Expectations for Students/Learning Outcomes

'Expectations for students' is an umbrella term that links learning outcomes with annotated examples of student work in the subject or short course specification. When teachers, students or parents looking at the online specification scroll through the learning outcomes, a link will sometimes be available to examples of work associated with a specific learning outcome or with a group of learning outcomes. The examples of student work will have been selected to illustrate expectations and will have been annotated by teachers. The examples will include work that is  

  •   in line with expectations
  •   above expectations
  •   exceptional.

The purpose of the examples of student work is to show the extent to which the learning outcomes are being realised in actual cases

 

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are statements that describe the understanding, skills and values students should be able to demonstrate after a period of learning. Junior cycle science is offered at a common level. The examples of student work linked to learning outcomes will offer commentary and insights that support differentiation. The learning outcomes set out in the following tables apply to all students. As set out here they represent outcomes for students at the end of their three years of study. The specification stresses that the learning outcomes are for three years and therefore the learning outcomes focused on at a point in time will not have been ‘completed’ but will continue to support the students’ learning of science up to the end of junior cycle.

 

To support the exploration of the learning outcomes by teachers, parents, and students a glossary of the action verbs used in the specification is included. The outcomes are numbered within each strand. The numbering is intended to support teacher planning in the first instance and does not imply any hierarchy of importance across the outcomes themselves; it also does not suggest an order to which the learning outcomes should be developed in class.

Strand 1: Nature of Science

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Understanding about science
  1. 1.

    Appreciate how scientists work and how scientific ideas are modified over time

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2. Investigating in science
  1. 2.

    recognise questions that are appropriate for scientific investigation, pose testable hypotheses, and evaluate and compare strategies for investigating hypotheses

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  2. 3.

    design, plan and conduct investigations; explain how reliability, accuracy, precision, fairness, safety, ethics, and the selection of suitable equipment have been considered

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  3. 4.

    produce and select data (qualitatively/quantitatively), critically analyse data to identify patterns and relationships, identify anomalous observations, draw and justify conclusions

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  4. 5.

    review and reflect on the skills and thinking used in carrying out    investigations, and apply their learning and skills to solving problems in unfamiliar contexts

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3. Communicating in science
  1. 6.

    conduct research relevant to a scientific issue, evaluate different sources of information including secondary data, understanding that a source may lack detail or show bias

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  2. 7.

    organise and communicate their research and investigative findings in a variety of ways fit for purpose and audience, using relevant scientific terminology and representations

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  3. 8.

    evaluate media-based arguments concerning science and technology

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4. Science in society
  1. 9.

    research and present information on the contribution that scientists make to scientific discovery and invention, and its impact on society

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  2. 10.

    appreciate the role of science in society; and its personal, social and global importance; and how society influences scientific research

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Strand 2: Earth and space

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Building blocks
  1. 1.

    describe the relationships between various celestial objects including moons, asteroids, comets, planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies and space

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  2. 2.

    explore a scientific model to illustrate the origin of the universe

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  3. 3.

    interpret data to compare the Earth with other planets and moons in the solar system, with respect to properties including mass, gravity, size, and composition

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2. Systems and interactions
  1. 4.

    develop and use a model of the Earth-Sun-Moon system to describe predictable phenomena observable on Earth, including seasons, lunar phases, and eclipses of the Sun and the Moon

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  2. 5.

    describe the cycling of matter, including that of carbon and water, associating it with biological and atmospheric phenomena

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3. Energy
  1. 6.

    research different energy sources; formulate and communicate an informed view of ways that current and future energy needs on Earth can be met

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4. Sustainability
  1. 7.

    illustrate how earth processes and human factors influence the Earth's climate, evaluate effects of climate change and initiatives that attempt to address those effects

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  2. 8.

    examine some of the current hazards and benefits of space exploration and discuss the future role and implications of space exploration in society

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Strand 3: Chemical world

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Building blocks
  1. 1.

    investigate whether mass is unchanged when chemical and physical changes take place 

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  2. 2.

    develop and use models to describe the atomic nature of matter; demonstrate how they provide a simple way to account for the conservation of mass, changes of state, physical change, chemical change, mixtures, and their separation

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  3. 3.

    describe and model the structure of the atom in terms of the nucleus, protons, neutrons and electrons; comparing mass and charge of protons neutrons and electrons

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  4. 4.

    classify substances as elements, compounds, mixtures, metals, non-metals, solids, liquids, gases and solutions

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2. Systems and interactions
  1. 5.

    use the Periodic Table to predict the ratio of atoms in compounds of two elements

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  2. 6.

    investigate the properties of different materials including solubilities, conductivity, melting points and boiling points

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  3. 7.

    investigate the effect of a number of variables on the rate of chemical reactions including the production of common gases and biochemical reactions

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  4. 8.

    investigate reactions between acids and bases; use indicators and the pH scale

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3. Energy
  1. 9.

    consider chemical reactions in terms of energy, using the terms exothermic, endothermic and activation energy, and use simple energy profile diagrams to illustrate energy changes

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4. Sustainability
  1. 10.

    evaluate how humans contribute to sustainability through the extraction, use, disposal, and recycling of materials

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Strand 4: Physical world

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Building blocks
  1. 1.

    select and use appropriate measuring instruments

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  2. 2.

    identify and measure/calculate length, mass, time, temperature, area, volume, density, speed, acceleration, force, potential difference, current, resistance, electrical power

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2. Systems and interactions
  1. 3.

    investigate patterns and relationships between physical observables

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  2. 4.

    research and discuss a technological application of physics in terms of scientific, societal and environmental impact 

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  3. 5.

    design and build simple electronic circuits

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3. Energy
  1. 6.

    explain energy conservation and analyse processes in terms of energy changes and dissipation

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  2. 7.

    design, build, and test a device that transforms energy from one form to another in order to perform a function; describe the energy changes and ways of improving efficiency

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4. Sustainability
  1. 8.

    research and discuss the ethical and sustainability issues that arise from our generation and consumption of electricity

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Strand 5: Biological world

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1. Building blocks
  1. 1.

    investigate the structures of animal and plant cells and relate them to their functions

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  2. 2.

    describe asexual and sexual reproduction; explore patterns in the inheritance and variation of genetically controlled characteristics

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  3. 3.

    outline evolution by natural selection and how it explains the diversity of living things 

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2. Systems and interactions
  1. 4.

    describe the structure, function, and interactions of the organs of the human digestive, circulatory, and respiratory systems

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  2. 5.

    conduct a habitat study; research and investigate the adaptation, competition and interdependence of organisms within specific habitats and communities

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  3. 6.

    evaluate how human health is affected by: inherited factors and environmental factors including nutrition; lifestyle choices; examine the role of micro-organisms in human health

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3. Energy
  1. 7.

    desribe respiration and photosynthesis as both chemical and biological processes; investigate factors that affect respiration and photosynthesis

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  2. 8.

    explain how matter and energy flow through ecosystems

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4. Sustainability
  1. 9.

    explain human sexual reproduction; discuss medical, ethical, and societal issues

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  2. 10.

    evaluate how humans can successfully conserve ecological biodiversity and contribute to global food production; appreciate the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems

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