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Parramatta High School

Parramatta High School

Respect, Responsibility and Honesty

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Science overview

Science and technology are of increasing importance and integral to our rapidly changing world. Through questioning and seeking solutions to problems, students develop an understanding of the relationships between science and technology, and the significance of their contribution to and influence on society.

Inquiry based learning is a distinct way of finding answers to interesting questions and solutions to important problems about the natural world. By working scientifically, students use scientific inquiry to develop their understanding of ideas and concepts, and the importance of evidence in making informed decisions about the uses of science in their lives.


Biology is the study of living organisms, life processes and interactions between organisms and their environment.

The preliminary course incorporates the study of the mechanisms and systems that living things use to obtain, transport and draw on materials for their own growth and repair; biotic and abiotic features of the environment and the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem; the evolution of life on earth; and the effects of global changes on the diversity of Australian biota during the formation of the Australian continent.

The HSC (Higher School Certificate) course builds upon the preliminary course. It examines the processes and structures that plants and animals use to maintain a constant internal environment and the way in which characteristics are transmitted from generation to generation. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on the increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.


Chemistry is the study of the physical and chemical properties of matter, with a focus on substances and their interactions. Chemistry attempts to provide chemical explanations and to predict events at the atomic and molecular level.

The preliminary course develops a knowledge of atomic structure, chemical changes, rates of reaction and relationships between substances by focusing on increasing students' understanding of the earth's resources, the development of increasingly sophisticated methods to extract and use metals, the importance of water on earth and high energy carbon compounds.

The HSC course builds on the concepts developed in the preliminary course, expanding on areas such as the search for new sources of traditional materials, the design and production of new materials, the management and monitoring of chemicals that have been developed and/or released as a result of human technological activity and the way in which environmental problems could be reversed or minimised. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on the increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.


Physics investigates natural phenomena, identifies patterns and applies models, principles and laws to explain their behaviour.

The preliminary course develops a knowledge of waves, motion, forces, fields, electricity and magnetism by focusing on increasing students' understanding of current communication technologies, the use of electricity in the home, interaction involving vehicles (such as car crashes) and the mechanisms that maintain the physical conditions of planet Earth.


The Years 7 to 10 science programs at Parramatta High School have been developed using the inquiry based learning model. Students learn how to apply the process of working scientifically by identifying problems, working collaboratively in practical investigations, processing and analysing data and communicating scientific ideas. Students study one unit of work each term dealing with the following areas of science.

Year 7

  • forces,¬† clean water, biodiversity, earth and space

Year 8

  • living systems,¬† energy tansformations, material world, earth's crust

Year 9

  • powering our world, balance in nature, dynamic earth, communicating

Year 10

  • chemical reactions, motion, the complex human, the universe

Years 11 and 12

  • the science course caters for students requiring a broad overview across all disciplines of science and focuses on encouraging them to become scientifically literate citizens

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