Our science curriculum is designed to provide a high-quality science education, setting the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

Head of Faculty

Mr J. Isles (

Subject Hours per Week (KS3) Hours per Week (KS4) Exam Specification
Science 4 5
7 (if Triple Science is chosen in YR10)
AQA Combined Science: Trilogy (8464)
Y10-AQA Biology (8461)
Y10-AQA Chemistry (8462)
Y10-AQA Physics (8463)

Curriculum Overview

Scientific concepts give the world meaning.

The East Manchester Academy’s science curriculum is designed to provide a high-quality science education setting the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science is intergral to our modern lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.

Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils will be able to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They will understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

During KS3 science students will develop their understanding of science through practical skills and exciting topics which will set the foundations for KS4. GCSE science follows the AQA specification and will build on the key ideas learnt from KS4 with a focus on application of knowledge in a variety of contexts.

What are the Big Ideas in Science?

Knowledge with meaning leads to Big Idea thinking.

Leading educationalists have been researching the best way to teach science in schools to develop students’ love of learning through inquiry based practice. A key problem identified by Wynne Harlen was that students tended to view science as separate topics with no links between them and could not relate this to the world in which we live.

The Big Ideas strategy (of which the TEMA science faculty deliver a variant of) is designed to contextualise science and help to establish links between the three science disciplines and the wider world. At TEMA we have modified the model based on work by the University of York to make the science that students learn more relevant and engaging through Big Ideas in biology, chemistry and physics.

These Big Ideas will help students to understand why they learnt particular aspects of science at KS2, KS3, KS4 and give some relevance to the modern world in particular STEM based careers.


  • BIG IDEA 1: THE CELLULAR BASIS OF LIFE (BI1) – Organisms are made of one or more cells, which need a supply of energy and molecules to carry out life processes
  • BIG IDEA 2: HEREDITY AND LIFE CYCLES (BI2) – Genetic information is passed from each generation to the next; this information and the environment affect the features, growth and development of organisms
  • BIG IDEA 3: ORGANISMS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTS (BI3) – All organisms, including humans, depend on, interact with and affect the environments in which they live and other organisms that live there
  • BIG IDEA 4: VARIATION, ADAPTATION AND EVOLUTION (BI4) – Differences between organisms cause species to evolve by natural selection of better adapted individuals. The great diversity of organisms is the result of evolution
  • BIG IDEA 5: HEALTH AND DISEASE (BI5) – Organisms must stay in good health to survive and thrive; the health of an individual results from interactions between its body, behaviour, environment and other organisms


  • BIG IDEA: SUBSTANCES AND PROPERTIES (CH1) – Materials are either made of a single chemical substance or a mixture of substances which each have distinctive properties
  • BIG IDEA: PARTICLES AND STRUCTURE (CH2) – All matter is made up of atoms. The behaviour and structural arrangement of atoms explains the properties of different materials
  • BIG IDEA: CHEMICAL REACTIONS (CH3) – During a chemical reaction, atoms are rearranged forming new substances
  • BIG IDEA: EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE (CH4) – The composition of the Earth’s atmosphere depends upon the balance of substances that are continually entering and leaving it. This affects the Earth’s climate


  • BIG IDEA: MATTER (PH1) – Objects are made of particles with mass. Understanding particles helps us to design our world
  • BIG IDEA: FORCES AND MOTION (PH2) – Forces make things change. Understanding forces helps us to predict and control physical change
  • BIG IDEA: SOUND, LIGHT AND WAVES (PH3) – Waves radiate information. Understanding waves helps us to communicate
  • BIG IDEA: ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM (PH4) -The everyday world is largely a consequence of electrical charge. Understanding electricity and magnetism helps us develop technology to improve lives
  • BIG IDEA: EARTH IN SPACE (PH5) – Understanding the uniqueness of the Earth and the vastness of space gives us perspective
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