Science Year 9

Year 9 Content Descriptions

Year 9 Level Description

The science inquiry skills and science as a human endeavour strands are described across a two-year band. In their planning, schools and teachers refer to the expectations outlined in the achievement standard and also to the content of the science understanding strand for the relevant year level to ensure that these two strands are addressed over the two-year period. The three strands of the curriculum are interrelated and their content is taught in an integrated way. The order and detail in which the content descriptions are organised into teaching and learning programs are decisions to be made by the teacher.

Incorporating the key ideas of science

Over Years 7 to 10, students develop their understanding of microscopic and atomic structures, how systems at a range of scales are shaped by flows of energy and matter and interactions due to forces, and develop the ability to quantify changes and relative amounts.

In Year 9, students consider the operation of systems at a range of scales. They explore ways in which the human body as a system responds to its external environment and the interdependencies between biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems. They are introduced to the notion of the atom as a system of protons, electrons and neutrons, and how this system can change through nuclear decay. They learn that matter can be rearranged through chemical change and that these changes play an important role in many systems. They are introduced to the concept of the conservation of matter and begin to develop a more sophisticated view of energy transfer. They begin to apply their understanding of energy and forces to global systems such as continental movement.

Science Understanding

Biological sciences

Multi-cellular organisms rely on coordinated and interdependent internal systems to respond to changes to their environment(ACSSU175 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                  Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environmentmatter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                  • investigating the interdependence of communities and the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in maintaining their environment (OI.2OI.5)
                                    • exploring interactions between organisms such as predator/prey, parasites, competitors, pollinators and disease
                                          • examining factors that affect population sizes such as seasonal changes, destruction of habitats, introduced species
                                                  • considering how energy flows into and out of an ecosystem via the pathways of food webs, and how it must be replaced to maintain the sustainability of the system
                                                      • investigating how ecosystems change as a result of events such as bushfires, drought and flooding

                                                            Chemical sciences

                                                            All matter is made of atoms that are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons; natural radioactivity arises from the decay of nuclei in atoms (ACSSU177 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                            • investigating how radiocarbon and other dating methods have been used to establish that Aboriginal Peoples have been present on the Australian continent for more than 60,000 years (OI.6)
                                                              • describing and modelling the structure of atoms in terms of the nucleus, protons, neutrons and electrons
                                                                        • comparing the mass and charge of protons, neutrons and electrons
                                                                                • describing in simple terms how alpha and beta particles and gamma radiation are released from unstable atoms

                                                                                          Chemical reactions involve rearranging atoms to form new substances; during a chemical reaction mass is not created or destroyed (ACSSU178 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                                                          • identifying reactants and products in chemical reactions
                                                                                            • modelling chemical reactions in terms of rearrangement of atoms
                                                                                              • describing observed reactions using word equations
                                                                                                      • considering the role of energy in chemical reactions
                                                                                                        • recognising that the conservation of mass in a chemical reaction can be demonstrated by simple chemical equations

                                                                                                            Chemical reactions, including combustion and the reactions of acids, are important in both non-living and living systems and involve energy transfer (ACSSU179 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                                                                            • investigating how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples use fire-mediated chemical reactions to facilitate energy and nutrient transfer in ecosystems through the practice of firestick farming (OI.2OI.5)
                                                                                                              • investigating reactions of acids with metals, bases, and carbonates
                                                                                                                • investigating a range of different reactions to classify them as exothermic or endothermic
                                                                                                                        • recognising the role of oxygen in combustion reactions and comparing combustion with other oxidation reactions
                                                                                                                          • comparing respiration and photosynthesis and their role in biological processes
                                                                                                                                • describing how the products of combustion reactions affect the environment

                                                                                                                                          Earth and space sciences

                                                                                                                                          The theory of plate tectonics explains global patterns of geological activity and continental movement (ACSSU180 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                                                                                                          • recognising the major plates on a world map
                                                                                                                                                  • modelling sea-floor spreading
                                                                                                                                                      • relating the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic activity to constructive and destructive plate boundaries
                                                                                                                                                            • considering the role of heat energy and convection currents in the movement of tectonic plates
                                                                                                                                                                • relating the extreme age and stability of a large part of the Australian continent to its plate tectonic history

                                                                                                                                                                        Physical sciences

                                                                                                                                                                        Energy transfer through different mediums can be explained using wave and particle models (ACSSU182 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                                                                                                                                        • investigating the impact of material selection on the transfer of sound energy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ traditional musical, hunting and communication instruments (OI.5)
                                                                                                                                                                          • investigating aspects of heat transfer and conservation in the design of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ bedding and clothing in the various climatic regions of Australia (OI.5OI.7)
                                                                                                                                                                            • exploring how and why the movement of energy varies according to the medium through which it is transferred
                                                                                                                                                                                  • discussing the wave and particle models and how they are useful for understanding aspects of phenomena
                                                                                                                                                                                        • investigating the transfer of heat in terms of convection, conduction and radiation, and identifying situations in which each occurs
                                                                                                                                                                                              • understanding the processes underlying convection and conduction in terms of the particle model
                                                                                                                                                                                                • investigating factors that affect the transfer of energy through an electric circuit
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • exploring the properties of waves, and situations where energy is transferred in the form of waves, such as sound and light

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Science as a Human Endeavour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nature and development of science

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Scientific understanding, including models and theories, is contestable and is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community (ACSHE157 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Advances in scientific understanding often rely on technological advances and are often linked to scientific discoveries (ACSHE158 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Use and influence of science

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE160 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research(ACSHE228 – Scootle )Elaborations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Science Inquiry Skills