Science Department

Science Coordinator: Miss D McCombe

Subjects Offered

Science Double Award GCSE

Junior Science – Years 8 & 9

Science stimulates and excites pupils’ curiosity and their interest in the world around them. Through their work in science, pupils begin to understand major scientific ideas, to appreciate how these develop and contribute to technological change, and recognise the cultural significance of science and its worldwide development.

Science offers pupils the opportunity to take part in a range of practical activities that allow them to link scientific theory to actual experience.

Pupils learn how the results of experimental evidence and models are used to explain phenomena and events. Through carrying out enquiry-based investigations, pupils develop key skills and are encouraged to think critically and creatively.

Pupils also learn how scientific technologies have been used in industry, business and medicine and how these developments have contributed greatly to the quality of life for most people. Pupils take part in questioning and discussion about science-based issues that affect their lives, the society in which they live and the world as a whole. Through this independent enquiry they become more confident in expressing their views and evaluating decisions about scientific matters.

Further information about Science in Year 10 can be found on the subject pages for Biology, Chemistry and Physics.


GCSE Double Award Science

Double Award Science allows pupils to study all the Sciences but to a lesser extent than completing the separate Sciences. Each of the Sciences will be taught by specialist teachers. Double Award Science pupils will achieve equivalent to two GCSE grades.

In Year 11 pupils study:

  • Biology Unit 1:  Living Processes, Cells and Biodiversity
  • Chemistry Unit 1: Structures, Trends, Chemical Reactions, Quantitative Chemistry and Analysis
  • Physics Unit 1: Motion, Force, Moments, Energy, Density, Kinetic Theory, Radioactivity, Nuclear Fission and Fusion

In Year 12 pupils study:

  • Biology Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Microorganisms and Health
  • Chemistry Unit 2: Further Chemical Reactions, Rates and Equilibrium, Calculations and Organic Chemistry
  • Physics Unit 2: Waves, Light, Electricity, Magnetism, Electromagnetism and Space Physics

The final component of this GCSE is a Practicals unit based around 3 practicals undertaken in class and then assessed in an external written examination.

Further information can be found on the subject pages for Biology, Chemistry and Physics and in the GCSE Options booklet.


Each year group studies Science for 6 periods per week in Years 8 and 9. At Key Stage 3 topics are selected to give a good foundation for GCSE Sciences. As a department we aim to embed skills such as practical work and analysis which are important for success at GCSE.
Year 8

  • Becoming a Scientist
  • Acids and alkalis
  • Human reproduction
  • Plant reproduction
  • Mass, weight and density
  • Elements, compounds and mixtures
  • Cells and systems
  • Space
Year 9

  • Science energised
  • Separating techniques
  • Electricity
  • Digestion
  • Circulation
  • Heart start
  • Forces
  • Classification
Year 8 Science Club runs on a Tuesday afterschool from 15.45 to 16.30. This is a popular club where pupils enjoy socialising with friends, develop their love for science and explore science concepts outside the Key Stage 3 Science curriculum.   A range of fun, practical work and problem-solving tasks are carried out, building upon practical skills that pupils learn in their first term of Year 8. Examples of Science Club practicals include:

  • Making slime
  • Making plastic milk
  • Making ice cream
  • Building and racing hovercrafts
  • Isolating DNA
  • Chromatography of leaf pigments
  • Growing crystals
  • Rat dissection
  • Elephants toothpaste
Community Outreach to local Primary School and Clubs In recent years we have had a number of local primary schools and youth organisations come into school to use the RSD Science labs to complete hands-on experiments. These have included Howard Primary (science day on the topic of water) and Killyman Scouts (for their science badge).
Typical trips include visits to W5 and the Navan centre. The Department is also involved in STEM quizzes with the STEM Centre and local high schools.

Science News Articles

The Mystery of the Christmas Star

Year 12 Journeyed back over 2000 years to Bethlehem (in Armagh Planetarium Dome Theatre)

A fab day at W5

What a fab day! Year 8 had a great Science/PE trip to W5, followed by an ice hockey match at the...

Science COP26 event

  Last week, three STEM ambassadors and Engineering representatives from RPS Engineering in Belfast were invited to talk to our Year 9 pupils...

Physics Fun at W5 with Year 12

Year 12 Physicists had a great day yesterday at W5, learning how ‘smart materials’ will shape our future.

Record breaking pupils participate in world’s largest ever science lesson

On Tuesday 24 February RSD's Year 8 pupils joined with pupils from 29 schools across Northern Ireland in Belfast's Odyssey Arena as part of the Northern Ireland Science Festival. In total 1339 pupils took part in a ‘crimatography’ experiment, which involved solving a...

Year 8 Science trip – The Navan Centre

On Friday 8 March our year group (Year 8) went on a trip to the Navan Centre to see some science experiments.  The experiments were cool and some were absolutely crazy.  For example, making fake snow definitely fell into the  'cool' category. whilst another...

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