Key Stage 3 Outline Scheme of Work


The resource ‘Plants and KS3 Science’ provides teachers with ideas and resources where ‘plants’ provide contexts for learning in some KS3 topics or parts of topics. And this doesn’t just mean the biology topics. Plants can provide interesting and sometimes unusual or unexpected contexts for learning chemistry and physics.

These contexts include innovative applications of science, scientific research and development, media coverage of science, and working with science and careers in science.

Plants and KS3 Science offers ways in which plant-based activities might be used to:
•    spark curiosity and interest and to engage students in topics (‘starter activity’)
•    provide a scenario or setting for activities that makes up the main part of a lesson (‘main activity’).

In Plants and KS3 Science each Programme of Study (PoS) topic has:
•    an introduction
•    relevant SAPS resources (freely available on the SAPS website)
•    links to Working scientifically, Biology, Chemistry and Physics in the 2013 Programme of Study
•    a commentary

Why plants?

Plants change constantly during their life cycle. Many can be propagated, nurtured, observed and measured in a school laboratory or outside (fieldwork). They can provide a stimulating context and a point of reference when discussing many key scientific ideas. Science is a practical subject and plants offer many opportunities to practice and demonstrate the skills and knowledge associated with working scientifically.

On top of all that they can brighten and add interest to any school laboratory and show that a properly managed laboratory need not be a dangerous place!

Living organisms and inanimate materials make up Earth’s four spheres: atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. Applying scientific skills and knowledge, together with an understanding the interaction between these spheres, enables us to tackle challenges that face our world, such as providing food, clean water, health care, food, energy sources and safe living environments.

Plants are an ideal context to explore scientists’ ideas of energy, matter and change. For example,
•    absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by green plants during photosynthesis
•    release oxygen, produced during photosynthesis, into the atmosphere
•    uptake of liquid water by plants and the loss of water vapour during transpiration
•    solubility of nutrients are in soil water and their uptake by plants
•    making molecules from atoms: small molecules, e.g. O2, H2O and CO2; larger molecules, e.g. C6H12O6; giant molecules, e.g. DNA
•    shapes and structures of molecules represented using molecular modelling kits
•    diffusion of substances in and between plant cells
•    materials cycles.

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