Science Year 8

Departmental Curriculum

Year 8

The science course in Year 8 builds on and further develops the Scientific skills learnt in y7. Lessons continue to be taught as topics. In y8 pupils will study:

Planet Earth

• the composition of the Earth

• the structure of the Earth

•the rock cycle and the formation of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks

• Earth as a source of limited resources and the effectiveness of recycling

• The carbon cycle

•The composition of the atmosphere

•The production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the impact on climate.

Periodic Table

Periodic table:

• The varying physical and chemical properties of different elements

•older versions of and the principles that led to the Mendeleev Periodic Table

• The Periodic Table: periods and groups; metals and non-metals.

• How patterns in reactions can be predicted by referring to the Periodic Table.

• The chemical properties of metal and non-metal oxides, especially pH

Digestion and Nutrition

Content of a healthy diet and why each component is needed

Calculate the energy in foods and the energy requirements in a healthy diet

Effects of not eating properly

The structure and adaptations to function of the human digestive system and how food is digested

The importance of bacteria


Observed waves:

Waves on water as transverse motion; these waves can be reflected, and add or cancel 

Sound waves:

• Frequencies of sound waves, measured in Hertz (Hz), echoes, reflection and absorption of sound

• Sound needs a medium to travel,

The speed of sound in air, water and solids

•Sound produced by vibrations of objects, in loud speakers, detected by their effects on microphone diaphragm and the ear drum, sound waves are longitudinal

• Auditory range of humans and animals Energy and waves:

Pressure waves transferring energy; use for cleaning and physiotherapy by ultra-sound; waves transferring information for conversion to electrical signals by microphone.

The structure of a typical waveform

Speed =frequency x wavelength

Respiration and Breathing

Cellular respiration

Aerobic and anaerobic respiration in living organisms, including the breakdown of organic molecules to enable all the other chemical processes necessary for life

A word summary for aerobic respiration

The process of anaerobic respiration in humans and micro-organisms, including fermentation

Word summary for anaerobic respiration

The differences between aerobic and anaerobic respiration in terms of the reactants, the products formed and the implications for the organism.

The structure and function of the human respiratory system

How the organs are adapted


Motion and Forces

Hooke’s Law

Describing motion:

 Speed and the relationship between average speed, distance and time (speed = distance /time)

 the representation of a journey on a distance-time graph

Relative motion: trains and cars passing one another.

Forces and motion:

 Forces being needed to cause objects to stop or start objects moving, or to change their speed or direction of motion

 Change depending on direction of force and its size

The effects of forces on pressure


Static electricity:

• separation of positive or negative charges when objects are rubbed together; transfer of electrons, forces between charged particles

• the idea of electric field, forces acting across the space between objects not in contact.


Current electricity:

Describe the path of electric current around a series and parallel circuit

Electric current, measured in amperes, in circuits, series and parallel circuits, currents add where branches meet and current flow as charge

Potential difference, measured in volts, battery and bulb ratings, resistance measured in ohms, as the ratio of p.d. to current

From energy section:

• comparing power ratings of appliances in watts (W, kW)

•comparing amounts of energy transferred (J, kJ, kW hour)

Domestic fuel bills, fuel use and costs

Differences in resistance between conducting and insulating components (quantitative)


Chemical Reactions

How atoms are rearranged in chemical reactions

Begin to use chemical formulae and equations

Different types of chemical reactions

The pH scale

Reactions of acids with metals

Reactions of acids with alkalis

What catalysts do


the similarities and differences between light waves and waves in matter

• light waves travelling through a vacuum; speed of light

• how light moves through materials: absorption, diffuse scattering and specular reflection at a surface

•use of ray model to explain imaging in  mirrors, the pinhole camera, the refraction of light and action of convex lens in focusing

the parts of the human eye

• light transferring energy from source to absorber leading to chemical and electrical effects; photo-sensitive material in the retina and in cameras

• colours and the different frequencies of light, white light and prisms

How we see different colours


The variation between individuals of different species

The variation between individuals within a species being continuous or discontinuous

Variation between species and between individuals of the same species leading to competition which can drive natural selection

How changes in the environment may leave individuals within a species, and some entire species, less well adapted to compete successfully and reproduce, which in turn may lead to extinction.

Heredity as the process by which genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next

The importance of maintaining biodiversity and use of gene banks to preserve heredity material

A simple model of chromosomes, genes and DNA in heredity.

The part played by Watson, Crick, Wilkins and Franklin in the development of the DNA model