The new specifications for science subjects, at both Junior Cert and Leaving Cert, put an emphasis on the application of knowledge in real-world contexts. In other words, students should be able "to do" rather than only "to know".
The junior cycle changes in science were introduced for first years last September, as part of the ongoing reforms, and the first students to experience these will complete junior cycle in 2019.
Sixth-year students in 30 schools will participate in the trials for the practicals in October, before a final decision on their inclusion into the assessment regime.
The SEC is due to deliver a report on the trials to the department by February and, even if there is no further delay, it is likely to be 2021 at the earliest before the first practicals take place, as the new syllabus would be introduced for fifth years.
In this series of blogs, we analyse the specification for the new and improved Junior Cert Science syllabus and outline what you can expect in 2019.
Junior cycle science is linked to central features of learning and teaching outlined in the Framework for Junior Cycle.
The statement (SOL)
Examples of relevant learning
The student understands the origins and impacts of social, economic, and environmental aspects of the world around her/him. Students will collect and examine data to make appraisals about ideas, solutions or methods by which humans can successfully conserve ecological biodiversity.
The student has the awareness, knowledge, skills, values and motivation to live sustainably. Students will engage critically in a balanced review of scientific texts relating to the sustainability issues that arise from our generation and consumption of electricity.
The student understands the importance of food and diet in making healthy lifestyle choices. Students will collect and examine evidence to make judgements on how human health can be affected by inherited factors and environmental factors, including nutrition and lifestyle choices.
The student recognises the potential uses of mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding in all areas of learning. Students will participate in a wide range of mathematical activities as they analyse data presented in mathematical form, and use appropriate mathematical models, formulae or techniques to draw relevant conclusions.
The student describes, illustrates, interprets, predicts and explains patterns and relationships. Through investigation, students will learn how to describe, illustrate, interpret, predict and explain patterns and relationships between physical observables.
The student devises and evaluates strategies for investigating and solving problems using mathematical knowledge, reasoning and skills. Through planning and conducting scientific investigations, students will learn to develop their critical thinking and reasoning skills as they apply their knowledge and understanding to generate questions and answers rather than to recall answers.
The student observes and evaluates empirical events and processes and draws valid deductions and conclusions. Students will engage in an analysis of natural processes: through observation and evaluation of the processes, they will generate questions as they seek to draw valid deductions and conclusions.
The student values the role and contribution of science and technology to society, and their personal, social and global importance. Students will research and present information on the contributions that scientists make to scientific discovery and invention, and the impact of these on society.
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