              C3 3.7, C3 3.8, C3 3.16
Lesson C2.21              4.12                                                Particles and moles
reactions practical                                                           Lesson C3.9               2.10                       C1a 6.1, C1a 6.2
                                                                              Preparing soluble salts
Lesson C2.22              4.11, 4.13                C1a 5.19                  1
reactions                                                                     Lesson C3.10              2.11, 2.12                 C3 3.17
                                                                              Preparing soluble salts
Lesson C2.23              4.1, 4.14, 4.15, 4.16,    C1a 5.7, C2 6.17          2
Noble gases               4.17
                                                                              Lesson C3.11              2.13, 2.14                 C3 3.18
Lesson C2.24              5.1                                                 Titration
Temperature changes
practical                                                                     Lesson C3.12              2.15                       C3 3.19
                                                                              Titrations and
Lesson C2.25              5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6   C2 8.1, C2 8.2, C2 8.3    circulations
Temperature changes
                                                                              Lesson C3.13              3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5,   C3 4.5, C3 4.6
Lesson C2.26              5.7                                                 Electrolysis              3.6, 3.7
Rates of reaction
practical                                                                     Lesson C3.14              3.8
                                                                              Electrolysis of brine
Lesson C2.27              5.8, 5.9                  C2 8.4, C2 8.5            practical
Rates of reactions
                                                                              Lesson C3.15              3.9, 3.10, 3.11            C3 4.5, C3 4.6
Lesson C2.28              5.10, 5.11                C2 8.7                    Electrolysis of salts
Kinetic theory
                                                                              Lesson C3.16              3.12
Lesson C2.29              5.12, 5.13                C2 8.6                    Mass changes in
Catalysts                                                                     electrolysis
Lesson C2.30              6.1, 6.2                  C2 2.5, C2 2.6
                                                                              Lesson C3.17              3.13, 3.14                 C3 4.7
Relative masses
                                                                              Uses of electrolysis
Lesson C2.31              6.3
                                                                              Lesson C3.18              4.1, 4.2, 4.3              C3 3.11, C3 3.12,
Empirical formula
                                                                              Molar volumes                                        C3 3.15
                                                                              Lesson C3.19              4.4, 4.5, 4.6              B2 3.11, C2 8.9,
Lesson C2.32              6.4, 6.5                  C2 5.27                   Fertilisers                                          C2 8.13, C2 8.14
composition                                                                   Lesson C3.20              4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10        C2 8.10, C2 8.11,
                                                                              The Haber process                                    C2 8.12
Lesson C2.33              6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9        C2 5.28
                                                                              Lesson C3.21              5.1, 5.2                   C1b 8.8
Lesson C2.34              6.10, 6.11
                                                                              Lesson C3.22              5.3, 5.4, 5.5              C1b 8.9
Industrial yields
                                                                              Ethanolic drinks
                                                                              Lesson C3.23              5.6, 5.7, 5.8              C2 5.13
                                                                              Ethanol production
                                                                              Lesson C3.24              5.9, 5.10                  C3 4.3
                                                                              Homologous series
                                                                              Lesson C3.25              5.10, 5.11, 5.12, 5.13     C3 4.3, C3 4.4
                                                                              Ethanoic acid
                                                                              Lesson C3.26              5.14, 5.15, 5.16           C3 4.3, C3 4.4
                                                                              Lesson C3.27              5.17, 5.18, 5.19, 5.20     C3 4.15, C3 4.16,
                                                                              Fats, oils and soap                                  C3 4.17, C3 4.18,
                                                                                                                                   C2 5.10, C2 5.11,
                                                                                                                                   C2 5.12

     What’s new for 2011 Physics
     P1                                                                         P1
     Lesson                   Specification             360 Science             Lesson                     Specification               360 Science
                              learning outcomes         specification match                                learning outcomes           specification match
     Lesson P1.1              1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4        P1b 12.8                Lesson P1.27               5.11, 5.12, 5.13, 5.14,
     The Solar System                                                           Transmitting electricity   5.15
     Lesson P1.2              1.10, 1.11, 1.5, 1.8                              Lesson P1.28               5.2, 5.3, 5.16, 5.17, 5.21, P1a 10.5, P1a 10.6
     Refracting telescopes                                                      Paying for electricity     0.1, 0.2, 0.3
     Lesson P1.3              1.6, 1.7                                          Lesson P1.29               5.4
     Lenses practical                                                           Power consumption
     Lesson P1.4              1.8, 1.9, 1.10
     Reflecting telescopes                                                      Lesson P1.30               5.18, 5.19, 5.20            P1a 10.9, P1a 10.10
                                                                                Reducing energy use
     Lesson P1.5              1.12, 1.13, 1.14, 1.15,   P1b 11.14, P1b 11.15,
     Waves                    0.1, 0.2, 0.3             P1b 11.16               Lesson P1.31               6.1, 6.2, 6.3
                                                                                Energy transfers
     Lesson P1.6              2.1, 2.2                  P1b 11.12
     Beyond the visible                                                         Lesson P1.32               6.4, 6.5                    P1a 10.7
     Lesson P1.7              2.2, 2.3, 2.4             P1b 11.18, P1b 11.19
     The electromagnetic                                                        Lesson P1.33             6.7
     spectrum                                                                   Heat radiation practical
     Lesson P1.8              2.5, 2.6                  P1b 11.1, P1b 11.2,     Lesson P1.34               6.6
     Electromagnetic                                    P1b 11.3                The Earth’s
     dangers                                                                    temperature
     Lesson P1.9           2.7                          P1b 11.3, P1b 11.6,
     Using electromagnetic                              P1b 11.8
     Lesson P1.10             2.8, 2.9                  P2 11.4
     Ionising radiation                                                         Lesson                     Specification               360 Science
     Lesson P1.11             3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4        P1b 12.15, P1b 12.16                               learning outcomes           specification match
     The Universe                                                               Lesson P2.1                1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5     P2 12.14, P2 12.15,
     Lesson P1.12             3.8                                               Static electricity                                     P2 12.16
     Spectrometers                                                              Lesson P2.2                1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8          P2 12.14, P2 12.15,
     practical                                                                  Uses and dangers                                       P2 12.16, P2 12.17
     Lesson P1.13           3.5, 3.7, 3.9, 3.10         P1b 12.8                Lesson P2.3                1.9, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12,      P1a 9.8
     Exploring the Universe                                                     Electric currents          1.13
     Lesson P1.14             3.6                       P1b 12.8, P1b 12.17     Lesson P2.4                2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5     P1a 9.9
     Alien life?                                                                Current and voltage
     Lesson P1.15             3.11, 3.12, 3.13          P1b 12.12               Lesson P2.5                2.6
     Life-cycles of stars                                                       Investigating
                                                                                resistance practical
     Lesson P1.16             3.14, 3.15, 3.16          P1b 12.19
     Theories about the                                                         Lesson P2.6                2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10, 2.11   P1a 9.10, P1a 9.11,
     Universe                                                                   Changing resistances                                   P1a 9.6
     Lesson P1.17             3.17, 3.18, 3.19, 3.20,   P1b 12.19               Lesson P2.7                2.12, 2.13, 2.14, 2.15,     P2 10.5, P2 10.4
     Red-shift                3.21, 3.22                                        Transferring energy        2.16, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3
     Lesson P1.18             4.4, 4.5, 1.15                                    Lesson P2.8                3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 0.1,    P2 9.1, P2 9.2, P2 9.4
     Infrasound                                                                 Vectors and velocity       0.2, 0.3
     Lesson P1.19             4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 1.15       P1b 11.5                Lesson P2.9                3.1, 3.5                    P2 9.2, P2 9.5
     Ultrasound                                                                 Acceleration
     Lesson P1.20             4.6, 4.9, 4.11            P1b 11.12               Lesson P2.10               3.6, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3          P2 9.2, P2 9.3, P2 9.5
     Seismic waves                                                              Velocity-time graphs
     Lesson P1.21             4.7                                               Lesson P2.11               3.7, 3.8                    P2 9.11, P2 9.10
     Earthquakes practical                                                      Forces
     Lesson P1.22          4.8, 4.10, 4.12, 4.13        P1b 11.13               Lesson P2.12               3.9, 3.10, 3.11             P2 9.8, P2 9.9, P2 9.10,
     Detecting earthquakes                                                      Resultant forces                                       P2 9.6, P2 9.7
     Lesson P1.23             5.1, 5.5                  P1a 9.8, P1a 9.2,       Lesson P2.13               3.12, 3.13, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3   P2 9.8, P2 9.9, P1b 12.3,
     Renewable energy                                   P1a 10.1, P1a 10.2      Forces and                                             P1b 12.4
     resources                                                                  acceleration
     Lesson P1.24             5.5                       P1a 10.1, P1a 10.2      Lesson 2.14                3.15
     Non-renewable                                                              Investigating the
     resources                                                                  relationship between
                                                                                force, mass and
     Lesson P1.25             5.7
                                                                                acceleration practical
     generators practical                                                       Lesson P2.15               3.14 3.16, 3.17, 0.1, 0.2, P1b 12.1, P2 9.13, P2
     Lesson P1.26             5.6, 5.8, 5.9, 5.10       P1a 9.4, P1a 9.1,       Terminal velocity          0.3                        9.14
     Generating electricity                             P1a 9.2, P1a 9.3

P2                                                                            P3
Lesson                  Specification               360 Science               Lesson                   Specification               360 Science
                        learning outcomes           specification match                                learning outcomes           specification match
Lesson P2.16            4.1, 4.2                    P2 9.15, P2 9.16          Lesson P3.7               1.18
Stopping distances                                                            Total internal reflection
Lesson P2.17            4.3
Friction practical                                                            Lesson P3.8               1.19
                                                                              Critical angles practical
Lesson P2.18            4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 0.1, 0.2,    P2 9.17
Momentum                0.3                                                   Lesson P3.9              1.15, 1.16                  P3 6.3
                                                                              Critical angles
Lesson P2.19            4.8
Investigating crumple                                                         Lesson P3.10             1.20, 1.21, 1.22            P3 6.3, P3 6.4, P1b11.5
zones practical                                                               Using reflection and
Lesson P2.20        4.7, 4.9, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3         P2 9.18, P2 9.19
Momentum and safety                                                           Lesson P3.11             2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5     P3 5.27, P3 5.28,
                                                                              X-rays                                               P3 5.29, P3 5.30,
Lesson P2.21            4.10, 4.11, 4.12, 4.13,     P2 10.4, P2 10.5,
                                                                                                                                   P3 5.32, P3 5.33
Work and power          4.14, 4.18, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3   P2 10.2
                                                                              Lesson P3.12             2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9          P3 5.32
Lesson P2.22            4.15, 4.16, 4.17, 4.18,     P2 10.1, P2 10.7
                                                                              Using X-rays
Potential & kinetic     0.1, 0.2, 0.3
energy                                                                        Lesson P3.13             2.10, 2.11, 2.12, 2.13,     P3 6.10, P3 6.11,
                                                                              ECGs and pulse           2.14, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3         P3 6.12, P3 6.13, P3 6.5
Lesson P2.23            5.1                         P2 11.5
                                                                              Lesson P3.14             3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6,    P3 5.8, P3 5.9, P3 5.15
Lesson P2.24            5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5          P2 11.4, P2 11.7
                                                                              Beta radiation           3.7
Ionising radiation
                                                                              Lesson P3.15             3.19, 3.2, 3.7, 3.8         P3 5.15, P3 5.8, P3 5.9
Lesson P2.25            5.6, 5.7, 5.8               P2 12.2, P2 12.4
                                                                              Alpha and gamma
Nuclear reactions
Lesson P2.26            5.9, 5.10, 5.11             P2 12.6, P2 12.9
Nuclear power                                                                 Lesson P3.16             3.9, 3.10, 3.11, 3.12,      P3 5.10, P3 5.11,
Lesson P2.27            5.12, 5.13, 5.14, 5.15,     P2 12.11, P2 12.12,       The stability curve      3.13                        P3 5.12, P3 5.13,
Fusion – our future?    5.16                        P2 12.13                                                                       P3 5.14, P3 5.15,
                                                                                                                                   P3 5.16, P3 5.18
Lesson P2.28            6.9, 6.10                   P2 11.2
Changing ideas                                                                Lesson P3.17             3.14, 3.15, 3.16, 3.17,     P3 5.23, P3 5.24,
                                                                              Quarks                   3.18                        P3 5.25, P3 5.26
Lesson P2.29            6.11, 6.12                  P2 12.10, P2 12.7
Nuclear waste                                                                 Lesson P3.18             3.19, 3.20, 3.21            P3 5.17, P2 11.12,
                                                                              Dangers of ionising                                  P2 11.15, P3 6.22
Lesson P2.30            6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7          P2 11.8, P2 11.9, P2      radiation
Half-life                                           11.10
                                                                              Lesson P3.19             3.1, 3.22, 3.23, 3.24,      P3 6.25, P3 6.21,
Lesson P2.31            6.8                                                   Radiation treatments     3.25                        P3 6.22, P3 6.23,
Radioactive decay                                                                                                                  P3 6.24
                                                                              Lesson P3.20             4.1, 4.2, 4.3               P3 5.31, P3 5.32,
Lesson P2.32            6.1, 6.2                    P2 11.13, P2 11.14        Collaboration and                                    P2 10.9, P2 10.10,
Background radiation                                                          circular motion                                      P2 10.11
Lesson P2.33            6.3                         P2 11.1, P2 11.3
                                                                              Lesson P3.21             4.12
Uses of radiation
                                                                              Collisions practical
                                                                              Lesson P3.22             4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, 4.11   P3 6.17
P3                                                                            Lesson P3.23             4.13, 4.14, 4.15, 4.16      P3 6.19, P3 6.20
                                                                              PET scanners
Lesson                  Specification               360 Science
                        learning outcomes           specification match       Lesson P3.24             5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5,    P3 5.1, P3 5.2, P3 5.3,
                                                                              Kinetic theory           5.6                         P3 5.4
Lesson P3.1             1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 0.1,    P3 6.1, P3 6.2, P3 6.3,
Radiation in medicine   0.2, 0.3                    P3 6.4, P1b 11.5          Lesson P3.25             5.7
Lesson P3.2             1.10, 1.11, 1.12            B1b 3.5, B1b 3.6          temperature and
How eyes work                                                                 volume practical
Lesson P3.3             1.13, 1.14                                            Lesson P3.26             5.9
Sight problems                                                                Investigating volume
Lesson P3.4             1.8                                                   and pressure practical
Investigating lenses                                                          Lesson P3.27             5.8, 5.10, 5.11, 5.12,      P3 5.6, P3 5.7
practical                                                                     Calculating volumes      0.1, 0.2, 0.3
Lesson P3.5             1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 0.1,                              and pressures
Converging lenses       0.2, 0.3
Lesson P3.6             1.15, 1.16, 1.17            P3 6.3
Reflection and

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      The science team

             Peter                  Kathryn                      Damian                   Katherine
       Our team of science experts works closely with teachers, examiners and the wider science community
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                      such as what our new 2011 GCSE specifications have to offer.
                      To contact Stephen:

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                      I email

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     Specification at a glance
     GCSE in Science
     The GCSE in Science is made up of three externally assessed units, including one biology, one chemistry
     and one physics unit, as well as a controlled assessment unit.

     Content overview

        Biology 1
          25%        +      Chemistry 1
                               25%         +      Physics 1
                                                    25%        +     assessment
                                                                                    =       GCSE in Science

               B1 – Influences on life                                  P1 – Universal physics
     Key topics:                                              Key topics:
     Classifications, variation and inheritance               Visible light and the Solar System
     Responses to a changing environment                      The electromagnetic spectrum
     Problems of, and solutions to, a changing                Waves and the Universe
     environment                                              Waves and the Earth
             Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)                   Generation and transmission of electricity
                                                              Energy and the future
                                                                     Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)

           C1 – Chemistry in our world
     Key topics:
     The Earth’s sea and atmosphere
                                                                  Science controlled assessment
     Materials for the Earth                                  Tasks:
     Acids                                                    1.Planning
     Obtaining and using metals                               2.Observations
     Fuels                                                    3.Conclusions
            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)                                      Not tiered
                      Nov/Mar/June                                               Nov/June
                           25%                                                      25%

The first biology unit is split into                   The first physics unit is split into
three topics, which cover the                          six smaller topics. In these topics,
following areas:                                       students:
1 general characteristics of animals and plants,       1 learn about light and lenses, and how
  particularly vertebrates and organisms that can        telescopes led to the development of our
  survive in extreme environments, how to classify       knowledge of the Solar System, the evolution of
  organisms, basic variation and principles of           stars and the Universe
  inheritance, Darwin’s theory of evolution by
  natural selection                                    2 learn how light is part of the electromagnetic
                                                         spectrum and how other components of the
2 how humans detect and respond to changes in            spectrum are used
  their environments, including the role of
  hormones and the nervous system, and the role        3 discover how the Universe evolved from the Big
  of hormones in plants in terms of responding to        Bang, and how we measure it; and how we
  stimuli                                                study the planets and stars of our Solar System

3 how the body is affected by drugs and disease-       4 explore the world of waves, from
  causing organisms (and how scientists have             communication between whales, to scanning of
  developed antibiotics and antiseptics), nutrient       unborn babies, to earthquakes resulting from
  cycles and how chemicals produced by human             plate movements
  activities pollute our plant.                        5 learn how an electric current is generated and
                                                         how electricity can be transmitted over large
There are five topics in the first
chemistry unit, which cover the                        6 investigate energy transfers in common
following areas:                                         appliances and in our atmosphere.

1 how the Earth and its atmosphere have evolved
  and how human activity can have an impact on

2 the types of rock in the Earth, especially calcium
  carbonate and how it can be reacted to form
  other compounds which are useful in everyday

3 how acids can be reacted to give useful
  products and how electricity is used to make
  new substances

4 how metals are extracted from their ores and
  used to make alloys

5 crude oil, as a source of many substances in our
  world, from petrol to plastics to detergent!

     GCSE in Additional Science
     The GCSE in Additional Science is made up of three externally assessed units, including one biology, one
     chemistry and one physics unit, as well as a controlled assessment unit.

     Content overview

        Biology 2
          25%         +     Chemistry 2
                               25%        +       Physics 2
                                                    25%        +      assessment
                                                                                    =           GCSE in
                                                                                           Additional Science

           B2 – The components of life                              P2 – Physics for your future
     Key topics:                                              Key topics:
     The building blocks of cells                             Static and current electricity
     Organisms and energy                                     Controlling and using electric current
     Common systems                                           Motion and forces
                                                              Momentum, energy, work and power
            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)
                                                              Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
                      Nov/Mar/June                            Advantages and disadvantages of using
                                                              radioactive materials
                                                                     Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)
            C2 – Discovering chemistry
     Key topics:
     Atomic structure and the periodic table
     Ionic compounds and analysis                                  Additional Science controlled
     Covalent compounds and separation techniques                          assessment
     Groups in the periodic table                             Tasks:
     Chemical reactions                                       1.Planning
     Quantitative chemistry                                   2.Observations
            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)
                                                                                Not tiered

The second biology unit is split                       The second physics unit is split
into three topics, which cover the                     into six topics:
following areas:
                                                       1. static and current electricity, incorporating the
1. an understanding of animal, plant and bacterial        ideas of charge and current; understanding
   cells, and how they are studied; the structure of      electrostatic phenomena in terms of movement
   DNA, how proteins are synthesised, and                 of electrons
   modern developments of genetics, including
                                                       2. the relationship between p.d., current and
   the human genome project, genetic
                                                          resistance, and use of the equations for power
   engineering and cloning; enzymes
                                                          and energy transferred
2. respiration and photosynthesis (including
                                                       3. motion, including understanding of
   physiological adaptations) and the use of
                                                          displacement, velocity, acceleration and force,
   fieldwork to enable better understanding of
                                                          calculations of acceleration and interpretation
                                                          of velocity-time graphs.
3. change over time and growth of animals and
                                                       4. investigating conservation of momentum
   plants; human physiology, including a holistic
                                                          and applying ideas about rate of change
   approach to the circulatory and digestive
                                                          of momentum; understanding of the
                                                          relationship between work done, energy
                                                          transferred and power
The second chemistry unit is split                     5. an understanding of radioactive decay;
into six topics:                                          the role of the wider scientific community
                                                          in validating theories
1. the structure of an atom, relative atomic mass,
   atomic and mass number, and how this                6. the uses of different ionising radiations and
   contributes to the structure of the periodic           the risks involved; using models to investigate
   table                                                  radioactive decay; the advantages and
                                                          disadvantages of using nuclear power for
2. the formation of ions and ionic compounds, the         generating electricity.
   structure of ionic lattices and their properties,
   tests for ions, soluble and insoluble salts

3. covalent bonding and the properties of
   covalent structures, including simple molecular
   and giant molecular substances,

4. properties of groups in the periodic table,
   including the alkali metals, halogens, noble
   gases and transition metals

5. chemical reactions, including an understanding
   of exothermic and endothermic reactions, rates
   of reaction and the effect of catalysts

6. calculations, including relative formula mass,
   masses of products and reactants, and yields.

     GCSE in Biology
     The GCSE in Biology is made up of three externally assessed units, as well as a controlled assessment unit.

     Content overview

        Biology 1
          25%         +      Biology 2
                               25%         +       Biology 3
                                                     25%        +      assessment
                                                                                      =      GCSE in Biology

               B1 – Influences on life                                     B3 – Using biology
     Key topics:                                               Key topics:
     Classification, variation and inheritance                 Control systems
     Responses to a changing environment                       Behaviour
     Problems of, and solutions to, a changing                 Biotechnology
                                                                      Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)
            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)

                                                                   Biology controlled assessment
           B2 – The components of life
     Key topics:
     The building blocks of cells
     Organisms and energy
     Common systems
                                                                                  Not tiered
            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)

The first biology unit is split into                   The biology extension unit builds
three topics, which cover the                          on ideas developed in the earlier
following areas:                                       units, and covers the following
1 general characteristics of animals and plants,
  particularly vertebrates and organisms that can      1. an understanding of further systems within the
  survive in extreme environments, how to classify        human body and how they use negative
  organisms, basic variation and principles of            feedback as a regulatory mechanism, including
  inheritance, Darwin’s theory of evolution by            the renal system and the reproductive system
  natural selection                                       (incorporating the menstrual cycle), an
                                                          understanding of immunity, monoclonal
2 how humans detect and respond to changes in
                                                          antibodies and their uses, and circadian
  their environments, including the role of
                                                          rhythms in living organisms
  hormones and the nervous system, and the role
  of hormones in plants in terms of responding to      2. behaviour and the study of behaviour, through
  stimuli                                                 an understanding of different types of
                                                          behaviours and the role of ethologists in the
3 how the body is affected by drugs and disease-
                                                          understanding of this field; evolution including
  causing organisms (and how scientists have
                                                          co-evolution and human evolution and
  developed antibiotics and antiseptics), nutrient
  cycles and how chemicals produced by human
  activities pollute our plant.                        3. study of biotechnology, including the potential
                                                          of using microorganisms as a food source,
                                                          enzyme and recombinant DNA technology.
The second biology unit is split
into three topics, which cover the
following areas:
1. an understanding of animal, plant and bacterial
   cells, and how they are studied; the structure of
   DNA, how proteins are synthesised, and
   modern developments of genetics, including
   the human genome project, genetic
   engineering and cloning; enzymes

2. respiration and photosynthesis (including
   physiological adaptations) and the use of
   fieldwork to enable better understanding of

3. change over time and growth of animals and
   plants; human physiology, including a holistic
   approach to the circulatory and digestive

     GCSE in Chemistry
     The GCSE in Chemistry is made up of three externally assessed units, as well as a controlled assessment unit.

     Content overview

       Chemistry 1
          25%         +     Chemistry 2
                               25%         +      Chemistry 3
                                                     25%         +     assessment
                                                                                      =     GCSE in Chemistry

           C1 – Chemistry in our world                                  C3 – Chemistry in action
     Key topics:                                                Key topics:
     The Earth’s sea and atmosphere                             Qualitative analysis
     Materials for the Earth                                    Quantitative analysis
     Acids                                                      Electrolytic processes
     Obtaining and using metals                                 Gases, equilibria and ammonia
     Fuels                                                      Organic chemistry
            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)                            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)
                      Nov/Mar/June                                               Nov/Mar/June
                            25%                                                       25%

            C2 – Discovering chemistry                            Chemistry controlled assessment
     Key topics:                                                Tasks:
     Atomic structure and the periodic table                    1.Planning
     Ionic compounds and analysis                               2.Observations
     Covalent compounds and separation techniques               3.Conclusions
     Groups in the periodic table
     Chemical reactions                                                           Not tiered
     Quantitative chemistry                                                        Nov/June
            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)                                            25%

There are five topics in the first                     The chemistry extension unit
chemistry unit, which cover the                        builds on ideas developed in the
following areas:                                       earlier units, and covers the
                                                       following areas:
1 how the Earth and its atmosphere have evolved
  and how human activity can have an impact on         1. an understanding of qualitative tests for specific
  these                                                   ions, and their applications in industry
2 the types of rock in the Earth, especially calcium   2. hard water and the problems it causes,
  carbonate and how it can be reacted to form             quantitative analysis including an appreciation
  other compounds which are useful in everyday            of different units of measurement; acid-base
  life                                                    titrations to include simple calculations
3 how acids can be reacted to give useful              3. an understanding of electrolysis, to include half
  products and how electricity is used to make            equations, and an appreciation of the uses of
  new substances                                          the products of electrolysis
4 how metals are extracted from their ores and         4. calculations of volumes of gas in reactions using
  used to make alloys                                     Avogadro’s law; reversible reactions including
                                                          the Haber process, and the concept of a
5 crude oil, as a source of many substances in our
                                                          dynamic equilibrium
  world, from petrol to plastics to detergent!
                                                       5. the different methods used in the manufacture
                                                          of ethanol; the production of ethene and
The second chemistry unit is split                        ethanoic acid from ethanol; the production of
into six topics:                                          esters from alcohol and carboxylic acid and the
                                                          uses of esters; hydrogenation and its uses.
1. the structure of an atom, relative atomic mass,
   atomic and mass number, and how this
   contributes to the structure of the periodic

2. the formation of ions and ionic compounds, the
   structure of ionic lattices and their properties,
   tests for ions, soluble and insoluble salts

3. covalent bonding and the properties of
   covalent structures, including simple molecular
   and giant molecular substances,

4. properties of groups in the periodic table,
   including the alkali metals, halogens, noble
   gases and transition metals

5. chemical reactions, including an understanding
   of exothermic and endothermic reactions, rates
   of reaction and the effect of catalysts

6. calculations, including relative formula mass,
   masses of products and reactants, and yields.

     GCSE in Physics
     The GCSE in Physics is made up of three externally assessed units, as well as a controlled assessment unit.

     Content overview

        Physics 1
          25%         +      Physics 2
                               25%         +       Physics 3
                                                     25%         +     assessment
                                                                                      =       GCSE in Physics

               P1 – Universal physics                                 P3 – Application of physics
     Key topics:                                               Key topics:
     Visible light and the Solar System                        Radiation in treatment and medicine
     The electromagnetic spectrum                              X-rays and ECGs
     Waves and the Universe                                    Production, uses and risks of ionising radiation
     Waves and the Earth                                       from radioactive sources
     Generation and transmission of electricity                Motion of particles
     Energy and the future                                     Kinetic theory and gases

            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)                            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)
                      Nov/Mar/June                                              Nov/Mar/June
                            25%                                                       25%

            P2 – Physics for your future                            Physics controlled assessment
     Key topics:                                               Tasks:
     Static and current electricity                            1.Planning
     Controlling and using electric current                    2.Observations
     Motion and forces                                         3.Conclusions
     Momentum, energy, work and power
     Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion                                           Not tiered
     Advantages and disadvantages of using                                         Nov/June
     radioactive materials
            Exam: 1 hour (60 mark, tiered)

The first physics unit is split into                   5. an understanding of radioactive decay;
                                                          the role of the wider scientific community
six smaller topics. In these topics,
                                                          in validating theories
                                                       6. the uses of different ionising radiations and
1 learn about light and lenses, and how                   the risks involved; using models to investigate
  telescopes led to the development of our                radioactive decay; the advantages and
  knowledge of the Solar System, the evolution of         disadvantages of using nuclear power for
  stars and the Universe                                  generating electricity.
2 learn how light is part of the electromagnetic
  spectrum and how other components of the             The physics extension unit builds
  spectrum are used
                                                       on ideas developed in the earlier
3 discover how the Universe evolved from the Big       units, and focuses on the uses of
  Bang, and how we measure it; and how we              physics in medicine:
  study the planets and stars of our Solar System
                                                       1. the uses of radiation in medicine, including CAT
4 explore the world of waves, from
                                                          scans, ultrasounds, and endoscopy; lenses,
  communication between whales, to scanning of
                                                          both in the human eye and in corrective
  unborn babies, to earthquakes resulting from
                                                          devices; reflection, refraction and TIR, including
  plate movements
                                                          the application of optical fibres in medicine
5 learn how an electric current is generated and
                                                       2. production of X-rays, absorption of X-rays and
  how electricity can be transmitted over large
                                                          their uses in medicine, including CAT scans and
                                                          fluoroscopes; heart action monitoring and
6 investigate energy transfers in common                  control, including ECG, pacemakers and pulse
  appliances and in our atmosphere.                       oximetry

                                                       3. use of radioactive materials in medicine,
The second physics unit is split                          including in the treatment of tumours and in
                                                          PET scanners to diagnose medical conditions;
into six topics:                                          types of radioactive decay, including ß- and ß+
1. static and current electricity, incorporating the      decay; stability of isotopes, produced by
   ideas of charge and current; understanding             radioactive decay; safety precautions needed
   electrostatic phenomena in terms of movement           when using radioactive materials
   of electrons                                        4. particle accelerators and their use in medicine
2. the relationship between p.d., current and             to produce radioactive isotopes, including
   resistance, and use of the equations for power         ideas of conservation of momentum and kinetic
   and energy transferred                                 energy; the use of radioisotopes to produce
                                                          gamma radiation in PET scanners
3. motion, including understanding of
   displacement, velocity, acceleration and force,     5. kinetic theory to explain movement of particles
   calculations of acceleration and interpretation        in gases; the relationship between temperature
   of velocity-time graphs.                               and gas volume; the relationship between
                                                          pressure and volume, applied to the use of
4. investigating conservation of momentum                 bottled gases in medicine.
   and applying ideas about rate of change
   of momentum; understanding of the
   relationship between work done, energy
   transferred and power

     Guidance for administrators
     Assessment windows
     Your candidates will have the opportunity to sit          The internally-assessed unit (controlled assessment)
     externally-assessed units in November, March or           is available to submit for moderation in June and
     June. All units will be offered in all sessions, with     November.
     the exams starting in November 2011 for B1, C1
     and P1, June 2012 for B2, C2 and P2 and June              Certification (cash-in) can be requested at any of
     2013 for B3, C3 and P3.                                   the three series, March, June or November (first
                                                               certification for GCSE Science is June 2012 and for
                                                               GCSE Additional Science is June 2013).
     Terminal requirement
     You may be used to this by now from other                 series in which the student cashes-in. If you are
     GCSE qualifications, but just to remind you that          using the controlled assessment unit as part of the
     40% of the qualification must be taken in the             40%, then it must be submitted for moderation in
     examination series in which certification                 the cash-in series – you cannot use a banked
     (cash-in) is requested. Note that this 40%                controlled assessment task as part of the 40%
     applies to each GCSE in the suite. If, therefore,         terminal requirement.
     you want to cash-in for both GCSE in Science
     and GCSE in Additional Science in the same series         If a student is absent for a unit in a session where
     (e.g. June of Year 11), your candidates must take         they are cashing-in, and that unit forms part of the
     40% of the assessment for GCSE in Science and             40% terminal requirement, then the mark for this
     40% of the assessment for GCSE in Additional              unit will be 0 (but note that, if the absence is for
     Science in the June 2011 exam series.                     illness or another good reason, then a Special
                                                               Consideration may be applied for).
     It is essential that your department plans the route
     through the qualification carefully and ensures that
     a minimum of two units are submitted in the exam

     Re-sit rule
     The rule here is that only two attempts are allowed       The fact that only two results are held in the
     for any one unit: an initial attempt and one re-sit.      module bank at any time has a major implication
                                                               if you are trying to take both a horizontal and
     However, once a student has cashed-in, the                linear route through the specification e.g. to take
     module bank is reset and two further attempts are         GCSE in Science and GCSE in Biology. Candidates
     allowed towards re-certification: an initial attempt      taking this combination will need to have two
     and a re-sit. When the student re-certificates, the       results for the B1 unit. If they cash-in GCSE in
     40% terminal requirement must be met in the               Science and GCSE in Biology at the same session,
     cash-in series. Also, when there are more than two        then they have to use the two results in the bank.
     attempts at a unit, because of re-certificating, only     If you are planning this mixture of routes through
     the last two available results can be used – so, by       the specification, it is highly recommended that
     the time the student has had four attempts (two           you cash-in for one route, to clear the module
     before the first certification; then two further          bank, before attempting to cash-in for the
     attempts for re-certification), only the re-              other route.
     certification results will be available.

     In all circumstances, the usual rules for re-sits apply
     i.e. the better mark between the original and re-sit
     is counted. The exception to this is if the re-sit is
     part of the 40% terminal requirement, in which
     case it must be counted even if it is a lower mark.

Two other points are worth noting:

       If a candidate sits the Higher Tier for Biology Unit 1 (B1H) and then decides to take the same paper
       at Foundation Tier (B1F), this counts as the initial attempt at the B1 unit, followed by the re-sit
       attempt. In other words, changing Tier does NOT reset the module bank.

       If a candidate is entered for a unit, but is absent for that unit, then this does NOT count as an
       attempt – it is the result that is important, not the entry. However, as you have seen in the terminal
       requirement section, a unit for which the candidate is absent may have to be given a score of zero in
       order to allow certification to take place. This would count as an attempt, although certification
       would then reset the module bank and allow two further attempts anyway.

Some examples (UMS = Uniform Mark Score)

                                 November 2011                    March 2012                      June 2012

 Student 1                       B1 = 60 UMS                      C1 = 65 UMS                     P1 = 50 UMS
                                 C1 = 25 UMS                                                      CA = 65 UMS

 Student 1 re-sits C1 in March 2012 – but the student doesn’t use this as a cash-in session – so the higher mark of 65 UMS
 will count when this student cashes in in June 2012.

 Student 2                       B1 = 60 UMS                      C1 = 65 UMS                     P1 = 45 UMS
                                                                  P1 = 50 UMS                     CA = 65 UMS

 Student 2 re-sits P1 in June 2012 – this is now a terminal session and the P1 makes up part of the 40% terminal requirement
 – so the lower mark of 45 UMS must be used.

 Student 3                       B1 = 60 UMS                      C1 = 65 UMS                     B1 = 55 UMS
                                                                  P1 = 60 UMS                     P1 = 50 UMS
                                                                                                  CA = 65 UMS

 Student 3 re-sits B1 and P1 in June 2012. Only one of these is needed to add to the controlled assessment to meet the
 40% terminal requirement. Both marks go down – but B1 went down by less, so this is automatically counted towards the
 40% and the P1 result from March 2012 is used too.

     Controlled assessment
     Controlled assessment units have a shelf life of one              If a student wants to re-sit the controlled assessment
     year – the cover of each controlled assessment task               unit, the re-sit must be a new piece of work; and it
     will clearly state the time period during which it is             must also be valid in the session in which it is
     valid for submission. The validity of each controlled             submitted.
     assessment will be for June, plus the following
     November. Note that this shelf life applies to its                If you are using the controlled assessment unit as
     availability for submission for moderation – once it is           part of the 40%, then it must be submitted for
     moderated, the mark stays in the module bank until                moderation in the cash-in series – you cannot use a
     cashed-in.                                                        banked controlled assessment task as part of the
                                                                       40% terminal requirement.

                                        November 2011                   March 2012                    June 2012

      Student 1                         B1 = 60 UMS                     C1 = 65 UMS                   P1 = 50 UMS
                                        CA = 65 UMS

       This student is not eligible for a cash-in in June 2012.
       The controlled assessment was submitted for moderation in November 2011 and the mark cannot be "brought forward"
       to make up the 40% terminal requirement. Note, too, that the piece of work which was submitted in November 2011 would
       NOT be valid for submission for moderation in June 2012 because of the one year shelf life.

     Any candidate who wishes to re-certificate must meet the 40% terminal requirement i.e. the candidate
     must re-sit at least two units. If they re-sit only two units, these units together make up the 40% terminal
     requirement and must both be counted within the new cash-in. If the candidate re-sits 3 or 4 units, then the
     best new total is worked out – remembering that the 40% terminal requirement must still be met.

     Some examples of re-certification

                                        November 2011             March 2012          June 2012              Nov 2012
                                                                                      (CASH-IN #1)           (CASH-IN #2)

      Student 1                         B1 = 60 UMS               C1 = 50 UMS         P1 = 40 UMS            P1 = 55 UMS
                                        C1 = 25 UMS                                   CA = 65 UMS            C1 = 55 UMS

       Student 1 cashes in in June 2012 (with an overall UMS of 215), but re-certificates in Nov 2012, having re-sat C1 and P1.
       The controlled assessment has already been moderated, so the unit is in the bank and can be used towards the new cash-
       in (just like the B1 unit).

      Student 2                         B1 = 60 UMS               C1 = 50 UMS         P1 = 60 UMS            P1 = 55 UMS
                                        C1 = 25 UMS

       Student 2 cashes in in June 2012 (with an overall UMS of 215), but re-certificates in Nov 2012. This student submits a new
       controlled assessment – remember that the pieces of controlled assessment valid for submission in June 2012 are also valid
       for submission in November 2012. Note that the resit of P1 is part of the 40% terminal requirement, so must count towards
       the new cash-in, even though it is worse than the June 2012 result.

As we saw in the re-sit section, once a candidate has cashed-in, he/she is entitled to two more attempts
at a particular unit i.e. one attempt and a re-sit. However, only the last two available marks can be used for
re-certification; and any attempt at re-certification must meet the 40% terminal requirement.

Some final examples

                                  November 2011           June 2012                Nov 2012                 June 2013
                                                          (CASH-IN #1)                                      (CASH-IN #2)

 Student 1                        B1 = 60 UMS             C1 = 20 UMS              C1 = 10 UMS              C1 = 15 UMS
                                  C1 = 30 UMS             P1 = 40 UMS              P1 = 20 UMS              P1 = 60 UMS
                                                          CA = 60 UMS                                       CA = 65 UMS
  Student 1 sits B1 and C1 in November 2011, resitting C1 in June 2012 along with P1 and controlled assessment.
  For cash-in, the student takes P1 and controlled assessment from June 2012 (meeting 40% terminal requirement) and B1
  and C1 from the November 2011 session. The student wants to re-sit to improve his grade. This is allowed because,
  despite having already done C1 and a re-sit of C1, certification in June 2012 has reset the module bank and allowed two
  more attempts at the unit. He sits C1 and P1 in Nov 2012, but doesn’t cash-in. In June 2013, he re-sits C1 and P1 for the
  final allowed time, adding the controlled assessment unit (it has to be a new piece of controlled assessment valid for this
  examination series) as a contingency.
  Which units make up the new cash-in? There is only one B1 – so the result from November 2011 counts. The terminal
  requirement must be met: so 40% must come from the June 2013 session – this will be the P1 and controlled assessment
  marks which are the student’s best ones. What about C1? Remember, only the two most recent results are available to
  the candidate – so he can’t use the mark of 30 from November 2011 – or the mark of 20 from June 2012. Only the results
  from November 2012 or June 2013 are available – in this case, the better mark from June 2013 will score.

     B1: Teaching suggestions from the examiners
     This section contains weblinks recommended by GCSE examiners to enhance your teaching of the
     qualification. Edexcel cannot take responsibility for the content of any external links, and does not endorse
     any of these websites. The subject matter in external links may often go beyond the scope of the
     specification. Edexcel recommends that you use the information contained here in conjunction with
     Edexcel’s own or endorsed resources to deliver the qualification to your students.

     General approach
     This unit covers a range of topics building on the basic knowledge of cells and classification and why
     scientists use classification as a tool throughout the world. This is then linked to the genetics of inheritance
     and evolution. Topic 2 builds on the basics to look at control mechanisms within the human body and
     plants. Topic 3 mainly deals with where these control mechanisms go wrong and what the body does to deal
     with these problems. Topic 3 finishes with a look at how humans impact the environment and cycles within
     the environment. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the unit to carry out investigative work that
     will help the students with the necessary skills to tackle the controlled assessment tasks.

     Although this unit can be taught in any order there is a flow running through the units whereby the later
     human biology relies upon a sound understanding of human cells and cell structure, and the cycles in nature
     rely on the knowledge of bacterial and fungal cells.

       Topic 1
       An introduction leading up from cells to complete organisms would be a good scene setter.
       An excellent opportunity here for microscope work to look at the different types of cells and an introduction to basic histology.
       The use of agar plates to grow colonies of bacteria may be useful here to get an idea of scale.
       For an in depth look at cells with some animations involving animal cells and viruses available visit; this site also
       contains lots of information on topics such as mitosis, meiosis and protein synthesis for later units. For an interactive view of plant or
       animal cells visit For the differences between prokaryote and eukaryote cells visit which takes you through all
       in detail.
       There is a need to understand the mechanisms involved in the classification of vertebrates and an understanding of the
       binomial system of classification. Practical work is a little limited in this section although the use of keys to identify organisms
       should be employed and students developing keys for the more unusual vertebrates is a useful activity.To understand the
       uptake of oxygen in mammals, amphibians and fish, dissection techniques could be used to look at the internal anatomy and
       allow comparisons to be made.
       A simple to use website with interactive questions and answers can be found at to introduce the classification of vertebrates. For a different take on binomial
       classification try the activities found at
       Extreme environments and adaptations to survival websites include For video footage, for further information and maybe
       a trip out, is an invaluable source of information.
       Darwin’s theory of evolution is outlined in detail via the Wellcome Institute’s interactive resource on the tree of life, which can be
       found at For further information and video footage as well as a few interactive
       activities, visit the website
       Students must be able to understand the basics of genetics and a good starter for this is to isolate DNA from vegetables (peas or
       onions work particularly well). A reminder of the cell work covered earlier can introduce the subject effectively. A look at genetics in
       action with the classic examples of Drosophilia wings or eyes (could be a practical activity if time and resources allow), or the
       peppered moth can bring this topic to life. The website introduces genetic
       crosses quite nicely using brown and albino rabbits.
       The website has a good interactive
       to choose blue or brown eyes for a baby amongst many other interesting resources for later teaching topics.
       The disease symptoms and genetic inheritance of Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Disease are best explained using the relative
       information from the societies. This can be found at and Useful information and some video footage can also be found at the NHS websites for
       both of these disorders. It must be noted that the teaching of genetic disorders must be handled with empathy as students may have
       relatives or friends with these genetic disorders.


Topic 2
The theme running through this topic is about control
mechanisms in both plants and animals and it starts with
the basics of homeostasis.
An understanding of homeostasis in humans to include
temperature, body water content and the role of enzymes
lends itself to practical investigations including simple
enzyme actions. For a nice interactive on thermoregulation
go to, which takes you through this in stages.
For the nervous system and its responses, the practical biology website which has some excellent experiments on senses
and some analysis activities relevant to this part of the course. To explore the role of nerves and responses the website has several interactive animations and other interactives to
enhance your teaching.
An introduction to hormones using a visual image of the endocrine system is a good start to this section. Practical activities can
involve simulated urine or blood testing for glucose. For clear narrated animation of the process of blood glucose regulation the
website has interactive presentations which can be incorporated
into powerpoint activities.
For information on diabetes and treatments, a good source is found at
For calculation of body mass index and more information about this the website has a calculator and also a step by step method to calculate it yourself.
For the teaching of tropisms there is a nice interactive available at
plants.html .

Topic 3
This topic covers how the body responds to problems such as drugs and infection and then leads onto cycling in nature and the
effect of pollution on the environment.
For the teaching of drugs including caffeine, nicotine and alcohol the measurement of daphnia heart rate is a useful practical
investigation. For several activities and quizzes on drug and alcohol abuse visit
This could be an activity that students can do individually rather than as a whiteboard activity. The website Talk to Frank also has some
interesting activities in which students can get involved, as well as a wealth of facts about different drugs.
Understanding pathogens, the way in which disease is spread and how our body helps to defend against disease
can be taught on many different levels. Practical investigations on the effectiveness of antiseptics and antibiotics are a vital part of this
section. Microscopy to look at some of the pathogens can stimulate interest. There are many animations and interactive activities on
disease and disease transmission at
The ABPI has also developed new animations showing antibiotic action and antibiotic resistance. These can be found at and
The teaching of parasitism and mutualism can be greatly enhanced by using video footage such as the buffalo and oxpeckers at or cleaner fish at
Practical investigations into the effect of pollution on plant growth enhance the teaching of pollution and the problems associated
with it. Looking at indicator species such as lichen can make interesting fieldwork. A good powerpoint on indicator species is
available at (but you have to sign up to the TES to access this
resource alongside many other interesting resources).
For the teaching of the carbon cycle there are many online resources. One of the best is which takes you through the carbon cycle game.
The nitrogen cycle is a complex cycle which students find difficult to remember. A helpful animation can be found at

     B2: Teaching suggestions from the examiners
     General approach
     This unit covers a diverse range of topics which enable students to build on their Key Stage 3 learning of
     cells and biological systems. There are plenty of opportunities throughout this unit to carry out investigative
     work that will help students to develop their practical and analytical skills in preparation for controlled

     Although there is no set order in which this unit should be approached there are aspects of the unit that do
     require a sound understanding of the biological concepts introduced earlier in the unit. For example
     specification points 1.23 to 1.32, which focus on enzyme structure and function, are revisited to some extent
     later in specification points 3.14 and 3.17. The latter includes practical work that will draw on students’
     understanding of enzyme action and factors affecting the rate of enzyme activity.

     The work carried out on the circulatory system (3.8, 3.10 and 3.11) requires students to gain knowledge of
     heart structure and function and the role of blood components and blood vessels. This may be taught
     before students embark on work related to the effects of exercise on heart rate which forms a large part of
     Topic 2.

       Topic 1
       Topic 1 covers many issues at the forefront of scientific
       research and provides many opportunities for students
       to discuss and debate some very controversial aspects
       of biological science.
       Students apply their investigative and practical skills in microscopy to study various cell types and then compare the efficacy of
       the light microscope to the more modern techniques used to study cells.
       provides an interactive microscope with views of different cell types and enables students to
       compare images that they see under a light microscope, such as animal and bacterial cells, to those seen under the Transmission
       and Scanning Electron Microscopes. gives students the opportunity to view various cell types as seen by a light microscope or an electron
       microscope and interactively explore the contents of both plant and animal cells to gain a better understanding of the structure and
       function of cell components. This website includes animations, film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms
       and, using interactive activities, also covers the processes of mitosis and meiosis which are visited later in this topic. allows students to ‘operate’ an electron microscope, changing the clarity and magnification
       to view various life forms and biological structures such as DNA, as well as learn the functions of cell components across a wide range
       of cell types. Some of the material on this website would provide higher ability students with extension or project work.
       Students build on their Key Stage 3 knowledge of DNA by studying its structure in more detail and applying their
       fine-tuned understanding to various aspects of modern day science including the genetic modification of organisms, cloning and
       stem cell technology. There are various websites that deal with the ethical, social and moral issues of cloning and stem cell
       technology, although being such a controversial topic, many of these sites discuss such issues from their own perspective based on
       their own beliefs. However, students may find it interesting to collate various viewpoints on cloning to present to their peers. To
       reinforce understanding of the cloning technique gives students
       the opportunity to clone ‘ Mimi’ the mouse, carrying out the cloning process step-by-step by following clear instructions and
       illustrations. also provides the opportunity for students to practise their skills in cloning, although this
       time they clone a dog. This site also provides other useful activities such as quizzes and information that could provide students with
       material for discussion and debate.

Topic 1 (continued)
There are several websites that provide useful aids in the teaching of more complex topics such as protein synthesis. contains a 3-D animation library where students can visualise the processes
of transcription and translation in the synthesis of proteins.
In addition to this gives an animated account of protein synthesis, from the
unzipping of DNA to the formation of a polypeptide.
Similarly shows the formation of haemoglobin. and give short clips on transcription and translation respectively and
both may act as good starters or plenaries to a lesson. also gives a very brief but clear visit to translation, although in
this case there is no narration. This could be used to test students’ understanding of the process by asking them to work together to
provide a commentary to the animation.
There are several specification points in this topic that focus on the structure and function of enzymes and this follows nicely from
work carried out on DNA structure and function and protein synthesis. shows a
series of animations on enzyme action in various contexts including their specificity to substrate and their role in anabolic and
catabolic reactions. Students can also vary factors such as temperature to visualise the effect this has on enzyme activity. Time
permitting, it may be worth incorporating the work on digestive enzymes from Topic 3 during the teaching of this part of the topic so
that fresh information can be applied by students to both theoretical and practical work on digestion.

Topic 2
Specification points 2.1 to 2.11 could be taught following work carried out on the circulatory system in which students study blood
components, heart structure and function and the role of blood vessels.
Topic 2 reintroduces the respiratory system in humans where students learn how cells obtain materials for aerobic and anaerobic
respiration. ID=AP1903 allows students to visualise the process of diffusion and apply
their understanding to the diffusion of oxygen and glucose across cell membranes. Students should be able to relate the rate of
diffusion of materials across cell membranes to changes in physical activity and could convey their understanding through analysis of
practical work carried out. Note that the term ‘oxygen debt’ is now referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
Students at both tiers are expected to confidently use the equations for both aerobic and anaerobic respiration to show the reactants
and products of these chemical processes.
There is extensive opportunity for practical and investigative work from specification point 2.12 onwards. It would be worth
considering that this section of the topic is set out to ensure that students move in a logical fashion through the remainder of the
topic, building up their knowledge of plant structure, photosynthesis and limiting factors before moving on to investigative work
which rounds up the topic. gives a simple
visual overview of photosynthesis which may help to illustrate a narrative on the process.
The short video also gives a useful overview of photosynthesis
starting from a historical viewpoint. is an interactive activity showing some ways in which
a plant controls water loss and how environmental factors influence the rate of transpiration in plants.

     Topic 3
     It may be worth considering teaching aspects of this topic, such as specification points 3.8 to 3.11, prior to the teaching of respiration
     and exercise in Topic 2, although this is not essential. Similarly the work that students undertake on the digestive system and enzymes
     could be taught prior to or alongside specification points 1.26 to 1.32, although students should be fully informed before attempting
     the practical activities that involve enzyme action.
     This topic begins with work on fossils and growth of organisms.
     gives information on the formation of fossils as well as a simple animation which shows clearly how a fossil is formed. is an interactive website that gives
     students the opportunity to make their own fossil. Some commentary is provided although this site would be useful for students
     seeking material for presentation or project work.
     Other websites such as and give information on fossil formation and the latter also
     provides a good video on the fossilisation of ‘Lucy’, originally thought to be one of the first upright-walking hominoids. and both show images of the pentadactyl limb and these
     could be used to illustrate the evolutionary process, although there are many websites that give equally good images and descriptive
     information on how the pentadactyl limb provides evidence for evolution.
     The study of the circulatory and digestive systems forms a large part of this topic and along with the study of so-called ‘health’ foods
     brings this topic to a close. There are many online resources that could support the teaching of these specification points. gives an overview of the functions of blood components and contains short quizzes on the blood, heart and other aspects of the circulatory system,
     including the effect of exercise on the body, that could be used as starters or plenaries to lessons to check students understanding.
     provides an interactive exploration of the circulatory system which can be used as self-assessment or a teaching aid. provides links to a variety of resources, including visual,
     animated and interactive, that can be used in different ways to support students’ learning throughout this topic. The information on
     this site also gives links to content covered in other topics of this unit. gives an account of the pathway that food follows through the
     digestive system covering both physical and chemical digestion by enzymes. provides an animated view of the process of
     digestion along with a simple commentary which includes information on the digestive enzymes. gives a simple visual
     description of how plant stanol esters work to prevent cholesterol entering the bloodstream using a known product as an example of
     this. provides students with information on the probiotic food types which could
     provide material for presentations, information leaflets or project work. Similarly, for higher ability students, provides information on the different types of bacteria found in so
     called ‘health’ foods, whereas may be accessible to a greater range of students when
     researching probiotics.


B3: Teaching suggestions from the examiners
General approach
This unit allows students to study three interesting areas of biology in more detail. The unit builds
significantly on content introduced in previous units and will stretch students with the introduction of new
ideas and concepts. The three topics are discrete and could be taught in any order. There are many
opportunities for How Science Works to be highlighted throughout the whole unit.

  Topic 1
  This topic is the longest topic in the unit and has a significant portion of Higher Tier work. The opportunity for practical work is slightly
  limited but some dissection and microscopy work, although not a key requirement, would be very helpful. The topic is broadly
  divided into three areas – homeostasis, reproduction and inheritance, and disease prevention.
  The first section on homeostasis builds on the ideas introduced in B1 by looking in detail at the kidneys as one example of a
  homeostasis mechanism. The kidneys highlight the importance of blood and the influence of hormones in maintaining a constant
  internal environment. A recap of diffusion and osmosis would be helpful as an introduction to this topic.
  Kidney dissection combined with rat dissection to look at the whole urinary system would be beneficial:
  It should be noted that details about the transport of ions, transporter proteins and the relative permeability of membranes to ions is
  Key Stage 5 and not required here. The dysfunction of the kidney could be highlighted using urine dipstick analysis. There is an
  opportunity for How Science Works to be highlighted by looking at the issue of living donation by relatives for kidney transplants at
  The control of the menstrual cycle looks at how hormones work together in the body to bring about a co-ordinated response and
  introduces the idea of negative feedback. Looking at graphical representations of hormone levels in the blood together with the
  thickness of the uterus lining at the different stages of the cycle will aid understanding. Infertility treatment is an ideal opportunity to
  highlight How Science Works and could be introduced using up-to-date news articles.
  Historical examples of how haemophilia inheritance such as how Queen Victoria’s descendents and the Russian Czars has influenced
  history would make a good introduction to this section:
  The use of Drosophilia with red and white eyes or vestigial wings would be an excellent way to explain sex-linked inheritance.
  The inheritance of coloured kernels of corn could be a less involved alternative. Simulations of genetic inheritance of sex-linked
  diseases using counters or dice would help explain inheritance probabilities and ratios if actual practical work is not possible:


     Topic 1 (continued)
     The ABPI produces some good straightforward animations that explain production of antibodies following exposure to infections or
     This section of their website also includes some information on monoclonal antibodies:
     Kits available from most educational suppliers to simulate genetic testing for diseases using electrophoresis would make an
     interesting extension to this exercise. A cheaper alternative is to simulate the separation of DNA by using electrophoresis to separate
     different coloured food dyes.
     Looking at how humans and plants defend themselves from microbes allows the introduction of more complex ideas and some
     industrial applications of antibody technology. Issues surrounding vaccination are always in the news and it might be interesting to
     introduce the advantages and disadvantages of immunisation with alternative vaccinations to the MMR, which students are likely to
     have already covered. As well as the suggested practicals it may be appropriate to revisit previous practical work on inhibition of
     bacterial growth by antiseptics and instead investigate the effect of different plant materials on growth.
     An interesting extension activity to this section could look at the transfer of antibiotic resistance between bacteria:


     Topic 2
     This is the shortest topic and has slightly limited
     opportunity for practical work. If possible some fieldwork
     in a zoo or nature centre would be highly beneficial.
     The topic explores classical animal behaviours with the
     opportunity to highlight some of the pioneering
     experiments in animal behaviour. The final section looks at
     the evidence for human evolution including some of the
     modern approaches to this field of research.
     The different behaviour patterns including mating strategies and parental care could be highlighted by some fieldwork. While this is
     not essential, YouTube clips and nature documentaries can also be used. The National Geographic film March of the Penguins is also
     excellent at illustrating possibly the most extreme example of parental care:
     The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour provides some very good resources including examples of animal behaviour in the
     ASAB Education Newsletter Feedback which you can register to receive by email:
     The different behaviours exhibited by animals could be highlighted with the historical experiments of Ivan Pavlov with dogs and
     Burrhus Skinner with rats in the ‘Skinner box’ &feature=related
     The applications of the behaviour strategies should be highlighted through sniffer dogs
     (, police horses and dolphins, but other examples could be used to reinforce
     The use of choice chambers provides an opportunity for practical work in the lab at
     animal-responses-to-stimuli,146,EXP.html. This can be done with a range of invertebrate species.
     The final part of this topic looks at the evidence for human evolution from fossils, the development of tools and the
     more recent technique of analysing mitochondrial DNA. Practical work is difficult but as a starter students could be given a range of
     objects such as plasticine and asked to design a tool for a specific purpose. A series of short DNA sequences with successive single
     base mutations could be used to show how mitochondrial DNA could be used to track evolution. Internet resources can be used to
     supplement teaching in this section:


Topic 3
This topic has an abundance of practical opportunities
which should be used where possible to supplement
the theory. Although much shorter than Topic 1, this
topic should be given a significant portion of the
teaching time in order to develop practical skills which
will benefit students who continue their studies beyond
GCSE. There is also a good amount of How Science
Works in this topic looking at the uses of new
technologies for food production and their potential
impact on the environment. This section makes
suggestions of some extra practical work to enhance
the teaching of this unit if there is time.
There are numerous resources available to help schools and teachers with the introduction of microbiology and biotechnology. In
particular SAPS and the NCBE have resources which can be downloaded for free. SGM offer free resources to schools, some of which
can be downloaded and some of which have to be ordered but are free to non-members:
Fermentation of yeast can be covered from many angles ranging from a basic practical measuring carbon dioxide production by
yeast cultured at different pH values to more complex ideas more closely linked to the industrial application with fermenters:
Students should be able to recognise the limitations of their procedure compared to the use of fermenters in industry. Looking at the
production of soft drinks using fermentation would make an interesting extension activity to this section.
Yogurt production is a practical frequently done at Key Stage 3 but it can be extended at this level to investigate factors which affect
the fermentation process (such as temperature). Students should be able to describe the inhibition of the fermentation process by
the production of lactic acid.
The use of enzymes in food production is now widespread. Chymosin, which is used to make vegetarian cheese, is available from
most large supermarkets and production of cheese can easily be achieved in an hour’s lesson. This practical allows for discussion as
to why vegetarian cheese is not classed as a genetically modified product. Asking students to guess how an After Eight is made
makes an ideal starter to a lesson on invertase. The enzyme can be purchased at low cost for practical work.
The application of enzymes in washing powder could be investigated to extend understanding of enzyme applications in
biotechnology and the factors which affect enzymes.
Use of enzymes in washing powder at low temperatures:
Investigating enzymes in washing powders:
Experimenting with plant tissue culture would make a good practical activity to aid the understanding of the use of Agrobacterium
tumefaciens to create transgenic plants:
The final section of this topic should be centred on How Science Works. There will be the opportunity to use up-to-date news articles
to emphasise the modern aspects of this topic.

     C1: Teaching suggestions from the
     This section contains weblinks recommended by GCSE examiners to enhance your teaching of the
     qualification. Edexcel cannot take responsibility for the content of any external links, and does not endorse
     any of these websites. The subject matter in external links may often go beyond the scope of the
     specification. Edexcel recommends that you use the information contained here in conjunction with
     Edexcel’s own or endorsed resources to deliver the qualification to your students.

     General approach
     You can teach the content of this unit in any order, although the order followed in the specification gives a
     logical flow with links between the five topics, and that order will be used in these notes.

     Equations and safety are both fundamental aspects of chemistry lessons, so specification points 0.1 – 0.5
     should be introduced where relevant throughout the unit, and there are many opportunities for this. The
     core ideas on formulae and equations are best visited often; and the ideas on risk can be discussed
     whenever practical work is undertaken.

       Topic 1
       The Earth’s sea and atmosphere
       The key ideas here are on the development of the atmosphere, but also on the idea that science is not always about certainties and
       there is no way to prove exactly how the atmosphere started and evolved. Useful links could be made with Geography departments.
       It would be good to start with some of the different ideas about the early atmosphere and why these ideas are uncertain. A web
       search could be used but much of the information is complex, so this may be unsuitable for less able students. Having done this, the
       specification’s version should be followed about the early atmosphere being emitted from volcanoes. The evolution of the
       atmosphere should then be considered.
       The classic experiment using gas syringes to pass air over heated copper follows, and there is an opportunity here to practise data
       analysis skills when considering the current composition of the atmosphere. Alternatively, wet iron wool, or burning candles floating
       inside an upturned measuring cylinder can be used. All of the experiments have interesting sources of error that can be considered.
       The presence of water vapour and carbon dioxide in the air can be investigated if it has not been done with younger students.
       You could, if there is time, consider how Cavendish discovered the noble gases – see
       Finally, changes in the amounts of carbon dioxide in the
       atmosphere due to both the eruption of volcanoes and
       human activity can be considered. This is an ideal area to
       consider the ethical aspects of chemistry. Different media
       reports on the greenhouse effect can be considered. The
       importance of the collection of good data can be
       emphasised. Note that global warming is covered in more
       detail in Topic 5, so 1.9 needs to be a gentle introduction to
       this subject.


     The link into Topic 2 is through Earth Science and you may wish to consider re-ordering some of Topics 1
     and 2 to give a larger block of Earth Science teaching.

         Topic 2
         Materials from the Earth
         In Topic 2, Earth Science introduces the idea of rocks containing chemical substances such as calcium carbonate and this acts as an
         introduction to some simple chemical reactions.
         The accent in the geology section is on how each type of rock forms, rather than on the rock cycle; and note that plate tectonics is
         not required.
         One approach is to consider sedimentary rock first. The formation of these rocks should be considered, using chalk and limestone as
         examples; then igneous rock, formed from magma, e.g. granite. Salol crystals can be grown on slides of different temperature to see
         the effect on crystal size. Finally, the formation of metamorphic rocks can be considered, e.g. marble. has a virtual rock kit. There are other resources – including salol
         videos – on Another approach is to do a ‘rock trail’ around your school.
         The lime cycle provides plenty of practical opportunities and it is important that students understand the implications of
         2.13 – this is where a simple chemical equation such as CaCO3 CaO + CO2 is very useful to appreciate ‘atom economy’.
                                                                           There are opportunities to think about how chemists are concerned
                                                                           with preserving the environment as they use the Earth’s resources,
                                                                           with the social aspects of limestone quarrying. A useful site based on
                                                                           quarrying in a National Park is http://www.peakdistrict-
                                                                           The use of limestone on chimneys links Topic 1 (the atmosphere)
                                                                           through Topic 2 to Topic 3 (acids). Care should be taken with thermal
                                                                           decomposition of carbonates – it’s tempting to make a link to
                                                                           reactivity series, whereas the explanation for the pattern is much
                                                                           more complex and certainly beyond the scope of GCSE Science!                  

         Topic 3
         Following on nicely from calcium carbonate neutralising
         soil acidity, this topic on acids revises Key Stage 3 ideas
         on neutralisation and salt formation, going on to think
         about what happens to a simple acid like hydrochloric acid when electrolysed. Some useful sites for revision could be and
         This topic is an ideal opportunity to practise word or symbol equations covering metal oxides, hydroxides and
         carbonates, with hydrochloric, nitric and sulfuric acids. Some advanced graph drawing could be developed by (perhaps
         a demonstration of) datalogging a pH titration curve and plotting the data. Finally, the application of hydrochloric acid
         in the stomach and indigestion remedies rounds off this part, and provides a suitable investigation.
         See which also has many other chemistry experimental ideas.
         Note that there is no need to look at methods of salt preparation – much has been covered at Key Stage 3 and there is a little more
         on why different methods are used in Unit 3, although you could do some simple salt preparations if students haven’t already done
         Then, on to electrolysis. A brief investigation of the products of the electrolysis of hydrochloric acid allows an exploration of the
         uses of chlorine. This is an ideal topic to evaluate safety hazards. In this section, there is no expectation for students to work out
         why the products are formed. Take care with your extension examples on electrolysis: we’ve tried to choose examples of simple
         binary electrolytes so that students don’t have to work out why hydrogen and oxygen are produced from sodium chloride solution
         (this will come in Unit 3). Another practical idea is the electrolysis of a ‘non-confusing’ solution such as copper(II) chloride. If you
         attempt the electrolysis of water as a demonstration or class practical, remember that the ‘water’ needs to be acidified slightly for the
         practical to work!

     Topic 4
     Obtaining and using metals
     Again, this topic builds on the ideas of reactivity series encountered at Key Stage 3 – this means that there is no need to repeat this
     learning. Instead, students need to appreciate simple definitions of oxidation and reduction in terms of the gain or loss of oxygen;
     and to understand how the reactivity of metals affects their ability to be oxidised and the ease with which their ores can be reduced
     to make the metal.
     The importance of metals to our society can introduce this topic. See
     Reactivity_of_Metals/reactivity_of_metals/Uses%20of%20Metals%20Matching%20Exercise.htm for a simple exercise, or a simple
     practical can be done on the properties of metals.
     Then consider the extraction of metals linked to the reactivity series:
     a) Unreactive (copper, gold)
     b) More reactive (iron)
     c) Most reactive (aluminium)
     Note that no detail is required on the manufacture of iron or aluminium, but don’t let that prevent you showing students relevant
     videos on these processes. The metal extraction practical on the specification does not have a specified metal – some schools have
     shied away from lead oxide, but if you have a well-ventilated lab, this could still be a possibility. This can lead to a discussion of
     sustainable use of the Earth’s resources and decisions on whether or not to recycle metals. A simple guide is found at
     Oxidation and reduction can be introduced, if not previously covered, linking reduction to metal extraction and oxidation to
     corrosion of metals. Depending on the practical work covered at Key Stage 3, you may want to look at rusting (and see also the
     practical mentioned in Topic 1, above).
     The unit finishes with the uses of metals, especially to make alloys. There is a very good RSC practical on making an alloy, solder, from
     its elements –,131,EX.html. It’s worth spending a little time
     on some of the fascinating uses to which smart alloys are put.

     Topic 5
     This is the longest topic and a key one in that it introduces organic chemistry to students, taking them through fuels, problems
     associated with their combustion and alternative fuel sources such as biofuels or hydrogen. The unit finishes with some chemistry of
     alkanes and alkenes, leading to polymer formation and the problems caused by plastics building up in the environment.
     You could start by considering crude oil and fractional distillation (no details are required). As a demonstration, only synthetic crude
     oil can be distilled. See and and
     This leads naturally into the uses of fractions and the combustion of hydrocarbons. The problems caused by carbon monoxide,
     sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide are considered. Don’t forget the HSW aspects in this unit – here, a chance to debate climate
     change and look at the ideas of causation and correlation with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperature.
     See, for example,
     Biofuels as possible alternatives to fossil fuels can be investigated. This is followed by the use of hydrogen in fuel cells.
     A suitable investigation is the temperature rise when the same volume of water is heated by burning different fuels, such as meths,
     ethanol, wood and so on.
     Now, if not done earlier, alkanes can be introduced, and then cracking to produce alkenes. It is worth noting the detail to be taught
     in this unit. Covalent bonding is not covered formally until Unit 2, so a suitable language for representing the bonding in alkanes and
     alkenes needs to be found.
     The use of model kits may help students see how the atoms are held together and introduces ideas of valency (although the term
     need not be used) which will be useful when they study bonding later on. The bromine water test should be covered.
     There is a nice demonstration in distilling limonene from orange peel. The limonene can be tested with bromine water.
     See Cracking of paraffin oil can be done as a class experiment in a
     well-ventilated lab, but care must be taken to avoid suckback.
     Finally, polymers are covered. Their usefulness and the issues about their disposal provide a useful debating topic.
     For information, see or
     For a slightly different view, see
     Practical work here is plentiful. As well as those already mentioned, there are opportunities for demonstrations or practicals to cover
     testing for carbon dioxide, combustion of sulfur and acid character of the oxide, the energy of the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen,
     or the depolymerisation of an alkene! Of course, not all of these are suitable for whole class practicals, but we hope there is scope for
     some good practical work.

      C2: Teaching suggestions from the
      General approach
      C2 contains a good deal of theory on structure and bonding. We’ve deliberately split this theory up and
      paired some related practical work with each theory block. Of course, you can change the order to present
      the types of bonding in a continuous block if you so wish. The section on calculations has been left until
      Topic 6. Again, you may wish to address this earlier to give more opportunities to practise these skills as you
      teach the rest of the content, or to drip feed in the various types of calculation as you go through.

      Specification points 0.1 – 0.5 should be covered where relevant throughout the unit. Now that these have
      been introduced in C1 they can be reinforced here with more complex examples of formulae and
      equations. Hazards and precautions can, and should, be discussed whenever practical work is undertaken.


         Topic 1
         Atomic structure and the periodic table
         The periodic table is a key theme that runs throughout the
         unit and, along with atomic structure, permeates all of
         chemistry. is an easily used source
         of information which can be used for research and
         homework. There is a photograph of each element,
         although its use does need checking, for example it uses
         Groups 1-18 which may confuse students. You may prefer
         Interesting work can be done on Mendeleev’s periodic table and how scientists can use patterns to make predictions.
         There are very clear tables on's_predicted_elements comparing Mendeleev’s
         predictions for as then undiscovered elements with their properties. The differences between metals and non-metals can be
         illustrated, which opens the way for some practical work, if not already undertaken at KS3. For a song on periodic table have a look at
                                                             (Tom Lehrer).
                                                                      Alternatively, (They
                                                                      Might Be Giants).
                                                                    The structure of the atom then follows, which links neatly into explaining
                                                                    why Mendeleev’s elements formed the pattern they did. One possible
                                                                    piece of practical work is to carry out flame tests (from Topic 2), which can
                                                                    be linked to electron shells for more able groups.
                                                                    The first calculation in the unit is finding the Ar of an element from its
                                                                    isotopic composition.
                                                                    The end of this topic lays down foundations for ideas that will be re-visited
                                                                    in Topic 4 – the idea that members of a group have the same outer
                                                                    electron configuration and hence pattern of reactivity. It may be useful, in a
                                                                    topic that has limited opportunities for practical work, to illustrate this by
                                                                    looking at some reactions e.g. reactions of Group 2 metals with
                                                                    water/acids; or the way in which their carbonates decompose.

     Topic 2
     Ionic compounds and analysis
     As always, sodium chloride is used as the example for an exploration of ionic bonding – but note that the specification indicates that
     many other combinations could be examined. For weaker candidates, having diagrams of the atoms may help. It is always useful for a
     class to try to work out the formula of an ionic compound from the atoms (perhaps culminating in Al2O3 for the most able) just using
     the principle that the ions will always have full outer shells. Understanding chemical formulae is such an important skill, so any activity
     which enables students to learn Topic 2.6 is very useful – ionic jigsaw puzzle pieces are one such way! There is a simple animation at
     A description of the lattice structure of an ionic compound follows, with the resultant properties. This could form the basis of some
     practical work. It is just possible to start to melt sodium chloride (melting point 801ºC) with a Bunsen burner, showing that it has a high
     melting point.
     The aim of including the solubility rules is to allow the students to choose the correct method of salt preparation. There is much practical
     work here, both in salt preparation but also in making predictions as to whether a precipitate forms when solutions are mixed. This
     leads to an interesting application – barium sulfate in X-rays. Why, it is worth asking your students, do we not use barium carbonate?
     Topic 2 ends by beginning to look at how chemists test for the presence of ions in a compound. This provides lots of interesting
     practical work. This could take a traditional format – identifying an unknown – or a more CSI-style investigation. Finally, the flame tests
     lead on to the use of spectroscopy to illustrate how scientists discovered some new elements, including rubidium and caesium.
     The podcast contains details.


     Topic 3
     Covalent compounds and separation techniques
     Using model kits is often a good way into covalent bonding, especially as this
     highlights the idea that particular atoms form a specific number of bonds,
     which can then be related to the number of electrons in the outer shell of the
     atom. Dot and cross diagrams are illustrated on
     By this stage, students will have looked at the two types of bonding in compounds, so there is an opportunity to compare the
     properties of the two types of compound practically (a list of possible substances is given in the specification); and to introduce the
     idea of giant covalent molecules.
     The structures of diamond and graphite are illustrated in,
     although this might not be suitable for some classes.
     Again, there has been an attempt to introduce some other practical work relating to covalent compounds – in this case, the
     separation of mixtures by separation funnel, fractional distillation and chromatography. Chromatography could be linked with some
     ion tests to form a forensic investigation.

     Topic 4
     Groups in the periodic table
     This topic provides a great opportunity to put together much of what has been covered in the previous three topics, as atomic
     structure, ionic bonding in Group 1 compounds and covalent bonding in Group 7 compounds all play a supporting role in the topic.
     A natural start is to consider the types of bonding in each element. The final type of bonding – metallic – is introduced and students
     may like to revisit the practical in 3.4 to see how metals would fit into the classification based on properties.
     This leads on to specific groups. The demonstration of Group 1 metals reacting with water is a must, and you can find the Braniac
     version including rubidium and caesium at
     The displacement reactions of the halogens illustrates their reactivity. The addition of some organic solvent (suggested as a
     demonstration) helps to reveal the changes that have occurred. The website has
     some good video extracts that illustrate halogen reactions, including bromine with aluminium, that would be difficult or unsafe to
     carry out in class.
     The study of Group 0 finishes the topic. Students who have picked up the patterns in bonding will find Topic 4.14 supports the
     conclusion that they have come to. It is important that students also get to see examples of how the scientific method works in
     practice. From this point of view, Topic 4.15 isn’t just meant to be an interesting history of science lesson, but an opportunity to show
     that chemists make empirical measurements that lead them to think about what is happening and why – and that this is the stuff of
     exploration and discovery!


        Topic 5
        Chemical reactions
        By contrast to the more theoretical topics encountered thus far,
        Topic 5 is very heavily practical, looking both at thermochemistry
        and at rates of reaction. The RSC website ( can be used
        to find some stimulating experiments and demonstrations to
        supplement those mentioned in the specification. Indeed, the
        difficulty here will be stopping the practical work long enough to
        ensure that the theory is covered!
        Exothermic and endothermic reactions can be treated at a simple
        or more advanced level. For example, the reaction between zinc
        and copper(II) sulfate solution can be used just to show an
        exothermic reaction. It could be extended to plotting the
        temperature measurements and extrapolating. It could be an
        investigation looking at different concentrations of the solution. The specification also mentions dissolving, neutralisation and
        precipitation reactions as opportunities to measure temperature changes. A good demonstration is the endothermic reaction
        between ammonium chloride and barium hydroxide being used to freeze a wet flask to a wooden block.
        Rates of reaction is an enjoyable topic. There is a simple animation at which may
        help to explain the theory. The classic experiments are marble chips with acid and sodium thiosulfate with dilute hydrochloric acid.
        Note, by the way, that we’ve avoided the term ‘activation energy’ in the specification – although Topic 5.11 comes very close for the
        Higher Tier candidates! No reason why you shouldn’t use the term – but it’s not a required one.
        Then comes catalysts. A possible experiment is the effect of potential catalysts on the rate of decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.
        The colour change as cobalt chloride catalyses this decomposition can be demonstrated
        and This leads to the practical application of catalytic
        converters in cars.

        Topic 6
        Quantitative chemistry
        The one topic that many GCSE students seem to dread is calculations. We’ve tried to ensure that the word ‘mole’ is avoided.
        You’ll need to decide how to cover calculations with your classes. Those who are doing Science and Additional Science only may be
        best served by treating all calculations as an exercise in ratios; those going on to Unit 3 in Chemistry may find it easier to get to grips
        with the mole at this stage.
        The practical for Topic 6.3, determining an empirical formula, is usually done with magnesium; but there are other opportunities –
        the reduction of copper(II) oxide to copper by heating a stream of methane works very well with students with good practical skills.
        This can be found at,210,EX.html.
        Finally, the topic ends with a consideration of how chemists work to ensure that reactions in industry make economic sense by making
        sure the yield of a reaction is good, the waste products are potentially useful and the reaction happens at good rate. These ideas will
        be important in Unit 3 when equilibrium factors can be added to the picture.
                                                               One suggestion is to spread these calculations out. Relative formula mass and
                                                               percentage composition could be taught after Ar in Topic 1. Empirical formulae
                                                               could be covered with ionic bonding in Topic 2 (indeed, it links with the
                                                               magnesium oxide experiment). Alternatives are finding the formula of copper
                                                               oxide by reducing it to copper, or finding the formula of hydrated barium
                                                               chloride or copper sulfate by heating to drive off water of crystallisation. Mass
                                                               to mass calculations could be linked to reactions covered in the periodic table
                                                               (Topic 4). This leaves Topic 6 as the ‘reactions in industry’ material mentioned in
                                                               the previous paragraph, which follows on nicely from rates of reaction (Topic 5).
                                                               There are many websites offering examples. One is

         C3: Teaching suggestions from the
         General approach
         One of the key features of C3 is that it is designed to build on material already encountered in C1 and C2.
         The idea is that students revisit areas of familiar chemistry to build on their knowledge and to make new
         links between topics. When putting together material to make the C3 unit, we felt that there were areas
         where teachers would like some flexibility to do extra practical work, or to be able to explore one or two
         areas ‘off spec’. We've therefore tried to keep the content of this unit a little lighter than for C1 and C2.

         Specification points 0.1 – 0.6 should be reinforced where relevant throughout the unit – you may need to
         revisit these core ideas on formulae and equations often; and the ideas on risk whenever practical work is

            Topic 1
            Qualitative analysis
            Earlier work in C2 concentrated on specific anion tests and on cation tests
            using flame colours. However, a greater range of qualitative tests is explored
            further in this topic, partly by looking at precipitation tests for cations, and also
            by encountering the silver nitrate test being used for halide ions. It is a good
            idea when doing these tests to compare the different precipitates side by side
            – this is particularly relevant for the silver halide precipitates which can easily
            be confused (but note that the confirmation with ammonia is not required).
            With more able students, leaving the Fe(OH)2 precipitate to oxidise and
            asking the students what may be happening is a worthwhile exercise.
            Be careful to note that 0.4 shows that students may be required to recall the
            Unit 2 tests that they have done, as well as the new Unit 3 tests. Practical work which presents students with unknown compounds for
            analysis is therefore a good idea. You may even be able to dig out some old A-level practical exams and adapt them for use. There is
            a neat simulation at
                                                                           There is scope for putting these tests in context – particularly with
                                                                           respect to the sorts of test encountered in the water industry or medicine.
                                                                           Specification point 1.1 makes an important point – that these tests show
                                                                           that something is there, but not how much of it. This gives a link to Topic 2.
                                                                           A collection of useful links for this topic is found on the RSC website at

Topic 2
Quantitative analysis
The topic starts by considering the effect of a particular sort of cation:
those involved in causing hard water. There are links back to the calcium
cycle in Unit 1 here – so students can feel they’ve come ‘full circle’ with a
topic. There are lots of simple practicals that can be done with hard and
soft water – and possible opportunities for students to plan their own
experiments. For example, see
water,249,EX.html which also introduces students to burettes if they have
not met them to date. provides a
thorough historical background for this type of experiment (and some
others met in this unit). Methods for removing hardness also form the
basis for experimental work.
From here, there is a short step to the idea of how much solid is dissolved in a solution, hence revisiting the ideas of quantitative
chemistry from Unit 2. A simple experiment can be carried out to work out the mass of solute. A possible contrasting experiment can
be found at
This takes us to salt preparations. Many standard practicals can be used.
Again, this leads students full circle to appreciate why it was that they used particular methods to make salts, and to see one particular
use of titrations. Students should become familiar with different titrations – even Foundation Tier candidates will be expected to
know the technique, if not the associated calculations. In the past, questions on titrations have been poorly answered, so when
teaching this it is worth emphasising the reasons for each step in the method – for example, why phenolphthalein can, but universal
indicator cannot, be used as the indicator. One description is at
Students really do now need an appreciation of the mole – even if they didn't learn their calculations that way in Unit 2 – as they look
at volumetric calculations.

Topic 3
Electrolytic processes
Unit 1 gave students a couple of different views of electrolysis: for extracting metals such as aluminium from molten salts;
and for extracting chlorine from chloride solutions. At this point, having learnt much more about the bonding in ionic compounds,
students can begin to understand more fully what happens during electrolysis reactions. One experiment to illustrate the movement
of ions is seeing the migration of ions in potassium manganate(VII) when electricity is passed through. See for example,163,EX.html.
The specification contrasts the different ways that sodium chloride behaves, depending on whether it is a solution or a molten
salt that is being electrolysed; and the different ways that copper sulfate behaves, depending on whether the electrodes are passive
(such as graphite) or active (such as copper). Videos of these industrial processes can be seen at (for brine electrolysis, molten sodium chloride electrolysis
and copper purification). Some electrolyses can be demonstrated, e.g. molten lead bromide, whilst others could be class practicals,
e.g. electrolysing copper(II) sulfate solution or copper(II) chloride solution. A list of electrolysis projects with notes can be found at
Although the specification shies away from Faraday calculations, students should notice that the mass gain at the cathode during the
electrolysis of copper sulfate with active electrodes is equal to the mass lost at the anode.
Again, there are opportunities to relate the chemistry to real life situations by looking at electroplating and other electrolysis
reactions. See some experiments here:

     Topic 4

     Gases, equilibria and ammonia
     A good start to this topic – assuming your students are taking Higher Tier – is an experiment to investigate the molar volume of a
     gas. Suggestions are hydrogen produced by reacting magnesium with hydrochloric acid or carbon dioxide produced from calcium
     carbonate and hydrochloric acid. See for example for a method.
                                                          This would lead very well onto the idea of Avogadro's Law – in many ways the
                                                          easiest part of the calculations that students study at this level.
                                                           Practical work based on equilibria is difficult – some reversible reactions can be
                                                           investigated, but much of the practical work here will focus on the properties of
                                                           ammonia. Two obvious reversible reactions that can be used are the
                                                           decomposition of ammonium chloride and dehydrating hydrated copper(II)
                                                           You can see a video (with questions) on the Haber process at
                                                           There are many good computer simulations to show the effect of changing
                                                           temperature and pressure on reactions such as this.

     There is a simple animation at
     and a free simulation at
     You may want to link with the biologists to investigate the effect
     of fertilisers on plants.

     Topic 5
     Organic chemistry
     Much of the organic chemistry was covered in Unit 1 but, with the extra information that candidates picked up learning covalent
     bonding in Unit 2, a fuller coverage of organic chemistry can now be attempted.
     The idea here is to show students that organic chemistry is simple and based on members of a homologous series undergoing the
     same reactions. Hence, there is coverage of different functional groups and some of the reactions they do. This can be introduced by
     reviewing the work on alkanes and alkenes and doing some simple data analysis, e.g. plotting boiling points against number of
     carbon atoms in a molecule. For some more challenging work (beyond the specification but linking simply to intermolecular forces),
     the melting points can be considered. It is also a good challenge to give the students model kits (or to draw the structures), get them
     to write down successive formulae and then ask them to deduce the general formula.
     Much of the emphasis, however, is on ethanol – its manufacture, oxidation and conversion into esters. This sort of investigation of a
     particular functional group is a useful bridge to A Level for candidates, as well as covering an area of organic chemistry that many
     students find interesting. Fermentation is a useful experiment sure to grab many students’ interest, and the distillation of the ethanol
     gives a contrast with fractional distillation of crude oil.
     This leads on to the important social issues about alcohol.
     has information for under eighteens, and the site also has a unit calculator.
     The two methods of producing ethanol can now be contrasted. The dehydration can be carried out practically – see,237,EX.html.
     The oxidation of ethanol to produce a carboxylic acid (which can be carried out practically) links us to this next homologous series.
     Ethanoic acid is considered as a typical acid, and in addition students look at the esterification reaction, which would be ideal as a
     practical lesson. The uses of vinegar and of esters are looked at. This includes polyesters and recycling to form fleece. This article,, considers this and other
     environmental issues in M&S and could be an interesting debating subject.
     The production and use of soap from oils is considered (and forms a link to hard and soft water in Topic 2). One experiment is here: but a careful risk assessment would be required.
     Finally, the hydrogenation of oils to make margarine – technical details are found here:

P1: Teaching suggestions from the
This section contains weblinks recommended by GCSE examiners to enhance your teaching of the
qualification. Edexcel cannot take responsibility for the content of any external links, and does not endorse
any of these websites. The subject matter in external links may often go beyond the scope of the
specification. Edexcel recommends that you use the information contained here in conjunction with
Edexcel’s own or endorsed resources to deliver the qualification to your students.

General approach
This unit has six topics, four of which cover a range of work on the properties of waves. The other two topics
focus on ideas of electricity and energy which are further developed in Unit P2. There are many opportunities
throughout this unit to carry out investigative work that will help students to develop their practical and
analytical skills, to prepare them to carry out controlled assessment tasks effectively and with confidence.
In Topic 1, many fundamental ideas about the properties of waves are developed and hence this unit should
be attempted before Topics 2 and 4. Similarly the work on astronomy in this unit (which includes simple
optical telescopes and their use in early astronomical observations) is further extended in Topic 3. There is
the opportunity in Topic 1 to use models to explain ideas from earlier observations in astronomy. Modelling
also appears in Topic 4 in connection with ideas regarding the unpredictability of earthquakes.
Topic 2 focuses on waves in the electromagnetic spectrum and their uses and potential harmful effects.
Topic 3 extends the ideas from Topics 1 and 2 into modern astronomy whereas Topic 4 concentrates on
applications of ultrasound and seismic waves. In Topic 5 ideas about electromagnetic induction are
introduced from experimental evidence and aspects of the efficient use of energy is considered in both this
topic and in Topic 6.
Topic 5 leads into Topic 6 and, in terms of teaching order, could be taught first before Topics 1 to 4 if desired.
The other four topics with their heavy reliance on knowledge of waves are probably best taught in order.

  Topic 1
  There is a video from Teachers TV, the first part of which could be used to
  introduce this topic –
  system-earth-sun-moon. This site has informative content on the early
  models –, and
  a good PowerPoint is obtained from (first 10 slides
  are directly relevant), or
  notes (slides 1-15, but more slides useful later in the unit). The
  ‘schoolphysics’ site has clear notes –
  All that is required for specification point 1.5 is a simple introductory
  experiment using a lens to form a clear image (on a wall or screen) of a distant object (e.g. a classroom window). The focal length can
  be found by measuring from lens to screen. For this experiment and the other investigation tasks, spherical lenses are often easier to
  use. A virtual (magnified) image is easily obtained by looking through the lens at a close object (e.g. a thumbnail). A suitable stretch
  task is to use a range of lenses of different thicknesses (powers) if they are readily available. The PhET site has a simulation which
  could be used to supplement practical activities at Specification point 1.8
  on a simple telescope is also better done through a practical if possible; a suitable method is shown from the Institute of Physics (IoP)
  at, with a more detailed one at These investigation tasks on lenses should offer useful experience towards the
  controlled assessment tasks.

     Topic 1 (continued)
     When dealing with the reflecting telescope (1.9) the simple idea of the reflector providing an image for the eyepiece is required, but
     the opportunity could be taken to consider the advantage of the larger area (to collect more energy/information) for the quality of the
     final image that is formed.
     For the last section on wave properties much of the content can be shown in this PowerPoint (although you may want to change the
     order of the slides) – Much of the practical work on waves can be done using a
     ripple tank. The basics of a ripple tank are explained here –, and this clip has more than is needed – The IoP website ‘’, has these two useful sets
     of instructions for ripple tanks – and A slinky can be used to demonstrate the
     difference between transverse and longitudinal waves, but you may want to use this interactive simulation first to clarify for 1.13
     (it also has some downloadable worksheets): Students should be given
     the opportunity to apply the wave equations (1.15) in a variety of situations; past papers are a good resource for this.

     Topic 2
     The Herschel and Ritter experiments which show the IR and UV parts of the spectrum are possibly new to some teachers, but these
     internet links give instructions for demonstrating these regions – and (the blueprint paper referred to is
     ultraviolet sensitive paper; UV sensitive beads can be substituted).
     NASA has a number of useful resources for this topic. This link gives a good overview of the EM spectrum –, while this short video on YouTube could give a good plenary – (and it leads into Topic 3). A suitable PowerPoint from ‘’ is This link could suggest a suitable settling down (or plenary) activity:
     devising a mnemonic –
                                                               Ionising radiation from radioactive sources is also introduced in this unit. X-
                                                               ray radiation should also be included here as another example of ionising
                                                               radiation. If radioactive sources are available they could be used here for
                                                               simple demonstrations. Visual Simulations have a free downloadable
                                                               radioactivity simulation at,
                                                               which can be networked for individual student use. This clip from YouTube
                                                               shows a clear class demonstration using radioactive sources –

Topic 3
This topic builds on and extends the knowledge which students gained
in Key Stage 3 about the Universe. The NASA site links the EM spectrum
to newer telescopes –
There are many internet sites offering instructions for the practical investigation
outlined in 3.8 (using a CD to make a simple spectrometer). Please note a wave
analysis of diffraction is not needed here. Suitable sites include:
(very detailed instructions and it also has some clear colour spectra),
a transmission spectroscope at,
and one possibly suitable for homework at
This video from Teachers TV gives a good overview of star formation and life
cycle (3.11-3.13) and links back to the previous work on spectra: It also shows
a classroom activity which is a good stretch task. NASA has a good PowerPoint on the life cycle of a star, with teachers’ notes on where a stretch activity on space forensics can also be found.
An alternative PowerPoint can be found at, or (slide 30 is a good summary; slide 46 links to
3.9 and the EM spectrum).
You may wish to introduce the Doppler effect (3.17) before you teach the theories of the evolution of the Universe (and their
evidence) (3.14-3.22). Teachers TV gives this good idea for a physical demonstration of red and blue shift –
Teachers TV has this 14 minute video on the Universe and the Big Bang theory: It is less easy to find material on steady state which is accessible at
this level. Alternatively this lecture may lead to some good class discussion work with more able students – (you
may wish to stop the lecture when he moves on to religious theories).
This PowerPoint could be edited (to cut slides out, use the slide list) to form a suitable plenary/revision for the unit so far – Suitable questions to add into the PowerPoint can be found from past

     Topic 4
     This topic concentrates on longitudinal waves, in particular ultrasound/infrasound and seismic waves. This link,, provides an introduction into the idea of
     a hearing range. It is possible to demonstrate this range with students by using a speaker, signal generator and oscilloscope. If these
     are not available, this link allows you to link frequency with pitch, but does not go up to 20kHz – Many students know about bats’ uses of ultrasound, but this link gives a fascinating
     use of infrasound – There is more detail than is
     necessary in this PowerPoint from the IoP; however, it will be of interest if your students are intending to do Unit P3 –; whereas this PowerPoint has about the correct level of content but
     needs to be more spread out –
     The section on earthquakes and seismic waves could be introduced by this video from Teachers TV – Simple experiments using bricks/wooden blocks pulled by weights over a pulley
     arrangement can be used to illustrate unpredictability in earthquakes. Details of one such experiment are given at (mechanical model), with further lesson details at Alternatively, you can use this site, which also has simple animations of
     p and s waves – If you have a technician willing to make a more
     elaborate model, this may be suitable – This kind of
     experiment and variations of it will enable students to investigate this topic and hence prepare for possible controlled assessment
     These sites have simple animations to demonstrate p and s waves and earth movements – There are a number of
     internet sites that are useful when considering specification points 4.10 and 4.11. This site is good for factual content including some
     good diagrams of refraction and reflection – It is quite
     detailed and so may not be suitable for the ability of your students, but it could be used as a basis for a PowerPoint. There are two
     clear animations that can be used by individual students: is possibly more
     suitable for weaker students, whereas takes more time to work through and is
     more suitable for more able students. The latter has a simple tutorial which could be used as a starter demonstration. Most of this
     PowerPoint is suitable for 4.11 to 4.13 –


      Topic 5
      This topic will assume that a basic knowledge of electricity has been built up during Key Stage 3. This knowledge is extended by
      defining current as rate of flow of charge. The precise definition of voltage in terms of energy transfer is not necessary, but an idea of
      the voltage giving a measure of energy transferred is.
      You may want to revise the Key Stage 3 material (especially use of ammeters and voltmeters) using before doing 5.4. This practical investigation into the power
      consumption of lamps, motors etc. could be done using traditional equipment such as voltmeters and ammeters or you could use a
      Specification points 5.6 and 5.7, the factors affecting the generation of electric current by induction, can be investigated by adjusting
      the procedure according to the equipment the school has. For example the use of digital meters connected to coils towards which
      magnets are moved will often work, especially if a soft iron core is used in the coil. There are a number of suitable clips on YouTube,
      such as The PhET site has a
      simple but effective simulation which possibly could be used during a plenary or revision session –, while this simulation – –
                                                                allows students to investigate 5.8-5.12 in some depth. Again, practical
                                                                demonstrations of transformers are advised but if this is not possible this clip
                                                                shows the standard laboratory work –
                                                                O7JL6a8uVY&feature=related, which may help with 5.11 and 5.12. Ideally the
                                                                work on transmission lines is supported by demonstrations with a model
                                                                power line. This link shows the demonstration –
                                                       – as set up in a laboratory.
                                                                If the school has some additional funds, you may find that this simulation is
                                                                useful as a stretch activity –
                                                               For the final section of this topic, plenty of experience of calculations is always
                                                               helpful. Much of the electrical power problem sheet from the ‘schoolphysics’
                                                               site is suitable –
                                                               16/Electricity%20and%20magnetism/Current%20electricity/ – and past
                                                               papers also form a valuable resource.

      Topic 6
      The final topic in this unit builds on the knowledge of energy transfers built up during Key Stage 3 and extends this into calculations
      on efficiency. There are many resources on the internet that you could use for revision such as, or this which shows clearly how to do efficiency calculations –
      Specification point 6.6 is based on an understanding of 6.1. It is possible to demonstrate this with a low energy table lamp; once it
      has reached equilibrium its temperature will remain constant as long as it is plugged in. This slide is possibly suitable for more able
      students – For 6.7 you can
      use heat sensors and a Leslies Cube to demonstrate
      emitted radiant heat, or as a class practical on
      absorbed radiant heat energy ordinary and
      blackened thermometers with a steady heat source
      (blue Bunsen flame) can be used.


     P2: Teaching suggestions from the
     General approach
     This unit covers six topics which may be taught in pairs and which enable students to build on their Key
     Stage 3 learning of motion and electricity. There are many opportunities in this unit to carry out investigative
     work that will help students to develop their practical and analytical skills in preparation for controlled
     assessment. All the way through the unit, thought must be given to specification points 0.1 to 0.3 i.e. to
     equations and units for physical quantities.

     Although there is no set order in which this unit should be approached, some aspects do require a sound
     understanding of the ideas and concepts introduced earlier in the unit. For this reason specification points
     1.1 to 1.4, which focus on the structure of a simple atom and charging by transfer of electrons, are best
     studied before specification points 5.1 to 5.6. The latter includes ideas of nuclear structure and properties of
     ionising radiation that will draw on students’ understanding of the properties (mass and charge) of the
     individual constituents of a simple atom.

     Topics 1 and 2 can be taught seamlessly with no artificial break at the end of Topic 1. The ideas of current
     flow towards the end of the topic (specification points 1.9 to 1.13) lead into conservation of charge and
     current at the start of Topic 2. In a similar manner, the work on forces and acceleration at the end of Topic 3
     (specification points 3.5 onwards) leads into momentum and energy, which make up most of Topic 4. Topics
     5 and 6 form another pair where the fundamental concepts of Topic 5 lead into the applications of
     radioactivity in Topic 6.

     Since some of the ideas of Topic 1 are needed to develop Topic 5, it is possible to teach Topics 5 and 6 after
     Topics 1 and 2, leaving Topics 3 and 4 to the end of the unit. By the nature of the concepts and content
     involved, it is a little more difficult to do class laboratory work (as opposed to demonstration or modelling
     with a computer) in Topics 5 and 6.


       Topic 1
       Topic 1 covers fundamental ideas about the structure
       of atoms and the nature of charged particles. It also
       provides many opportunities for students to discuss
       and apply their knowledge in practical ways.
       The first 23 slides of the PowerPoint on give a route through
       1.2-1.11. However, it is possibly worth spending time with the basics of building atoms for 1.1, maybe using this interactive simulation
       from the PhET site at the University of Colorado at Boulder – There is a
       useful worksheet for download on the same page but as this leads into 5.1 it may be best left for revision at the start of Topic 5.
       An alternative website is, Chapters 2 and 3: Inside atoms. This site has
       built-in questions that students can use to consolidate their learning. Not all pages are strictly relevant but it does lead into static
       electricity. For 1.2-1.35, PhET has a simulation on charging by friction – – again with
       downloadable worksheets. The zip file gives a nicely structured lesson plan
       with PowerPoint, which also links into charging by friction and earthing on this site – Some of 1.7/1.8 is covered in
       and-dangers-of-static-electricity. The connection between charge and current can be demonstrated with a high voltage applied
       between two plates and a conductive ball suspended between – The
       schoolphysics site has many good resources including

          Topic 2
          There is extensive opportunity for class practical work and numerical calculations in Topic 2. The ‘schoolscience’ site from ASE gives
          some quick revision of Key Stage 3 material on circuits –
          14/view_resources/listing.cfm?FaArea1=customWidgets.contentItem_show_1&cit_id=3756&&subject_id=4809, which may be
          worthwhile as an introduction into the topic.
          Class practicals may be problematic for thermistors or LEDs, in which case you may want to consider low cost simulations from Focus
          Investigations ( #1 for resistance of a wire or #2 for thermistors, filament
          lamp and LED), or material from schoolphysics (, which gives access to more material. This site
          has an interactive circuit board, which may be useful for homework activities –
          However, PhET has a good interactive simulation at, which can be
          used to show conservation of current at a junction as well as Ohm’s law for a resistor or bulb. As is normal on the PhET site there is
                                                                          also a wide range of supportive documents from other teachers.
                                                                           Specification point 2.5 can be shown by
                                                                           and 2.12/2.13 can be shown using

          Topic 3
          As in Topic 2, this topic has a large number of opportunities for
          class practicals and for calculations. The introductory work on
          vector and scalar quantities can be demonstrated by using
 It is
          probably worthwhile to download at least the student
          instructions for this activity
          although all the documents are valuable. Schoolphysics has a clear document for a whiteboard at
, and a downloadable
          worksheet at A useful plenary activity can be found at

          Trolleys (or toy cars), ramps and ticker-timers or data loggers can be used for the standard range of classroom experiments and
          demonstrations for 3.7-3.13. The PowerPoint here gives a simple revision from Key Stage 3 suitable for a starter activity –
 (The slide share site –
 is often a good source of PowerPoints for starters and plenaries) The IoP site gives safety tested
          instructions for most of the standard experiments at
;jsessionid=aIPi2jQud1Kb?topic_id=3. You may want to leave some of the
          experimental work until Topic 4, when students investigate friction. As before there is also good material on the schoolphysics CD
          and from Focus Investigations. PhET again has a number of good simulations which are possibly best utilised as teaching activities
          rather than for individual student use.
          The last section of the topic 3.16/3.17 also provides a good opportunity for practical work. It can be introduced with
, or the feather and hammer on the Moon,
 Galileo’s falling ball experiment is re-created at
 The class practical could be based on dropping ball-bearings or
          marbles into liquids of different viscosities, or on dropping a table tennis ball through a data-logger, as well as using any of the
          standard parachute experiments. This slide show (with edits) could be a suitable plenary exercise –

         Topic 4
         The concepts in this topic rely heavily on the ideas from Topic 3. There is a temptation to spend too long on 4.1-4.2, but this is quite a
         small section that can easily be covered by discussion and notes ( Ideas of
         momentum are often quite straightforward for students and enable them to confidently discuss safety features in collisions. However,
         many schools do not have linear air-tracks or air-tables which would make experimental work easy. This can be overcome using
         straight sections of model railway track and mounting magnets or similar on the trucks. This PowerPoint can be used for
         consolidation material – This PowerPoint is more suitable for students
         doing the Higher Tier – The PhET site has this simulation with again
         useful worksheets available –
         There are a number of class experiments for work, energy and power, including running up a flight of stairs and lifting weights onto a
         lab bench, either manually or using a motor (which would enable revision of 2.16). It is possible to link an investigation of the speed of
                                                               a falling table tennis ball (3.17) with the initial GPE and the KE of the ball as it
                                                               passes through the data-logger. On the PhET site this simulation is fun but
                                                               needs careful structuring as shown by the worksheet from Kristi Goodwin –
                                                               All of this section is heavily mathematical and it is essential that students
                                                               have sufficient practice with standard calculations. This link shows how a
                                                               GPE=KE calculation is done -
                                                               This PowerPoint can be used as a summary or for revision -

         Topic 5
         This topic links back to the earlier material in Topic 1 on the structure of an
         atom. While class practicals are not possible for this age range,
         demonstrations are quite easy to do. IoP has instructions available from
         It is however possible to find simulations which overcome the hazards of
         working with ionising radiation. Visual Simulations has a good free
         downloadable simulation which will enable students to work at their
         own pace through 5.3-5.5 and 6.4 –
         During demonstrations it is useful to show background radiation (6.1/6.2).
         The principles of a nuclear reactor are studied in 5.6-5.11. This section can seem daunting and quite dry to teach but there is a wealth
         of material available. Fission and chain reactions can be simulated using This
         simulation can be used to show the effect of control rods, but it does not show the effect of a moderator. This clip shows
         a highly effective demonstration of a chain reaction – Care needs to be taken
         when using internet material as many PowerPoints go into too much depth. This PowerPoint is at about the right level (however, the
         first slide is aimed at 6.7) –
         Schoolphysics has material at the correct level on their nuclear physics at-a-glance site – This clip shows a simple animated diagram of a nuclear power station –
         This link is a fun cartoon to show the conditions required for nuclear fusion (5.14/5.15) –
         gRagBg7mjM&feature=related. Useful material can be found at and at the
         JET site –

Topic 6                                                                                         

The final topic in this unit gives students the opportunity to research uses
of radioactivity and to model radioactive decay in the laboratory.
Background radiation should be demonstrated here if not already done in
Topic 5. Material from the internet is often confused with CBM. This
PowerPoint could act as good revision –
radiation?src=related_normal&rel=5589266. There are many diverse
applications of radioactive materials. An effective way of teaching this is to
get small groups of students to research one of the five areas as given in
6.3, in order to produce one slide each for a combined PowerPoint such as
the one shown here –
A possible route through the topic is to investigate half life (6.4-6.8) before
background radiation. Simple half life models include using a tube of
water, coins or domino fall, all of which are suitable for class laboratory use.
This link gives an interactive graph for half life –; this one has a half life
applet –; and
further material is available here –
Class discussion on the whole issue of nuclear energy, the dangers of ionising radiation, nuclear waste, and nuclear power (6.9-6.12),
including cold fusion (5.16), is possibly best left until after students have done some directed work such as a structured worksheet
(maybe based on and its accompanying workbook

General resources
With some suitable editing, this PowerPoint provides a good revision lesson for the unit, as it covers most if not all the content –
Glenbrook High School provides many resources at Furry Elephant offers just two sections of
physics, both of which cover material in this unit on a monthly subscription –

     P3: Teaching suggestions from the
     General approach
     This unit covers five topics which build on the concepts and ideas already developed in P1 and P2. There are
     many opportunities throughout this unit to carry out investigative work that will help students to develop
     their practical and analytical skills in preparation for controlled assessment. As for P2, there are three
     specification points 0.1-0.3 which must be addressed, although in this unit, the term equation can also mean
     nuclear equations. In a similar way there are other specification points which are the foundation ideas for the
     unit, e.g. 1.2 gives the specific meaning of ‘radiation’ as used throughout the unit, or themes for the unit
     such as 1.1 which sets out the main areas of application.

     Although there is no definite teaching order for this unit there are sections of the unit that require a
     thorough understanding of the ideas and concepts introduced earlier. Specification points 1.3–1.4 should
     be taken into account for all the radiations met in the unit and may form a critical consideration when
     deciding upon applications of radiations e.g. in specification points 3.20–3.24.

     Apart from this the other main consideration is that Topic 3 should precede Topic 4. Since Topic 1 has the
     possibility of more practical work than Topics 3 and 4, you may want to use the following teaching order: 2,
     3, 1, 4, and then 5 in order to intersperse practical laboratory work with more research-based material. Topic 2
     has material which leads on from P2 Topic 1, Topic 2 and Topic 4, i.e. the relationship between charge and
     current (P2 1.11), p.d. as energy transferred per unit charge (P2 2.5) and kinetic energy (P2 4.16). Topic 3
     requires understanding of structure of the atom and radioactivity (P2 5.1–5.6). Topic 5 builds on ideas of
     pressure and temperature from Key Stage 3 and could stand on its own in terms of teaching order.

       Topic 1
       As mentioned previously, specification points 1.2–1.4 are key ideas used throughout the unit along with 1.1, which gives the main
       areas of application. Hence it is sensible to ensure that students get a good understanding of these points. The ‘teaching medical
       physics’ site,, has a number of good resources including a downloadable booklet, which
       covers most of the medical applications in this unit. It is possible to investigate 1.3 and 1.4 using a light bulb, tracing paper and a
       solar cell ( and there is a good simulation of this which will run on a
       network if your centre has access to Focus Investigations software ( For a
       simple demo, maybe while discussing the ‘buttergun’ idea, this site is good – This site allows you to investigate the inverse square law –
       The practical work for 1.8 is quite straightforward, and is easier with cylindrical lenses rather than spherical ones. PhET has a good
       simulation with some useful worksheets at This site has a PowerPoint
       (which includes more than is needed and so needs to be edited) which can be useful for plenaries or starter activities –



Topic 1 (continued)
As mentioned previously, specification points 1.2–1.4 are key ideas used throughout the unit along with 1.1, which gives the main
areas of application. Hence it is sensible to ensure that students get a good understanding of these points. The ‘teaching medical
physics’ site,, has a number of good resources including a downloadable booklet, which
covers most of the medical applications in this unit. It is possible to investigate 1.3 and 1.4 using a light bulb, tracing paper and a
solar cell ( and there is a good simulation of this which will run on a
network if your centre has access to Focus Investigations software (
For a simple demo, maybe while discussing the ‘buttergun’ idea, this site is good – This site allows you to investigate the inverse square law –
The practical work for 1.8 is quite straightforward, and is easier with cylindrical lenses rather than spherical ones. PhET has a good
simulation with some useful worksheets at This site has a PowerPoint
(which includes more than is needed and so needs to be edited) which can be useful for plenaries or starter activities –
The IoP site ‘practical physics’ has useful resources for experimental work on the eye
( This YouTube link contains a rap for the
structure of the eye, suitable for a starter activity – – but the
following site has more content – It is possible to find a great
deal of resources for defects of vision on the internet, but many are heavily biologically based rather than focused on the physics
principles required. This link, although commercial based, sticks to the physics –
eye-surgery-guide-summary?src=related_normal&rel=303651, with this link showing how laser surgery works – This document from ‘schoolphysics’ provides suitable simple
notes –
Section 1.15–1.19 gives many opportunities for practical work. The IoP site gives clear guidance – Focus Investigations have a clear
simulation of the semi-circular block experiment and of image formation with a lens on their Key Stage 3 physics disc. Care should be
taken when students learn about fibre optics as the manner in which light travels down a fibre is often poorly described and drawn.
This link from ‘schoolphysics’ discusses the need for cladding which follows from 1.19 –
19/Optics/Refraction/text/Fibre_optics/index.html – and so is suitable stretch material. The IoP site ‘Inside Story’ has an interactive
colonoscope (, which is fun to use (use the flash site). The site has a good PowerPoint on ultrasound. This link shows ultrasound used for testing the
heart –

Topic 2
This topic is relatively short, and there are not many opportunities for class practicals. Instructions for using an electron beam tube for
class demonstrations are given here – If
your school does not have a Teltron kit or similar, this link shows it in use –
cCdc&feature=related, with this link showing an alternative kit –
This topic builds on work studied in Unit P2, so some revision may be
appropriate before students attempt the calculations in 2.4–2.5. There
is a lot of material on the internet on the uses of X-rays; this is suitable
for a starter activity (even with the mistake at 0.37 min) – –
and this clip explains the principle of a CAT scanner – Again,
‘teaching medical physics’ has a useful PowerPoint, this time on the
EM spectrum (slide 32 onwards) –, which can also be used.
ECGs, pacemakers and pulse oximeters are also shown in the same


     Topic 3
     The start of this topic revises the work done in P2 on the structure of an atom (please see the notes on P2 for suggested atom builder
     and radioactivity simulations). This site gives a good revision, which leads into beta decay and quarks (but goes further than
     needed) – This clip featuring Brian Cox is worth considering
     as an introduction into the main bulk of the topic – The following
     PowerPoint is a good summary and could be used in sections as you teach each decay or at the end of the topic (it includes electron
     capture which is not needed) – It
     is important that students thoroughly understand the fundamental principles of the decay processes in this topic. It is therefore
     worthwhile spending time to ensure that students can balance nuclear equations. The site could provide more stretching material for high ability students.
                                                                      It is essential that students can relate each of the decays (along with
                                                                      the properties of the ionising radiations emitted) to the uses both
                                                                      inside the body and externally. For this, past papers are good
                                                                      resources. Again the IoP site has a good interactive simulation of
                                                                      treatment with radioactive sources –
                                                                      The PEEP site has material which could form the basis of ethical
                                                                      discussion work – This
                                                                      link is from 'how stuff works' and is clear and precise –


     Topic 4
     Brian Cox introduces this topic well with, and Alternatively, this clip from
     New Scientist could be used –
     This is a useful PowerPoint from Glenbrook High (needs to be edited as it has more than is required
     in the specification) –, and this link from
     ‘schoolphysics’ includes a simple but very effective demonstration of circular motion and
     centripetal force –
     The idea that electron beams can be ‘bent’ into a circle by magnetic fields is shown on
     19/Atomic%20physics/Electron%20physics/text/Double_beam_tube/index.html. A great deal of the material on the internet about
     cyclotrons is too technical and detailed; however, slides #76-93, 96-97, and 99 of this PowerPoint are good and are at generally the
     right level, with slides #102-107 being more suitable for stretch material –
     Momentum is a concept that was introduced in P2. Students may find that returning to the PhET simulation
     ( is worthwhile for extension work into inelastic and elastic collisions, which were
     not required in depth in P2. It is important to constrain the movement into one dimension, as resolution of vectors is not required
     either while using the simulation or while investigating with trolleys (or trains etc.) as in P2. The IoP site forms a valuable set of
     resources for experimental work – Section
     4.12 is a straightforward class investigation that can be extended with the use of light gates and data loggers. Focus Investigations
     has a suitable simulation available on disc #1 if your centre has access to this resource. The simulation of a PET scanner at is fun but the student needs to complete the exercise before
     the explanation is given. This link provides a good explanation of the PET scan process from the patient’s view point – – and also provides many good teaching points. As for Topic 3, you may find that
     past papers are a good resource for the applications needed in 4.13–4.16.


Topic 5
This topic builds on work from Key Stage 3 (states of matter and pressure) and
there is a wide range of possible laboratory experiments and simulations to
choose from. This simulation from PhET allows revision of the Key Stage 3
material –, while its sister
program – – allows
students to investigate the relationship between pressure, volume and
temperature. The worksheets available and teacher guides are useful to structure
students’ learning. Students need to have a clear understanding of the causes of
pressure in terms of the movement of gas particles, as in this PowerPoint –
pressure?src=related_normal&rel=3127090. There are also a number of possible
demonstrations which are effective at showing simple kinetic models e.g. from the IoP site –
This YouTube link gives a simple but effective demonstration which is an easy-to-do starter activity on Boyle’s Law – Again, the IoP site gives clear instructions for a Boyle’s Law demonstration –, and Charles’ Law – If you prefer not to do the class
experiments, these links allow students to collect experimental results and so could be set as a homework task – and Focus Investigates also have a good simulation of Charles’ Law
(disc #1). This link shows how these laws are applied to everyday objects –
It is important that students are able to manipulate the different gas laws (5.8, 5.10 and 5.11), especially the need to change
temperature into Kelvin, and so sufficient time for practice should be given. Past papers can be used as a resource. This PowerPoint
is a possible basis for a calculation lesson (although the section on cross multiplication may confuse some students) – This link could be used by students as revision of the
method of solving equations – Students should be advised not
to search the internet for the ideal gas law as the introduction of moles is an added complexity not required by the specification.

General resources
Glenbrook High School provides a plethora of resources at As mentioned previously the
‘schoolphysics’ site contains many good resources and more can be obtained at low cost.

     Getting students ready for maths
     One of the differences between the existing Science GCSEs and the new Science 2011 GCSEs is the
     role that mathematics plays in the qualifications.

     When Ofqual published the new subject                 There are 14 mathematical skills for GCSE Science,
     criteria for GCSE Sciences, they included, as an      with an additional 5 for Higher Tier candidates
     appendix, a list of mathematical requirements         only. These cover a range of mathematical skills, all
     for candidates learning GCSE Sciences. In the         of which should be compatible with the level of
     words of Ofqual, these criteria “provide learners     mathematics skills covered at the appropriate tier
     with the opportunity to develop their skills in       for a Key Stage 4 qualification. Amongst the 14
     communication, mathematics and the use of             core skills are: simple calculations, including
     technology in scientific contexts.”                   averages, percentages and ratios; plotting and
                                                           drawing graphs; substituting into equations;
     Scientists all appreciate the role that mathematics   interpreting graphs and charts; using estimation;
     has played in the development of science,             understanding simple mathematical functions
     allowing scientists to process information but also   such as =, < and >; and appreciating relative sizes
     to use mathematical techniques to model               and scales. For Higher Tier candidates, the
     scientific phenomena. It is expected, therefore,      additional 5 skills cover: the use of standard form;
     that all students of science are able to use          rearranging equations; understanding powers and
     appropriate mathematical skills in order to           inverse proportion; and using percentiles.
     facilitate their use of scientific knowledge.
                                                           Understandably, some of these skills will relate
     As Ofqual go on to state, these criteria              better to some topics in the specification than
     “represent the areas of mathematics that have         others. There is certainly no suggestion that you
     been identified as arising naturally from the         hit each maths statement in B1 and in C1 and
     science content in the subject criteria.” This is     again in P1. The idea is that, throughout GCSE in
     quite an important point to stress – the inclusion    Science, students have used the range of
     of these core mathematical skills is not an attempt   mathematical skills as part of their progress
     to make the new Science 2011 exams a test of          through the course.
     mathematics (any more than the introduction of
     extended writing questions is an attempt to make      One of the most important areas where students
     them a test of English). These skills should          will use mathematical skills to service their
     naturally flow from the subject content and           appreciation of science is within practical work.
     candidates learning science should naturally rely     A great deal of practical work will involve the
     on their mathematical skills to underpin the          collection of data. This data can then be recorded
     scientific content.                                   to an appropriate number of significant figures
                                                           (mathematics skill #4), used to find an arithmetical
     We have been asked by Ofqual to ensure that our       mean (mathematics skill #7), converted into a
     “assessment materials properly reflect these          graph (mathematics skill #9) and the graph
     mathematical requirements, assessing the full         interpreted in order to draw a conclusion
     range of mathematical skills over a reasonable        (mathematics skill #12).
     period of time.”
                                                           Other than that, you’ll notice that certain
                                                           statements in the specification are written
                                                           deliberately to make the link to the mathematical
                                                           skills very clear.

Let’s look at a few specification statements and see how they allow access to some of the
mathematical skills.

 I 1.16, 1.17 : within genetic crosses and Punnett           I 3.3 : investigating reaction times will involve the
   squares, candidates should be able to calculate the         collection of quantities of data, and hence the
   probability of a particular genotype or phenotype           calculation of mean reaction time and graph plotting.
   occurring; and to express this as a percentage, a ratio
                                                             I 3.20 : many of the mathematics skills relate to the
   or a probability.
                                                               idea of interpreting data given as tables, graphs,
 I 2.19 : this spec point not only looks at simple             charts and so on, so this specification point provides
   calculations for BMI, but also introduces students to       good opportunities to reinforce these skills with
   the idea of a correlation, enabling them to look            your students.
   critically at data presented graphically.

 I 1.7, 1.8 : there are opportunities here not only for      I 5.16 : again, there is plenty of scope here for
   collection and processing of the students’ own data,        investigating and analysing data from a variety of
   but also to analyse and interpret secondary data.           sources and to interpret tables, charts and graphs, as
                                                               well as to consider ideas such as correlation.
 I 2.16 : a simple opportunity to look at some very basic
   calculations; however, this might provide an              I 5.24 : as with all sciences, practical work is a very good
   opportunity to look at the symbols <, = and > within        area for students to look at mathematical skills – this
   mathematics skill #5.                                       specification statement is one such example.

 I 1.15 : the first of many equations which appears in the   I 4.6 : again, a good piece of practical work for
   physics specification, so a good example to look at in      collecting data, calculating means and plotting
   terms of mathematics skill #10. Speed, being a              graphs. In this case, the relationship is likely to be
   compound measure, is also a useful example for              non-linear, so there are opportunities for exploring
   considering skill #8. Remember that rearrangement of        any possible correlation.
   equations is not expected of Foundation Tier
                                                             I 6.3, 6.5 : as well as the calculations involved here,
                                                               candidates can look at the way in which Sankey
 I 3.4 : a chance to look at the idea of scale in science      diagrams represent the magnitude of the energy
   and to explore the variety of different units for           which they are representing.
   measuring distance – why do we use units such as the
   metre, the kilometre, the astronomical unit and the
   light year to measure distance?

     Preparing students for extended writing
     The illiterate scientist is a standard cliché, but one    examination question, preparation and familiarity
     which is still prevalent nowadays. Of course, we          are both very important for success. This is
     know that students who are used to writing                especially the case with the extended writing
     coherent prose in English, history and other school       questions in the new specification – they make up
     subjects are perfectly capable of doing the same          a fair proportion of the overall marks for the exam
     in science – but it’s a skill which has not often been    paper and candidates who wish to obtain a good
     tested.                                                   mark cannot simply skip over them.

     The new GCSEs in Science, however, do contain             Remember that these questions are NOT
     exactly this sort of opportunity: a chance for            designed simply to sort out the high-flying
     students to write in more detail about an aspect of       candidates from the rest. Instead, the topics
     science, to put forward a balanced or reasoned            chosen should allow candidates across the ability
     argument, or to discuss the interpretation of a           spectrum to make a start on an answer and to gain
     practical experiment.                                     some credit; although more able candidates are
                                                               likely to score higher marks, of course. We know
     It is fair to say that questions of this nature haven’t   that many candidates worry when they see a
     been seen on GCSE papers for some time,                   question followed by a large number of lines on
     although they did exist on the pre-2006 GCSE.             which they should write – so it is important that
     However, students are used to producing longer            candidates are prepared for this sort of question in
     pieces of prose to support areas such as                  the examinations.
     coursework or practical work. Like any other sort of

     What sort of questions will you ask?
     The command word used in these questions                  The demand of a question asking candidates to
     needs to reflect the degree of demand that these          “describe” is lower than the others, so this is more
     questions require – you’re not going to find              likely to be seen on Foundation Tier than Higher
     questions that ask candidates to “state” or               Tier papers. Equally, “evaluate” implies a degree
     “recall” here.                                            of complexity in an answer which is more likely to
                                                               be asked of Higher Tier than Foundation Tier
     The sort of words you may see are “describe”,             candidates.
     “suggest”, “explain”, “discuss” or “evaluate”.

     What topics might these questions be on?
     Obviously, the questions need to be set on areas          students could be required to look at some results
     of the specification which lend themselves to             and suggest what the practical shows. Other
     longer, more detailed answers. For this reason,           questions will be based simply on knowledge from
     you’re likely to find them either set on a                the specification, covering some depth – such as
     particularly long single specification point, or on a     to describe the life cycle of a star. Ideally, these
     combination of points across a topic area. This           questions will allow students to draw knowledge
     latter approach may end up being more common,             together from various parts of the specification.
     simply because it allows candidates with a less           Another group of questions will ask candidates to
     thorough command of the specification to answer           put forward an opinion or a balanced argument.
     from a variety of different angles.                       These may cover areas of science where there are
                                                               definite pros and cons, or where there are ethical,
     Some questions may concentrate on one of the              economic or environmental dimensions to the
     practicals that students have looked at during the        science. With these sorts of questions, presenting
     course of their study. In some cases, especially at       both sides of the debate will be an important key
     Foundation Tier, this may involve a piece of              to success.
     practical work detailed in the specification, and

How they’re marked
The extended writing questions are worth 6 marks.         Each level corresponds to two marks – so Level 1 is
Importantly, they aren’t marked on a points basis –       1-2 marks; Level 2 is 3-4 marks and Level 3 is 5-6
it’s not a case of making 6 valid points and picking      marks. Answers that contain no creditworthy
up the marks. Instead, these questions are marked         material will, obviously, score zero.
on a “levels” mark scheme, where candidates’
responses are graded according to the level of            Once the answer has been assigned to a band
scientific knowledge that candidates have shown.          based on the overall level of scientific knowledge
There is also weight given to the quality of written      and understanding in the answer, a judgement has
communication in candidates’ answers (usually             to be made about which of the two marks in that
known as QWC).                                            band is the correct one for the candidate.

If you look at a mark scheme for an extended              This may be influenced by the nature of the
writing question, you’ll notice a long list of possible   scientific content, but it may also be influenced by
points – what is called the “indicative content”.         QWC. Of course, we’re not looking for candidates
Candidates are not expected to cover all of these –       to have a florid prose style – we’re looking for the
the points are simply an indication of the sorts of       correct and intelligent use of appropriate scientific
areas which might be covered. The mark scheme             and technical language, how well the answer is
then describes typical answers in three marking           structured in a logical flow and the ease of
bands, or levels, with a stepped increase in quality      understanding of the candidate’s expression.
of answer between each of these levels.

How to answer
Practice at this style of question is key. Candidates     here is to ensure that both sides of the discussion
need to have regular practice at writing what are         are engaged with.
essentially miniature essays. Answers don’t need to
be long, but they do need to contain relevant             One important factor with these questions will be
material at an appropriate level of detail.               timing. In a paper which is worth 60 marks and is 60
                                                          minutes in length, it might be expected that a
Much of this will come down to organisation, so           six-mark question should take six minutes of a
teaching your students to sketch a brief plan of          candidate’s time. Six minutes doesn’t sound like
what they’re going to write is always a good idea –       long, especially if this includes thinking and
and could help them improve on the QWC                    planning time. However, most candidates will have
impression that their answer gives.                       found that they have saved a little time in other
                                                          areas of the exam paper and, therefore, they may
Most students are now impressive in their exam            be able to spend a crucial extra couple of minutes
technique, but new question styles will pose new          planning their answer before writing.
challenges. Make sure that your students know
what is expected by the common command words              Much of the time, the number of lines given for a
that they will encounter in the extended writing          candidate to write the answer is much more than is
questions. For instance, “describe” answers will          strictly necessary. There is always a difficult balance
need to contain relevant details in a logical order       between giving too many lines – and making the
and, for practical work, remembering to include           candidate think that they have to write much more
safety precautions would be a good thing.                 than the examiner wants – or too few lines – and
“Explain” questions must have answers which               have candidates asking for extra sheets. The space
include reasons backing up statements that                given is plenty for most candidates to write their
candidates present in their answers. Those which          answer, but also includes extra space so that they
are “compare”, “discuss” or “evaluate” will tend          can, if they wish, use the remainder of the space for
to ask candidates to think about both sides of an         their plan. It is never a bad idea to do the plan in
issue, weigh them up and come up with a final             the exam paper itself – the examiner will read it
answer; or to look at two processes or phenomena          and may find ideas to credit in the plan that did not
and to compare features of both. The key thing            make it into the candidate’s final answer.

     Examples from the sample assessment materials

      Foundation Tier
      Q6 of the sample B1F paper starts off with some questions on the carbon cycle and the way in which
      carbon and its compounds interchange in the carbon cycle. The extended writing question then asks:

        Nitrogen is also cycled in the environment. Explain the problems that may be caused by the
        overuse of nitrate fertilisers in the environment.

      Perhaps the best starting point – especially for       terms about one of the effects, but doesn’t talk
      Foundation Tier candidates – is for them to            about the effects on other water-dwelling
      produce some sort of “mind map” or other               organisms. It has inaccuracies in referring to the
      visual representation showing the issues or            plants using up the oxygen, and an incorrect
      points that they think are relevant to their           definition of eutrophication.
      answer. Hopefully, this will resemble strongly the
      ‘indicative content’ in the mark scheme.               A further improvement would see a candidate
                                                             achieve at Level 2: “Fertilisers pollute rivers and
      Encourage students to look at the mark scheme          lakes. They make algae grow on the surface of
      to see how the marking levels differ from each         the water and fish in the water die. Other plants
      other. It can be a useful exercise to start with a     in the water also die and the water becomes
      poor answer and to build it up with them, so that      lifeless. The only thing that lives is the bacteria
      they can see how to make progress from one             that break down the dead plants and fish.”
      level to the next. It’s often useful to show           This answer has more detail – but it’s not quite a
      students sample answers and ask them how               complete and coherent one.
      many marks they would give it and why. Don’t
      forget that they will also need to consider issues     The highest level is reserved for an answer that
      which may affect their QWC – putting their             covers most of the topic area, and has a logical
      arguments in a logical order (in this case the         flow. So, “Fertilisers are washed into ground
      sequence of issues and their consequences is           water and are leached into rivers and lakes. The
      key), using scientific terminology and being           fertilisers contain nitrates and so there is a build
      accurate with spelling and punctuation.                up of nutrients in the water. This build up is
                                                             known as eutrophication. This makes an algal
      Therefore, a very basic answer may be:                 bloom grow quickly on the surface of the water.
      “Fertilisers are poisonous and they kill fish”.        The algae cover the surface of the water and
                                                             stop sunlight getting in. Other plants in the
      This answer is likely to be at Level 0 and contains    water cannot photosynthesise, so the oxygen
      no creditworthy material.                              level in the water drops. The build up of dead
      To improve to Level 1, the candidate could             plant material causes an increase in
      modify the answer to “Fertilisers pollute rivers       decomposers/bacteria. These use up oxygen in
      and lakes. They make plants grow too quickly           respiration. Fish and other organisms cannot
      and this uses up oxygen in the water. This is          respire, so they die and bacteria break down the
      called eutrophication.” This answer has the idea       dead material. The water can no longer support
      of fertilisers being a pollutant and talks in simple   plant and animal life.”

Higher Tier
At Higher Tier, the question is more likely to be based on a more demanding command word such as
“explain” or “evaluate”.

However, the principle established for answering Foundation Tier questions is still a good one.
Candidates should think about any information that they would like to bring in to their answer,
and think about how they will organise and structure what they write.

In the sample C1H paper from the sample assessment materials,, there’s a question on biofuels:

  Some biofuels are made from plants. The biofuel ethanol is often made from sugar cane
  or sugar beet. Petrol is a fossil fuel that is made from crude oil. A small number of filling
  stations sell biofuels as well as petrol. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using
  biofuels instead of petrol as a fuel in cars.

Here, the sample question has given us a little        some degree of conclusion about the two
clue – that only a small number of filling stations    alternative fuels.
sell biofuels. It’s always worth advising students
to look out for little clues that the examiner has     So, a high-flying candidate could provide an
put into the question to give them a hint!             answer to the question along these lines:

Candidates could answer this question by using         “Biofuels are renewable fuels. They are often
their knowledge of the specification statement         made from fermenting the sugar in sugar beet
about biofuels being renewable, but taking up          to produce ethanol. Petrol, however, is not
land which could be used for growing crops.            renewable – it is a fossil fuel and, at the rate
However, good candidates may not restrict their        humans are using it, it will soon run out. Petrol,
answer to that. So, an answer could cover the          however, does give more energy out when it
factors that make a good fuel, and compare             burns than biofuels do. So, we need to burn a
these in biofuel and petrol; or the levels of          lot of biofuel to get the same energy we’d get
carbon dioxide given off by each fuel and hence        from petrol. That means that a lot of land needs
the influence on the greenhouse effect.                to be used to grow the sugar crop – and that
Or, candidates could even write about sulfur           means less land for growing food for people or
impurities in petrol causing acid rain, whereas        livestock. Many people see biofuels as being
biofuels, which don’t contain sulfur, don’t give       “green”. It is true that, unlike petrol, they don’t
the same problems! For high-flying candidates,         contain sulfur impurities, so there is no sulfur
one strategy would be to treat each question as        dioxide produced when they burn, so no acid
a way to display some of the knowledge they’ve         rain. Biofuels do, of course, produce carbon
learnt – and to think about what they can say          dioxide when they’re burnt – just like petrol –
that relates to the question in some way – not         and this is a powerful greenhouse gas. But,
just to see it as a black-and-white question!          some of the effect of this may be offset as, to
                                                       grow the next crop of sugar beet, carbon
Finally, whatever route your candidates take,          dioxide will be taken in by the plants
they need to make sure they answer the                 photosynthesising. Although biofuels are a
question – in this case, one on advantages             useful source of alternative energy, they may
and disadvantages. In this sort of question – an       never fully replace fossil fuels.”
evaluate question – there ought to be

Supporting science, supporting you

This guide has been developed to give you an at-a-glance introduction to our specifications.
We’ve outlined how easy it is for you to move to Edexcel’s new GCSEs in science, and how much
support we provide to help you to do so.

We’ve listened to science teachers and the wider science community, ensuring the development
of a new suite of GCSE science qualifications that:

I puts good science at the heart of teaching, learning and assessment
I is presented in clear and detailed specifications
I has examination papers designed and trialled to be accessible to all, with appropriate stretch
   for your able students
I provides clear and manageable controlled assessments
I has an achievable approach to practical work.

Within this invaluable document, we show you what’s new, offer guidance on teaching each unit,
and provide suggestions for managing assessment. And we have also included support with
helping your students feel confident with the mathematical and written requirements of the
new specifications.

For further information please visit
or contact our Subject Advisor Team at:
Tel: 0844 576 0037

190 High Holborn,
London WC1V 7BH
                                         About Edexcel
Tel: 0844 576 0027
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Fax: 020 7190 5700                       and vocational qualification and testing to schools, colleges, employers and other places of
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Edexcel GCSEs in Science

                           Getting started guide
                           Supporting science, supporting you

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