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GCSE

Sciences

Subject Content Book

Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Science A
Science B
Additional Science
Additional Applied Science

These specifications are published on the AQA website (aqa.org.uk). We will let centres know in writing about any
changes to the specifications. We will also publish changes on our website. The version on the website is the
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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Contents
Introduction

Biology

Unit 1: Biology 1 (also applies to Science A Unit 1)


Unit 2: Biology 2 (also applies to Additional Science Unit 1)
Unit 3: Biology 3

4
23
39

Chemistry

51

Unit 1: Chemistry 1 (also applies to Science A Unit 2)


Unit 2: Chemistry 2 (also applies to Additional Science Unit 2)
Unit 3: Chemistry 3

52
69
85

Physics

99

Unit 1: Physics 1 (also applies to Science A Unit 3)


Unit 2: Physics 2 (also applies to Additional Science Unit 3)
Unit 3: Physics 3

100
110
126

Science B

135

Unit 1: My World
Unit 2: My Family and Home
Unit 3: Making My World a Better Place

136
147
160

Additional Applied Science

175

Unit 1: Science at work


Unit 2: How Scientists Use Practical Techniques

176
203

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Introduction
The subject content of the GCSE Science
specifications is presented in several sections:

How Science Works


a number of units of substantive content
the Controlled Assessment unit.

This booklet contains only the units of substantive


content: the statements of what students need to
know and understand and what they will be assessed
on. For details of How Science Works and the
Controlled Assessment, you should refer to the
specifications.

Presentation of the substantive content


In Biology, Chemistry and Physics, the subject
content of each section is presented in two columns:

the left-hand column lists (in a series of


alphabetical points) the content that needs to
be delivered
the right-hand column contains guidance and
expansion of the content, to aid teachers in
delivering it and giving further details on what will
be examined.

Science B and Additional Applied Science use a


single-column format:

Introductory statements
Each section of the content begins with an introduction
to the topics that are to be covered in that section,
which teachers should use to introduce students to the
content and to encourage informed discussion.
Integrating How Science Works
The organisation of each sub-section is designed to
help teachers to integrate and deliver How Science
Works through the context of the content. To facilitate
this:

In Biology, Chemistry and Physics, each subsection starts with the statement:
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
which introduces a number of activities intended
to enable students to develop the skills,
knowledge and understanding of How Science
Works.
In Science B and Additional Applied Science,
a box at the end of each sub-section highlights
areas where students will be expected to apply
the knowledge and understanding they have
gained in discussing, evaluating and suggesting
implications of scientific data and evidence.

the content that needs to be delivered is


presented as a series of numbered statements
at the end of each section an additional guidance
box contains expansion of the content and
clarification of what may be examined. Numbering
in these boxes corresponds with the numbering of
the subject content above it.

Ideas for practical work


In all specifications, at the end of each section there is
a list of ideas for investigative practical work that could
be used to help candidates develop their practical
enquiry skills and to understand and engage with the
content.
Tiering of subject content
Additional content for Higher Tier candidates is
denoted in the subject content in bold type.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

GCSE Sciences
Subject Content Book

Biology

Biology
4401

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 1: Biology 1
B1.1

Keeping healthy

Biology

A combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise is needed to help keep the body healthy. Our bodies
provide an excellent environment for many microbes which can make us ill once they are inside us. Our bodies
need to stop most microbes getting in and deal with any microbes which do get in. Vaccination can be used to
prevent infection.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate information about the effect of food
on health

evaluate information about the effect of lifestyle


on development of disease

analyse and evaluate claims made by slimming


programmes, and slimming products.

Additional guidance:
Candidates will be given data to work from.

B1.1.1 Diet and exercise


Additional guidance:

a) A healthy diet contains the right balance of the


different foods you need and the right amount
of energy. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are
used by the body to release energy and to build
cells. Mineral ions and vitamins are needed in
small amounts for healthy functioning of the body.
A person is malnourished if their diet is not
balanced. This may lead to a person being
overweight or underweight. An unbalanced diet
may also lead to deficiency diseases or conditions
such as Type 2 diabetes.

Knowledge and understanding of the specific functions


of nutrients and the effects of any deficiency in the diet
is not required.

b) A person loses mass when the energy content


of the food taken in is less than the amount of
energy expended by the body. Exercise increases
the amount of energy expended by the body.
c) The rate at which all the chemical reactions in the
cells of the body are carried out (the metabolic rate)
varies with the amount of activity you do and the
proportion of muscle to fat in your body. Metabolic
rate may be affected by inherited factors.
d) Inherited factors also affect our health; for example
cholesterol level.
Additional guidance:

e) People who exercise regularly are usually healthier


than people who take little exercise.

The effect of exercise on breathing and heart rate is not


required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.1.2 How our bodies defend themselves against infectious diseases


Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I relate the contribution of Semmelweiss in controlling
infection to solving modern problems with the spread
of infection in hospitals
explain how the treatment of disease has changed
as a result of increased understanding of the action
of antibiotics and immunity

evaluate the consequences of mutations of bacteria


and viruses in relation to epidemics and pandemics

evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of


being vaccinated against a particular disease.

Candidates will be given data to work from.

Biology

Additional guidance:

a) Microorganisms that cause infectious disease are


called pathogens.
Additional guidance:

b) Bacteria and viruses may reproduce rapidly inside


the body and may produce poisons (toxins) that
make us feel ill. Viruses damage the cells in which
they reproduce.

Knowledge of the structure of bacteria and viruses is


not required.

c) The body has different ways of protecting itself


against pathogens.
d) White blood cells help to defend against pathogens by:
I

ingesting pathogens

producing antibodies, which destroy particular


bacteria or viruses

producing antitoxins, which counteract the toxins


released by the pathogens.

e) The immune system of the body produces specific


antibodies to kill a particular pathogen. This leads to
immunity from that pathogen. In some cases, dead
or inactivated pathogens stimulate antibody
production. If a large proportion of the population
is immune to a pathogen, the spread of the
pathogen is very much reduced.
f) Semmelweiss recognised the importance of
hand-washing in the prevention of spreading some
infectious diseases. By insisting that doctors washed
their hands before examining patients, he greatly
reduced the number of deaths from infectious
diseases in his hospital.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

g) Some medicines, including painkillers, help to relieve


the symptoms of infectious disease, but do not kill
the pathogens.

Biology

Additional guidance:

h) Antibiotics, including penicillin, are medicines that


help to cure bacterial disease by killing infectious
bacteria inside the body. Antibiotics cannot be used
to kill viral pathogens, which live and reproduce inside
cells. It is important that specific bacteria should be
treated by specific antibiotics. The use of antibiotics
has greatly reduced deaths from infectious bacterial
diseases. Overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics
has increased the rate of development of antibiotic
resistant strains of bacteria.

Candidates should be aware that it is difficult to develop


drugs that kill viruses without also damaging the bodys
tissues.

i) Many strains of bacteria, including MRSA, have


developed resistance to antibiotics as a result of
natural selection. To prevent further resistance
arising it is important to avoid over-use of antibiotics.

Knowledge of the development of resistance in bacteria


is limited to the fact that pathogens mutate, producing
resistant strains.

j) Mutations of pathogens produce new strains.


Antibiotics and vaccinations may no longer be effective
against a new resistant strain of the pathogen. The new
strain will then spread rapidly because people are not
immune to it and there is no effective treatment.
Higher Tier candidates should understand that:
I

antibiotics kill individual pathogens of the


non-resistant strain

individual resistant pathogens survive and


reproduce, so the population of the resistant
strain increases

now, antibiotics are not used to treat


non-serious infections, such as mild throat
infections, so that the rate of development of
resistant strains is slowed down.

HT only

k) The development of antibiotic-resistant strains of


bacteria necessitates the development of new antibiotics.
Additional guidance:

l) People can be immunised against a disease by


introducing small quantities of dead or inactive forms
of the pathogen into the body (vaccination). Vaccines
stimulate the white blood cells to produce antibodies
that destroy the pathogens. This makes the person
immune to future infections by the microorganism.
The body can respond by rapidly making the correct
antibody, in the same way as if the person had
previously had the disease.
MMR vaccine is used to protect children against
measles, mumps and rubella.

Details of vaccination schedules and side effects


associated with specific vaccines are not required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

m) Uncontaminated cultures of microorganisms are


required for investigating the action of disinfectants
and antibiotics.
For this:
Petri dishes and culture media must be sterilised
before use to kill unwanted microorganisms

inoculating loops used to transfer microorganisms


to the media must be sterilised by passing them
through a flame

the lid of the Petri dish should be secured with


adhesive tape to prevent microorganisms from
the air contaminating the culture.

Biology

n) In school and college laboratories, cultures should


be incubated at a maximum temperature of 25 C,
which greatly reduces the likelihood of growth of
pathogens that might be harmful to humans.
o) In industrial conditions higher temperatures can
produce more rapid growth.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigate the effectiveness of various antibiotic discs in killing bacteria

growing microorganisms in Petri dishes to demonstrate sterile technique and growing pure cultures

the use of pre-inoculated agar in Petri dishes to evaluate the effect of disinfectants and antibiotics

computer simulations to model the effect of: balanced and unbalanced diets and exercise; the growth of
bacterial colonies in varying conditions; action of the immune system and the effect of antibiotics and vaccines.

B1.2

Nerves and hormones

The nervous system and hormones enable us to respond to external changes. They also help us to control
conditions inside our bodies. Hormones are used in some forms of contraception and in fertility treatments. Plants
also produce hormones and respond to external stimuli.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate the benefits of, and the problems that may
arise from, the use of hormones to control fertility,
including In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
I

Additional guidance:
Candidates will be given data to work from.

evaluate the use of plant hormones in horticulture as


weedkillers and to encourage the rooting of
plant cuttings.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.2.1 The nervous system


a) The nervous system enables humans to react to
their surroundings and coordinate their behaviour.
Additional guidance:

b) Cells called receptors detect stimuli (changes in


the environment).

Knowledge and understanding of the structure and


functions of sense organs such as the eye and the ear
are not required.

Biology

Receptors and the stimuli they detect include:


I

receptors in the eyes that are sensitive to light

receptors in the ears that are sensitive to sound

receptors in the ears that are sensitive to changes


in position and enable us to keep our balance

receptors on the tongue and in the nose that are


sensitive to chemicals and enable us to taste and to smell

receptors in the skin that are sensitive to touch,


pressure, pain and to temperature changes.
Additional guidance:

c) Light receptor cells, like most animal cells, have a


nucleus, cytoplasm and cell membrane.

d) Information from receptors passes along cells


(neurones) in nerves to the brain. The brain
coordinates the response. Reflex actions are
automatic and rapid. They often involve sensory,
relay and motor neurones.

A knowledge of the functions of the cell components is


not required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

e) Candidates should understand the role of receptors,


sensory neurones, motor neurones, relay neurones,
synapses and effectors in simple reflex actions.
In a simple reflex action:
impulses from a receptor pass along a sensory
neurone to the central nervous system

at a junction (synapse) between a sensory


neurone and a relay neurone in the central
nervous system, a chemical is released that
causes an impulse to be sent along a relay
neurone

a chemical is then released at the synapse


between a relay neurone and motor neurone in
the central nervous system, causing impulses to
be sent along a motor neurone to the organ
(the effector) that brings about the response

the effector is either a muscle or a gland, a muscle


responds by contracting and a gland responds
by releasing (secreting) chemical substances.

Biology

B1.2.2 Control in the human body


Additional guidance:

a) Internal conditions that are controlled include:


I

the water content of the body water leaves


the body via the lungs when we breathe out and
via the skin when we sweat to cool us down, and
excess water is lost via the kidneys in the urine

the ion content of the body ions are lost via the
skin when we sweat and excess ions are lost via
the kidneys in the urine

temperature to maintain the temperature at


which enzymes work best

blood sugar levels to provide the cells with a


constant supply of energy.

Details of the action of the skin and kidneys and the


control of blood sugar are not required.

b) Many processes within the body are coordinated by


chemical substances called hormones. Hormones
are secreted by glands and are usually transported
to their target organs by the bloodstream.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) Hormones regulate the functions of many organs


and cells. For example, the monthly release of an
egg from a womans ovaries and the changes in the
thickness of the lining of her womb are controlled by
hormones secreted by the pituitary gland and by
the ovaries.

Biology

d) Several hormones are involved in the menstrual cycle


of a woman. Hormones are involved in promoting the
release of an egg:
I

follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is secreted by


the pituitary gland and causes eggs to mature in
the ovaries. It also stimulates the ovaries to
produce hormones including oestrogen

luteinising hormone (LH) stimulates the release


of eggs from the ovary

oestrogen is secreted by the ovaries and inhibits


the further production of FSH.
Additional guidance:

e) The uses of hormones in controlling fertility include:


I

giving oral contraceptives that contain hormones


to inhibit FSH production so that no eggs mature
oral contraceptives may contain oestrogen and
progesterone to inhibit egg maturation
the first birth-control pills contained large amounts
of oestrogen. These resulted in women suffering
significant side effects
birth-control pills now contain a much lower dose
of oestrogen, or are progesterone only
progesterone-only pills lead to fewer side effects

giving FSH and LH in a fertility drug to a woman


whose own level of FSH is too low to stimulate
eggs to mature, for example in In Vitro Fertilisation
(IVF) treatment
IVF involves giving a mother FSH and LH to
stimulate the maturation of several eggs.
The eggs are collected from the mother and
fertilised by sperm from the father. The fertilised
eggs develop into embryos. At the stage when
they are tiny balls of cells, one or two embryos
are inserted into the mothers uterus (womb).

10

Knowledge of the role of progesterone in the natural


menstrual cycle, including details of negative feedback,
is not required

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.2.3 Control in plants


a) Plants are sensitive to light, moisture and gravity:
I

their shoots grow towards light and against the


force of gravity

their roots grow towards moisture and in the


direction of the force of gravity.
Additional guidance:
Candidates should understand the role of auxin in
phototropism and gravitropism.

Biology

b) Plants produce hormones to coordinate and control


growth. Auxin controls phototropism and
gravitropism (geotropism).
c) The responses of plant roots and shoots to light,
gravity and moisture are the result of unequal
distribution of hormones, causing unequal
growth rates.

Additional guidance:

d) Plant growth hormones are used in agriculture and


horticulture as weed killers and as rooting hormones.

Names of specific weed killers and rooting hormones


are not required.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigation into candidates reaction times measuring reaction times using metre rules, stop clocks or ICT

using forehead thermometers before and after exercise

demonstrating the speed of transmission along nerves by candidates standing in a semi-circle and holding
hands and squeezing with eyes closed

design an investigation to measure the sensitivity of the skin

demonstrating the knee jerk reaction

investigation to measure the amount of sweat produced during exercise

investigate:
the effect of light on the growth of seedlings
the effect of gravity on growth in germinating seedlings
the effect of water on the growth of seedlings
using a motion sensor to measure the growth of plants and seedlings
the effect of rooting compounds and weed killers on the growth of plants.

11

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.3

The use and abuse of drugs

Drugs affect our body chemistry. Medical drugs are developed and tested before being used to relieve illness or
disease. Drugs may also be used recreationally as people like the effect on the body. Some drugs are addictive.
Some athletes take drugs to improve performance. People cannot make sensible decisions about drugs unless
they know their full effects.

Biology

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I evaluate the effect of statins in cardiovascular
disease
I

evaluate different types of drugs and why some


people use illegal drugs for recreation

evaluate claims made about the effect of prescribed


and non-prescribed drugs on health

consider the possible progression from recreational


drugs to hard drugs

evaluate the use of drugs to enhance performance in


sport and to consider the ethical implications of
their use.

Additional guidance:
Candidates will be given data to work from.

Classification of drug types is not required.

B1.3.1 Drugs
a) Scientists are continually developing new drugs.
Additional guidance:

b) When new medical drugs are devised, they have to


be extensively tested and trialled before being used.
Drugs are tested in a series of stages to find out if
they are safe and effective.
New drugs are extensively tested for toxicity,
efficacy and dose:

12

in the laboratory, using cells, tissues and live


animals

in clinical trials involving healthy volunteers


and patients. Very low doses of the drug are
given at the start of the clinical trial. If the drug
is found to be safe, further clinical trials are
carried out to find the optimum dose for the
drug. In some double blind trials, some patients
are given a placebo, which does not contain the
drug. Neither the doctors nor the patients know
who has received a placebo and who has
received the drug until the trial is complete.

Candidates should understand that tissues and animals


are used as models to predict how the drugs may
behave in humans.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) Candidates should be aware of the use of statins in


lowering the risk of heart and circulatory diseases.
d) Thalidomide is a drug that was developed as a
sleeping pill. It was also found to be effective in
relieving morning sickness in pregnant women.

Additional guidance:

e) Candidates should be aware of the effects of misuse


of the legal recreational drugs, alcohol and nicotine.
Candidates should understand that the misuse of
the illegal recreational drugs ecstasy, cannabis and
heroin may have adverse effects on the heart and
circulatory system.

Biology

Thalidomide had not been tested for use in pregnant


women. Unfortunately, many babies born to mothers
who took the drug were born with severe limb
abnormalities. The drug was then banned. As a
result, drug testing has become much more rigorous.
More recently, thalidomide has been used
successfully in the treatment of leprosy and other
diseases.

Knowledge and understanding of the specific effects of


recreational drugs on the body, except for cannabis are
not required. The legal classification of specific drugs is
not required.

f) Cannabis is an illegal drug. Cannabis smoke contains


chemicals which may cause mental illness in
some people.
Additional guidance:

g) The overall impact of legal drugs (prescribed and


non-prescribed) on health is much greater than the
impact of illegal drugs because far more people
use them.

Awareness of the benefits of medical drugs, the impact


of non-medical drugs such as alcohol and the possible
misuse of legal drugs should be considered.

h) Drugs change the chemical processes in peoples


bodies so that they may become dependent or
addicted to the drug and suffer withdrawal
symptoms without them. Heroin and cocaine
are very addictive.
Additional guidance:

i) There are several types of drug that an athlete can


use to enhance performance. Some of these drugs
are banned by law and some are legally available
on prescription, but all are prohibited by sporting
regulations. Examples include stimulants that boost
bodily functions such as heart rate; and anabolic
steroids which stimulate muscle growth.

Knowledge of the mode of action of steroids and other


performance-enhancing drugs is not required.

13

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.4

Interdependence and adaptation

Organisms are well adapted to survive in their normal environment. Population size depends on a variety of factors
including competition, predation, disease and human influences. Changes in the environment may affect the
distribution and behaviour of organisms.

Biology

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I suggest how organisms are adapted to the
conditions in which they live

observe the adaptations, eg body shape, of a range


of organisms from different habitats

develop an understanding of the ways in which


adaptations enable organisms to survive

Additional guidance:
Examination questions will use examples that are
unfamiliar to candidates.

Additional guidance:
I

suggest the factors for which organisms are


competing in a given habitat

evaluate data concerned with the effect of


environmental changes on the distribution and
behaviour of living organisms.

B1.4.1 Adaptations
a) To survive and reproduce, organisms require a
supply of materials from their surroundings and
from the other living organisms there.
b) Plants often compete with each other for light and
space, and for water and nutrients from the soil.
c) Animals often compete with each other for food,
mates and territory.
d) Organisms, including microorganisms have features
(adaptations) that enable them to survive in the
conditions in which they normally live.
e) Some organisms live in environments that are very
extreme. Extremophiles may be tolerant to high levels
of salt, high temperatures or high pressures.

14

Factors are limited to light, water, space and nutrients in


plants; food, mates and territory in animals.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

f) Animals and plants may be adapted for survival in


the conditions where they normally live, eg deserts,
the Arctic.
Animals may be adapted for survival in dry and arctic
environments by means of:
I

changes to surface area

thickness of insulating coat

amount of body fat

camouflage.
Biology

Plants may be adapted to survive in dry environments


by means of:
I

changes to surface area, particularly of the leaves

water-storage tissues

extensive root systems.

g) Animals and plants may be adapted to cope with


specific features of their environment, eg thorns,
poisons and warning colours to deter predators.

B1.4.2 Environmental change


Additional guidance:

a) Changes in the environment affect the distribution


of living organisms.

Examples might include, but not limited to, the


changing distribution of some bird species and the
disappearance of pollinating insects, including bees.

b) Animals and plants are subjected to environmental


changes. Such changes may be caused by living or
non-living factors such as a change in a competitor,
or in the average temperature or rainfall.
c) Living organisms can be used as indicators of pollution:
I

lichens can be used as air pollution indicators,


particularly of the concentration of sulfur dioxide
in the atmosphere
invertebrate animals can be used as water
pollution indicators and are used as indicators
of the concentration of dissolved oxygen in water.

d) Environmental changes can be measured using


non-living indicators such as oxygen levels,
temperature and rainfall.

Additional guidance:
Knowledge and understanding of the process of
eutrophication is not required.

Candidates should understand the use of equipment to


measure oxygen levels, temperature and rainfall.

15

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Biology

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigations of environmental conditions and organisms in a habitat such as a pond

hunt the cocktail stick using red and green cocktail sticks on a green background

investigate the distribution of European banded snails

investigate the behaviour of woodlice using choice chambers

investigate the effect on plant growth of varying their environmental conditions, eg degrees of shade, density of
sowing, supply of nutrients

investigating particulate levels, eg with the use of sensors to measure environmental conditions

the use of maximumminimum thermometers, rainfall gauges and oxygen meters

investigating the effect of phosphate on oxygen levels in water using jars with algae, water and varying
numbers of drops of phosphate, then monitor oxygen using a meter

computer simulations to model the effect on organisms of changes to the environment.

B1.5

Energy and biomass in food chains

By observing the numbers and sizes of the organisms in food chains we can find out what happens to energy and
biomass as it passes along the food chain.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I interpret pyramids of biomass and construct them
from appropriate information.

Additional guidance:
An understanding of pyramids of number is not
required.

B1.5.1 Energy in biomass


a) Radiation from the Sun is the source of energy for
most communities of living organisms. Green plants
and algae absorb a small amount of the light that
reaches them. The transfer from light energy to
chemical energy occurs during photosynthesis.
This energy is stored in the substances that make
up the cells of the plants.
Additional guidance:

b) The mass of living material (biomass) at each stage


in a food chain is less than it was at the previous
stage. The biomass at each stage can be drawn
to scale and shown as a pyramid of biomass.

16

Construction of food webs and chains, and of pyramids


of numbers, is not required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) The amounts of material and energy contained in


the biomass of organisms is reduced at each
successive stage in a food chain because:
I

some materials and energy are always lost in


the organisms waste materials

respiration supplies all the energy needs for living


processes, including movement. Much of this
energy is eventually transferred to the
surroundings.

Waste materials from plants and animals

Many trees shed their leaves each year and most animals produce droppings at least once a day. All plants and
animals eventually die. Microorganisms play an important part in decomposing this material so that it can be used
again by plants. The same material is recycled over and over again and can lead to stable communities.

Biology

B1.6

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I evaluate the necessity and effectiveness of schemes
for recycling organic kitchen or garden waste.

B1.6.1 Decay processes


a) Living things remove materials from the environment
for growth and other processes. These materials are
returned to the environment either in waste materials
or when living things die and decay.
b) Materials decay because they are broken down
(digested) by microorganisms. Microorganisms are
more active and digest materials faster in warm,
moist, aerobic conditions.
c) The decay process releases substances that
plants need to grow.
d) In a stable community, the processes that remove
materials are balanced by processes that return
materials. The materials are constantly cycled.

17

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.6.2 The carbon cycle


a) The constant cycling of carbon is called the
carbon cycle.

Biology

In the carbon cycle:


I

carbon dioxide is removed from the environment


by green plants and algae for photosynthesis

the carbon from the carbon dioxide is used to


make carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which
make up the body of plants and algae

when green plants and algae respire, some of


this carbon becomes carbon dioxide and is
released into the atmosphere

when green plants and algae are eaten by animals


and these animals are eaten by other animals,
some of the carbon becomes part of the fats
and proteins that make up their bodies

when animals respire some of this carbon becomes


carbon dioxide and is released into the atmosphere

when plants, algae and animals die, some animals


and microorganisms feed on their bodies

carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon


dioxide when these organisms respire

by the time the microorganisms and detritus


feeders have broken down the waste products
and dead bodies of organisms in ecosystems
and cycled the materials as plant nutrients, all the
energy originally absorbed by green plants and
algae has been transferred

combustion of wood and fossil fuels releases


carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

18

design and carry out an investigation to measure the rate of decay of bread by, for example, exposing cubes of
bread to air before placing them in sealed Petri dishes at different temperatures and/or different moisture levels

investigate the rates of decay using containers (eg thermos flasks) full of grass clippings, one with disinfectant,
one with dry grass, one with wet grass and one with a composting agent. If the container is sealed, a
thermometer or temperature probe can be placed through a cotton wool plug to monitor the temperature

potato decay competition, using fresh potatoes. Candidates decide on the environmental conditions and the
rate of decay is measured over a 2 week period

role play exercise A4 sheets labelled with different stages of the carbon cycle. Candidates arrange themselves
in the correct order to pass a ball along labelled as carbon

using a sensor and data logger to investigate carbon dioxide levels during the decay process.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.7

Genetic variation and its control

There are not only differences between different species of plants and animals but also between individuals of the
same species. These differences are due partly to the information in the cells they have inherited from their parents
and partly to the different environments in which the individuals live and grow. Asexual reproduction can be used to
produce individuals that are genetically identical to their parent. Scientists can now add, remove or change genes
to produce the plants and animals they want.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I interpret information about cloning techniques
and genetic engineering techniques

Candidates will be given data to work from.

Biology

Additional guidance:

make informed judgements about the economic, social


and ethical issues concerning cloning and genetic
engineering, including genetically modified (GM) crops.

B1.7.1 Why organisms are different


Additional guidance:

a) The information that results in plants and animals


having similar characteristics to their parents is
carried by genes, which are passed on in the sex
cells (gametes) from which the offspring develop.

Candidates should understand that genes operate at a


molecular level to develop characteristics that can be
seen.

b) The nucleus of a cell contains chromosomes.


Chromosomes carry genes that control the
characteristics of the body.
c) Different genes control the development of different
characteristics of an organism.
d) Differences in the characteristics of different
individuals of the same kind may be due to
differences in:
I

the genes they have inherited (genetic causes)

the conditions in which they have developed


(environmental causes)

or a combination of both.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

look at variation in leaf length or width, pod length, height. Compare plants growing in different conditions
sun/shade.

19

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.7.2 Reproduction

Biology

a) There are two forms of reproduction:


I

sexual reproduction the joining (fusion) of male


and female gametes. The mixture of the genetic
information from two parents leads to variety in
the offspring

asexual reproduction no fusion of gametes and


only one individual is needed as the parent. There
is no mixing of genetic information and so no
genetic variation in the offspring. These genetically
identical individuals are known as clones.

b) New plants can be produced quickly and cheaply by


taking cuttings from older plants. These new plants
are genetically identical to the parent plant.
c) Modern cloning techniques include:
I

tissue culture using small groups of cells from


part of a plant

embryo transplants splitting apart cells from a


developing animal embryo before they become
specialised, then transplanting the identical
embryos into host mothers

adult cell cloning the nucleus is removed from


an unfertilised egg cell. The nucleus from an adult
body cell, eg a skin cell, is then inserted into the
egg cell. An electric shock then causes the egg
cell to begin to divide to form embryo cells.
These embryo cells contain the same genetic
information as the adult skin cell. When the
embryo has developed into a ball of cells,
it is inserted into the womb of an adult
female to continue its development.

d) In genetic engineering, genes from the


chromosomes of humans and other
organisms can be cut out using
enzymes and transferred to cells
of other organisms.

20

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

e) Genes can also be transferred to the cells of animals,


plants or microorganisms at an early stage in their
development so that they develop with desired
characteristics.
new genes can be transferred to crop plants

crops that have had their genes modified in this


way are called genetically modified crops (GM crops)

examples of genetically modified crops include


ones that are resistant to insect attack or to herbicides

genetically modified crops generally show


increased yields.

Biology

f) Concerns about GM crops include the effect on


populations of wild flowers and insects, and
uncertainty about the effects of eating GM crops
on human health.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigate the optimum conditions for the growth of cuttings, of, eg Mexican hat plants, spider plants, African
violets

investigate the best technique for growing new plants from tissue cultures (eg cauliflower).

B1.8

Evolution

Particular genes or accidental changes in the genes of plants or animals may give them characteristics which
enable them to survive better. Over time this may result in entirely new species. There are different theories of
evolution. Darwins theory is the most widely accepted.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I interpret evidence relating to evolutionary theory

suggest reasons why Darwins theory of natural


selection was only gradually accepted

identify the differences between Darwins theory of


evolution and conflicting theories, such as that
of Lamarck

Additional guidance:
Candidates will be given data to work from.

Additional guidance:
I

suggest reasons for the different theories.

Scientists may produce different hypotheses to explain


similar observations. It is only when these hypotheses
are investigated that data will support or refute
hypotheses.

21

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B1.8.1 Evolution
Additional guidance:

a) Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection


states that all species of living things have evolved
from simple life forms that first developed more
than three billion years ago.

A study of creationism is not required.

Biology

b) The theory of evolution by natural selection was only


gradually accepted because:
I

the theory challenged the idea that God made all


the animals and plants that live on Earth

there was insufficient evidence at the time the


theory was published to convince many scientists

the mechanism of inheritance and variation was


not known until 50 years after the theory
was published.

c) Other theories, including that of Lamarck, are based


mainly on the idea that changes that occur in an
organism during its lifetime can be inherited. We now
know that in the vast majority of cases this type of
inheritance cannot occur.
Additional guidance:

d) Studying the similarities and differences between


organisms allows us to classify living organisms
into animals, plants and microorganisms, and helps
us to understand evolutionary and ecological
relationships. Models allow us to suggest
relationships between organisms.

Candidates should understand how evolutionary trees


(models) are used to represent the relationships
between organisms.

e) Evolution occurs via natural selection:

Candidates should develop an understanding of the


timescales involved in evolution.

individual organisms within a particular species


may show a wide range of variation because of
differences in their genes

individuals with characteristics most suited to the


environment are more likely to survive to breed
successfully

the genes that have enabled these individuals to


survive are then passed on to the next generation.

f) Where new forms of a gene result from mutation


there may be relatively rapid change in a species
if the environment changes.

22

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 2: Biology 2
B2.1

Cells and simple cell transport

All living things are made up of cells. The structures of different types of cells are related to their functions. To get
into or out of cells, dissolved substances have to cross the cell membranes.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I relate the structure of different types of cells to
their function.
Biology

B2.1.1 Cells and cell structure


a) Most human and animal cells have the following parts:
I

a nucleus, which controls the activities of the cell

cytoplasm, in which most of the chemical


reactions take place

a cell membrane, which controls the passage


of substances into and out of the cell

mitochondria, which is where most energy is


released in respiration

ribosomes, which is where protein synthesis


occurs.

b) Plant and algal cells also have a cell wall made of


cellulose, which strengthens the cell. Plant cells
often have:
I

chloroplasts, which absorb light energy to


make food

a permanent vacuole filled with cell sap.

c) A bacterial cell consists of cytoplasm and a


membrane surrounded by a cell wall; the
genes are not in a distinct nucleus.
d) Yeast is a single-celled organism. Yeast cells
have a nucleus, cytoplasm and a membrane
surrounded by a cell wall.
e) Cells may be specialised to carry out a
particular function.

23

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B2.1.2 Dissolved substances


a) Dissolved substances can move into and out of
cells by diffusion.

Biology

b) Diffusion is the spreading of the particles of a gas,


or of any substance in solution, resulting in a net
movement from a region where they are of a
higher concentration to a region with a lower
concentration. The greater the difference in
concentration, the faster the rate of diffusion.
c) Oxygen required for respiration passes
through cell membranes by diffusion.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

observation of cells under a microscope, eg sprouting mung beans to show root hair cells

computer simulations to model the relative size of different cells, organelles and molecules

computer simulations to model the process of diffusion

making model cells

diffusion of ammonium hydroxide in a glass tube using litmus as the indicator

investigate how temperature affects the rate of diffusion of glucose through Visking tubing.

B2.2

Tissues, organs and organ systems

The cells of multicellular organisms may differentiate and become adapted for specific functions. Tissues are
aggregations of similar cells; organs are aggregations of tissues performing specific physiological functions.
Organs are organised into organ systems, which work together to form organisms.

B2.2.1 Animal organs


Additional guidance:

a) Large multicellular organisms develop systems


for exchanging materials. During the development
of a multicellular organism, cells differentiate so
that they can perform different functions.

24

Candidates should develop an understanding of size


and scale in relation to cells, tissues, organs and organ
systems.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

b) A tissue is a group of cells with similar structure


and function. Examples of tissues include:
I

muscular tissue, which can contract to bring


about movement

glandular tissue, which can produce substances


such as enzymes and hormones

epithelial tissue, which covers some parts


of the body.

c) Organs are made of tissues. One organ may contain


several tissues. The stomach is an organ that contains:
muscular tissue, to churn the contents

glandular tissue, to produce digestive juices

epithelial tissue, to cover the outside and the


inside of the stomach.

Biology

Additional guidance:

d) Organ systems are groups of organs that perform


a particular function. The digestive system is one
example of a system in which humans and other
mammals exchange substances with the
environment.

Candidates should be able to recognise the organs of


the digestive system on a diagram.

The digestive system includes:


I

glands, such as the pancreas and salivary


glands, which produce digestive juices

the stomach and small intestine, where digestion


occurs

the liver, which produces bile

the small intestine, where the absorption of


soluble food occurs

the large intestine, where water is absorbed from


the undigested food, producing faeces.

25

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B2.2.2 Plant organs


Additional guidance:

a) Plant organs include stems, roots and leaves.

Details of the internal structure of these organs are


limited to the leaf.

Biology

b) Examples of plant tissues include:


I

epidermal tissues, which cover the plant

mesophyll, which carries out photosynthesis

xylem and phloem, which transport substances


around the plant.

B2.3

Photosynthesis

Green plants and algae use light energy to make their own food. They obtain the raw materials they need to make
this food from the air and the soil. The conditions in which plants are grown can be changed to promote growth.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I interpret data showing how factors affect the rate
of photosynthesis
I

evaluate the benefits of artificially manipulating


the environment in which plants are grown.

B2.3.1 Photosynthesis
a) Photosynthesis is summarised by the equation:
light energy
carbon dioxide + water

glucose + oxygen

b) During photosynthesis:
I

light energy is absorbed by a green substance


called chlorophyll, which is found in chloroplasts in
some plant cells and algae

this energy is used by converting carbon dioxide


(from the air) and water (from the soil) into
sugar (glucose)

oxygen is released as a by-product.

c) The rate of photosynthesis may be limited by:

26

shortage of light

low temperature

shortage of carbon dioxide.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

d) Light, temperature and the availability of carbon


dioxide interact and in practice any one of them
may be the factor that limits photosynthesis.

Candidates should be able to relate the principle of


limiting factors to the economics of enhancing the
following conditions in greenhouses:
I

light intensity

temperature

carbon dioxide concentration.

Biology

e) The glucose produced in photosynthesis may be


converted into insoluble starch for storage. Plant cells
use some of the glucose produced during
photosynthesis for respiration.
f) Some glucose in plants and algae is used:
I

to produce fat or oil for storage

to produce cellulose, which strengthens


the cell wall

to produce proteins.

g) To produce proteins, plants also use nitrate ions that


are absorbed from the soil.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigating the need for chlorophyll for photosynthesis with variegated leaves

taking thin slices of potato and apple and adding iodine to observe under the microscope

investigate the effects of light, temperature and carbon dioxide levels (using Cabomba, algal balls or leaf discs
from brassicas) on the rate of photosynthesis

computer simulations to model the rate of photosynthesis in different conditions

the use of sensors to investigate the effect of carbon dioxide and light levels on the rate of photosynthesis and
the release of oxygen.

27

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B2.4

Organisms and their environment

Living organisms form communities, and we need to understand the relationships within and between these
communities. These relationships are affected by external influences.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I suggest reasons for the distribution of living
organisms in a particular habitat
Additional guidance:

Biology

evaluate methods used to collect environmental


data, and consider the validity of the method and
the reproducibility of the data as evidence for
environmental change.

Candidates should understand:


I

the terms mean, median and mode

that sample size is related to both validity and


reproducibility.

B2.4.1 Distribution of organisms


a) Physical factors that may affect organisms are:
I

temperature

availability of nutrients

amount of light

availability of water

availability of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

b) Quantitative data on the distribution of organisms can be obtained by:


I

random sampling with quadrats

sampling along a transect.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigative fieldwork involving sampling techniques and the use of quadrats and transects; which might
include, on a local scale, the:
patterns of grass growth under trees
distribution of daisy and dandelion plants in a field
distribution of lichens or moss on trees, walls and other surfaces
distribution of the alga Pleurococcus on trees, walls and other surfaces
leaf size in plants growing on or climbing against walls, including height and effect of aspect

28

analysing the measurement of specific abiotic factors in relation to the distribution of organisms

the study of hay infusions

the use of sensors to measure environmental conditions in a fieldwork context.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B2.5

Proteins their functions and uses

Proteins have many functions, both inside and outside the cells of living organisms. Proteins, as enzymes, are now
used widely in the home and in industry.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of
using enzymes in the home and in industry.

B2.5.1 Proteins

structural components of tissues such as muscles

hormones

antibodies

catalysts.

Biology

a) Protein molecules are made up of long chains of


amino acids. These long chains are folded to
produce a specific shape that enables other
molecules to fit into the protein. Proteins act as:

b) Catalysts increase the rate of chemical reactions.


Biological catalysts are called enzymes. Enzymes
are proteins.

B2.5.2 Enzymes
a) The shape of an enzyme is vital for the enzymes
function. High temperatures change the shape.
b) Different enzymes work best at different pH values.
c) Some enzymes work outside the body cells.
The digestive enzymes are produced by specialised
cells in glands and in the lining of the gut. The
enzymes then pass out of the cells into the gut
where they come into contact with food molecules.
They catalyse the breakdown of large molecules into
smaller molecules.
d) The enzyme amylase is produced in the salivary glands,
the pancreas and the small intestine. This enzyme
catalyses the breakdown of starch into sugars in the
mouth and small intestine.
e) Protease enzymes are produced by the stomach, the
pancreas and the small intestine. These enzymes
catalyse the breakdown of proteins into amino
acids in the stomach and the small intestine.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

f) Lipase enzymes are produced by the pancreas and


small intestine. These enzymes catalyse the
breakdown of lipids (fats and oils) into fatty acids
and glycerol in the small intestine.

Biology

g) The stomach also produces hydrochloric acid. The


enzymes in the stomach work most effectively in
these acid conditions.
h) The liver produces bile, which is stored in the gall
bladder before being released into the small intestine.
Bile neutralises the acid that was added to food in
the stomach. This provides alkaline conditions in
which enzymes in the small intestine work
most effectively.
i) Some microorganisms produce enzymes that pass
out of the cells. These enzymes have many uses in
the home and in industry.
In the home:
I

biological detergents may contain protein-digesting


and fat-digesting enzymes (proteases and lipases)

biological detergents are more effective at low


temperatures than other types of detergents.

In industry:
I

proteases are used to pre-digest the protein in


some baby foods

carbohydrases are used to convert starch into


sugar syrup

isomerase is used to convert glucose syrup into


fructose syrup, which is much sweeter and
therefore can be used in smaller quantities in
slimming foods.

j) In industry, enzymes are used to bring about reactions


at normal temperatures and pressures that would
otherwise require expensive, energy-demanding
equipment. However, most enzymes are
denatured at high temperatures and many
are costly to produce.

30

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
design an investigation to find the optimum temperature for biological and non-biological washing powders to
remove stains from cotton and other materials

investigate the action of enzymes using catalase at different concentrations and measuring the rate at which
oxygen is given off from different foods, eg liver, potato, celery and apple

plan and carry out an investigation into enzyme action using the reaction between starch and amylase at
different temperatures, pH and concentrations

using small pieces of cooked sausage, use 2% pepsin and 0.01M HCl in water baths at different temperatures
to estimate the rate of digestion. This can also be carried out with 2% trypsin and 0.1M NaOH. The
concentration of both enzymes can be varied

using computer simulations of enzymes to model their action in varying conditions of pH, temperature and
concentration.

B2.6

Biology

Aerobic and anaerobic respiration

Respiration in cells can take place aerobically or anaerobically. The energy released is used in a variety of ways.
The human body needs to react to the increased demand for energy during exercise.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
 interpret the data relating to the effects of exercise
on the human body.

B2.6.1 Aerobic respiration


a) The chemical reactions inside cells are controlled
by enzymes.
b) During aerobic respiration (respiration that uses
oxygen) chemical reactions occur that:


use glucose (a sugar) and oxygen

release energy.

c) Aerobic respiration takes place continuously in both


plants and animals.
d) Most of the reactions in aerobic respiration take
place inside mitochondria.
e) Aerobic respiration is summarised by the equation:
glucose + oxygen  carbon dioxide + water (+ energy)

31

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Biology

f) Energy that is released during respiration is used by


the organism. The energy may be used:
I

to build larger molecules from smaller ones

in animals, to enable muscles to contract

in mammals and birds, to maintain a steady


body temperature in colder surroundings

in plants, to build up sugars, nitrates and other


nutrients into amino acids which are then
built up into proteins.

g) During exercise a number of changes take place:


I

the heart rate increases

the rate and depth of breathing increases.

h) These changes increase the blood flow to the


muscles and so increase the supply of sugar and
oxygen and increase the rate of removal of
carbon dioxide.
i) Muscles store glucose as glycogen, which can then
be converted back to glucose for use during exercise.

B2.6.2 Anaerobic respiration


a) During exercise, if insufficient oxygen is reaching the
muscles they use anaerobic respiration to obtain energy.
b) Anaerobic respiration is the incomplete breakdown
of glucose and produces lactic acid.
Additional guidance:

c) As the breakdown of glucose is incomplete,


much less energy is released than during
aerobic respiration. Anaerobic respiration
results in an oxygen debt that has to be
repaid in order to oxidise lactic acid to
carbon dioxide and water.
d) If muscles are subjected to long periods of vigorous
activity they become fatigued, ie they stop contracting
efficiently. One cause of muscle fatigue is the build-up
of lactic acid in the muscles. Blood flowing through
the muscles removes the lactic acid.

32

HT only

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigating the rate of respiration in yeast using carbon dioxide sensors and dataloggers

investigating the effect of exercise on pulse rate, either physically or using pulse sensors and dataloggers

investigating the link between exercise and breathing rate with a breathing sensor

investigating holding masses at arms length and timing how long it takes the muscles to fatigue

designing an investigation using force meters and dataloggers to find the relationship between the amount of
force exerted by a muscle and muscle fatigue.

Biology

B2.7

Cell division and inheritance

Characteristics are passed on from one generation to the next in both plants and animals. Simple genetic
diagrams can be used to show this. There are ethical considerations in treating genetic disorders.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I explain why Mendel proposed the idea of separately
inherited factors and why the importance of this
discovery was not recognised until after his death

Additional guidance:
Candidates should be familiar with principles used by
Mendel in investigating monohybrid inheritance in peas.
They should understand that Mendels work preceded
the work by other scientists which linked Mendels
inherited factors with chromosomes.

interpret genetic diagrams, including family trees


Additional guidance:

construct genetic diagrams of monohybrid


crosses and predict the outcomes of
monohybrid crosses and be able to use the
terms homozygous, heterozygous, phenotype
and genotype

predict and /or explain the outcome of crosses


between individuals for each possible combination
of dominant and recessive alleles of the same gene

make informed judgements about the social and


ethical issues concerning the use of stem cells
from embryos in medical research and treatments

HT only
Foundation Tier candidates should be able to interpret
genetic diagrams of monohybrid inheritance and sex
inheritance but will not be expected to construct
genetic diagrams or use the terms homozygous,
heterozygous, phenotype or genotype.

Additional guidance:
I

make informed judgements about the economic,


social and ethical issues concerning embryo
screening.

Data may be given for unfamiliar contexts.

33

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B2.7.1 Cell division


Additional guidance:

a) In body cells the chromosomes are normally found


in pairs. Body cells divide by mitosis.

Knowledge and understanding of the stages in mitosis


and meiosis is not required.

b) The chromosomes contain the genetic information.

Biology

Additional guidance:

c) When a body cell divides by mitosis:


I

copies of the genetic material are made

then the cell divides once to form two


genetically identical body cells.

Throughout section 2.7 candidates should develop an


understanding of the relationship from the molecular
level upwards between genes, chromosomes, nuclei
and cells and to relate these to tissues, organs and
systems (2.2 and 2.3).

d) Mitosis occurs during growth or to produce


replacement cells.
e) Body cells have two sets of chromosomes;
sex cells (gametes) have only one set.
Additional guidance:

f) Cells in reproductive organs testes and ovaries in


humans divide to form gametes.

For Foundation Tier, knowledge of meiosis is restricted


to where the process occurs and that gametes are
produced by meiosis.

g) The type of cell division in which a cell divides to


form gametes is called meiosis.
Additional guidance:

h) When a cell divides to form gametes:


I

copies of the genetic information are made

then the cell divides twice to form four


gametes, each with a single set of
chromosomes.

HT only

Additional guidance:

i) When gametes join at fertilisation, a single body cell


with new pairs of chromosomes is formed. A new
individual then develops by this cell repeatedly
dividing by mitosis.
j) Most types of animal cells differentiate at an early
stage whereas many plant cells retain the ability to
differentiate throughout life. In mature animals, cell
division is mainly restricted to repair and replacement.

34

Candidates should understand that genetic diagrams


are biological models which can be used to predict the
outcomes of crosses.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

k) Cells from human embryos and adult bone marrow,


called stem cells, can be made to differentiate into
many different types of cells, eg nerve cells.

Knowledge and understanding of stem cell techniques


is not required.

l) Human stem cells have the ability to develop into


any kind of human cell.
m) Treatment with stem cells may be able to help
conditions such as paralysis.

Biology

n) The cells of the offspring produced by asexual


reproduction are produced by mitosis from the
parental cells. They contain the same alleles
as the parents.

B2.7.2 Genetic variation


a) Sexual reproduction gives rise to variation
because, when gametes fuse, one of each
pair of alleles comes from each parent.
b) In human body cells, one of the 23 pairs of
chromosomes carries the genes that determine
sex. In females the sex chromosomes are the
same (XX); in males the sex chromosomes are
different (XY).
c) Some characteristics are controlled by a single
gene. Each gene may have different forms
called alleles.
d) An allele that controls the development of a
characteristic when it is present on only one
of the chromosomes is a dominant allele.
e) An allele that controls the development of
characteristics only if the dominant allele is
not present is a recessive allele.
Additional guidance:

f) Chromosomes are made up of large molecules


of DNA (deoxyribo nucleic acid) which has a
double helix structure.

Candidates are not expected to know the names of the


four bases or how complementary pairs of bases
enable DNA replication to take place.

g) A gene is a small section of DNA.


Additional guidance:

h) Each gene codes for a particular combination


of amino acids which make a specific protein.

HT only

35

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

i) Each person (apart from identical twins) has


unique DNA. This can be used to identify
individuals in a process known as DNA
fingerprinting.

Knowledge and understanding of genetic fingerprinting


techniques is not required.

B2.7.3 Genetic disorders


a) Some disorders are inherited.

Biology

Additional guidance:

b) Polydactyly having extra fingers or toes is caused


by a dominant allele of a gene and can therefore
be passed on by only one parent who has the disorder.

Attention is drawn to the potential sensitivity needed in


teaching about inherited disorders.

c) Cystic fibrosis (a disorder of cell membranes) must


be inherited from both parents. The parents may be
carriers of the disorder without actually having the
disorder themselves. It is caused by a recessive
allele of a gene and can therefore be passed on
by parents, neither of whom has the disorder.
Additional guidance:

d) Embryos can be screened for the alleles that


cause these and other genetic disorders.

Knowledge and understanding of embryo screening


techniques is not required.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

36

observation or preparation and observation of root tip squashes to illustrate chromosomes and mitosis

using genetic beads to model mitosis and meiosis and genetic crosses

making models of DNA

extracting DNA from kiwi fruit.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B2.8

Speciation

Changes in the environment of plants and animals may cause them to die out. The fossil record shows that new
organisms arise, flourish, and after a time become extinct. The record also shows changes that lead to the
formation of new species.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I suggest reasons why scientists cannot be certain
about how life began on Earth.

a) Evidence for early forms of life comes from fossils.

The uncertainty arises from the lack of enough valid and


reliable evidence.

Biology

B2.8.1 Old and new species

Additional guidance:

b) Fossils are the remains of organisms from many


years ago, which are found in rocks. Fossils may
be formed in various ways:
I

from the hard parts of animals that do not


decay easily

from parts of organisms that have not decayed


because one or more of the conditions needed
for decay are absent

when parts of the organism are replaced by


other materials as they decay

as preserved traces of organisms, eg footprints,


burrows and rootlet traces.

c) Many early forms of life were soft-bodied, which


means that they have left few traces behind.
What traces there were have been mainly
destroyed by geological activity.
d) We can learn from fossils how much or how little
different organisms have changed as life developed
on Earth.
e) Extinction may be caused by:
I

changes to the environment over geological time

new predators

new diseases

new, more successful, competitors

a single catastrophic event, eg massive volcanic


eruptions or collisions with asteroids

through the cyclical nature of speciation.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

f) New species arise as a result of:


I

Biology

38

isolation two populations of a species become


separated, eg geographically
genetic variation each population has a
wide range of alleles that control their
characteristics

natural selection in each population, the


alleles that control the characteristics which
help the organism to survive are selected

speciation the populations become so


different that successful interbreeding
is no longer possible.

Additional guidance:
HT only
For Foundation Tier, ideas are restricted to knowledge
and understanding of isolation.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 3: Biology 3
We need to understand how biological and environmental systems operate when they are working well in order to
be able to intervene when things go wrong. Modern developments in biomedical and technological research allow
us to do so.

B3.1

Movement of molecules in and out of cells

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I evaluate the development and use of artificial aids to
breathing, including the use of artificial ventilators
I

evaluate the claims of manufacturers about sports


drinks

analyse and evaluate the conditions that affect


water loss in plants.

Biology

The cells, tissues and organs in plants and animals are adapted to take up and get rid of dissolved substances.
Different conditions can affect the rate of transfer. Sometimes energy is needed for transfer to take place.

B3.1.1 Dissolved substances


a) Dissolved substances move by diffusion and
by active transport.
Additional guidance:

b) Water often moves across boundaries by osmosis.


Osmosis is the diffusion of water from a dilute to a
more concentrated solution through a partially
permeable membrane that allows the passage of
water molecules.

Use of the terms turgor and plasmolysis is not required.

c) Differences in the concentrations of the solutions


inside and outside a cell cause water to move
into or out of the cell by osmosis.
d) Most soft drinks contain water, sugar and ions.
e) Sports drinks contain sugars to replace the sugar
used in energy release during the activity. They
also contain water and ions to replace the water
and ions lost during sweating.
f) If water and ions are not replaced, the ion / water
balance of the body is disturbed and the cells do
not work as efficiently.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

g) Substances are sometimes absorbed against a


concentration gradient. This requires the use of
energy from respiration. The process is called
active transport. Active transport enables cells
to absorb ions from very dilute solutions.

Biology

h) Many organ systems are specialised for exchanging


materials. The effectiveness of an exchange surface
is increased by:
I

having a large surface area

being thin, to provide a short diffusion path

(in animals) having an efficient blood supply

(in animals, for gaseous exchange) being ventilated.

i) Gas and solute exchange surfaces in humans and


other organisms are adapted to maximise effectiveness.
j) The size and complexity of an organism increases the
difficulty of exchanging materials.
k) In humans:
I

the surface area of the lungs is increased by


the alveoli

the surface area of the small intestine is


increased by villi.

l) The villi provide a large surface area with an extensive


network of capillaries to absorb the products of
digestion by diffusion and active transport.

B3.1.2 Gaseous exchange


Additional guidance:

a) The lungs are in the upper part of the body (thorax),


protected by the ribcage and separated from the
lower part of the body (abdomen) by the diaphragm.

Candidates should be able to recognise these


structures on a diagram.

b) The breathing system takes air into and out of the


body so that oxygen from the air can diffuse into the
bloodstream and carbon dioxide can diffuse out of
the bloodstream into the air.
Additional guidance:

c) To make air move into the lungs the ribcage moves


out and up and the diaphragm becomes flatter. These
changes are reversed to make air move out of the
lungs. The movement of air into and out of the lungs
is known as ventilation.

40

Candidates should be able to describe the mechanism


by which ventilation takes place, including the relaxation
and contraction of muscles leading to changes in
pressure in the thorax.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B3.1.3 Exchange systems in plants


a) In plants:
I

carbon dioxide enters leaves by diffusion

most of the water and mineral ions are


absorbed by roots.

b) The surface area of the roots is increased by root


hairs and the surface area of leaves is increased
by the flattened shape and internal air spaces.
Biology

c) Plants have stomata to obtain carbon dioxide from


the atmosphere and to remove oxygen produced
in photosynthesis.
d) Plants mainly lose water vapour from their leaves.
Most of the loss of water vapour takes place
through the stomata.
I

Evaporation is more rapid in hot, dry and


windy conditions.

If plants lose water faster than it is replaced


by the roots, the stomata can close to prevent wilting.

e) The size of stomata is controlled by guard cells,


which surround them.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

use sensors, eg spirometers, to measure air flow and lung volume

investigating potato slices in different concentrations of liquid in terms of mass gain and mass loss

design an investigation to measure the mass change of potato when placed in a series of molarities of sucrose
solution

investigating the relationship between concentrations of sugar solution and change in length of potato strips

placing shelled eggs in different concentrations of liquid to observe the effect

placing slices of fresh beetroot in different concentrations of liquid to observe the effect, and then taking thin
slices to observe the cells

observing guard cells and stomata using nail varnish

observing water loss from plants by placing in a plastic bag with cobalt chloride paper.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B3.2

Transport systems in plants and animals

Substances are transported around the body by the circulatory system (the heart, the blood vessels and the
blood). They are transported from where they are taken into the body to the cells, or from the cells to where they
are removed from the body. Modern developments in biomedical and technological research enable us to help
when the circulatory system is not working well. Plants have separate transport systems for water and nutrients.

Biology

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I evaluate data on the production and use of
artificial blood products
I

evaluate the use of artificial hearts and heart valves

evaluate the use of stents.

B3.2.1 The blood system


a) The circulatory system transports substances
around the body.
Additional guidance:

b) The heart is an organ and pumps blood around


the body. Much of the wall of the heart is made
from muscle tissue.

Knowledge of the cardiac cycle is not required.

c) There are four main chambers (left and right atria


and ventricles) of the heart.
Additional guidance:

d) Blood enters the atria of the heart. The atria contract


and force blood into the ventricles. The ventricles
contract and force blood out of the heart. Valves in
the heart ensure that blood flows in the correct
direction. Blood flows from the heart to the organs
through arteries and returns through veins. There are
two separate circulation systems, one for the lungs
and one for all other organs of the body.

Knowledge of the names of the heart valves is not


required.
Knowledge of the names of the blood vessels
associated with the heart is limited to aorta, vena cava,
pulmonary artery and pulmonary vein.

e) Arteries have thick walls containing muscle and


elastic fibres. Veins have thinner walls and often
have valves to prevent back-flow of blood.
Additional guidance:

f) If arteries begin to narrow and restrict blood flow


stents are used to keep them open.

g) In the organs, blood flows through very narrow,


thin-walled blood vessels called capillaries. Substances
needed by the cells in body tissues pass out of the
blood, and substances produced by the cells pass
into the blood, through the walls of the capillaries.
42

Candidates should understand the importance of stents,


particularly with reference to the coronary arteries.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B3.2.2 The blood


a) Blood is a tissue and consists of a fluid called
plasma in which red blood cells, white blood cells,
and platelets are suspended.
b) Blood plasma transports:
carbon dioxide from the organs to the lungs

soluble products of digestion from the small


intestine to other organs

urea from the liver to the kidneys.

c) Red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs


to the organs. Red blood cells have no nucleus.
They are packed with a red pigment called
haemoglobin. In the lungs haemoglobin
combines with oxygen to form oxyhaemoglobin.
In other organs oxyhaemoglobin splits up into
haemoglobin and oxygen.

Biology

d) White blood cells have a nucleus. They form part of


the bodys defence system against microorganisms.
e) Platelets are small fragments of cells. They have no
nucleus. Platelets help blood to clot at the site of
a wound.

B3.2.3 Transport systems in plants


a) Flowering plants have separate transport systems:
I

xylem tissue transports water and mineral ions


from the roots to the stem and leaves

the movement of water from the roots through


the xylem and out of the leaves is called the
transpiration stream

phloem tissue carries dissolved sugars from


the leaves to the rest of the plant, including the
growing regions and the storage organs.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Biology

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

dissection of the heart

use software simulations of the work of the heart and blood vessels

observation of arteries and veins from slides

observation of blood smears

observation of valves in veins preventing backflow of blood using the athletic arm / prominent vein

use sensors to measure blood pressure before, during and after exercise

investigate flow rate in xylem using celery, which can include calculation of flow rate

investigate the content of artificial phloem and xylem given knowledge of the appropriate tests

plan an investigation using a potometer to measure the effect of temperature or wind speed on the
transpiration rate.

B3.3

Homeostasis

Humans need to remove waste products from their bodies to keep their internal environment relatively constant.
People whose kidneys do not function properly may die because toxic substances accumulate in their blood. Their
lives can be saved by using dialysis machines or having a healthy kidney transplanted. Water and ion content,
body temperature and blood glucose levels must be kept within very narrow ranges.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of
treating kidney failure by dialysis or kidney transplant
I

evaluate modern methods of treating diabetes.

B3.3.1 Removal of waste and water control


a) Waste products that have to be removed from the
body include:
I

carbon dioxide, produced by respiration and


removed via the lungs when we breathe out

urea, produced in the liver by the breakdown of


amino acids and removed by the kidneys in the
urine, which is temporarily stored in the bladder.

b) If the water or ion content of the body is wrong, too


much water may move into or out of the cells and
damage them. Water and ions enter the body
when we eat and drink.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

c) A healthy kidney produces urine by:


I

first filtering the blood

reabsorbing all the sugar

reabsorbing the dissolved ions needed by the body

reabsorbing as much water as the body needs

releasing urea, excess ions and water as urine.

Knowledge of other parts of the urinary system, the


structure of the kidney and the structure of a nephron is
not required.

Biology

d) People who suffer from kidney failure may be treated


either by using a kidney dialysis machine or by having
a healthy kidney transplanted.
e) Treatment by dialysis restores the concentrations of
dissolved substances in the blood to normal levels
and has to be carried out at regular intervals.
f) In a dialysis machine a persons blood flows between
partially permeable membranes. The dialysis fluid
contains the same concentration of useful substances
as the blood. This ensures that glucose and useful
mineral ions are not lost. Urea passes out from the
blood into the dialysis fluid.
g) In kidney transplants a diseased kidney is replaced
with a healthy one from a donor. However, the
donor kidney may be rejected by the immune
system unless precautions are taken.
h) Antigens are proteins on the surface of cells. The
recipients antibodies may attack the antigens on
the donor organ as they do not recognise them as
part of the recipients body.
Additional guidance:

i) To prevent rejection of the transplanted kidney:


I

a donor kidney with a tissue-type similar to


that of the recipient is used

the recipient is treated with drugs that suppress


the immune system.

Knowledge of the ABO blood grouping and


compatibility tables is not required.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B3.3.2 Temperature control


a) Sweating helps to cool the body. More water is lost
when it is hot, and more water has to be taken as
drink or in food to balance this loss.
Additional guidance:

Biology

b) Body temperature is monitored and controlled by the


thermoregulatory centre in the brain. This centre has
receptors sensitive to the temperature of the blood
flowing through the brain.

The name of the centre in the brain (hypothalamus) is


not required.

c) Also temperature receptors in the skin send impulses


to the thermoregulatory centre, giving information
about skin temperature.
Additional guidance:

d) If the core body temperature is too high:


I

blood vessels supplying the skin capillaries


dilate so that more blood flows through the
capillaries and more heat is lost

sweat glands release more sweat which


cools the body as it evaporates.

e) If the core body temperature is too low:


I

blood vessels supplying the skin capillaries


constrict to reduce the flow of blood through
the capillaries

muscles may shiver their contraction


needs respiration, which releases some
energy to warm the body.

HT only
FT candidates are not expected to describe details of
changes in the blood vessels when the core body
temperature is too high or too low but should
understand that the skin looks red when we are hot
due to increased blood flow.

HT only

B3.3.3 Sugar control


a) The blood glucose concentration of the body is
monitored and controlled by the pancreas. The
pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which
allows the glucose to move from the blood into
the cells.
Additional guidance:

b) A second hormone, glucagon, is produced in


the pancreas when blood glucose levels fall.
This causes glycogen to be converted into
glucose and be released into the blood.

46

HT only

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which a persons


blood glucose concentration may rise to a high
level because the pancreas does not produce
enough of the hormone insulin.
d) Type 1 diabetes may be controlled by careful
attention to diet, exercise, and by injecting insulin.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
use surface temperature sensors to monitor skin temperature in different conditions

plan an investigation to measure the cooling effect of sweating

demonstrate blood testing (using meters)

dissect and make observations of a kidney

design a model kidney dialysis machine using Visking tubing as the filter

test urine from diabetic and non-diabetic people using Clinistix.

B3.4

Biology

Humans and their environment

Humans often upset the balance of different populations in natural ecosystems, or change the environment so that
some species find it difficult to survive. With so many people in the world, there is a serious danger of causing
permanent damage not just to the local environments but also to the global environment unless our overall effect is
managed carefully. Humans rely on ecosystems for food, water and shelter.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I analyse and interpret scientific data concerning
environmental issues
I

evaluate methods used to collect environmental data


and consider their validity and reliability as evidence
for environmental change

evaluate the methods being used to feed and provide


water to an increasing human population, both in
terms of short term and long term effects

Additional guidance:
Candidates will be given data to work from.

Additional guidance:
I

evaluate the use of biogas generators

Candidates should have considered a number of biogas


generator designs ranging from third-world generators
supplying a single family to commercial generators. They
should understand how the output from a biogas
generator might be affected by climatic conditions.

evaluate the positive and negative effects of managing


food production and distribution, and be able to
recognise that practical solutions for human needs
may require compromise between competing priorities.

Candidates should consider:


I

the differences in efficiency between producing food


from animals and plants

the pros and cons of factory farming of animals

the implications of food miles.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B3.4.1 Waste from human activity


a) Rapid growth in the human population and an
increase in the standard of living means that
increasingly more waste is produced. Unless
waste is properly handled, more pollution will
be caused.

Biology

b) Waste may pollute:


I

water, with sewage, fertiliser or toxic chemicals

air, with smoke and gases such as sulfur dioxide,


which contributes to acid rain

land, with toxic chemicals such as pesticides and


herbicides, which may be washed from the land
into waterways.

c) Humans reduce the amount of land available for other


animals and plants by building, quarrying, farming
and dumping waste.

B3.4.2 Deforestation and the destruction of areas of peat


a) Large-scale deforestation in tropical areas, for timber
and to provide land for agriculture, has:
I

increased the release of carbon dioxide into the


atmosphere (because of burning and the
activities of microorganisms)

reduced the rate at which carbon dioxide is


removed from the atmosphere and locked up
for many years as wood.

b) Deforestation leads to reduction in biodiversity.


c) Deforestation has occurred so that:
I

crops can be grown from which biofuels, based


on ethanol, can be produced

there can be increases in cattle and in rice fields to


provide more food. These organisms produce
methane and this has led to increases in methane
in the atmosphere.
Additional guidance:

d) The destruction of peat bogs and other areas of


peat releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

48

Candidates should understand why peat free


composts are of increasing importance.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

B3.4.3 Biofuels
a) Levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the
atmosphere are increasing and contribute to
global warming. An increase in the Earths
temperature of only a few degrees Celsius:
may cause big changes in the Earths climate

may cause a rise in sea level

may reduce biodiversity

may cause changes in migration patterns, eg in birds

may result in changes in the distribution of species.

Biology

b) Carbon dioxide can be sequestered in oceans, lakes


and ponds and this is an important factor in removing
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
c) Biofuels can be made from natural products by
fermentation. Biogas, mainly methane, can be produced
by anaerobic fermentation of a wide range of plant
products or waste material containing carbohydrates.

B3.4.4 Food production


a) At each stage in a food chain, less material and less
energy are contained in the biomass of the organisms.
This means that the efficiency of food production can be
improved by reducing the number of stages in food chains.
b) The efficiency of food production can also be
improved by restricting energy loss from food
animals by limiting their movement and by
controlling the temperature of their surroundings.
Additional guidance:

c) Fish stocks in the oceans are declining. It is important


to maintain fish stocks at a level where breeding
continues or certain species may disappear altogether
in some areas. Net size and fishing quotas play an
important role in conservation of fish stocks.

This is an example of sustainable food production.

d) The fungus Fusarium is useful for producing


mycoprotein, a protein-rich food suitable for
vegetarians. The fungus is grown on glucose
syrup, in aerobic conditions, and the biomass is
harvested and purified.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

build a simple biogas generator to collect methane and demonstrate how the methane can be burned as a fuel

investigate and design a way of measuring the gas output of a biogas generator and compare the amount of
gas produced by different materials.

49

50

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

GCSE Sciences
Subject Content Book

Chemistry

Chemistry
4402

51

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 1: Chemistry 1
Throughout this unit candidates will be expected to write word equations for reactions specified. Higher Tier
candidates will also be expected to write and balance symbol equations for reactions specified throughout
the unit.

Chemistry

C1.1 The fundamental ideas in chemistry


Atoms and elements are the building blocks of chemistry. Atoms contain protons, neutrons and electrons. When
elements react they produce compounds.

C1.1.1 Atoms
Additional guidance:

a) All substances are made of atoms. A substance that


is made of only one sort of atom is called an element.
There are about 100 different elements. Elements are
shown in the periodic table. The groups contain
elements with similar properties.

Candidates should understand where metals and


non-metals appear in the periodic table.

Additional guidance:

b) Atoms of each element are represented by a chemical


symbol, eg O represents an atom of oxygen, and Na
represents an atom of sodium.

Knowledge of the chemical symbols for elements other


than those named in the specification is not required.

c) Atoms have a small central nucleus, which is made


up of protons and neutrons and around which there
are electrons.
d) The relative electrical charges are as shown:
Name of particle
Proton
Neutron
Electron

Charge
+1
0
1

e) In an atom, the number of electrons is equal to the


number of protons in the nucleus. Atoms have no
overall electrical charge.
f) All atoms of a particular element have the same
number of protons. Atoms of different elements
have different numbers of protons.
Additional guidance:

g) The number of protons in an atom of an element is


its atomic number. The sum of the protons and
neutrons in an atom is its mass number.

52

Candidates will be expected to calculate the number of


each sub-atomic particle in an atom from its atomic
number and mass number.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

h) Electrons occupy particular energy levels. Each


electron in an atom is at a particular energy level
(in a particular shell). The electrons in an atom
occupy the lowest available energy levels
(innermost available shells). Candidates may
answer questions in terms of either energy
levels or shells.

Candidates should be able to represent the electronic


structure of the first 20 elements of the periodic table in
the following forms:

sodium
2,8,1

Additional guidance:

a) Elements in the same group in the periodic table


have the same number of electrons in their highest
energy level (outer electrons) and this gives them
similar chemical properties.

Knowledge is limited to the reactions of Group 1


elements with water and oxygen.

b) The elements in Group 0 of the periodic table are


called the noble gases. They are unreactive because
their atoms have stable arrangements of electrons.

Candidates should know that the noble gases have


eight electrons in their outer energy level, except for
helium, which has only two electrons.

Chemistry

C1.1.2 The periodic table

Candidates are not required to know of trends within


each group in the periodic table, but should be aware
of similarities between the elements within a group.

C1.1.3 Chemical reactions


Additional guidance:

a) When elements react, their atoms join with other


atoms to form compounds. This involves giving,
taking or sharing electrons to form ions or molecules.
Compounds formed from metals and non-metals
consist of ions. Compounds formed from non-metals
consist of molecules. In molecules the atoms are
held together by covalent bonds.

Further details of the types of bonding are not required.

b) Chemical reactions can be represented by


word equations or by symbol equations.

Candidates should be able to write word equations for


reactions in the specification. The ability to interpret
given symbol equations in terms of numbers of atoms is
required.

Candidates should know that metals lose electrons to


form positive ions, whereas non-metals gain electrons to
form negative ions. Knowledge of such transfers is
limited to single electrons.

Higher Tier candidates should be able to balance


symbol equations.

c) No atoms are lost or made during a chemical


reaction so the mass of the products equals the
mass of the reactants.

Knowledge and understanding of masses in chemical


reactions is limited to conservation of mass. Calculations
based on relative atomic masses are not required but
candidates should be able to calculate the mass of a
reactant or product from information about the masses
of the other reactants and products in the reaction.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

modelling of atoms (using physical models or computer simulations) to illustrate chemical reactions at the
atomic level

precipitation reactions, such as lead nitrate with potassium iodide, to show conservation of mass.

Chemistry

C1.2 Limestone and building materials


Rocks provide essential building materials. Limestone is a naturally occurring resource that provides a starting
point for the manufacture of cement and concrete.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I consider and evaluate the environmental, social and
economic effects of exploiting limestone and
producing building materials from it

Additional guidance:
Candidates should know that limestone is needed for
buildings and that the positive benefits of using this
material should be considered against the negative
aspects of quarrying.
Knowledge of building materials is limited to limestone,
cement and concrete.

evaluate the developments in using limestone,


cement and concrete as building materials, and
their advantages and disadvantages over other
materials.

Knowledge of particular developments is not required,


but information may be supplied in examination
questions for candidates to evaluate.
Knowledge of the properties of other building materials
is not required, but candidates may be provided with
information about materials such as timber, stone, glass
and steels in the examination so that they can make
comparisons about their uses.

C1.2.1 Calcium carbonate


a) Limestone, mainly composed of the compound
calcium carbonate (CaCO3 ), is quarried and can be
used as a building material.
b) Calcium carbonate can be decomposed by
heating (thermal decomposition) to make calcium
oxide and carbon dioxide.
Additional guidance:

c) The carbonates of magnesium, copper, zinc,


calcium and sodium decompose on heating in
a similar way.

Knowledge and understanding of metal carbonates is


limited to metal carbonates decomposing on heating to
give carbon dioxide and the metal oxide.
Candidates should be aware that not all carbonates of
metals in Group 1 of the periodic table decompose at
the temperatures reached by a Bunsen burner.

d) Calcium oxide reacts with water to produce calcium


hydroxide, which is an alkali that can be used in the
neutralisation of acids.

54

Knowledge of the common names quicklime and


slaked lime is not required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

e) A solution of calcium hydroxide in water (limewater)


reacts with carbon dioxide to produce calcium
carbonate. Limewater is used as a test for carbon
dioxide. Carbon dioxide turns limewater cloudy.

Candidates should be familiar with using limewater to


test for carbon dioxide gas.

f) Carbonates react with acids to produce carbon


dioxide, a salt and water. Limestone is damaged
by acid rain.

The reaction of carbonates with acids is limited to the


reactions of magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium and
sodium.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigation of the limestone cycle: decomposition of CaCO3 to give CaO, reaction with water to give
Ca(OH)2, addition of more water and filtering to give limewater and use of limewater to test for CO2

thermal decomposition of CaCO3 to show limelight

honeycomb demonstration: heat sugar syrup mixture to 150 C and add sodium bicarbonate

making concrete blocks in moulds, investigation of variation of content and carrying out strength tests

design and carry out an investigation of trends in the thermal decomposition of metal carbonates

investigation of the reaction of carbonates with acids.

Chemistry

g) Limestone is heated with clay to make cement.


Cement is mixed with sand to make mortar and
with sand and aggregate to make concrete.

C1.3 Metals and their uses


Metals are very useful in our everyday lives. Ores are naturally occurring rocks that provide an economic starting
point for the manufacture of metals. Iron ore is used to make iron and steel. Copper can be easily extracted but
copper-rich ores are becoming scarce so new methods of extracting copper are being developed. Aluminium and
titanium are useful metals but are expensive to produce. Metals can be mixed together to make alloys.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I consider and evaluate the social, economic and
environmental impacts of exploiting metal ores, of
using metals and of recycling metals

Additional guidance:
Candidates should know that metal ores are obtained
by mining and that this may involve digging up and
processing large amounts of rock.
Knowledge and understanding of obtaining, using and
recycling metals is limited to the metals named in the
subject content.

evaluate the benefits, drawbacks and risks of


using metals as structural materials.

Knowledge and understanding of the uses and


properties of metals and alloys is limited to those
specified in the subject content. Information may be
given in examination questions so that candidates can
evaluate their uses.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C1.3.1 Extracting metals

Chemistry

Additional guidance:

a) Ores contain enough metal to make it economical


to extract the metal. The economics of extraction
may change over time.

Knowledge of specific examples is not required. Data


may be provided in examination questions for
candidates to analyse.

b) Ores are mined and may be concentrated before


the metal is extracted and purified.

Knowledge of specific examples other than those given


below is not required.

c) Unreactive metals such as gold are found in the Earth


as the metal itself but most metals are found as
compounds that require chemical reactions to
extract the metal.
Additional guidance:

d) Metals that are less reactive than carbon can be


extracted from their oxides by reduction with
carbon, for example iron oxide is reduced in the
blast furnace to make iron.

Knowledge and understanding is limited to the


reduction of oxides using carbon.
Knowledge of reduction is limited to the removal of
oxygen.
Knowledge of the details of the extraction of other
metals is not required. Examination questions may
provide further information about specific processes for
candidates to interpret or evaluate.
Details of the blast furnace are not required.

56

e) Metals that are more reactive than carbon, such as


aluminium, are extracted by electrolysis of molten
compounds. The use of large amounts of energy in
the extraction of these metals makes them expensive.

Knowledge of the details of industrial methods of


electrolysis is not required.

f) Copper can be extracted from copper-rich ores by


heating the ores in a furnace (smelting). The copper
can be purified by electrolysis. The supply of
copper-rich ores is limited.

Details of industrial smelting processes are not


required.
I

copper is extracted from its ores by chemical


processes that involve heat or electricity

copper-rich ores are being depleted and traditional


mining and extraction have major environmental
impacts.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

g) New ways of extracting copper from low-grade


ores are being researched to limit the environmental
impact of traditional mining.

Candidates should know and understand that:


I

phytomining uses plants to absorb metal


compounds and that the plants are burned to
produce ash that contains the metal compounds

bioleaching uses bacteria to produce leachate


solutions that contain metal compounds.

Copper can be extracted by phytomining, or by


bioleaching.

Further specific details of these processes are not


required.

Candidates should know that during electrolysis


positive ions move towards the negative electrode.
They do not need to describe this in terms of oxidation
and reduction, or to understand half equations.

i) Aluminium and titanium cannot be extracted from


their oxides by reduction with carbon. Current
methods of extraction are expensive because:

Candidates do not need to know the details of


methods used to extract these metals, but should be
able to comment on and evaluate information that is
given about the chemical processes that can be used.

there are many stages in the processes

large amounts of energy are needed.

j) We should recycle metals because extracting them


uses limited resources and is expensive in terms
of energy and effects on the environment.

Chemistry

h) Copper can be obtained from solutions of copper


salts by electrolysis or by displacement using
scrap iron.

Candidates are not required to know details of specific


examples of recycling, but should understand the
benefits of recycling in the general terms specified here.

C1.3.2 Alloys
Additional guidance:

a) Iron from the blast furnace contains about 96%


iron. The impurities make it brittle and so it has
limited uses.

Knowledge of uses of blast furnace iron is limited to


blast furnace iron being used as cast iron because of its
strength in compression.

b) Most iron is converted into steels. Steels are alloys


since they are mixtures of iron with carbon. Some
steels contain other metals. Alloys can be designed
to have properties for specific uses. Low-carbon
steels are easily shaped, high-carbon steels are
hard, and stainless steels are resistant to corrosion.

Knowledge and understanding of the types of steel and


their properties is limited to those specified in the
subject content. Information about the composition of
specific types of steel may be given in examination
questions so that candidates can evaluate their uses.

c) Most metals in everyday use are alloys. Pure copper,


gold, iron and aluminium are too soft for many uses
and so are mixed with small amounts of similar metals
to make them harder for everyday use.

Candidates should be familiar with these specified


examples but examination questions may contain
information about alloys other than those named in the
subject content to enable candidates to make
comparisons.

57

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C1.3.3 Properties and uses of metals

Chemistry

Additional guidance:

a) The elements in the central block of the periodic


table are known as transition metals. Like other
metals they are good conductors of heat and
electricity and can be bent or hammered into
shape. They are useful as structural materials
and for making things that must allow heat or
electricity to pass through them easily.

Knowledge of the properties of specific transition metals


other than those named in this unit is not required.

b) Copper has properties that make it useful for


electrical wiring and plumbing.

Candidates should know and understand that copper:


I

is a good conductor of electricity and heat

can be bent but is hard enough to be used to make


pipes or tanks

does not react with water.

c) Low density and resistance to corrosion make


aluminium and titanium useful metals.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

58

comparing less reactive metals (gold, silver, copper) with more reactive metals, eg in acid

heating metal oxides with carbon to compare reactivity, eg CuO, PbO, Fe2O3

heating copper carbonate with charcoal to produce copper

displacement reactions, eg CuSO4(aq) + Fe (using temperature sensors to investigate differences in metal


reactivity)

investigation of the physical properties of metals and alloys, eg density / thermal and electrical conductivity

electrolysis of copper sulfate solution using copper electrodes

ignition tube demonstration of blast furnace potassium permanganate, mineral wool plug, iron oxide mixed
with carbon

investigation of phytomining: growing brassica plants in compost with added copper sulfate or spraying
brassica plants (eg cabbage leaves) with copper sulfate solution, ashing the plants (fume cupboard), adding
sulfuric acid to the ash, filtering and obtaining the metal from the solution by displacement or electrolysis.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C1.4 Crude oil and fuels


Crude oil is derived from an ancient biomass found in rocks. Many useful materials can be produced from crude
oil. Crude oil can be fractionally distilled. Some of the fractions can be used as fuels. Biofuels are produced from
plant material. There are advantages and disadvantages to their use as fuels. Fuels can come from renewable or
non-renewable resources.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate the impact on the environment of
burning hydrocarbon fuels

Additional guidance:

consider and evaluate the social, economic and


environmental impacts of the uses of fuels

Candidates may be given information and data about


other fuels and their products of combustion for
comparison and evaluation in the examinations.

evaluate developments in the production and uses


of better fuels, for example ethanol and hydrogen

Candidates should know and understand the benefits


and disadvantages of ethanol and hydrogen as fuels in
terms of:

use of renewable resources

storage and use of the fuels

their products of combustion.

Chemistry

Knowledge and understanding of the products of


burning hydrocarbon fuels and the effects of these
products is limited to those named in the subject
content for this section.

evaluate the benefits, drawbacks and risks of


using plant materials to produce fuels.

C1.4.1 Crude oil


a) Crude oil is a mixture of a very large number
of compounds.
b) A mixture consists of two or more elements or
compounds not chemically combined together.
The chemical properties of each substance in
the mixture are unchanged. It is possible to
separate the substances in a mixture by
physical methods including distillation.
Additional guidance:

c) Most of the compounds in crude oil consist of


molecules made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms
only (hydrocarbons). Most of these are saturated
hydrocarbons called alkanes, which have the
general formula CnH2n+2.

Candidates are not expected to know the names of


specific alkanes other than methane, ethane and
propane.

59

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C1.4.2 Hydrocarbons

Chemistry

a) Alkane molecules can be represented in the


following forms:
I

C2H6

H
H
I
I
H C C H
I
I
H
H

Additional guidance:

Candidates should be able to recognise alkanes from


their formulae in any of the forms but do not need to
know the names of individual alkanes other than
methane, ethane, propane and butane.
Candidates should know that in displayed structures
represents a covalent bond.

b) The many hydrocarbons in crude oil may be


separated into fractions, each of which contains
molecules with a similar number of carbon atoms,
by evaporating the oil and allowing it to condense
at a number of different temperatures. This process
is fractional distillation.

Candidates should know and understand the main


processes in continuous fractional distillation in a
fractionating column.

c) Some properties of hydrocarbons depend on the


size of their molecules. These properties influence
how hydrocarbons are used as fuels.

Knowledge of trends in properties of hydrocarbons is


limited to:

Knowledge of the names of specific fractions or fuels is


not required.

boiling points

viscosity

flammability.

C1.4.3 Hydrocarbon fuels


Additional guidance:

a) Most fuels, including coal, contain carbon and/or


hydrogen and may also contain some sulfur. The
gases released into the atmosphere when a fuel
burns may include carbon dioxide, water (vapour),
carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and oxides of
nitrogen. Solid particles (particulates) may also
be released.

Candidates should be able to relate products of


combustion to the elements present in compounds in
the fuel and to the extent of combustion (whether
complete or partial).
No details of how the oxides of nitrogen are formed are
required, other than the fact that they are formed at
high temperatures.
Solid particles may contain soot (carbon) and unburnt
fuels.

b) The combustion of hydrocarbon fuels releases


energy. During combustion the carbon and
hydrogen in the fuels are oxidised.

60

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:
Candidates are not required to know details of any
other causes of acid rain or global warming.

d) Sulfur can be removed from fuels before they are


burned, for example in vehicles. Sulfur dioxide can
be removed from the waste gases after combustion,
for example in power stations.

Knowledge of the methods of removing sulfur is not


required.

e) Biofuels, including biodiesel and ethanol, are


produced from plant material. There are economic,
ethical and environmental issues surrounding
their use.

Knowledge of the methods of biofuel production is not


required but candidates may be given information from
which a range of questions may be asked.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

demonstration of fractional distillation of crude oil using CLEAPSS mixture (take care to avoid confusion with
the continuous process in a fractionating column)

design an investigation on viscosity, ease of ignition or sootiness of flame of oils or fuels

comparison of the energy content of different fuels, for example by heating a fixed volume of water

demonstration of the production of solid particles by incomplete combustion using a Bunsen burner yellow
flame or a candle flame to heat a boiling tube of cold water

collecting and testing the products of combustion of candle wax and methane

demonstration of burning sulfur or coal in oxygen and then testing the pH of the gas produced

design an investigation on growing cress from seeds in various concentrations of sodium metabisulfite solution
to show how acid rain affects plants.

Chemistry

c) Sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen cause acid rain,


carbon dioxide causes global warming, and solid
particles cause global dimming.

61

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C1.5 Other useful substances from crude oil

Chemistry

Fractions from the distillation of crude oil can be broken down (cracked) to make smaller molecules including
unsaturated hydrocarbons such as ethene. Unsaturated hydrocarbons can be used to make polymers and ethene
can be used to make ethanol. Ethanol can also be made by fermentation.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate the social and economic advantages and
disadvantages of using products from crude oil as
fuels or as raw materials for plastics and other
chemicals

Additional guidance:
Candidates should be aware that crude oil is used to
produce fuels and chemicals, and that it is a limited
resource.
Candidates should be able to evaluate information
about the ways in which crude oil and its products are
used. Although candidates will probably know the
names of some common polymers, these are not
required knowledge, unless they are included in the
subject content for this section.

evaluate the social, economic and environmental


impacts of the uses, disposal and recycling of
polymers
Additional guidance:

evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of


making ethanol from renewable and non-renewable
sources.

Candidates should be able to compare the


environmental impact of producing ethanol from
renewable and non-renewable sources.

C1.5.1 Obtaining useful substances from crude oil


a) Hydrocarbons can be cracked to produce smaller,
more useful molecules. This process involves heating
the hydrocarbons to vaporise them. The vapours are
either passed over a hot catalyst or mixed with steam
and heated to a very high temperature so that thermal
decomposition reactions then occur.
Additional guidance:

b) The products of cracking include alkanes and


unsaturated hydrocarbons called alkenes. Alkenes
have the general formula CnH2n.
c) Unsaturated hydrocarbon molecules can be
represented in the following forms:
I C3H6

62

H
H
H
I
I
I
H C C == C
I
I
H
H

Candidates should be able to recognise alkenes from


their names or formulae, but do not need to know the
names of individual alkenes, other than ethene and
propene.
Candidates should know that in displayed structures

== represents a double bond.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

d) Alkenes react with bromine water, turning it


from orange to colourless.
e) Some of the products of cracking are useful as fuels.

C1.5.2 Polymers
Additional guidance:

H
I
n C ===
I
H

H
I
C
I
H

ethene

H
H
I
I
C C
I
I
H
H

Candidates should be able to recognise the molecules


involved in these reactions in the forms shown in the
subject content. They should be able to represent the
formation of a polymer from a given alkene monomer.
Further details of polymerisation are not required.

Chemistry

a) Alkenes can be used to make polymers such as


poly(ethene) and poly(propene). In these reactions,
many small molecules (monomers) join together to
form very large molecules (polymers).
For example:

poly(ethene)

b) Polymers have many useful applications and new


uses are being developed, for example: new
packaging materials, waterproof coatings for fabrics,
dental polymers, wound dressings, hydrogels, smart
materials (including shape memory polymers).

Candidates should consider the ways in which new


materials are being developed and used, but will not
need to recall the names of specific examples.

c) Many polymers are not biodegradable, so they are


not broken down by microbes and this can lead to
problems with waste disposal.

Knowledge of specific named examples is not required,


but candidates should be aware of the problems that
are caused by landfill sites and by litter.

d) Plastic bags are being made from polymers and


cornstarch so that they break down more easily.
Biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch have
been developed.

C1.5.3 Ethanol
Additional guidance:

a) Ethanol can be produced by hydration of ethene


with steam in the presence of a catalyst.

No further details of these processes are required.

b) Ethanol can also be produced by fermentation with


yeast, using renewable resources. This can be
represented by:
sugar

carbon dioxide + ethanol

63

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Chemistry

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

demonstration of the cracking of liquid paraffin using broken pottery as the catalyst

testing for unsaturation in the alkenes using bromine water

making a polymer from cornstarch

demonstration of making Perspex

molecular modelling of polymers

design an investigation of a property of different plastics, eg strength, flexibility, biodegradability

investigate the amount of water that can be absorbed by a hydrogel (eg those used as additives to garden
composts)

testing coated fabrics for water penetration.

C1.6 Plant oils and their uses


Many plants produce useful oils that can be converted into consumer products including processed foods.
Emulsions can be made and have a number of uses. Vegetable oils can be hardened to make margarine.
Biodiesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oils.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate the effects of using vegetable oils in foods
and the impacts on diet and health

evaluate the use, benefits, drawbacks and risks of


emulsifiers in foods.

Additional guidance:
Knowledge is limited to the high-energy content of
vegetable oils, the possible health benefits of
unsaturated fats compared with saturated fats, and the
effects of cooking foods in oil. Information may be
provided in examinations for candidates to evaluate.
Candidates do not need to recall the names of specific
additives.
Further information will be provided in questions for
evaluation and comparison.

C1.6.1 Vegetable oils


Additional guidance:

64

a) Some fruits, seeds and nuts are rich in oils that can
be extracted. The plant material is crushed and the
oil removed by pressing or in some cases by
distillation. Water and other impurities are removed.

Candidates should study the general principles of the


extraction of vegetable oils, such as olive oil, rapeseed
oil or lavender oil.

b) Vegetable oils are important foods and fuels as they


provide a lot of energy. They also provide us with
nutrients.

Knowledge of the details of the production of biodiesel


is not required.

Knowledge of specific examples or processes is not


required.

Knowledge of specific nutrients is not required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) Vegetable oils have higher boiling points than water and


so can be used to cook foods at higher temperatures
than by boiling. This produces quicker cooking and
different flavours but increases the energy that the food
releases when it is eaten.

C1.6.2 Emulsions
Additional guidance:
Candidates should study how emulsions are made and
should understand the role of emulsifiers in producing
emulsions that are more stable. Knowledge of specific
names of ingredients in proprietary products is not
required.

b) Emulsifiers have hydrophilic and hydrophobic


properties.

HT only

Chemistry

a) Oils do not dissolve in water. They can be used to


produce emulsions. Emulsions are thicker than oil or
water and have many uses that depend on their
special properties. They provide better texture, coating
ability and appearance, for example in salad dressings,
ice creams, cosmetics and paints.

Knowledge is limited to a simple model of the


structure of emulsifier molecules.

C1.6.3 Saturated and unsaturated oils


Additional guidance:

a) Vegetable oils that are unsaturated contain double


carboncarbon bonds. These can be detected by
reacting with bromine water.

Candidates should be familiar with a test for


unsaturation using bromine water.

b) Vegetable oils that are unsaturated can be


hardened by reacting them with hydrogen in the
presence of a nickel catalyst at about 60 C.
Hydrogen adds to the carboncarbon double
bonds. The hydrogenated oils have higher
melting points so they are solids at room
temperature, making them useful as spreads
and in cakes and pastries.

HT only
Candidates should know how and why vegetable
oils are hardened for use in foods. Knowledge of
trans fats is not required.
Examination questions may provide further
information from which candidates may be asked
to make comparisons.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

pressing nuts (eg walnuts) between paper towels and studying the grease marks

steam distillation of lavender oil, orange oil, lemon oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil or vegetable oil

simple calorimetery investigations using small spirit burners or bottle tops to measure the energy released from
various oils (weigh before and after, and measure the temperature change for a known mass of water)

making emulsions, eg oil/water, oil/vinegar

design and carry out an investigation into the effect of emulsifiers on the stability of emulsions

using bromine water to test fats and oils for unsaturation, eg testing sunflower oil against butter (using
colorimeter to measure level of unsaturation).

65

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C1.7 Changes in the Earth and its atmosphere

Chemistry

The Earth and its atmosphere provide everything we need. The Earth has a layered structure. The surface of the
Earth and its atmosphere have changed since the Earth was formed and are still changing. The atmosphere has
been much the same for the last 200 million years and provides the conditions needed for life on Earth. Recently
human activities have resulted in further changes in the atmosphere. There is more than one theory about how life
was formed.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I recognise that the Earths crust, the atmosphere and
the oceans are the only source of minerals and other
resources that humans need
Additional guidance:
I

explain why Wegeners theory of crustal movement


(continental drift) was not generally accepted for
many years

Candidates should have studied accounts of


Wegeners work. Knowledge is limited to the theories
relating to mountain building and continental drift.
Candidates should know that scientists once thought
that the features of the Earths surface were the result of
the shrinking of the crust as the Earth cooled down
following its formation.

explain why scientists cannot accurately predict when


earthquakes and volcanic eruptions will occur

Candidates may be given information which they will be


expected to interpret.

explain and evaluate theories of the changes that have


occurred and are occurring in the Earths atmosphere

Candidates should be able to compare and evaluate


different theories when given suitable information.

explain and evaluate the effects of human activities on


the atmosphere

Knowledge of the effects of human activities is limited


to those in the subject content.

describe why we do not know how life was first


formed.

HT only

C1.7.1 The Earths crust


Additional guidance:

66

a) The Earth consists of a core, mantle and crust, and is


surrounded by the atmosphere.

Knowledge is limited to the names of the three major


parts, and an awareness of the relative sizes of these
features.

b) The Earths crust and the upper part of the mantle are
cracked into a number of large pieces (tectonic
plates).

Knowledge of the names, shapes or locations of


specific plates is not required.

c) Convection currents within the Earths mantle driven


by heat released by natural radioactive processes
cause the plates to move at relative speeds of a
few centimetres per year.

Candidates should know that the mantle is mostly


solid, but that it is able to move slowly.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

d) The movements can be sudden and disastrous.


Earthquakes and / or volcanic eruptions occur at
the boundaries between tectonic plates.

Knowledge of the changes that occur at plate


boundaries is limited to earthquakes and volcanic
eruptions.
Knowledge of the mechanism of these changes is not
required.

C1.7.2 The Earths atmosphere

about four-fifths (80%) nitrogen

about one-fifth (20%) oxygen

small proportions of various other gases, including


carbon dioxide, water vapour and noble gases.

Chemistry

a) For 200 million years, the proportions of different


gases in the atmosphere have been much the
same as they are today:

b) During the first billion years of the Earths existence


there was intense volcanic activity. This activity
released the gases that formed the early atmosphere
and water vapour that condensed to form the oceans.
c) There are several theories about how the atmosphere
was formed.
One theory suggests that during this period the
Earths atmosphere was mainly carbon dioxide and
there would have been little or no oxygen gas (like the
atmospheres of Mars and Venus today). There may
also have been water vapour and small proportions
of methane and ammonia.

Additional guidance:
No knowledge of other theories is required. Information
may be given in questions which candidates will be
expected to interpret.

d) There are many theories as to how life was formed


billions of years ago.
Additional guidance:

e) One theory as to how life was formed involves


the interaction between hydrocarbons,
ammonia and lightning.

HT only

f) Plants and algae produced the oxygen that is now in


the atmosphere.

Candidates should be aware that plants and algae


produce oxygen by a process called photosynthesis
and that this process uses carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere.

Candidates should be aware of the Miller-Urey


experiment and the primordial soup theory, but
they should know that this is not the only theory.

Knowledge of the process of photosynthesis is not


required.

67

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

g) Most of the carbon from the carbon dioxide in the air


gradually became locked up in sedimentary rocks as
carbonates and fossil fuels.

Candidates should know that carbon dioxide dissolves


in the oceans and that limestone was formed from the
shells and skeletons of marine organisms. Fossil fuels
contain carbon and hydrocarbons that are the remains
of plants and animals.

Chemistry

h) The oceans also act as a reservoir for carbon dioxide


but increased amounts of carbon dioxide absorbed
by the oceans has an impact on the marine
environment.
Additional guidance:

i) Nowadays the release of carbon dioxide by burning


fossil fuels increases the level of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere.

Candidates should be aware that this increase in


carbon dioxide is thought to be causing global warming
but, for this unit, candidates do not need to know how
CO2 causes this effect.

j) Air is a mixture of gases with different boiling


points and can be fractionally distilled to provide
a source of raw materials used in a variety of
industrial processes.

HT only
Knowledge of the boiling points of the different
gases is not required.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

68

investigating the composition of air by passing air over heated copper using gas syringes and measuring the
percentage of oxygen. Then burning magnesium in the nitrogen to form Mg3N2. Add water to produce
ammonia (nitrogen must have come from the air)

collecting gas produced by aquatic plants and testing for oxygen (using dissolved oxygen sensor)

measuring the amount of carbon dioxide in inhaled and exhaled air (using carbon dioxide sensor)

testing the products of combustion of fuels to show that carbon dioxide is produced

design an investigation to compare the amount of carbon dioxide released by reacting crushed shells
(eg cockle, oyster) with dilute hydrochloric acid.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 2: Chemistry 2
Throughout this unit candidates will be expected to write word equations for reactions specified. Higher tier
candidates will also be expected to write and balance symbol equations for reactions specified
throughout the unit.

C2.1 Structure and bonding

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I

write formulae for ionic compounds from given


symbols and ionic charges

represent the electronic structure of the ions in


sodium chloride, magnesium oxide and calcium
chloride in the following form:

Chemistry

Simple particle theory is developed in this unit to include atomic structure and bonding. The arrangement of
electrons in atoms can be used to explain what happens when elements react and how atoms join together to
form different types of substances.

for sodium ion (Na+)


I

represent the covalent bonds in molecules such as


water, ammonia, hydrogen, hydrogen chloride, methane
and oxygen, and in giant structures such as diamond
and silicon dioxide, in the following forms:
for ammonia (NH3)

and/or

and/or
H

H
H

Additional guidance:
I

represent the bonding in metals in the following


form:

HT only

69

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C2.1.1 Structure and bonding


a) Compounds are substances in which atoms of two
or more elements are chemically combined.
b) Chemical bonding involves either transferring or
sharing electrons in the highest occupied energy
levels (shells) of atoms in order to achieve the
electronic structure of a noble gas.

Chemistry

Additional guidance:

c) When atoms form chemical bonds by transferring


electrons, they form ions. Atoms that lose electrons
become positively charged ions. Atoms that gain
electrons become negatively charged ions. Ions
have the electronic structure of a noble gas (Group 0).

Candidates should be able to relate the charge on


simple ions to the group number of the element in the
periodic table.

d) The elements in Group 1 of the periodic table, the


alkali metals, all react with non-metal elements to
form ionic compounds in which the metal ion has
a single positive charge.

Knowledge of the chemical properties of alkali metals is


limited to their reactions with non-metal elements.

e) The elements in Group 7 of the periodic table, the


halogens, all react with the alkali metals to form ionic
compounds in which the halide ions have a single
negative charge.

Knowledge of the chemical properties of the halogens


is limited to reactions with alkali metals.

f) An ionic compound is a giant structure of ions. Ionic


compounds are held together by strong electrostatic
forces of attraction between oppositely charged ions.
These forces act in all directions in the lattice and
this is called ionic bonding.

Candidates should be familiar with the structure of


sodium chloride but do not need to know the
structures of other ionic compounds.

g) When atoms share pairs of electrons, they form


covalent bonds. These bonds between atoms are
strong. Some covalently bonded substances consist
of simple molecules such as H2, Cl2, O2, HCl, H2O,
NH3 and CH4. Others have giant covalent
structures (macromolecules), such as diamond
and silicon dioxide.

Candidates should know the bonding in the examples


in the specification for this unit, and should be able to
recognise simple molecules and giant structures from
diagrams that show their bonding.

h) Metals consist of giant structures of atoms arranged


in a regular pattern.
Additional guidance:

i) The electrons in the highest occupied energy


levels (outer shell) of metal atoms are
delocalised and so free to move through the
whole structure. This corresponds to a structure
of positive ions with electrons between the ions
holding them together by strong electrostatic
attractions.

70

HT only

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

molecular modelling

modelling electron transfer and electron sharing using computer simulations

Group 1 and Group 7 reactions, eg sodium with chlorine

the reactions of bromine, chlorine and iodine with iron wool

growing metal crystals by displacement reactions using metals and salts

modelling metal structures using polyspheres and bubble rafts.


Chemistry

C2.2 How structure influences the properties and uses of substances


Substances that have simple molecular, giant ionic and giant covalent structures have very different properties.
Ionic, covalent and metallic bonds are strong. However, the forces between molecules are weaker, eg in carbon
dioxide and iodine. Metals have many uses. When different metals are combined, alloys are formed. Shape
memory alloys have a range of uses. There are different types of polymers with different uses. Nanomaterials have
new properties because of their very small size.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

relate the properties of substances to their uses

suggest the type of structure of a substance


given its properties

Additional guidance:
Candidates may be provided with information about the
properties of substances that are not specified in this
unit to enable them to relate these to their uses.

Additional guidance:
I

evaluate developments and applications of new


materials, eg nanomaterials, fullerenes and shape
memory materials.

Candidates should be familiar with some examples of


new materials but do not need to know the properties
or names of specific new materials.

C2.2.1 Molecules
a) Substances that consist of simple molecules are gases,
liquids or solids that have relatively low melting points
and boiling points.
Additional guidance:

b) Substances that consist of simple molecules


have only weak forces between the molecules
(intermolecular forces). It is these intermolecular
forces that are overcome, not the covalent
bonds, when the substance melts or boils.

HT only
Candidates need to be able to explain that
intermolecular forces are weak in comparison
with covalent bonds.

c) Substances that consist of simple molecules do not


conduct electricity because the molecules do not have
an overall electric charge.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C2.2.2 Ionic compounds


Additional guidance:

Chemistry

a) Ionic compounds have regular structures (giant ionic


lattices) in which there are strong electrostatic forces
in all directions between oppositely charged ions.
These compounds have high melting points and high
boiling points because of the large amounts of energy
needed to break the many strong bonds.

Knowledge of the structures of specific ionic


compounds other than sodium chloride is not required.

b) When melted or dissolved in water, ionic compounds


conduct electricity because the ions are free to move
and carry the current.

C2.2.3 Covalent structures


Additional guidance:

a) Atoms that share electrons can also form giant


structures or macromolecules. Diamond and graphite
(forms of carbon) and silicon dioxide (silica) are
examples of giant covalent structures (lattices) of
atoms. All the atoms in these structures are linked
to other atoms by strong covalent bonds and so
they have very high melting points.

Candidates should be able to recognise other giant


structures or macromolecules from diagrams showing
their bonding.

b) In diamond, each carbon atom forms four covalent


bonds with other carbon atoms in a giant covalent
structure, so diamond is very hard.
Additional guidance:

72

c) In graphite, each carbon atom bonds to three others,


forming layers. The layers are free to slide over each
other because there are no covalent bonds between
the layers and so graphite is soft and slippery.

Higher Tier candidates should be able to explain


the properties of graphite in terms of weak
intermolecular forces between the layers.

d) In graphite, one electron from each carbon atom


is delocalised. These delocalised electrons
allow graphite to conduct heat and electricity.

HT only

e) Carbon can also form fullerenes with different


numbers of carbon atoms. Fullerenes can be
used for drug delivery into the body, in lubricants,
as catalysts, and in nanotubes for reinforcing
materials, eg in tennis rackets.

HT only

Candidates should realise that graphite is similar


to metals in that it has delocalised electrons.

Candidates knowledge is limited to the fact that


the structure of fullerenes is based on hexagonal
rings of carbon atoms.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C2.2.4 Metals
Additional guidance:

a) Metals conduct heat and electricity


because of the delocalised electrons in
their structures.

HT only
Candidates should know that conduction
depends on the ability of electrons to move
throughout the metal.

Chemistry

b) The layers of atoms in metals are able to slide


over each other and so metals can be bent
and shaped.
c) Alloys are usually made from two or more different
metals. The different sized atoms of the metals
distort the layers in the structure, making it more
difficult for them to slide over each other and so
make alloys harder than pure metals.
d) Shape memory alloys can return to their original
shape after being deformed, eg Nitinol used in
dental braces.

C2.2.5 Polymers
a) The properties of polymers depend on what
they are made from and the conditions under
which they are made. For example, low density
(LD) and high density (HD) poly(ethene) are
produced using different catalysts and reaction
conditions.
Additional guidance:

b) Thermosoftening polymers consist of individual,


tangled polymer chains. Thermosetting polymers
consist of polymer chains with cross-links between
them so that they do not melt when they are heated.

Higher Tier candidates should be able to explain


the properties of thermosoftening polymers in
terms of intermolecular forces.

C2.2.6 Nanoscience
Additional guidance:

a) Nanoscience refers to structures that are 1100 nm


in size, of the order of a few hundred atoms.
Nanoparticles show different properties to the same
materials in bulk and have a high surface area to
volume ratio, which may lead to the development
of new computers, new catalysts, new coatings,
highly selective sensors, stronger and lighter
construction materials, and new cosmetics such as
sun tan creams and deodorants.

Candidates should know what is meant by


nanoscience and nanoparticles and should consider
some of the applications of these materials, but do not
need to know specific examples or properties.
Questions may be set on information that is provided
about these materials and their uses.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

demonstration of heating sulfur and pouring it into cold water to produce plastic sulfur

investigating the properties of ionic compounds, eg NaCl:


melting point, conductivity, solubility, use of hand lens to study crystal structure

investigating the properties of covalent compounds:

Chemistry

simple molecules, eg wax, methane, hexane


macromolecules, eg SiO2 (sand)
I

investigating the properties of graphite

demonstrations involving shape memory alloys

investigating the properties of metals and alloys:


melting point and conductivity, hardness, tensile strength, flexibility
using models, for example using expanded polystyrene spheres or computer animations to show how
layers of atoms slide
making metal crystals by displacement reactions, eg copper wire in silver nitrate solution

distinguishing between LD and HD poly(ethene) using 50:50 ethanol:water

making slime using different concentrations of poly(ethenol) and borax solutions

investigating the effect of heat on polymers to find which are thermosoftening and which are thermosetting.

C2.3 Atomic structure, analysis and quantitative chemistry


The relative masses of atoms can be used to calculate how much to react and how much we can produce,
because no atoms are gained or lost in chemical reactions. There are various methods used to analyse these
substances.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

74

evaluate sustainable development issues relating the


starting materials of an industrial process to the
product yield and the energy requirements of the
reactions involved.

Additional guidance:
Candidates may be given appropriate information from
which to draw conclusions.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C2.3.1 Atomic structure


a) Atoms can be represented as shown in this example:
Mass number

23

Atomic number

11

Na

b) The relative masses of protons, neutrons and electrons are:


Mass

Proton

Neutron

Electron

Very small

Chemistry

Name of particle

c) The total number of protons and neutrons in an atom


is called its mass number.
d) Atoms of the same element can have different
numbers of neutrons; these atoms are called
isotopes of that element.
Additional guidance:

e) The relative atomic mass of an element (Ar )


compares the mass of atoms of the element
with the 12C isotope. It is an average value for
the isotopes of the element.

HT only

f) The relative formula mass (Mr ) of a compound is


the sum of the relative atomic masses of the
atoms in the numbers shown in the formula.

Candidates are expected to use relative atomic masses


in the calculations specified in the subject content.
Candidates should be able to calculate the relative
formula mass (Mr ) of a compound from its formula.

g) The relative formula mass of a substance, in grams,


is known as one mole of that substance.

C2.3.2 Analysing substances


a) Elements and compounds can be detected and
identified using instrumental methods. Instrumental
methods are accurate, sensitive and rapid and are
particularly useful when the amount of a sample
is very small.
Additional guidance:

b) Chemical analysis can be used to identify additives


in foods. Artificial colours can be detected and
identified by paper chromatography.

Knowledge of methods other than paper


chromatography is not required, but questions
may include information based on the results of
chemical analysis.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

c) Gas chromatography linked to mass spectroscopy


(GC-MS) is an example of an instrumental method:
gas chromatography allows the separation of a
mixture of compounds

the time taken for a substance to travel through the


column can be used to help identify the substance

the output from the gas chromatography column


can be linked to a mass spectrometer, which can
be used to identify the substances leaving the end
of the column

Chemistry

the mass spectrometer can also give the


relative molecular mass of each of the
substances separated in the column.

Candidates need only a basic understanding of how


GC-MS works, limited to:
I

different substances, carried by a gas, travel


through a column packed with a solid material at
different speeds, so that they become separated

the number of peaks on the output of a gas


chromatograph shows the number of compounds
present

the position of the peaks on the output indicates


the retention time

a mass spectrometer can identify substances very


quickly and accurately and can detect very small
quantities.

HT only
The molecular mass is given by the molecular ion
peak.
Knowledge of fragmentation patterns is not
required.

C2.3.3 Quantitative chemistry


Additional guidance:

a) The percentage of an element in a compound can


be calculated from the relative mass of the element
in the formula and the relative formula mass of the
compound.

Candidates should be able to calculate the percentage


of an element in a compound, given its formula

b) The empirical formula of a compound can be


calculated from the masses or percentages
of the elements in a compound.

HT only

c) The masses of reactants and products can be


calculated from balanced symbol equations.

HT only

Candidates should be able to calculate empirical


formulae.

Candidates should be able to calculate the masses


of individual products from a given mass of a
reactant and the balanced symbol equation.

d) Even though no atoms are gained or lost in a


chemical reaction, it is not always possible to
obtain the calculated amount of a product because:

76

the reaction may not go to completion because it


is reversible

some of the product may be lost when it is


separated from the reaction mixture

some of the reactants may react in ways different


from the expected reaction.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

e) The amount of a product obtained is known as the


yield. When compared with the maximum theoretical
amount as a percentage, it is called the
percentage yield.

Higher Tier candidates will be expected to


calculate percentage yields of reactions.

f) In some chemical reactions, the products of the


reaction can react to produce the original reactants.
Such reactions are called reversible reactions and
are represented:
Chemistry

A+B

C+D

For example:
ammonium chloride

ammonia + hydrogen chloride

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigating food colours using paper chromatography

working out the empirical formulae of copper oxide and magnesium oxide

calculating yields, for example magnesium burning to produce magnesium oxide or wire wool burning to
produce iron oxide

there are opportunities in this section to build in the idea of instrumentation precision, eg for the collection of
gases, the use of boiling tubes, gas jars or gas syringes

copper sulfate hydration/dehydration

heating ammonium chloride in a test tube

adding alkali and acid alternately to bromine water or to potassium chromate solution

blue bottle reaction (RSC Classic Chemistry Experiments no. 83)

oscillating reaction (RSC Classic Chemistry Experiments no.140).

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C2.4 Rates of reaction


Being able to speed up or slow down chemical reactions is important in everyday life and in industry. Changes in
temperature, concentration of solution, gas pressure, surface area of solids and the presence of catalysts all affect
the rates of reactions. Catalysts can help to reduce the cost of some industrial processes.

Chemistry

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I

interpret graphs showing the amount of product


formed (or reactant used up) with time, in terms of
the rate of the reaction

Knowledge of specific reactions other than those in the


subject content for this unit is not expected, but
candidates will be expected to have studied examples
of chemical reactions and processes in developing their
skills during their study of this section.

explain and evaluate the development, advantages


and disadvantages of using catalysts in industrial
processes.

Information may be given in examination questions so


that candidates can make evaluations.

C2.4.1 Rates of reaction


a) The rate of a chemical reaction can be found by
measuring the amount of a reactant used or the
amount of product formed over time:
Rate of reaction = amount of reactant used
time
Rate of reaction = amount of product formed
time
b) Chemical reactions can only occur when reacting
particles collide with each other and with sufficient
energy. The minimum amount of energy particles
must have to react is called the activation energy.
c) Increasing the temperature increases the speed of
the reacting particles so that they collide more
frequently and more energetically. This increases
the rate of reaction.
d) Increasing the pressure of reacting gases increases
the frequency of collisions and so increases the rate
of reaction.
e) Increasing the concentration of reactants in solutions
increases the frequency of collisions and so increases
the rate of reaction.
f) Increasing the surface area of solid reactants increases
the frequency of collisions and so increases the rate
of reaction.

78

Additional guidance:

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

g) Catalysts change the rate of chemical reactions but


are not used up during the reaction. Different reactions
need different catalysts.

Knowledge of named catalysts other than those


specified in the subject content for this unit is not
required, but candidates should be aware of some
examples of chemical reactions and processes that
use catalysts.

h) Catalysts are important in increasing the rates of


chemical reactions used in industrial processes
to reduce costs.

designing and carrying out investigations into factors such as:


temperature, eg magnesium with acids at different temperatures

Chemistry

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

surface area, eg different sizes of marble chips


catalysts, eg the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide using manganese(IV) oxide, potato and/or liver; the
ignition of hydrogen using platinum; oxidation of ammonia using platinum; cracking liquid paraffin using
broken pot
concentration, eg sodium thiosulfate solution and dilute hydrochloric acid.
There are opportunities here for measurements using sensors (eg carbon dioxide, oxygen, light, pH, gas pressure
and temperature) to investigate reaction rates.

C2.5 Exothermic and endothermic reactions


Chemical reactions involve energy transfers. Many chemical reactions involve the release of energy. For other
chemical reactions to occur, energy must be supplied.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

evaluate everyday uses of exothermic and


endothermic reactions.

Additional guidance:
Candidates may be given data from which to draw
conclusions.

C2.5.1 Energy transfer in chemical reactions


Additional guidance:

a) When chemical reactions occur, energy is


transferred to or from the surroundings.

Knowledge of delta H (H) conventions and enthalpy


changes, including the use of positive values for
endothermic reactions and negative values for
exothermic reactions, is not required.

b) An exothermic reaction is one that transfers energy to


the surroundings. Examples of exothermic reactions
include combustion, many oxidation reactions and
neutralisation. Everyday uses of exothermic reactions
include self-heating cans (eg for coffee) and hand warmers.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) An endothermic reaction is one that takes in energy


from the surroundings. Endothermic reactions include
thermal decompositions. Some sports injury packs
are based upon endothermic reactions.

Chemistry

d) If a reversible reaction is exothermic in one direction,


it is endothermic in the opposite direction. The same
amount of energy is transferred in each case.
For example:
hydrated
copper
sulfate
(blue)

endothermic
exothermic

anhydrous
copper
sulfate
(white)

water

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigating temperature changes of neutralisations and displacement reactions, eg zinc and copper sulfate

investigating temperature changes when dissolving ammonium nitrate, or reacting citric acid and sodium
hydrogencarbonate

adding ammonium nitrate to barium hydroxide

demonstration of the addition of concentrated sulfuric acid to sugar

demonstration of the reaction between iodine and aluminium after activation by a drop of water

demonstration of the screaming jelly baby

demonstration of the thermite reaction, ie aluminium mixed with iron(III) oxide

investigation of hand warmers, self-warming cans, sports injury packs.

There are opportunities here for measurements using temperature sensors to investigate energy transfer.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C2.6 Acids, bases and salts


Soluble salts can be made from acids and insoluble salts can be made from solutions of ions. When acids and
alkalis react the result is a neutralisation reaction.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

select an appropriate method for making a salt,


given appropriate information.
Chemistry

C2.6.1 Making salts


a) The state symbols in equations are (s), ( l ) , (g) and (aq).
Additional guidance:

b) Soluble salts can be made from acids by


reacting them with:
I

metals not all metals are suitable; some are


too reactive and others are not reactive enough

insoluble bases the base is added to the acid


until no more will react and the excess solid is
filtered off

alkalis an indicator can be used to show when


the acid and alkali have completely reacted to
produce a salt solution.

Candidates should be able to suggest methods to


make a named soluble salt.

c) Salt solutions can be crystallised to produce solid salts.


Additional guidance:

d) Insoluble salts can be made by mixing appropriate


solutions of ions so that a precipitate is formed.
Precipitation can be used to remove unwanted
ions from solutions, for example in treating water
for drinking or in treating effluent.

Candidates should be able to name the substances


needed to make a named insoluble salt.

C2.6.2 Acids and bases


a) Metal oxides and hydroxides are bases. Soluble
hydroxides are called alkalis.
b) The particular salt produced in any reaction between
an acid and a base or alkali depends on:
I

the acid used (hydrochloric acid produces


chlorides, nitric acid produces nitrates, sulfuric
acid produces sulfates)

the metal in the base or alkali.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) Ammonia dissolves in water to produce an


alkaline solution. It is used to produce
ammonium salts. Ammonium salts are
important as fertilisers.
Additional guidance:

Chemistry

d) Hydrogen ions, H+(aq), make solutions acidic and


hydroxide ions, OH (aq), make solutions alkaline.
The pH scale is a measure of the acidity or
alkalinity of a solution.

Candidates should be familiar with the pH scale from 0


to 14, and that pH 7 is a neutral solution.

e) In neutralisation reactions, hydrogen ions react with


hydroxide ions to produce water. This reaction can
be represented by the equation:
H+(aq) + OH(aq)

H2O(l)

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

the preparation of soluble salts:


copper sulfate by adding copper oxide to sulfuric acid
magnesium sulfate by adding magnesium oxide to sulfuric acid
copper chloride by adding copper oxide to hydrochloric acid
zinc nitrate by adding zinc oxide to nitric acid
sodium chloride by adding sodium hydroxide to hydrochloric acid
copper sulfate by adding copper carbonate to sulfuric acid
investigation of the effect of conditions on the yield of the salt

the preparation of insoluble salts:


lead iodide by mixing solutions of lead nitrate and potassium iodide
barium sulfate by mixing solutions of barium chloride and sodium sulfate
investigation of the effect of conditions on the formation of precipitates.

There are opportunities here for using pH sensors to investigate neutralisation.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C2.7 Electrolysis
Ionic compounds have many uses and can provide other substances. Electrolysis is used to produce alkalis and
elements such as aluminium, chlorine and hydrogen. Oxidationreduction reactions do not just involve oxygen.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
predict the products of electrolysing solutions of ions

explain and evaluate processes that use the


principles described in this unit, including the
use of electroplating.

Knowledge and understanding is limited to the


methods indicated in the subject content.

Chemistry

Additional guidance:

C2.7.1 Electrolysis
a) When an ionic substance is melted or dissolved in
water, the ions are free to move about within the
liquid or solution.
b) Passing an electric current through ionic substances
that are molten, for example lead bromide, or in
solution breaks them down into elements.
This process is called electrolysis and the substance
that is broken down is called the electrolyte.
c) During electrolysis, positively charged ions move to
the negative electrode, and negatively charged
ions move to the positive electrode.
d) Electrolysis is used to electroplate objects. This may
be for a variety of reasons and includes copper
plating and silver plating.
e) At the negative electrode, positively charged ions
gain electrons (reduction) and at the positive
electrode, negatively charged ions lose electrons
(oxidation).
f) If there is a mixture of ions, the products formed
depend on the reactivity of the elements involved.
Additional guidance:

g) Reactions at electrodes can be represented


by half equations, for example:
2Cl

Cl2 + 2e
or
2Cl 2e
Cl2

HT only
Candidates should be able to complete and
balance half equations for the reactions occurring
at the electrodes during electrolysis.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

Chemistry

h) Aluminium is manufactured by the electrolysis of


a molten mixture of aluminium oxide and cryolite.
Aluminium forms at the negative electrode and
oxygen at the positive electrode. The positive
electrode is made of carbon, which reacts with
the oxygen to produce carbon dioxide.

84

Candidates should understand why cryolite is used in


this process.

i) The electrolysis of sodium chloride solution produces


hydrogen and chlorine. Sodium hydroxide solution
is also produced. These are important reagents for
the chemical industry, eg sodium hydroxide for the
production of soap and chlorine for the production
of bleach and plastics.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

the electrolysis of molten lead bromide or zinc chloride

investigation of the electrolysis of any solutions of a soluble ionic compound, eg copper chloride, sodium
chloride, zinc bromide, zinc iodide

a demonstration of the Hoffman voltameter

the electroplating of copper foil with nickel in a nickel sulfate solution

the movement of ions, eg by the electrolysis of a crystal of KMnO4 on filter paper dampened with sodium
chloride solution, or the electrolysis of CuCrO4 in a saturated urea solution using a U-tube

using conductivity sensors to monitor conductivity and changes in conductivity.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 3: Chemistry 3
Throughout this unit candidates will be expected to write word equations for reactions specified. Higher tier
candidates will also be expected to write and balance symbol equations for reactions specified
throughout the unit.

C3.1 The periodic table

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I

evaluate the work of Newlands and Mendeleev in


terms of their contributions to the development
of the modern periodic table

Additional guidance:
Knowledge of the history of the periodic table is limited
to that specified in the subject content.

Chemistry

The modern periodic table has been developed from work begun by Newlands and Mendeleev. There are trends in
chemical properties within the periodic table linked to how easily the element gains or loses electrons.

Candidates may consider other models, but knowledge


is limited to the work of Newlands and Mendeleev.
Examination questions would give information about
other models so that comparisons can be made.

explain why scientists regarded a periodic table of


the elements first as a curiosity, then as a useful tool
and finally as an important summary of the structure
of atoms.

C3.1.1 The early periodic table


a) Newlands, and then Mendeleev, attempted to classify
the elements by arranging them in order of their
atomic weights. The list can be arranged in a table
so that elements with similar properties are in
columns, known as groups. The table is called a
periodic table because similar properties occur
at regular intervals.
b) The early periodic tables were incomplete and
some elements were placed in inappropriate groups
if the strict order of atomic weights was followed.
Mendeleev overcame some of the problems by
leaving gaps for elements that he thought had
not been discovered.

C3.1.2 The modern periodic table


a) When electrons, protons and neutrons were
discovered early in the 20th century, the periodic
table was arranged in order of atomic (proton)
numbers. When this was done, all elements were
placed in appropriate groups.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

Chemistry

b) The modern periodic table can be seen as an


arrangement of the elements in terms of their
electronic structures. Elements in the same
group have the same number of electrons in
their highest occupied energy level (outer shell).

C3.1.3 Trends within the periodic table


a) The elements in Group 1 of the periodic table (known
as the alkali metals):
I

are metals with low density (the first three elements


in the group are less dense than water)

react with non-metals to form ionic compounds


in which the metal ion carries a charge of +1.
The compounds are white solids that dissolve
in water to form colourless solutions

react with water, releasing hydrogen

form hydroxides that dissolve in water to give


alkaline solutions.

b) In Group 1, the further down the group an element is:


I

the more reactive the element

the lower its melting point and boiling point.

c) Compared with the elements in Group 1, transition


elements:
I

have higher melting points (except for mercury) and


higher densities

are stronger and harder

are much less reactive and so do not react as


vigorously with water or oxygen.

d) Many transition elements have ions with different


charges, form coloured compounds and are useful
as catalysts.
e) The elements in Group 7 of the periodic table (known
as the halogens) react with metals to form ionic
compounds in which the halide ion carries a
charge of 1.

86

The periodic table that will be used in the examinations


is on the Data Sheet, with main groups numbered from
1 to 7 and the noble gases as Group 0.
Candidates are not expected to know detailed
electronic configurations for elements beyond calcium,
but should understand that the number of electrons in
the highest occupied energy level (outer shell) for
elements in the main groups is equal to the group
number.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

f) In Group 7, the further down the group an element is:


I

the less reactive the element

the higher its melting point and boiling point.

g) A more reactive halogen can displace a less


reactive halogen from an aqueous solution of its salt.
Additional guidance:

the more easily electrons are lost

the less easily electrons are gained.

HT only

Chemistry

h) The trends in reactivity within groups in the


periodic table can be explained because the
higher the energy level of the outer electrons:

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

demonstration of the combustion of reactions of sodium and potassium

demonstration of the reactions of sodium and potassium with chlorine

demonstration of the reactions of lithium, sodium and potassium with water

demonstration of the reactions of the halogens with iron wool

investigation of the displacement of halogens from solutions of their salts by more reactive halogens

heating transition metals in air (any of Ti, Cr, Co, Ni, Fe, Cu) to compare reactivity and melting points with Group 1

demonstration of the reaction of iron wool with steam

observation of as many salts of transition metals as possible (bottles with formulae clearly displayed)

demonstrations of transition metals and their salts as catalysts

investigation of the catalysis of hydrogen peroxide decomposition by different transition metals and their
compounds.

C3.2 Water
The water we drink is not pure water because it contains dissolved substances. It should be safe to drink water
that has been treated. This means that the water does not contain anything that could cause us harm. Some of
the dissolved substances are beneficial to our health but some cause hard water.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

evaluate the use of commercial water softeners

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:
I

consider and evaluate the environmental, social and


economic aspects of water quality and hardness

Candidates may be asked to evaluate different


methods of softening water, or of providing drinking
water of sufficient quality.

consider the advantages and disadvantages of


adding chlorine and fluoride to drinking water.

Candidates will be expected to interpret and evaluate


information and data that is provided in questions set
within these contexts.

Chemistry

C3.2.1 Hard and soft water


Additional guidance:

a) Soft water readily forms lather with soap. Hard water


reacts with soap to form scum and so more soap is
needed to form lather. Soapless detergents do not
form scum.

Candidates should be able to measure the hardness of


water by titration with soap solution.

b) Hard water contains dissolved compounds, usually of


calcium or magnesium. The compounds are dissolved
when water comes into contact with rocks.
Additional guidance:

c) There are two types of hard water. Permanent hard


water remains hard when it is boiled. Temporary hard
water is softened by boiling.

Candidates should be able to distinguish between


temporary hard water and permanent hard water.

d) Temporary hard water contains

hydrogencarbonate ions (HCO3 ) that


decompose on heating to produce carbonate
ions which react with calcium and magnesium
ions to form precipitates.

HT only

e) Using hard water can increase costs because more


soap is needed. When temporary hard water is heated
it can produce scale that reduces the efficiency of
heating systems and kettles.
f) Hard water has some benefits because calcium
compounds are good for the development and
maintenance of bones and teeth and also help
to reduce heart disease.
g) Hard water can be made soft by removing the dissolved
calcium and magnesium ions. This can be done by:

88

adding sodium carbonate, which reacts with the


calcium and magnesium ions to form a precipitate
of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate

using commercial water softeners such as ion


exchange columns containing hydrogen ions or
sodium ions, which replace the calcium and
magnesium ions when hard water passes through
the column.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C3.2.2 Purifying water


Additional guidance:

a) Water of the correct quality is essential for life. For


humans, drinking water should have sufficiently low
levels of dissolved salts and microbes.

choosing an appropriate source

passing the water through filter beds to remove


any solids

sterilising with chlorine.

Detailed knowledge of specific water filters is not


required.
Examination questions may give information about
water filters so that comparisons can be made.

Chemistry

b) Water filters containing carbon, silver and ion


exchange resins can remove some dissolved
substances from tap water to improve the taste
and quality.

Water of the correct quality is produced by:

Candidates should understand the principles of how


ion exchange resins work but do not need detailed
knowledge of the structure or chemical nature of
specific resins.

c) Chlorine may be added to drinking water to reduce


microbes and fluoride may be added to improve
dental health.

Candidates should be aware of the arguments for and


against the addition of fluoride to drinking water.

d) Pure water can be produced by distillation.

Candidates should be aware of the large amount of


energy needed for distillation and, as a consequence,
of the high costs involved.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigation of which ions cause hard water, eg adding soap solution to solutions of NaCl, CaCl2, KCl, and
MgCl2

making temporary hard water by adding excess carbon dioxide to limewater

determining hardness of samples of water shake with soap solution measuring cm3 of soap to get
permanent lather

the removal of hardness:


temporary hardness: test before and after boiling, with soap
permanent hardness: test before and after addition of sodium carbonate

testing hard water before and after passing through an ion exchange column

using conductivity sensors to analyse different samples of hard and soft water

design and carry out an investigation to compare the effectiveness of commercial water softeners using soap
titration

investigating the various types of water filters that are commercially available

distillation of seawater design a simple apparatus to do the distillation and check the quality of the distillate
(boiling point and evaporation to dryness of a sample on a watch glass).

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C3.3 Calculating and explaining energy change


Knowing the amount of energy involved in chemical reactions is useful so that resources are used efficiently and
economically. It is possible to measure the amount of energy experimentally or to calculate it.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
consider the social, economic and environmental
consequences of using fuels

interpret simple energy level diagrams in terms of


bond breaking and bond formation (including the
idea of activation energy and the effect on this
of catalysts)

evaluate the use of hydrogen to power cars


compared to other fuels

Chemistry

Additional guidance:
Candidates may be provided with information for
comparison and evaluation. For example, they may be
given information about the ingredients of a particular
food or the components of a fuel, but will not be
expected to have knowledge of the constituents of
commercial products beyond that specified in the
subject content for this unit.

C3.3.1 Energy from reactions


Additional guidance:

a) The relative amounts of energy released when


substances burn can be measured by simple
calorimetry, eg by heating water in a glass or
metal container. This method can be used to
compare the amount of energy released by
fuels and foods.

Candidates should be able to calculate and compare


the amount of energy released by different fuels given
the equation:

b) Energy is normally measured in joules (J).

For comparison purposes, energy values could be


given in kJ or calories for a given mass or amount of
substance, eg calories per gram, kJ per mole or kJ per
gram. If candidates are required to convert from
calories to joules, the conversion factor will be given in
questions.

c) The amount of energy released or absorbed by


a chemical reaction in solution can be calculated
from the measured temperature change of the
solution when the reagents are mixed in an insulated
container. This method can be used for reactions
of solids with water or for neutralisation reactions.

90

Q = mc T

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

d) Simple energy level diagrams can be used to show


the relative energies of reactants and products, the
activation energy and the overall energy change of
a reaction.

Candidates will be expected to understand simple


energy level diagrams showing the relative energies of
reactants and products, the activation energy and the
overall energy change, with a curved arrow to show the
energy as the reaction proceeds. Candidates should be
able to relate these to exothermic and endothermic
reactions.

e) During a chemical reaction:


energy must be supplied to break bonds

energy is released when bonds are formed.


Additional guidance:

f) In an exothermic reaction, the energy released


from forming new bonds is greater than the
energy needed to break existing bonds.

HT only

g) In an endothermic reaction, the energy needed


to break existing bonds is greater than the
energy released from forming new bonds.

HT only

h) Catalysts provide a different pathway for a chemical


reaction that has a lower activation energy.

Candidates should be able to represent the effect of a


catalyst on an energy level diagram.

i) Hydrogen can be burned as a fuel in combustion


engines.

Knowledge of the details of the reactions in fuel cells is


not required. Candidates should be able to compare
the advantages and disadvantages of the combustion
of hydrogen with the use of hydrogen fuel cells from
information that is provided.

hydrogen + oxygen

water

Chemistry

Candidates should be able to calculate the energy


transferred in reactions using supplied bond
energies.

It can also be used in fuel cells that produce


electricity to power vehicles.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

design an investigation to compare the energy produced by different liquid fuels and different foods using a
simple calorimeter

measuring and calculating the energy change for exothermic reactions (eg react acid with Mg ribbon) and
endothermic reactions (eg dissolving potassium nitrate)

carrying out some reactions and measuring the energy produced, assuming that it is only the water in the
solution that is being heated and that 4.2 joules will raise the temperature of 1cm3 of water by 1C.

91

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C3.4 Further analysis and quantitative chemistry


A range of chemical tests can be used for the detection and identification of elements and compounds. Titrations
can be used to find the amounts of acid or alkali in a solution.

Chemistry

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:

Additional guidance:

interpret results of the chemical tests in this


specification

Candidates are expected to know the chemical tests


specified in the subject content and may be asked to
interpret results of any of those tests applied to
solutions or mixtures of substances in different
contexts.

interpret and evaluate the results of analyses carried


out to identify elements and compounds for
forensic, health or environmental purposes.

Candidates should be able to comment on results and


data from such analyses that are presented to them.
This will not include interpretation of detailed information
that uses knowledge beyond that expected at GCSE.

C3.4.1 Analysing substances


Additional guidance:

a) Flame tests can be used to identify metal ions.


Lithium, sodium, potassium, calcium and barium
compounds produce distinctive colours in
flame tests:
I

lithium compounds result in a crimson flame

sodium compounds result in a yellow flame

potassium compounds result in a lilac flame

calcium compounds result in a red flame

barium compounds result in a green flame.

b) Aluminium, calcium and magnesium ions form white


precipitates with sodium hydroxide solution but only
the aluminium hydroxide precipitate dissolves in
excess sodium hydroxide solution.
c) Copper(II), iron(II) and iron(III) ions form coloured
precipitates with sodium hydroxide solution.
Copper forms a blue precipitate, iron(II) a
green precipitate and iron(III) a brown precipitate.
d) Carbonates react with dilute acids to form carbon
dioxide. Carbon dioxide produces a white precipitate
with limewater. This turns limewater cloudy.
e) Halide ions in solution produce precipitates with silver
nitrate solution in the presence of dilute nitric acid.
Silver chloride is white, silver bromide is cream and
silver iodide is yellow.

92

Flame colours of other metal ions are not required


knowledge.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

f) Sulfate ions in solution produce a white precipitate


with barium chloride solution in the presence of
dilute hydrochloric acid.
Additional guidance:
Candidates should be able to carry out titrations using
strong acids and strong alkalis only (sulfuric, hydrochloric
and nitric acids only).

h) If the concentration of one of the reactants is


known, the results of a titration can be used
to find the concentration of the other reactant.

HT only
Candidates should be able to calculate the chemical
quantities in titrations involving concentrations
(in moles per dm3) and masses (in grams per dm3).

Chemistry

g) The volumes of acid and alkali solutions that react with


each other can be measured by titration using a
suitable indicator.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

flame tests spray solution into flame or use wooden splints soaked in solutions overnight or use nichrome
wire loops

try tests using mixtures of two salts, eg flame tests on solutions containing pairs of the listed ions

Fe2+ with sodium hydroxide solution note that the initial colour is quickly oxidised

react carbonates with acid and test the gas for CO2 using a drop of limewater on a glass rod

distinguishing between the halide ions using silver nitrate solution

identifying unknown single salts using the tests in the content

plan a suitable order of tests to use on a solution that contains an unknown single salt

strong acid /strong alkali titrations (HCl/NaOH) to find unknown concentration (using indicators and pH sensors
to determine titration endpoints).

C3.5 The production of ammonia


In industrial processes, energy requirements and emissions need to be considered both for economic reasons and
for sustainable development.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate the conditions necessary in an industrial
process to maximise yield and minimise
environmental impact
Additional guidance:
I

describe and evaluate the effects of changing


the conditions of temperature and pressure on
a given reaction or process

evaluate the conditions used in industrial processes


in terms of energy requirements.

HT only

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C3.5.1 Making ammonia

Chemistry

a) The raw materials for the Haber process are nitrogen


and hydrogen. Nitrogen is obtained from the air and
hydrogen may be obtained from natural gas or
other sources.
b) The purified gases are passed over a catalyst of iron
at a high temperature (about 450 C) and a high
pressure (about 200 atmospheres). Some of the
hydrogen and nitrogen reacts to form ammonia.
The reaction is reversible so ammonia breaks down
again into nitrogen and hydrogen:
nitrogen + hydrogen

ammonia

On cooling, the ammonia liquefies and is removed.


The remaining hydrogen and nitrogen are recycled.
Additional guidance:

94

c) When a reversible reaction occurs in a closed


system, equilibrium is reached when the
reactions occur at exactly the same rate
in each direction.

HT only

d) The relative amounts of all the reacting


substances at equilibrium depend on the
conditions of the reaction.

HT only

e) If the temperature is raised, the yield from the


endothermic reaction increases and the yield
from the exothermic reaction decreases.

HT only

f) If the temperature is lowered, the yield from


the endothermic reaction decreases and the
yield from the exothermic reaction increases.

HT only

g) In gaseous reactions, an increase in pressure


will favour the reaction that produces the least
number of molecules as shown by the symbol
equation for that reaction.

HT only

h) These factors, together with reaction rates, are


important when determining the optimum
conditions in industrial processes, including
the Haber process.

HT only

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
demonstration of the effect of adding acid and then alkali to bromine water to show the effect of changing
conditions on equilibrium

investigation of the effect of adding acid and then alkali to a solution of potassium chromate

modelling dynamic equilibrium with two 25 cm3 measuring cylinders, each with an open-ended glass tube but
with different diameters. Put 25 cm3 of water into one cylinder. Transfer water from one cylinder to the other
using a nger over the end of each tube in turn (keep the tubes in the same cylinder) until the level in each
cylinder does not change any more

demonstration of effect of temperature and pressure on equilibrium using 50 cm3 of NO2 /N2O4 in a gas syringe.

C3.6 Alcohols, carboxylic acids and esters

Chemistry

Alcohols and carboxylic acids are important organic chemicals that have many uses. Alcohols react with carboxylic
acids to produce esters.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

represent the structures of alcohols in the following forms:


H
H
I
I
H C C O H
I
I
H
H
CH3CH2OH

represent the structures of carboxylic acids in the following forms:


H
I
H C C === O
I
I
H
O H
CH3COOH
Additional guidance:

evaluate the social and economic advantages and


disadvantages of the uses of alcohols, carboxylic
acids and esters.

Candidates may be given information and data about


alcohols, carboxylic acids and esters for comparison
and evaluation in the examination.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C3.6.1 Alcohols

Chemistry

Additional guidance:

a) Alcohols contain the functional group OH. Methanol,


ethanol and propanol are the first three members
of a homologous series of alcohols.

Candidates should be able to recognise alcohols from


their names or formulae, but do not need to know the
names of individual alcohols, other than methanol,
ethanol and propanol.

b) Methanol, ethanol and propanol:

Candidates are not expected to write balanced


chemical equations for the reactions of alcohols other
than combustion reactions.

dissolve in water to form a neutral solution

react with sodium to produce hydrogen

burn in air

are used as a fuels and solvents, and ethanol is


the main alcohol in alcoholic drinks.

c) Ethanol can be oxidised to ethanoic acid, either by


chemical oxidising agents or by microbial action.
Ethanoic acid is the main acid in vinegar.

Candidates should be aware that vinegar is an aqueous


solution that contains ethanoic acid.

C3.6.2 Carboxylic acids


Additional guidance:

96

a) Ethanoic acid is a member of the carboxylic acids,


which have the functional group COOH.

Candidates should be able to recognise carboxylic


acids from their names or formulae, but do not need to
know the names of individual carboxylic acids, other
than methanoic acid, ethanoic acid and propanoic acid.

b) Carboxylic acids:

Candidates are not expected to write balanced


chemical equations for the reactions of carboxylic
acids.

dissolve in water to produce acidic solutions

react with carbonates to produce carbon dioxide

react with alcohols in the presence of an acid


catalyst to produce esters

do not ionise completely when dissolved in


water and so are weak acids

HT only

aqueous solutions of weak acids have a higher


pH value than aqueous solutions of strong
acids with the same concentration.

HT only

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

C3.6.3 Esters
Additional guidance:

a) Ethyl ethanoate is the ester produced from ethanol


and ethanoic acid. Esters have the functional group
COO. They are volatile compounds with distinctive
smells and are used as flavourings and perfumes.

Candidates will not be expected to give the names of


esters other than ethyl ethanoate, but should be able to
recognise a compound as an ester from its name or its
structural formula.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
investigation of the reactions of ethanol

comparison of properties of ethanol with water

oxidation of ethanol using aqueous potassium dichromate

design and carry out an investigation of the oxidation of dilute solutions of ethanol (eg wine or beer) by
exposing to the air for several days

comparison of the reactions of methanol, ethanol and propanol

investigation of the reactions of ethanoic acid

distinguishing between samples of ethanol, ethanoic acid and ethyl ethanoate using simple chemical tests

preparation of ethyl ethanoate using ethanol and ethanoic acid with sulfuric acid as a catalyst. Recognise the
ester by smell after neutralising the acid with sodium hydrogencarbonate

add drops of esters to water to smell more effectively.

Chemistry

97

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

GCSE Sciences
Subject Content Book

Physics

Physics
4403

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 1: Physics 1
P1.1

The transfer of energy by heating processes and the factors that affect the rate at which
that energy is transferred

Energy can be transferred from one place to another by work or by heating processes. We need to know how this
energy is transferred and which heating processes are most important in a particular situation.

Physics

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I

compare ways in which energy is transferred in and


out of objects by heating and ways in which the
rates of these transfers can be varied

Examples should include the design of a vacuum flask,


how to reduce the energy transfer from a building and
how humans and animals cope with low temperatures.

evaluate the design of everyday appliances that


transfer energy by heating, including economic
considerations

Examples include radiators and heat sinks.

evaluate the effectiveness of different types of material


used for insulation, including U-values and economic
factors including payback time

Examples include loft insulation and cavity wall


insulation.

evaluate different materials according to their


specific heat capacities.

Examples include the use of water, which has a very


high specific heat capacity, oil-filled radiators and
electric storage heaters containing concrete or bricks.

P1.1.1 Infrared radiation


a) All objects emit and absorb infrared radiation.
b) The hotter an object is the more infrared radiation it
radiates in a given time.
c) Dark, matt surfaces are good absorbers and good
emitters of infrared radiation.
d) Light, shiny surfaces are poor absorbers and poor
emitters of infrared radiation.
e) Light, shiny surfaces are good reflectors of
infrared radiation.

100

Additional guidance:

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P1.1.2 Kinetic theory


Additional guidance:

a) The use of kinetic theory to explain the different


states of matter.

Candidates should be able to recognise simple


diagrams to model the difference between solids,
liquids and gases.

b) The particles of solids, liquids and gases have


different amounts of energy.

An understanding of specific latent heat is not required.

Additional guidance:

a) The transfer of energy by conduction, convection,


evaporation and condensation involves particles,
and how this transfer takes place.

Physics

P1.1.3 Energy transfer by heating

Candidates should understand in simple terms how the


arrangement and movement of particles determine
whether a material is a conductor or an insulator.
Candidates should understand the role of free electrons
in conduction through a metal.
Candidates should be able to use the idea of particles
moving apart to make a fluid less dense, to explain
simple applications of convection.

b) The factors that affect the rate of evaporation and


condensation.

Candidates should be able to explain evaporation and


the cooling effect this causes using the kinetic theory.
Candidates should be able to explain the design of
devices in terms of energy transfer, for example, cooling
fins.

c) The rate at which an object transfers energy by


heating depends on:
I

surface area and volume

the material from which the object is made

the nature of the surface with which the object is


in contact.

Candidates should be able to explain animal


adaptations in terms of energy transfer, for example,
relative ear size of animals in cold and warm climates.

d) The bigger the temperature difference between an


object and its surroundings, the faster the rate at
which energy is transferred by heating.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P1.1.4 Heating and insulating buildings


Additional guidance:

a) U-values measure how effective a material is as


an insulator.

Knowledge of the U-values of specific materials is not


required, nor is the equation that defines a U-value.

Physics

b) The lower the U-value, the better the material


is as an insulator.
c) Solar panels may contain water that is heated by
radiation from the Sun. This water may then be used
to heat buildings or provide domestic hot water.
d) The specific heat capacity of a substance is the
amount of energy required to change the
temperature of one kilogram of the substance
by one degree Celsius.
Emc

Additional guidance:

E is energy transferred in joules, J


m is mass in kilograms, kg

 is temperature change in degrees Celsius, C


c is specific heat capacity in J / kg C

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

102

passing white light through a prism and detecting the infrared radiation with a thermometer

demonstration using balls in a tray to show the behaviour of particles in substances in different states

measuring the cooling effect produced by evaporation; putting wet cotton wool over the bulb of a thermometer
or temperature probe

plan and carry out an investigation into factors that affect the rate of cooling of a can of water, eg shape,
volume, and colour of can

using Leslies cube to demonstrate the effect on radiation of altering the nature of the surface

plan and carry out an investigation using immersion heaters in a metal block to measure specific heat capacity

investigating thermal conduction using rods of different materials.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P1.2

Energy and efficiency

Appliances transfer energy but they rarely transfer all of the energy to the place we want. We need to know the
efficiency of appliances so that we can choose between them, including how cost effective they are, and try to
improve them.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

compare the efficiency and cost effectiveness of


methods used to reduce energy consumption

Additional guidance:
The term pay-back time should be understood.

low energy light bulbs and LED lighting

replacing old appliances with energy efcient ones

ways in which waste energy can be useful, eg


heat exchangers.

describe the energy transfers and the main energy


wastages that occur with a range of appliances

Common electrical appliances found in the home will


be examined. Examples will not be limited to electrical
appliances; however, in this case all the information
would be given in the question.

interpret and draw a Sankey diagram.

Candidates should be able to use a Sankey diagram to


calculate the efficiency of an appliance.

Physics

Given relevant data, candidates should be able to make


judgements about the cost effectiveness of different
methods of reducing energy consumption over a set
period of time. This is not restricted to a consideration
of building insulation but may include:

P1.2.1 Energy transfers and efficiency


a) Energy can be transferred usefully, stored, or
dissipated, but cannot be created or destroyed.
b) When energy is transferred only part of it may
be usefully transferred, the rest is wasted.
c) Wasted energy is eventually transferred to the
surroundings, which become warmer. The wasted
energy becomes increasingly spread out and so
becomes less useful.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

d) To calculate the efficiency of a device using:


efficiency 

Candidates may be required to calculate efficiency as a


decimal or as a percentage.

useful energy out


total energy in (100%)

useful power out


efficiency  total power in (100%)

Physics

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

an energy circus to demonstrate various energy transfers

plan and carry out an investigation by constructing a model house, using sensors and data logger to measure
temperatures with and without various types of insulation.

P1.3

The usefulness of electrical appliances

We often use electrical appliances because they transfer energy at the flick of a switch. We can calculate how
much energy is transferred by an appliance and how much the appliance costs to run.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

compare the advantages and disadvantages


of using different electrical appliances for a
particular application

consider the implications of instances when


electricity is not available.

Additional guidance:
Candidates will be required to compare different
electrical appliances, using data provided.

P1.3.1 Transferring electrical energy


a) Examples of energy transfers that everyday electrical
appliances are designed to bring about.
b) The amount of energy an appliance transfers
depends on how long the appliance is switched
on and its power.
Additional guidance:

c) To calculate the amount of energy transferred


from the mains using:
EPt

Candidates will not be required to convert between


kilowatt-hours and joules.
E is energy transferred in kilowatt-hours, kWh
P is power in kilowatts, kW
t is time in hours, h
This equation may also be used when:
E is energy transferred in joules, J
P is power in watts, W
t is time in seconds, s

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

d) To calculate the cost of mains electricity given the


cost per kilowatt-hour.

This includes both the cost of using individual


appliances and the interpretation of electricity meter
readings to calculate total cost over a period of time.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

candidates reading the electricity meter at home on a daily or weekly basis. They could then look for trends in
usage and try to explain these, eg in terms of weather conditions

plan and carry out an investigation using an electrical joulemeter to measure the energy transferred by low
voltage bulbs of different powers, low voltage motors and low voltage immersion heaters.
Physics

P1.4

Methods we use to generate electricity

Various energy sources can be used to generate the electricity we need. We must carefully consider the
advantages and disadvantages of using each energy source before deciding which energy source(s) it would be
best to use in any particular situation. Electricity is distributed via the National Grid.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I evaluate different methods of generating electricity

Additional guidance:
Candidates should be able to evaluate different methods
of generating electricity given data including start-up
times, costs of electricity generation and the total cost of
generating electricity when factors such as building and
decommissioning are taken into account. The reliability
of different methods should also be understood.
Knowledge of the actual values of start-up times and
why they are different is not needed, but the implications
of such differences are important.

evaluate ways of matching supply with demand,


either by increasing supply or decreasing demand

compare the advantages and disadvantages of


overhead power lines and underground cables.

Candidates should be aware of the fact that, of the fossil


fuel power stations, gas-fired have the shortest start-up
time. They should also be aware of the advantages of
pumped storage systems in order to meet peak demand,
and as a means of storing energy for later use.

P1.4.1 Generating electricity


a) In some power stations an energy source is used to
heat water. The steam produced drives a turbine
that is coupled to an electrical generator.
Energy sources include:
I

the fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) which are


burned to heat water or air

uranium and plutonium, when energy from


nuclear fission is used to heat water

biofuels that can be burned to heat water.


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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

b) Water and wind can be used to drive turbines directly.

Energy sources used in this way include, but are not


limited to, wind, waves, tides and the falling of water in
hydroelectric schemes.

c) Electricity can be produced directly from the


Suns radiation.

Candidates should know that solar cells can be used to


generate electricity and should be able to describe the
advantages and disadvantages of their use.

Physics

d) In some volcanic areas hot water and steam rise to


the surface. The steam can be tapped and used to
drive turbines. This is known as geothermal energy.
Additional guidance:

e) Small-scale production of electricity may be useful in


some areas and for some uses, eg hydroelectricity
in remote areas and solar cells for roadside signs.

Candidates should understand that while small-scale


production can be locally useful it is sometimes
uneconomic to connect such generation to the
National Grid.

f) Using different energy resources has different effects


on the environment. These effects include:

Candidates should understand that carbon capture and


storage is a rapidly evolving technology. To prevent
carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere we can
catch and store it. Some of the best natural containers
are old oil and gas fields, such as those under the
North Sea.

the release of substances into the atmosphere

the production of waste materials

noise and visual pollution

the destruction of wildlife habitats.

P1.4.2 The National Grid


Additional guidance:

a) Electricity is distributed from power stations to


consumers along the National Grid.

Candidates should be able to identify and label the


essential parts of the National Grid.

b) For a given power increasing the voltage reduces


the current required and this reduces the energy
losses in the cables.

Candidates should know why transformers are an


essential part of the National Grid.

c) The uses of step-up and step-down transformers in


the National Grid.

Details of the structure of a transformer and how a


transformer works are not required.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

106

investigating the effect of changing different variables on the output of solar cells, eg distance from the light
source, the use of different coloured filters and the area of the solar cells

planning and carrying out an investigation into the effect of changing different variables on the output of model
wind turbines, eg the number or pitch of the blades, the wind velocity

demonstrating a model water turbine linked to a generator

modelling the National Grid.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P1.5

The use of waves for communication and to provide evidence that the universe is
expanding

Electromagnetic radiations travel as waves and move energy from one place to another. They can all travel through
a vacuum and do so at the same speed. The waves cover a continuous range of wavelengths called the
electromagnetic spectrum.
Sound waves and some mechanical waves are longitudinal, and cannot travel through a vacuum.
Current evidence suggests that the universe is expanding and that matter and space expanded violently and
rapidly from a very small initial point, ie the universe began with a big bang.

compare the use of different types of waves for


communication

evaluate the possible risks involving the use of


mobile phones

consider the limitations of the model that scientists


use to explain how the universe began and why the
universe continues to expand.

Additional guidance:
Knowledge and understanding of waves used for
communication is limited to sound, light, microwaves,
radio waves and infrared waves.

Physics

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:

P1.5.1 General properties of waves


a) Waves transfer energy.
Additional guidance:

b) Waves may be either transverse or longitudinal.

Candidates should understand that in a transverse


wave the oscillations are perpendicular to the direction
of energy transfer. In a longitudinal wave the oscillations
are parallel to the direction of energy transfer.

c) Electromagnetic waves are transverse, sound waves


are longitudinal and mechanical waves may be either
transverse or longitudinal.
d) All types of electromagnetic waves travel at the same
speed through a vacuum (space).
Additional guidance:

e) Electromagnetic waves form a continuous spectrum.

Candidates should know the order of electromagnetic


waves within the spectrum, in terms of energy,
frequency and wavelength.
Candidates should appreciate that the wavelengths vary
from about 10 15 metres to more than 104 metres.

f) Longitudinal waves show areas of compression and


rarefaction.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

g) Waves can be reflected, refracted and diffracted.

Candidates should appreciate that significant diffraction


only occurs when the wavelength of the wave is of the
same order of magnitude as the size of the gap or
obstacle.

h) Waves undergo a change of direction when they


are refracted at an interface.

Waves are not refracted if travelling along the normal.


Snells law and the reason why waves are refracted are
not required.

Physics

i) The terms frequency, wavelength and amplitude.


j) All waves obey the wave equation:
v=f

Additional guidance:
v is speed in metres per second, m/s
f is frequency in hertz, Hz

 is wavelength in metres, m
Candidates are not required to recall the value of the
speed of electromagnetic waves through a vacuum.

k) Radio waves, microwaves, infrared and visible light


can be used for communication.

Candidates will be expected to be familiar with


situations in which such waves are typically used and
any associated hazards, eg:
I

radio waves television, and radio (including


diffraction effects)

microwaves mobile phones and satellite television

infrared remote controls

visible light photography.

P1.5.2 Reflection
a) The normal is a construction line perpendicular to the
reflecting surface at the point of incidence.
b) The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of
reflection.
Additional guidance:

c) The image produced in a plane mirror is virtual,


upright and laterally inverted.

Candidates will be expected to be able to construct ray


diagrams.

P1.5.3 Sound
Additional guidance:

a) Sound waves are longitudinal waves and cause


vibrations in a medium, which are detected as sound.

108

Sound is limited to human hearing and no details of the


structure of the ear are required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

b) The pitch of a sound is determined by its frequency


and loudness by its amplitude.
c) Echoes are reflections of sounds.

P1.5.4 Red-shift
Additional guidance:

a) If a wave source is moving relative to an observer


there will be a change in the observed wavelength
and frequency. This is known as the Doppler effect.

The following should be included:


the wave source could be light, sound or
microwaves

when the source moves away from the observer,


the observed wavelength increases and the
frequency decreases

when the source moves towards the observer, the


observed wavelength decreases and the frequency
increases.

Physics

b) There is an observed increase in the wavelength of


light from most distant galaxies. The further away
the galaxies are, the faster they are moving, and the
bigger the observed increase in wavelength. This
effect is called red-shift.
c) How the observed red-shift provides evidence that
the universe is expanding and supports the
Big Bang theory (that the universe began from
a very small initial point).
d) Cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) is
a form of electromagnetic radiation filling the universe.
It comes from radiation that was present shortly after
the beginning of the universe.
e) The Big Bang theory is currently the only theory that
can explain the existence of CMBR.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

reflecting light off a plane mirror at different angles

using a class set of skipping ropes to investigate frequency and wavelength

demonstrating transverse and longitudinal waves with a slinky spring

carrying out refraction investigations using a glass block

carrying out investigations using ripple tanks, including the relationship between depth of water and speed of wave

investigating the range of Bluetooth or infrared communications between mobile phones and laptops

demonstrating the Doppler effect for sound.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 2: Physics 2
P2.1

Forces and their effects

Forces can cause changes to the shape or motion of an object. Objects can move in a straight line at a constant
speed. They can also change their speed and/or direction (accelerate or decelerate). Graphs can help us to
describe the movement of an object. These may be distance-time graphs or velocity-time graphs.

Physics

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I

interpret data from tables and graphs relating to


speed, velocity and acceleration

evaluate the effects of alcohol and drugs on


stopping distances

evaluate how the shape and power of a vehicle can


be altered to increase the vehicles top speed

draw and interpret velocity-time graphs for objects


that reach terminal velocity, including a consideration
of the forces acting on the object.

P2.1.1 Resultant forces


a) Whenever two objects interact, the forces they exert
on each other are equal and opposite.
b) A number of forces acting at a point may be replaced
by a single force that has the same effect on the motion
as the original forces all acting together. This single
force is called the resultant force.
Additional guidance:

c) A resultant force acting on an object may cause a


change in its state of rest or motion.

d) If the resultant force acting on a stationary object is:


I

zero, the object will remain stationary

not zero, the object will accelerate in the


direction of the resultant force.

e) If the resultant force acting on a moving object is:

110

zero, the object will continue to move at the same


speed and in the same direction

not zero, the object will accelerate in the


direction of the resultant force.

Candidates should be able to determine the resultant of


opposite or parallel forces acting in a straight line.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P2.1.2 Forces and motion


Additional guidance:

a) The acceleration of an object is determined by the


resultant force acting on the object and the mass
of the object.
a

F
or F  m  a
m

F is the resultant force in newtons, N


m is the mass in kilograms, kg
a is the acceleration in metres per second squared, m/s2
Candidates should be able to construct distancetime
graphs for an object moving in a straight line when the
body is stationary or moving with a constant speed.

c) Calculation of the speed of an object from


the gradient of a distancetime graph.

HT only

Physics

b) The gradient of a distancetime graph


represents speed.

d) The velocity of an object is its speed in a


given direction.
Additional guidance:

e) The acceleration of an object is given by the


equation:
vu
a
t

a is the acceleration in metres per second squared, m/s2


v is the final velocity in metres per second, m/s
u is the initial velocity in metres per second, m/s
t is the time taken in seconds, s

f) The gradient of a velocitytime graph represents


acceleration.
Additional guidance:

g) Calculation of the acceleration of an object


from the gradient of a velocitytime graph.

HT only

h) Calculation of the distance travelled by an


object from a velocitytime graph.

HT only

P2.1.3 Forces and braking


Additional guidance:

a) When a vehicle travels at a steady speed the


resistive forces balance the driving force.

Candidates should realise that most of the resistive


forces are caused by air resistance.

b) The greater the speed of a vehicle the greater the


braking force needed to stop it in a certain distance.

Candidates should understand that for a given braking


force the greater the speed, the greater the stopping
distance.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) The stopping distance of a vehicle is the sum of the


distance the vehicle travels during the drivers
reaction time (thinking distance) and the distance
it travels under the braking force (braking distance).
Additional guidance:

Physics

d) A drivers reaction time can be affected by tiredness,


drugs and alcohol.

Candidates should appreciate that distractions may


affect a drivers ability to react.

e) When the brakes of a vehicle are applied, work done


by the friction force between the brakes and the
wheel reduces the kinetic energy of the vehicle
and the temperature of the brakes increase.
Additional guidance:

f) A vehicles braking distance can be affected by


adverse road and weather conditions and poor
condition of the vehicle.

Candidates should understand that adverse road


conditions includes wet or icy conditions. Poor condition
of the car is limited to the cars brakes or tyres.

P2.1.4 Forces and terminal velocity


a) The faster an object moves through a fluid the greater
the frictional force that acts on it.
Additional guidance:

b) An object falling through a fluid will initially accelerate


due to the force of gravity. Eventually the resultant
force will be zero and the object will move at its
terminal velocity (steady speed).

Candidates should understand why the use of a


parachute reduces the parachutists terminal velocity.

c) Draw and interpret velocity-time graphs for objects


that reach terminal velocity, including a consideration
of the forces acting on the object.
Additional guidance:

d) Calculate the weight of an object using the force


exerted on it by a gravitational force:

W is the weight in newtons, N


m is the mass in kilograms, kg

Wmg

g is the gravitational field strength in newtons per


kilogram, N/kg

P2.1.5 Forces and elasticity


a) A force acting on an object may cause a change
in shape of the object.
Additional guidance:

b) A force applied to an elastic object such as a spring


will result in the object stretching and storing elastic
potential energy.

112

Calculation of the energy stored when stretching an


elastic material is not required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

c) For an object that is able to recover its original shape,


elastic potential energy is stored in the object when
work is done on the object to change its shape.
Additional guidance:

d) The extension of an elastic object is directly


proportional to the force applied, provided that
the limit of proportionality is not exceeded:
Fke

F is the force in newtons, N


k is the spring constant in newtons per metre, N/m
e is the extension in metres, m

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
dropping a penny and a feather in a vacuum and through the air to show the effect of air resistance

plan and carry out an investigation into Hookes law

catapult practicals to compare stored energy

measurement of acceleration of trolleys using known forces and masses

timing objects falling through a liquid, eg wallpaper paste or glycerine, using light gates or stop clocks

plan and carry out an investigation to measure the effects of air resistance on parachutes, paper spinners,
cones or bun cases

measuring reaction time with and without distractions, eg iPod off and then on.

P2.2

Physics

The kinetic energy of objects speeding up or slowing down

When an object speeds up or slows down, its kinetic energy increases or decreases. The forces which cause the
change in speed do so by doing work. The momentum of an object is the product of the objects mass and velocity.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

evaluate the benefits of different types of braking


system, such as regenerative braking
Additional guidance:

evaluate the benefits of air bags, crumple zones,


seat belts and side impact bars in cars.

This should include ideas of both energy changes and


momentum changes.

P2.2.1 Forces and energy


a) When a force causes an object to move through
a distance work is done.
Additional guidance:

b) Work done, force and distance are related by


the equation:
WFd

W is the work done in joules, J


F is the force applied in newtons, N
d is the distance moved in the direction of the force in
metres, m

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

c) Energy is transferred when work is done.

Candidates should be able to discuss the transfer of


kinetic energy in particular situations. Examples might
include shuttle re-entry or meteorites burning up in the
atmosphere.

d) Work done against frictional forces.


Additional guidance:

Physics

e) Power is the work done or energy transferred


in a given time.
E
P
t
f) Gravitational potential energy is the energy that an
object has by virtue of its position in a
gravitational field.
Ep  m  g  h

P is the power in watts, W


E is the energy transferred in joules, J
t is the time taken in seconds, s
Candidates should understand that when an object is
raised vertically work is done against gravitational force
and the object gains gravitational potential energy.
Ep is the change in gravitational potential energy in
joules, J
m is the mass in kilograms, kg
g is the gravitational field strength in newtons per
kilogram, N/kg
h is the change in height in metres, m

g) The kinetic energy of an object depends on its


mass and its speed.
Ek is the kinetic energy in joules, J

Ek  1  m  v2
2

m is the mass in kilograms, kg


v is the speed in metres per second, m/s

P2.2.2 Momentum
Additional guidance:

a) Momentum is a property of moving objects.


p is momentum in kilograms metres per second, kg m/s

pmv

m is the mass in kilograms, kg


v is the velocity in metres per second, m/s

b) In a closed system the total momentum before an


event is equal to the total momentum after the event.
This is called conservation of momentum.

Candidates may be required to complete calculations


involving two objects.
Examples of events are collisions and explosions.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

investigating the transfer of Ep to E k by dropping a card through a light gate

plan and carry out an investigation to measure velocity using trolleys and ramps

running upstairs and calculating work done and power, lifting weights to measure power

a motor lifting a load to show how power changes with load

stretching different materials before using as catapults to show the different amounts of energy transferred,
indicated by speed reached by the object or distance travelled.

Currents in electrical circuits

The current in an electric circuit depends on the resistance of the components and the supply.

Physics

P2.3

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:
I

apply the principles of basic electrical circuits to


practical situations
Additional guidance:

evaluate the use of different forms of lighting, in terms


of cost and energy efficiency.

Examples might include filament bulbs, fluorescent


bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

P2.3.1 Static electricity


a) When certain insulating materials are rubbed against
each other they become electrically charged.
Negatively charged electrons are rubbed off one
material and onto the other.
b) The material that gains electrons becomes negatively
charged. The material that loses electrons is left with
an equal positive charge.
c) When two electrically charged objects are brought
together they exert a force on each other.
d) Two objects that carry the same type of charge repel.
Two objects that carry different types of charge attract.
e) Electrical charges can move easily through some
substances, eg metals.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P2.3.2 Electrical circuits


Additional guidance:

a) Electric current is a flow of electric charge.


The size of the electric current is the rate of flow
of electric charge. The size of the current is given
by the equation:

Physics

Q
t

I is the current in amperes (amps), A


Q is the charge in coulombs, C
t is the time in seconds, s

b) The potential difference (voltage) between two


points in an electric circuit is the work done
(energy transferred) per coulomb of charge
that passes between the points.
V

W
Q

Teachers can use either of the terms potential


difference or voltage. Questions will be set using the
term potential difference. Candidates will gain credit for
the correct use of either term.
V is the potential difference in volts, V
W is the work done in joules, J
Q is the charge in coulombs, C

c) Circuit diagrams using standard symbols.


The following standard symbols should be known:

Candidates will be required to interpret and draw circuit


diagrams.
Knowledge and understanding of the use of thermistors
in circuits, eg thermostats is required.
Knowledge and understanding of the applications of
light-dependent resistors (LDRs) is required, eg
switching lights on when it gets dark.

d) Currentpotential difference graphs are used to show


how the current through a component varies with
the potential difference across it.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

e) The currentpotential difference graphs for


a resistor at constant temperature.

f) The resistance of a component can be found by


measuring the current through, and potential
difference across, the component.
Physics

g) The current through a resistor (at a constant


temperature) is directly proportional to the potential
difference across the resistor.
h) Calculate current, potential difference or resistance
using the equation:

Additional guidance:
V is the potential difference in volts, V

VIR

I is the current in amperes (amps), A


R is the resistance in ohms, 

i) The current through a component depends on its


resistance. The greater the resistance the smaller the
current for a given potential difference across the
component.
j) The potential difference provided by cells connected
in series is the sum of the potential difference of each
cell (depending on the direction in which they are
connected).
k) For components connected in series:
I

the total resistance is the sum of the resistance


of each component

there is the same current through each component

the total potential difference of the supply is


shared between the components.

I) For components connected in parallel:


I

the potential difference across each


component is the same

the total current through the whole circuit is the


sum of the currents through the separate
components.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

m) The resistance of a filament bulb increases as the


temperature of the filament increases.

HT only

Physics

Candidates should be able to explain resistance


change in terms of ions and electrons.

n) The current through a diode flows in one direction only.


The diode has a very high resistance in the reverse
direction.

Additional guidance:

o) An LED emits light when a current flows through it in


the forward direction.

Candidates should be aware that there is an increasing


use of LEDs for lighting, as they use a much smaller
current than other forms of lighting.

p) The resistance of a light-dependent resistor (LDR)


decreases as light intensity increases.
Additional guidance:

q) The resistance of a thermistor decreases as the


temperature increases.

Knowledge of a negative temperature coefficient


thermistor only is required.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

118

using filament bulbs and resistors to investigate potential difference/current characteristics

investigating potential difference/current characteristics for LDRs and thermistors

setting up series and parallel circuits to investigate current and potential difference

plan and carry out an investigation to find the relationship between the resistance of thermistors and their
temperature

investigating the change of resistance of LDRs with light intensity.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P2.4

Using mains electricity safely and the power of electrical appliances

Mains electricity is useful but can be very dangerous. It is important to know how to use it safely.
Electrical appliances transfer energy. The power of an electrical appliance is the rate at which it transforms energy.
Most appliances have their power and the potential difference of the supply they need printed on them. From this
we can calculate their current and the fuse they need.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
understand the principles of safe practice and
recognise dangerous practice in the use of mains
electricity

compare the uses of fuses and circuit breakers

evaluate and explain the need to use different


cables for different appliances

Physics

Additional guidance:
I

consider the factors involved when making


a choice of electrical appliances.

Candidates should consider the efficiency and power of


the appliance.

P2.4.1 Household electricity


a) Cells and batteries supply current that always passes
in the same direction. This is called direct current (d.c.).
Additional guidance:

b) An alternating current (a.c.) is one that is constantly


changing direction.

Candidates should be able to compare and calculate


potential differences of d.c. supplies and the peak
potential differences of a.c. supplies from diagrams of
oscilloscope traces.
Higher Tier candidates should be able to
determine the period and hence the frequency of
a supply from diagrams of oscilloscope traces.

c) Mains electricity is an a.c. supply. In the UK it has


a frequency of 50 cycles per second (50 hertz)
and is about 230 V.
d) Most electrical appliances are connected to the
mains using cable and a three-pin plug.
Additional guidance:

e) The structure of electrical cable.

Candidates should be familiar with both two-core and


three-core cable.

f) The structure and wiring of a three-pin plug.

Knowledge and understanding of the materials used in


three-pin plugs is required, as is the colour coding of
the covering of the three wires.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

g) If an electrical fault causes too great a current, the


circuit is disconnected by a fuse or a circuit breaker
in the live wire.
h) When the current in a fuse wire exceeds the rating
of the fuse it will melt, breaking the circuit.
Additional guidance:

Physics

i) Some circuits are protected by Residual Current


Circuit Breakers (RCCBs).

Candidates should realise that RCCBs operate by


detecting a difference in the current between the live
and neutral wires. Knowledge of how the devices do
this is not required.
Candidates should be aware of the fact that this device
operates much faster than a fuse.

j) Appliances with metal cases are usually earthed.

Candidates should be aware that some appliances are


double insulated, and therefore have no earth wire
connection.

k) The earth wire and fuse together protect the


wiring of the circuit.

Candidates should have an understanding of the link


between cable thickness and fuse value.

P2.4.2 Current, charge and power


Additional guidance:

a) When an electrical charge flows through a resistor,


the resistor gets hot.

Candidates should understand that a lot of energy is


wasted in filament bulbs by heating. Less energy is
wasted in power saving lamps such as Compact
Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).
Candidates should understand that there is a choice
when buying new appliances in how efficiently they
transfer energy.

b) The rate at which energy is transferred by an


appliance is called the power.
E
P 
t
c) Power, potential difference and current are related
by the equation:
PIV

P is power in watts, W
E is energy in joules, J
t is time in seconds, s
Candidates should be able to calculate the current
through an appliance from its power and the potential
difference of the supply, and from this determine the
size of fuse needed.
P is power in watts, W
I is current in amperes (amps), A
V is potential difference in volts, V

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance:

d) Energy transferred, potential difference and


charge are related by the equation:
EVQ

HT only
E is energy in joules, J
V is potential difference in volts, V
Q is charge in coulombs, C

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
measuring oscilloscope traces

demonstrating the action of fuse wires

using fluctuations in light intensity measurements from filament bulbs to determine the frequency of a.c.

measuring the power of 12 V appliances by measuring energy transferred (using a joulemeter or ammeter and
voltmeter) in a set time.

P2.5

Physics

What happens when radioactive substances decay, and the uses and dangers of their
emissions

Radioactive substances emit radiation from the nuclei of their atoms all the time. These nuclear radiations can be
very useful but may also be very dangerous. It is important to understand the properties of different types of
nuclear radiation. To understand what happens to radioactive substances when they decay we need to
understand the structure of the atoms from which they are made. The use of radioactive sources depends on their
penetrating power and half-life.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

evaluate the effect of occupation and/or location


on the level of background radiation and
radiation dose

evaluate the possible hazards associated with the


use of different types of nuclear radiation

evaluate measures that can be taken to reduce


exposure to nuclear radiations

evaluate the appropriateness of radioactive


sources for particular uses, including as tracers,
in terms of the type(s) of radiation emitted and
their half-lives
Additional guidance:

explain how results from the Rutherford and


Marsden scattering experiments led to the
plum pudding model being replaced by the
nuclear model.

Candidates should realise that new evidence can cause


a theory to be re-evaluated.
Candidates should realise that, according to the nuclear
model, most of the atom is empty space.

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P2.5.1 Atomic structure


Additional guidance:

a) The basic structure of an atom is a small central


nucleus composed of protons and neutrons
surrounded by electrons.

Candidates should appreciate the relative size of the


nucleus compared to the size of the atom.

Physics

b) The relative masses and relative electric charges


of protons, neutrons and electrons.
c) In an atom the number of electrons is equal to the
number of protons in the nucleus. The atom has no
overall electrical charge.
d) Atoms may lose or gain electrons to form charged
particles called ions.
e) The atoms of an element always have the same
number of protons, but have a different number of
neutrons for each isotope. The total number of
protons in an atom is called its atomic number.
The total number of protons and neutrons in an
atom is called its mass number.

P2.5.2 Atoms and radiation


Additional guidance:

a) Some substances give out radiation from the nuclei


of their atoms all the time, whatever is done to them.
These substances are said to be radioactive.

Candidates should be aware of the random nature of


radioactive decay.

b) The origins of background radiation.

Knowledge and understanding should include both


natural sources, such as rocks and cosmic rays from
space, and man-made sources such as the fallout from
nuclear weapons tests and nuclear accidents.

c) Identification of an alpha particle as two neutrons and


two protons, the same as a helium nucleus, a beta
particle as an electron from the nucleus and
gamma radiation as electromagnetic radiation.
Additional guidance:

d) Nuclear equations to show single alpha and


beta decay.

HT only
Candidates will be required to balance such
equations, limited to the completion of atomic
number and mass number. The identification of
daughter elements from such decays is not required.

e) Properties of the alpha, beta and gamma radiations


limited to their relative ionising power, their penetration
through materials and their range in air.

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Additional guidance:

f) Alpha and beta radiations are deflected by both


electric and magnetic fields but gamma radiation
is not.

All candidates should know that alpha particles are


deflected less than beta particles and in an opposite
direction.
Higher Tier candidates should be able to explain
this in terms of the relative mass and charge of
each particle.

g) The uses of and the dangers associated with each


type of nuclear radiation.
Physics

h) The half-life of a radioactive isotope is the average


time it takes for the number of nuclei of the isotope in
a sample to halve, or the time it takes for the count
rate from a sample containing the isotope to fall to
half its initial level.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

using hot-cross buns to show the plum pudding model

using dice to demonstrate probabilities involved in half-life

using Geiger counters to measure the penetration and range in air of the radiation from different sources.

P2.6

Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion

During the process of nuclear fission atomic nuclei split. This process releases energy, which can be used to heat
water and turn it into steam. The steam drives a turbine, which is connected to a generator and generates
electricity.
Nuclear fusion is the joining together of atomic nuclei and is the process by which energy is released in stars.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

compare the uses of nuclear fusion and


nuclear fission.

Additional guidance:
Limited to the generation of electricity.

P2.6.1 Nuclear fission


Additional guidance:

a) There are two fissionable substances in common


use in nuclear reactors: uranium-235 and
plutonium-239.

The majority of nuclear reactors use uranium-235.

b) Nuclear fission is the splitting of an atomic nucleus.


c) For fission to occur the uranium-235 or
plutonium-239 nucleus must first absorb a neutron.

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d) The nucleus undergoing fission splits into two


smaller nuclei and two or three neutrons and
energy is released.
Additional guidance:

e) The neutrons may go on to start a chain reaction.

Candidates should be able to sketch or complete a


labelled diagram to illustrate how a chain reaction may
occur.

Physics

P2.6.2 Nuclear fusion


a) Nuclear fusion is the joining of two atomic nuclei
to form a larger one.
b) Nuclear fusion is the process by which energy
is released in stars.
Additional guidance:

124

c) Stars form when enough dust and gas from space


is pulled together by gravitational attraction. Smaller
masses may also form and be attracted by a
larger mass to become planets.

Candidates should be able to explain why the early


Universe contained only hydrogen but now contains a
large variety of different elements.

d) During the main sequence period of its life cycle


a star is stable because the forces within it are
balanced.

The term radiation pressure will not be required.

e) A star goes through a life cycle. This life cycle is


determined by the size of the star.

Candidates should be familiar with the chart on the next


page that shows the life cycles of stars.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Protostar

Stars about the


same size as
the Sun

Stars much
bigger than
the Sun

Main sequence star

Red Super Giant

White Dwarf

Supernova

Black Dwarf

Neutron Star

Physics

Red Giant

Black hole

Additional guidance:

f) Fusion processes in stars produce all of the


naturally occurring elements. These elements may
be distributed throughout the Universe by the
explosion of a massive star (supernova) at the end
of its life.

Candidates should be able to explain how stars are


able to maintain their energy output for millions of years.
Candidates should know that elements up to iron are
formed during the stable period of a star. Elements
heavier than iron are formed in a supernova.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

using domino tracks for fission/chain reactions.

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Unit 3: Physics 3
P3.1

Medical applications of physics

Physics has many applications in the field of medicine. These include the uses of X-rays and ultrasound for
scanning, and of light for image formation with lenses and endoscopes
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
draw and interpret ray diagrams in order to determine
the nature of the image

Physics

Additional guidance:
In ray diagrams a convex lens will be
represented by:

A concave lens will be represented by:

evaluate the use of different lenses for the


correction of defects of vision
Additional guidance:

compare the medical use of ultrasound and X rays

Candidates should understand that some of the


differences in use are because ultrasound waves are
non-ionising and X rays are ionising.

evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of


using ultrasound, X-rays and Computerised
Tomography (CT) scans.

Limited to safety issues and the quality of image


formed.

P3.1.1 X-rays
Additional guidance:

a) X-rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum.


They have a very short wavelength and cause
ionisation.

b) X-rays can be used to diagnose and treat some


medical conditions.

Properties of X-rays include:


I

they affect a photographic film in the same way as


light

they are absorbed by metal and bone

they are transmitted by healthy tissue

their wavelength is of the same order of magnitude


as the diameter of an atom.

Examples include CT scans, bone fractures, dental


problems and killing cancer cells.
The use of charge-coupled devices (CCDs) allows
images to be formed electronically.

c) Precautions to be taken when X-ray machines


and CT scanners are in use.

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P3.1.2 Ultrasound
Additional guidance:

a) Electronic systems can be used to produce


ultrasound waves, which have a frequency higher
than the upper limit of hearing for humans.

Candidates should know that the range of human


hearing is about 20 Hz to 20 000 Hz.

b) Ultrasound waves are partially reflected when they


meet a boundary between two different media.
The time taken for the reflections to reach a detector
can be used to determine how far away such
a boundary is.

c) Calculation of the distance between interfaces


in various media.
svt

Physics

Additional guidance:
Candidates may be required to use data from diagrams
of oscilloscope traces.
s is distance in metres, m
v is speed in metres per second, m/s
t is time in seconds, s

d) Ultrasound waves can be used in medicine.

Examples include pre-natal scanning and the removal


of kidney stones.

P3.1.3 Lenses
a) Refraction is the change of direction of light as it
passes from one medium to another.
b) A lens forms an image by refracting light.
c) In a convex or converging lens, parallel rays of
light are brought to a focus at the principal focus.
The distance from the lens to the principal
focus is called the focal length.
refractive index 

sin i
sin r

Additional guidance:

i is the angle of incidence


r is the angle of refraction

d) The nature of an image is defined by its size relative


to the object, whether it is upright or inverted relative
to the object and whether it is real or virtual.
e) The nature of the image produced by a converging
lens for an object placed at different distances from
the lens.
f) The use of a converging lens as a magnifying glass.
g) The nature of the image produced by a concave
or diverging lens.

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Additional guidance:

h) The construction of ray diagrams to show the


formation of images by converging and
diverging lenses.

Candidates may be asked to complete ray diagrams


drawn on graph paper.

i) The magnification produced by a lens is


calculated using the equation:

Physics

magnification =

image height
object height

P3.1.4 The eye


Additional guidance:

a) The structure of the eye.


The structure of the eye is limited to:
I retina
I lens
I cornea
I pupil /iris
I ciliary muscle
I suspensory ligaments.

Candidates should know the function of these named


parts.
Candidates should understand how the action of the
ciliary muscle causes changes in the shape of the lens,
which allows the light to be focused at varying
distances.

b) Correction of vision using convex and concave


lenses to produce an image on the retina:
I

long sight, caused by the eyeball being too short,


or the eye lens being unable to focus

short sight, caused by the eyeball being too long,


or the eye lens being unable to focus.
Additional guidance:

c) Range of vision. The eye can focus on objects


between the near point and the far point.

Candidates should know that the near point is


approximately 25 cm and the far point is infinity.

d) Comparison between the structure of the eye


and the camera.

Candidates should be aware that the film in a camera


or the CCDs in a digital camera is the equivalent of the
retina in the eye.

e) The power of a lens is given by:

Candidates should know that the power of a


converging lens is positive and the power of a diverging
lens is negative.

P =

1
f

P is power in dioptres, D
f is focal length in metres, m

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f) The focal length of a lens is determined by:


I

the refractive index of the material from which the


lens is made, and

the curvature of the two surfaces of the lens.


Additional guidance:

g) For a given focal length, the greater the


refractive index, the flatter the lens. This means
that the lens can be manufactured thinner.

HT only

Additional guidance:

a) Total internal reflection and critical angle.


refractive index =

1
sin c

Physics

P3.1.5 Other applications using light

Candidates need to understand the concept of critical


angle but knowledge of the values of critical angles is
not required.
HT only
c is the critical angle

b) Visible light can be sent along optical fibres.

Examples of use should include the endoscope for


internal imaging.

c) The laser as an energy source for cutting, cauterising


and burning.

Knowledge of how lasers work is not required.


Applications should include use in eye surgery.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:
I

demonstrating the range of frequencies audible to the human ear, using a signal generator, loudspeaker and
oscilloscope

demonstrating long and short sight by placing a screen, not at the focal point, and rectifying the image through
the use of appropriate lenses

using a round bottom flask filled with a solution of fluorescein to represent the eye

investigating total internal reflection using a semi-circular glass block.

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P3.2

Using physics to make things work

Many things, from simple toys to complex fairground rides, are constructed from basic machines such as the lever.
A knowledge of the physics involved in balancing and turning can help us to make these appliances work.

Physics

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge


and understanding to:

Additional guidance:

analyse the stability of objects by evaluating their


tendency to topple

Candidates should use a range of laboratory equipment


to model real-life situations, eg cranes.

recognise the factors that affect the stability


of an object

Candidates should recognise that objects with a wide


base and low centre of mass are more stable than
those with a narrow base and a high centre of mass.

evaluate how the design of objects affects their stability


Additional guidance:

interpret and evaluate data on objects moving


in circular paths.

Candidates should understand that a centripetal force


does not exist in its own right but is always provided by
something else such as gravitational force, friction or
tension.

P3.2.1 Centre of mass


Additional guidance:

a) The centre of mass of an object is that point at


which the mass of the object may be thought to
be concentrated.

Candidates will be expected to be able to describe how


to find the centre of mass of a thin, irregular sheet of a
material.

b) If freely suspended, an object will come to rest with


its centre of mass directly below the point of
suspension.
c) The centre of mass of a symmetrical object is along
the axis of symmetry.
Additional guidance:

d) For a simple pendulum:


T

1
f

e) The time period depends on the length of


a pendulum.

T is periodic time in seconds, s


f is frequency in hertz, Hz
The equation T = 2/ 3 l/g is not required.
Applications of the pendulum should include simple
fairground and playground rides.

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P3.2.2 Moments
a) The turning effect of a force is called the moment.
Additional guidance:

b) The size of the moment is given by the equation:


MFd

M is the moment of the force in newton-metres, Nm


F is the force in newtons, N
d is the perpendicular distance from the line of action of
the force to the pivot in metres, m

Physics

c) If an object is not turning, the total clockwise


moment must be exactly balanced by the total
anticlockwise moment about any pivot.
Additional guidance:

d) The calculation of the size of a force, or its


distance from pivot, acting on an object
that is balanced.

HT only

e) Ideas of simple levers.

Limited to levers as force multipliers.

f) If the line of action of the weight of an object


lies outside the base of the object there will
be a resultant moment and the body will
tend to topple.

HT only
Applications should include vehicles and simple
balancing toys.

P3.2.3 Hydraulics
Additional guidance:

a) Liquids are virtually incompressible, and the


pressure in a liquid is transmitted equally in
all directions.

Candidates should understand that this means that a


force exerted at one point on a liquid will be transmitted
to other points in the liquid.

b) The use of different cross-sectional areas on the


effort and load side of a hydraulic system enables
the system to be used as a force multiplier.
Additional guidance:

c) The pressure in different parts of a hydraulic


system is given by:

P is the pressure in pascals, Pa


F is the force in newtons, N

P 

F
A

A is the cross-sectional area in metres squared, m2

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P3.2.4 Circular motion


a) When an object moves in a circle it continuously
accelerates towards the centre of the circle.
This acceleration changes the direction of motion
of the body, not its speed.

Physics

Additional guidance:

b) The resultant force causing this acceleration


is called the centripetal force and is always
directed towards the centre of the circle.

Candidates should be able to identify which force(s)


provide(s) the centripetal force in a given situation.

c) The centripetal force needed to make an


object perform circular motion increases as:

The equation
F=

the mass of the object increases

the speed of the object increases

the radius of the circle decreases.

mv2
r

is not required.

Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

132

demonstrating that pressure in liquids acts in all directions using a circular container with holes around it

finding the centre of mass of an irregularly shaped card

using a balanced metre ruler and masses to verify the principle of moments

plan and carry out an investigation into factors that affect the period of a simple pendulum (mass, length of
pendulum, amplitude of swing)

whirling a bung on the end of a piece of string to demonstrate the factors that affect centripetal force

investigating objects and slopes to find out the point at which the object topples.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

P3.3

Keeping things moving

Electric currents produce magnetic fields. Forces produced in magnetic fields can be used to make things move.
This is called the motor effect and is how appliances such as the electric motor create movement.
Many appliances do not use 230 volts mains electricity. Transformers are used to provide the required potential
difference.
Candidates should use their skills, knowledge
and understanding to:
I

interpret diagrams of electromagnetic appliances


in order to explain how they work

compare the use of different types of transformer for


a particular application.

Physics

Additional guidance:
Examples might include some mobile phone chargers
and power supplies for lap top computers.

P3.3.1 The motor effect


Additional guidance:

a) When a current flows through a wire a magnetic


field is produced around the wire.

Applications of electromagnets could include their use


on cranes for lifting iron/steel.

b) The motor effect and its use.

Candidates should be able to apply the principles of the


motor effect in any given situation.

c) The size of the force can be increased by:

The equation F = BIL is not required.

increasing the strength of the magnetic field

increasing the size of the current.

d) The conductor will not experience a force if it is


parallel to the magnetic field.
Additional guidance:

e) The direction of the force is reversed if either the


direction of the current or the direction of the
magnetic field is reversed.

Candidates will be expected to identify the direction of


the force using Flemings left-hand rule.

P3.3.2 Transformers
a) If an electrical conductor cuts through a magnetic
field a potential difference is induced across the
ends of the conductor.
b) If a magnet is moved into a coil of wire a potential
difference is induced across the ends of the coil.
c) The basic structure of the transformer.

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Additional guidance:

d) An alternating current in the primary coil produces


a changing magnetic field in the iron core and
hence in the secondary coil. This induces an
alternating potential difference across the ends
of the secondary coil.

Knowledge of laminations and eddy currents in the core


are not required.

Physics

e) In a step-up transformer the potential difference


across the secondary coil is greater than the
potential difference across the primary coil.
f) In a step-down transformer the potential difference
across the secondary coil is less than the potential
difference across the primary coil.
Additional guidance:

g) The potential difference across the primary and


secondary coils of a transformer are related by
the equation:
Vp np

Vs ns
h) If transformers are assumed to be 100% efficient,
the electrical power output would equal the
electrical power input.
Vp  Ip  Vs  Is

Vp is the potential difference across the primary coil in


volts, V
Vs is the potential difference across the secondary coil in
volts, V
np is the number of turns on the primary coil
ns is the number of turns on the secondary coil
Candidates should be aware that the input to a
transformer is determined by the required output.
Vp is the potential difference across the primary coil in
volts, V
Ip is the current in the primary coil in amperes (amps), A
Vs is the potential difference across the secondary coil in
volts, V
Is is the current in the secondary coil in amperes (amps), A

i) Switch mode transformers operate at a high


frequency, often between 50 kHz and 200 kHz.
Additional guidance:

j) Switch mode transformers are much lighter and


smaller than traditional transformers working from
a 50 Hz mains supply.

Candidates should be aware that this makes them


useful for applications such as mobile phone chargers.

k) Switch mode transformers use very little power


when they are switched on but no load is applied.
Suggested ideas for practical work to develop skills and understanding include the following:

134

placing a foil strip with a current going through it in a strong magnetic field

building a motor

making a loudspeaker

making a transformer using C cores and insulated wire

demonstrating a transformer to show the difference between using d.c. and a.c.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

GCSE Sciences
Subject Content Book

Science B

Science B
4500

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GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 1: My World
Earth is the only planet in the solar system known to support life. In this unit candidates will learn about the science
that explains many different aspects of the world around us and about how scientists have developed explanations
for these phenomena.

Science B

This unit is assessed by a one-hour written paper, which is worth 25% of the overall marks for the specification.
Application of knowledge and understanding gained in discussing, evaluating and suggesting implications of data
and evidence is also assessed in the written paper. Areas that could be covered are highlighted at the end of each
context.
This unit is divided into two themes:
Theme 1: My wider world
Theme 2: Life on our planet

3.3.1 Theme 1: My wider world


Scientists have used different types of evidence to prove the many changes that have taken place in the universe
and on our own planet over time. Living organisms have also adapted to the changing environmental conditions.
In this theme there are four contexts:

136

3.3.1.1

Our changing universe

3.3.1.2

Our changing planet

3.3.1.3

Materials our planet provides

3.3.1.4

Using materials from our planet to make products

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.1.1 Our changing universe


Candidates need to understand that:
For many centuries, our ancestors thought the Earth was the centre of the universe. Science has since taught us
that this is incorrect. We know that the Earth lies within the Milky Way galaxy (a group of stars), which is located
somewhere within the universe. Scientists have discovered that the Sun is one star in the Milky Way. Even smaller in
scale than a galaxy is a solar system. Our solar system comprises one star (the Sun) and planets orbiting it.

Candidates need to:


1. Know that observations of the solar system and the galaxies in the universe can be carried out on the Earth or
from space.

Science B

Scientists use many different techniques to observe and search for patterns in the universe in an attempt to
understand and gather evidence concerning how it began, what it is like and how it is changing. They have
gathered much evidence from the use of telescopes, both on Earth and in space, and from the study of light
reaching us from stars in distant galaxies.

2. Know that observations are made with telescopes that may detect visible light or other electromagnetic
radiations such as radio waves or X-rays from space, and that these observations provide evidence for
changes taking place in the universe.
3. Understand that if a wave source is moving relative to an observer there will be a change in the observed
wavelength and frequency (Doppler effect).
4. Explain why there is a red-shift in light observed from most distant stars and galaxies. The further away stars or
galaxies are, the more their light is red-shifted. This indicates that distant galaxies are moving away from us,
and that the further away a galaxy is the faster it is moving away.
5. Explain how the observed red-shift provides evidence that the universe is expanding and supports the Big
Bang theory (that the universe began from a very small initial point).

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I

the position of the Earth in the solar system


the evidence for the origin, structure and continuing evolution of the universe.

Additional guidance
2.

Knowledge of telescopes should be limited to their use: no working details are required.

4.

Treatment of red-shift should be limited to a study of the black lines within the spectrum.

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3.3.1.2 Our changing planet


Candidates need to understand that:
The Earth is a planet that has changed since its formation and is still changing. The surface of the Earth has cooled
after a period of intense volcanic activity and has become able to sustain plant and animal life. The surface of the
Earth continues to change due to the activity of volcanoes and earthquakes, mainly along the edges of tectonic
plate boundaries.

Science B

Alongside these changes the atmosphere has altered to enable life to evolve, from being rich in carbon dioxide to
containing enough oxygen to support life. Environmental scientists are beginning to understand the processes that
cause the natural greenhouse effect and maintain the heat balance and global climate that enable life on Earth.
Candidates need to:
1. Know that the surface of the Earth has changed over time as a result of cooling.
2. Know that the Earth consists of a mantle, core and crust, surrounded by the atmosphere.
3. Know that the Earths crust and the upper part of the mantle are cracked into a number of large pieces
(tectonic plates).
4. Explain how convection currents within the mantle cause the movement of tectonic plates.
5. Describe how movement of tectonic plates can cause disastrous consequences such as earthquakes and
volcanoes.
6. Know that during the first billion years of the Earths existence there was intense volcanic activity.
7. Know that volcanic activity released the gases that formed the early atmosphere and water vapour that
condensed to form the oceans.
8. Understand that some theories suggest that, during this period, the Earths atmosphere was mainly carbon
dioxide and there would have been little or no oxygen gas. HT only: there may also have been water
vapour and small proportions of methane, hydrogen and ammonia.
9. Describe how plants and algae produced the oxygen that is now in the atmosphere by photosynthesis.
10. Describe how the atmosphere surrounding the Earth allows light energy radiated from the Sun to pass
through.
11. Explain how greenhouse gases in the atmosphere keep temperatures on Earth stable and warm enough to
support life, by allowing short-wave radiation to pass through the atmosphere to the Earths surface but
absorbing the outgoing long-wave radiation from the Earth.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I

138

the accurate prediction of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions


changes to the composition of the atmosphere over time.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance
4.

Candidates need to understand why there are convection currents in the mantle.

8.

Higher Tier candidates should also be aware that this is only one theory, and that Miller and Urey found
that various organic chemicals essential to life were formed after passing an electrical discharge through
such a mixture to simulate ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

9.

Knowledge of photosynthesis is limited to plants using carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Detailed knowledge of
the process is not required.

Candidates need to understand that:


The Earths crust, sea and atmosphere, and the organisms living on Earth, are the ultimate sources from which all
useful substances are obtained. Metals, metal ores, limestone and fossil fuels are examples of materials obtained
from the Earth. Scientists are sometimes able to use these materials directly, but many have to be processed or
reacted with other substances to make useful products.

Science B

3.3.1.3 Materials our planet provides

Understanding the chemical structure of these raw materials and their chemical reactions enables scientists to
make the best use of them.
Candidates need to:
1. Be able to classify materials as elements, compounds or mixtures.
2. Describe the structure of the atom in terms of numbers of protons, neutrons and electrons and their
arrangement. Atoms contain the same number of protons (positive charge) and electrons (negative charge).
The protons and the neutrons (no charge) are at the centre, in the nucleus, and the electrons are positioned
around the outside of the atom.
3. Explain the difference between atoms, molecules and ions.
4. Define the terms atomic number and mass number.
5. Know that useful materials can be removed from the ground by mining or quarrying.
6. Give examples of substances used straight from the ground (gold, sulfur, limestone and marble).
7. Describe how salt is separated from rock salt before use.
8. Describe how fuels (hydrocarbons) are separated from crude oil (fractional distillation).
9. Describe how metals are separated from their ores:
(a) metals more reactive than carbon, such as aluminium, are extracted by electrolysis of molten compounds.
The use of large amounts of energy in the extraction of these metals makes them expensive
(b) metals less reactive than carbon are extracted from their ores using carbon and carbon monoxide as
reducing agents

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Science B

(c) lead and iron may be made from their oxides by reduction:


extraction of lead: carbon and carbon monoxide can act as reducing agents
(2PbO + C  2Pb + CO2 and PbO + CO  Pb + CO2)

extraction of iron: iron oxide (Fe2O3) and coke (carbon) are heated to produce iron. The coke burns to
produce carbon dioxide (C + O2  CO2). The carbon dioxide reacts with the coke to produce carbon
monoxide (C + CO2  2CO). When heated, the iron oxide reacts with the carbon monoxide to
produce iron. Iron oxide is reduced and carbon monoxide is oxidised (Fe2O3 + 3CO  2Fe + 3CO2).

10. HT only: describe air (the atmosphere) as a mixture of gases with different boiling points that can
be fractionally distilled to provide new materials for industrial processes (helium for balloons, argon
for filament lamps and electrical discharge tubes, nitrogen for ammonia which is used for making
fertilisers) and either used directly or used to make another product.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:


the social, economic and environmental impacts of exploiting the Earths crust, sea and atmosphere,
and living organisms
methods of cleansing coal and metal mines such as phytomining.

Additional guidance
2.

Knowledge of atomic structure will be limited to the first 20 elements of the periodic table.

4.

Candidates will be required to calculate the number of protons, neutrons and electrons in an atom of an element given
the atomic number and mass number of the element.

8.

The names of fractions obtained from crude oil are not required but candidates should know trends in boiling point
and viscosity and be able to link these with the number of carbon atoms. A knowledge of cracking is not required.

9.

Details of the industrial process for electrolysis are not required.


Reduction should be treated as the removal of oxygen.
Higher Tier candidates should be able to balance the symbol equations. Foundation Tier candidates would be
expected to interpret and give word equations.
Details of the blast furnace are not required.

10. HT only. The boiling points of gases will be supplied in questions if required.

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3.3.1.4 Using materials from our planet to make products


Candidates need to understand that:
Commercial organisations make products for consumers to buy. Chemical companies have to make profits and
need to maximise the amount of product produced from the starting materials. For this reason, chemists often
have to work quantitatively (ie accurately to measure the amounts of reactants and products).
When buying a product the consumer is often encouraged to think about the energy used, and waste produced,
in making the product in addition to its cost and effectiveness.

2. Know that, when producing new products, chemical reactions can be represented by using balanced
chemical equations.

Science B

Candidates need to:


1. Explain why mass is conserved in chemical reactions and that during a reaction products with different
properties are formed as a result of atoms rearranging.

3. Explain why, in order to produce a product economically and safely, it is important that the correct amount of
material is used.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I
I

material costs when making products


costs of energy consumption when making products
the value for money of a range of products.

Additional guidance
1.

Candidates should be able to interpret symbol equations in terms of numbers of atoms. Knowledge and
understanding of masses in chemical reactions is limited to conservation of mass.
Candidates should also be able to calculate the mass of reactant or product from information given about the other
substances in an equation.

2.

Higher Tier candidates should also be able to balance chemical equations.

3.

Candidates should be aware of the cost implications of waste. Detailed calculations of costing and yield are not
required. Data will be provided for candidates when they are asked questions that relate to costs.

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Suggestions for practical work that could be used to support Theme 1

Science B

It is the responsibility of the centre to be aware of the health and safety implications of any practical work, and to
ensure that risk assessments for practicals are carried out.

142

Compare less reactive metals with more reactive metals, eg in acid.

Heat metal oxides with carbon to compare reactivity, eg CuO, PbO, Fe2O3.

Heat copper carbonate with charcoal to produce copper.

Study displacement reactions, eg CuSO4(aq) + Fe.

Ignition tube demonstration of blast furnace potassium permanganate, mineral wool plug, iron oxide mixed
with carbon.

Pass air over heated copper using gas syringes and measure the percentage of oxygen. Then burn magnesium
in the nitrogen to form Mg3N2. Add water to produce ammonia (nitrogen must have come from the air).

Collect gas produced by aquatic plants and test for oxygen.

Measure the amount of carbon dioxide in inhaled and exhaled air.

Demonstrate fractional distillation of crude oil using CLEAPSS mixture (take care to avoid confusion with the
continuous process in a fractionating column).

Make model volcanoes.

Grow brassica plants in compost with added copper sulfate or spray brassica plants (eg cabbage leaves) with
copper sulfate solution, ash the plants (fume cupboard), add sulfuric acid to the ash, filter and obtain the metal
from the solution by displacement or electrolysis.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.2 Theme 2: Life on our planet


In this theme there are three contexts:
3.3.2.1

Life on our planet

3.3.2.2

Biomass and energy flow through the biosphere

3.3.2.3

The importance of carbon

Candidates need to understand that:


There is a wide variety of life on Earth that has evolved over time and is still changing today. Scientists have been
able to classify this wide variety of life into different groups. Scientists realise that living organisms continually evolve
to become better adapted for the environment they live in. This means that many species on Earth are still evolving
by a process called natural selection.

Science B

3.3.2.1 Life on our planet

Candidates need to:


1. Understand that there is a huge variety of life, which is categorised into kingdoms.
2. Understand that animals and plants can be classified according to their physical characteristics.
3. Explain why classification is important as an international method of grouping living organisms with similar
characteristics to aid naming and identification.
4. Know that, to survive, organisms require a supply of materials from their surroundings and from other living
organisms:
(a) plants need sunlight, water and nutrients to survive
(b) animals need food, mates, shelter and a suitable territory.
5. Explain how animals, plants and microbes may be adapted for survival in the conditions where they normally live:
(a) plants adapt to conditions through changes in surface area, water storage tissues and extensive root
systems
(b) in the case of animals factors should include surface area, insulation, body fat and water storage
(c) microbes (extremophiles) have been found living in the Arctic, volcanic vents, very dry environments and
severe chemical environments.
6. Explain how evolution occurs via natural selection.
7. Explain how individuals with characteristics most suited to the environment are more likely to survive and breed
successfully.
8. Know that the genes that have enabled these individuals to survive are then passed on to the next generation.
9. Explain the effect of the external features light (phototropism), temperature, day length and gravity
(gravitropism) on plant growth.
10. Explain the role of auxins in controlling plant growth.

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Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I

I
I

Science B

the advantages of classifying the range of species that exist on the planet and the methods used
the similarities and differences between species to gain an understanding of evolutionary and
ecological relationships
the reasons for the distribution of animals or plants in a particular habitat
how organisms have adapted to the conditions in which they live
the factors for which organisms are competing in a given environment.

Additional guidance
1.

Candidates should understand the use of models in classifying organisms and be able to interpret evolutionary trees.

2.

Knowledge of the specific characteristics that classify organisms into groups is not required.

3.3.2.2 Biomass and energy flow through the biosphere


Candidates need to understand that:
The total living organic matter produced in a given area is called the biomass. Biomass refers to all living things.
Ecologists can find out what happens to energy and biomass as it passes along the food chain by observing the
numbers and sizes of the organisms in food chains.
Candidates need to:
1. Know that energy enters the biosphere as sunlight.
2. Know that sunlight is converted to chemical energy and stored in organic compounds (biomass) by producers.
3. Know that biomass is broken down to release energy through respiration by consumers.
4. Know that energy leaves the biosphere as heat.
5. Understand that food chains show the flow of matter and energy between all the producers and consumers in
a given ecosystem.
6. Know that the mass of living material (biomass) and amount of energy at each stage in a food chain is less
than it was at the previous stage.
7. Be able to calculate the percentage of energy transfer at each stage of a food chain.
8. Explain the reasons for the inefficiency of the energy transfer:
(a) some plant material passes out of the body of a herbivore as faeces without being digested
(b) energy is transferred to the environment in respiration
(c) some energy passes to decomposers in dead remains.
9. Know that microorganisms function better in warm, moist conditions and in a plentiful supply of oxygen.

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10. Know that when living things die their bodies are broken down by decomposers, so releasing the elements
they contain.
11. Know that these minerals can be used by plants to grow so that the cycle repeats over again.
12. Use data to construct pyramids of biomass to scale.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:

I
I

interpreting and constructing pyramids of biomass


the efficiency of energy transfer at different stages of a food chain
the recycling of organic waste products from the garden or kitchen.

Science B

Additional guidance
5.

The construction of food webs and chains, and of pyramids of numbers, is not required.

7.

Appropriate data will be provided.

12. Candidates will be given appropriate information to be able to construct pyramids of biomass.

3.3.2.3 The importance of carbon


Candidates need to understand that:
Carbon is the basis of all organic molecules and is the major element within our bodies.
The carbon cycle is the process through which carbon is cycled through the air, ground, plants, animals, and fossil
fuels. Large amounts of carbon exist in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is cycled by
green plants and algae during photosynthesis to make organic molecules. Decomposers break down dead
organic matter, and release carbon dioxide into the air. Carbon is also locked away in fossil fuels such as coal,
petroleum and natural gas. Carbon may be used in the formation of calcium carbonate.
Candidates need to:
1. Know that carbon dioxide is removed from the environment by green plants and algae for photosynthesis.
2. Know that the carbon from the carbon dioxide is used to make carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which make
up the bodies of plants and algae.
3. Know that when green plants and algae are eaten by animals some of the carbon becomes part of the fats
and proteins that make up their bodies.
4. Understand that when green plants, algae and animals respire some of this carbon becomes carbon dioxide
and is released into the atmosphere.
5. Understand that when plants, algae and animals die, some animals and microorganisms feed on their remains
and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when they respire.
6. Know that carbon is stored in fossil fuels and is released as carbon dioxide when they are burnt.

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7. Explain how limestone (calcium carbonate) is formed from carbon dioxide dissolved in water:
a) over long time scales, carbon is removed from seawater when the shells and bones of marine animals and
plankton collect on the sea floor. These shells and bones are made of limestone, which contains carbon.
When they are deposited on the sea floor, carbon is removed from the rest of the carbon cycle for some
amount of time
b) the amount of limestone deposited in the ocean depends on the amount of warm, tropical, shallow
oceans on the planet because this is where limestone-producing organisms such as corals live.

Science B

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

human interference in the natural carbon cycle, eg the destruction of rainforests and other forms of
vegetation without replanting.

Suggestions for practical work that could be used to support Theme 2


It is the responsibility of the centre to be aware of the health and safety implications of any practical work, and to
ensure that risk assessments for practicals are carried out.

146

Investigate the effect of light on the growth of seedlings.

Investigate the effect of gravity on growth in germinating seedlings.

Investigate the effect of water on the growth of seedlings.

Use of a movement sensor to measure the growth of plants and seedlings.

Investigate the effect of rooting compounds and weed killers on the growth of plants.

Investigate size and rate of diffusion acid penetration of indicator jelly blocks good for planning practice.

Carry out a European banded snail survey.

Use of choice chambers, eg with woodlice.

Investigate plant growth, varying the conditions, eg degrees of shade, density of sowing, supply of nutrients.

Investigate the effect of phosphate on oxygen levels in water using jars with algae, water and varying numbers
of drops of phosphate, then monitoring oxygen using meter.

Role play A4 sheets labelled with different stages of the carbon cycle. Candidates arrange themselves in the
correct order to pass along a ball labelled as carbon.

Look at variation in leaf length or width, pod length and height. Compare plants growing in different conditions
sun/shade.

Test crushed shells (eg cockle, oyster) with dilute hydrochloric acid to show that they contain carbonates.

Use samples of organisms, identify their features and classify them.

Measure size and surface area (using different-sized flasks and monitoring how quickly they cool).

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 2: My Family and Home


In this unit candidates will learn about some of the science used by scientists to help to look after our families,
construct our homes and produce and maintain the property within our homes.
This unit is assessed by a one-hour written paper, which is worth 25% of the overall marks for the specification.
Application of knowledge and understanding gained in discussing, evaluating and suggesting implications of data
and evidence is also assessed in the written paper. Areas that could be covered are highlighted at the end of each
context.

This unit is divided into three themes:


Theme 1: My family

Science B

Any formulae and equations in this unit that candidates may need to be able to answer the questions in the
external assessment will be given on an equation sheet. Candidates will be expected to choose the appropriate
information from the equation sheet to answer the question.

Theme 2: My home
Theme 3: My property

3.4.1 Theme 1: My family


Health professionals use their knowledge of physiology, biochemistry and drugs to diagnose and treat disease and
illness in our families and friends. They need to be aware of how humans respond to internal and external changes
and how we regulate our internal systems, in order to treat problems like diabetes.
Researchers in pharmaceutical companies have developed medicines to treat diseases such as diabetes.
Biochemists work alongside doctors and help them to understand some of the chemistry of our body functions,
including reactions like neutralisation of stomach acid.
Geneticists consider how genes determine the structure and function of organisms and use this knowledge to
explain differences between family members. Their work may lead to treatments and possible cures for inherited
disorders.
In this theme there are three contexts:
3.4.1.1

Control of body systems

3.4.1.2

Chemistry in action in the body

3.4.1.3

Human inheritance and genetic disorders

3.4.1.1 Control of body systems


Candidates need to understand that:
To stay healthy, the body must keep itself at the right temperature, and control the sugar content in the
bloodstream. The healthy body detects external changes using sense organs and then processes this information
in the brain. The nervous system then coordinates a response to this information, causing the body to make
physiological changes.
Although the body is able to regulate itself by the use of these automatic systems, health professionals realise that
personal lifestyle is very important in staying healthy.

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Candidates need to:


1. Give examples of receptor cells that detect stimuli (light, sound, smell, taste, touch, heat).
2. Describe how information from receptors passes along cells (neurones) in nerves to the brain. The brain
coordinates our response.
3. Know that some responses to stimuli are automatic and rapid and are called reflex actions.
4. Describe how reflex actions involve three neurones called sensory, relay and motor neurones.

Science B

5. Explain how longitudinal waves travel from vibrating objects to our ears for us to hear sounds.
6. Know that the human hearing range is 2020 000 Hz.
7. Know that the body needs to maintain a constant internal environment and that this is called homeostasis.
8. HT only: explain the principle of negative feedback in maintaining a constant internal environment.
9. Know that chemical substances called hormones control many processes within the body. Hormones are
secreted by glands and are transported to their target organs in the bloodstream.
10. Explain how the hormone insulin controls blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels are a symptom of
diabetes. Candidates should be aware that some forms of diabetes (Type 2 diabetes) may be controlled by a
change in lifestyle (diet and exercise). Type 1 diabetes is controlled by insulin dosage and is sometimes termed
insulin-dependent diabetes. Candidates should be able to describe how blood glucose levels are monitored
and controlled by cells in the pancreas:
(a) if the blood glucose concentration is too high, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin into the blood,
which causes the liver to remove glucose from the blood and store it as insoluble glycogen
(b) HT only: if the blood glucose concentration is too low, the pancreas releases glucagon, which
causes the liver to convert glycogen back to glucose and release it into the blood.
11. Explain how the body maintains a constant temperature, using the thermoregulatory centre in the brain:
(a) by increasing or decreasing the amount of sweating, which cools the body by evaporation
(b) by dilating the blood vessels supplying the skin capillaries, increasing the blood flow to, and consequently
the amount of heat lost from, the skin
(c) by constricting the blood vessels supplying the skin capillaries, decreasing the blood flow and the amount
of heat lost.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I
I
I

the environmental, social and health implications of loud sounds (eg from MP3 players or night clubs)
the social, economic and health implications of diabetes
the personal and social choices in lifestyle in terms of a balance of risk and benefit to health
what happens when the normal physiological processes go wrong.

Additional guidance
6.

A detailed description of the structure and working of the human ear is not required.

8.

Higher Tier candidates should be able to describe that negative feedback between the effector and the
receptor of a control system reverses any changes to the systems steady state.

10(b) HT only.

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3.4.1.2 Chemistry in action in the body


Candidates need to understand that:
Our bodies only function because many complex chemical reactions are continuously occurring. For example, our
stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which helps enzymes to break down the protein that we eat and also helps to
protect us from infection from microbes in our food. Sometimes excess acid can make us feel uncomfortable and
may cause heartburn and nausea.
Pharmacologists use their knowledge of neutralisation reactions to monitor and control stomach acid using
antacids. They test the effectiveness of antacids in terms of how efficiently they neutralise excess stomach acid
before they are sold to the consumer.

2. Name some hazards of acids and bases and some control measures that can be put in place to minimise risks
from them.

Science B

Candidates need to:


1. Know that the body functions properly due to a series of complex chemical reactions.

3. Know that acids are neutralised by reaction with oxides, hydroxides or carbonates to form salts and other
products.
4. Know the patterns in the reactions of soluble hydroxides and carbonates with acids.
5. Describe how a neutralisation reaction involves an acid and an alkaline substance reacting to form a salt and
water:
(a) hydrogen ions (H+) make solutions acidic
(b) hydroxide ions (OH ) make solutions alkaline
(c) HT only: this reaction can be represented by the equation:
H+(aq) + OH (aq)  H2O(l)
6. Understand that the stomach works most effectively in acid conditions by helping to break down food.
7. Explain how an antacid neutralises excess stomach acid to help to treat heartburn and nausea.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:



the effectiveness of a range of antacid products


the issues of testing new drugs on animals and humans.

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Science B

Additional guidance
2.

Candidates should be able to identify appropriate hazard labels, state what they mean, and describe control
measures that are needed to minimise risks from these hazards.

4.

Candidates should be able to give examples of reactions of common acids with metal carbonates. They should also
be able to give the reactions of common acids with sodium and potassium hydroxides. Higher Tier candidates will
be expected to write balanced symbol equations.

5.

Candidates should have knowledge of the pH scale. 5(c) is HT only.

7.

Candidates should be able to give examples of substances used as antacids (sodium bicarbonate, magnesium
hydroxide, calcium carbonate, aluminium hydroxide) and write word equations to illustrate neutralisation. Higher Tier
candidates will be expected to write balanced symbol equations.

3.4.1.3 Human inheritance and genetic disorders


Candidates need to understand that:
Our families show similarities and differences due to genetic and environmental causes. Inside our cells there is a
nucleus containing chromosomes and genes, which determine our characteristics. Sometimes we inherit faulty
genes, which cause genetic disorders. Geneticists working on the human genome project are trying to improve
treatments and develop cures for these genetic disorders.
Candidates need to:
1. Know that simple animal cells have a nucleus, cytoplasm and cell membrane.
2. Know that the nucleus of a cell contains chromosomes:
(a) chromosomes carry genes, which control the characteristics of the body
(b) each chromosome carries a large number of genes.
3. Know that differences in the characteristics of individuals (variation) may be due to genetic causes or
environmental causes or a combination of both.
4. Know that genes have different forms called alleles, which produce different characteristics.
5. Describe the mechanism of monohybrid inheritance where the dominant and recessive alleles are given.
6. Know that cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anaemia, haemophilia and polydactyly are genetically inherited disorders.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I
I

150

the use of current research in the treatment of genetic disorders


the likelihood of a genetically inherited disorder occurring
the use of genetic screening.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance
5.

Candidates should be able to use Punnett square diagrams to predict or explain the mechanism of a monohybrid
cross where there are dominant and recessive alleles. Teachers are reminded of the need for sensitivity when human
examples are used.

6.

No knowledge of sex linkage is required.

Suggestions for practical work that could be used to support Theme 1


It is the responsibility of the centre to be aware of the health and safety implications of any practical work, and to
ensure that risk assessments for practicals are carried out.
Measure reaction times using metre rules, stop clocks or ICT.

Demonstrate the speed of transmission by nerves: candidates stand in a semi-circle, holding hands and
squeezing with eyes closed.

Use blindfolds and open paper clips to test pressure points and skin sensitivity.

Demonstrate the knee-jerk reaction.

Test reflexes: elbow, knee, foot, pupils.

Class hearing test, using oscilloscope equipment.

Investigate the effect of acid on various objects left for a few days.

Neutralisation titration.

Investigate reaction of carbonates with acids.

Science B

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3.4.2 Theme 2: My home


House design involves many types of science. Construction workers use their knowledge and understanding of
materials to build homes that are strong and secure. Energy consultants design energy saving features to keep us
warm in winter. Chemists, using their knowledge of chemical energy, have helped to develop a range of fuels for
cooking, heating and transport, and using their knowledge of materials have created a wide variety of products
found in the home. Energy company employees ensure that the electricity generated by our power stations is
distributed all over the country to our homes.

Science B

In this theme there are three contexts:


3.4.2.1

Materials used to construct our homes

3.4.2.2

Fuels for cooking, heating and transport

3.4.2.3

Generation and distribution of electricity

3.4.2.1 Materials used to construct our homes


Candidates need to understand that:
Limestone can be changed chemically to make a variety of construction materials. It can be used to make quicklime
and slaked lime. Limestone also provides a starting point for the manufacture of cement, concrete and glass.
Metals have several different uses in construction according to their properties and patterns in reactivity.
Polymers, ceramics and composites are examples of manufactured construction materials. Wood is an example of
a natural construction material.
Understanding the structure, properties and chemical reactions of these materials enables the building industry to
pick the most suitable material for a particular use.
Architects and construction companies are now considering more sustainable methods of house construction.
Candidates need to:
1. Know that limestone is obtained from the ground by quarrying.
2. Give some uses of limestone in the building industry.
3. Describe the conversion of limestone into quicklime and quicklime into slaked lime, and know the chemical
formulae for these materials.
4. Outline the manufacturing processes for the production of quicklime, cement and glass.
5. Describe the composition and use of mortar and concrete.
6. Know the characteristic properties of metals (good heat and electrical conductors, malleability, ductility,
resistance to corrosion, strength and hardness).
7. Relate uses of metals in the building industry to the properties of these metals.
8. Know that most polymers are manufactured using chemicals obtained from crude oil.
9. Describe how polymers are produced when many small molecules (monomers) join together to form very large
molecules (polymerisation).

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10. Know that polymers are flexible, poor conductors of heat and electricity, resistant to corrosion, waterproof and
that most of them have low melting points. These properties relate to their uses in the home.
11. Relate the characteristic properties of ceramics (for example, brittle, high melting point) to their uses in
construction.
12. Be able to recognise and describe a composite material (for example, MDF, fibreglass, reinforced concrete).
13. Describe the properties of a composite as a combination of the properties of its components.

I
I
I
I

the use of quarrying to obtain raw materials for building


the physical properties of materials
the most suitable material for a particular use
the developments in modern (sustainable) building materials, and their advantages and disadvantages
when compared with more traditional materials including straw bale, wood frame and cob construction
changes in the properties of materials resulting from a change of structure.

Science B

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:

Additional guidance
6.

Knowledge of the structure of and bonding in metals, and the effects of alloying on the properties of a metal, is not
required.

7.

Copper is used for water pipes and hot water cylinders because it is malleable, strong, has a high melting point, is a
good conductor of electricity and does not react with water. Copper is used for wiring because it is strong, ductile,
has a high melting point and is a good conductor of electricity. Lead is used for flashing on roofs because it is
unreactive and malleable. Steel is used to make supporting structures and fixings because it has a high tensile
strength. Aluminium is used in window frames because it is resistant to corrosion, malleable, strong and light.

9.

Details of polymerisation required are limited to representation of the formation of poly(ethene) from ethene. The effects
of cross-linking, altering chain length and branching chains on the properties of polymers are not required.

10. Polymers used in construction are poly(ethene), poly(propene), polystyrene and PVC. Most polymers have low melting
points, which makes them easy to mould into shapes. They are used for electrical and thermal insulation (because
they are poor conductors of heat and electricity), pipes and guttering, containers for water and other chemicals.
11. Ceramics are hard, brittle solids with high melting points and are resistant to chemical attack. They are used for
construction and decoration (bricks and tiles), pottery products (bathroom basins and toilets) and specialist industrial
materials (for example, lining for furnaces and insulators on power transmission lines).

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3.4.2.2 Fuels for cooking, heating and transport


Candidates need to understand that:
The chemical energy in hydrocarbons is released when they are burned in air, which makes them useful as fuels.
Crude oil is an important source for a range of other fuels used for cooking and heating in our homes and for
transport. Environmental scientists are concerned about the use of fuels obtained from crude oil for cooking,
heating and transport.
Candidates need to:
1. Name suitable fuels for cooking, heating our homes and for providing transport.
Science B

2. Know that hydrocarbons contain carbon and hydrogen only.


3. Explain some of the problems of burning fossil fuels (pollution, carbon dioxide production and global warming)
and that resources of fossil fuels are finite.
4. Write word and symbol equations for the combustion of hydrocarbons.
5. HT only: write balanced symbol equations for the complete combustion of hydrocarbons.
6. Explain the patterns in the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

the social, economic and environmental impacts of the uses of fuels obtained from crude oil for cooking,
heating and transport
the energy content of different fuels.

Additional guidance

154

1.

Suitable fuels include natural gas, petrol, diesel, kerosene (paraffin) and heating oil.

5.

HT only.

6.

Candidates should recognise the pattern in chemical formulae based on CnH2n + 2. They should be able to recognise
qualitative and quantitative patterns in the amounts of reactants and products.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.4.2.3 Generation and distribution of electricity


Candidates need to understand that:
There is a range of ways of generating electricity to power our homes and there are many advantages and
disadvantages of using different methods. In most power stations electricity is generated by using a fuel to boil
water, and then using the steam produced to turn a turbine, which rotates a generator to generate electricity.
Many people are becoming more concerned about the environmental problems and possible health risks of
distributing electricity over the land by pylons and high-voltage cables.
Candidates need to:
1. Define the terms renewable and non-renewable in the context of energy sources.

3. Explain how nuclear fuels and renewable energy sources (wind, solar, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, biomass and
geothermal) may be used as alternatives to fossil fuels.

Science B

2. Know that fossil fuels (natural gas, oil and coal) release energy when they are burned, which can be used to
generate electricity for our homes.

4. Know that nuclear fuels produce energy from nuclear fission.


5. Explain the problems of using nuclear fuels (problems of radioactive emissions, disposal of waste) and of using
renewable energy sources (unreliability and possible effects on the environment).
6. Describe how electricity can be generated from fossil and nuclear fuels.
7. Describe how electricity is distributed through the National Grid via high-voltage cables.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

I
I

the environmental impact over time of energy production by comparing the advantages and
disadvantages of using alternative energy sources
the economic impact of using alternative energy sources
environmental and health concerns arising from the distribution of electricity by pylons and high-voltage
cables.

Additional guidance
4.

Details of nuclear fission or fusion are not required.

5.

Candidates need to appreciate that nuclear fuels do not produce gases that cause global warming, but that the waste
materials produced by them are radioactive. Radioactive emissions are harmful to life so the waste from nuclear power
stations has to be stored in a safe place until the radiation falls to safe levels.

6.

Details of the construction of generators are not required.

7.

Candidates should appreciate the use of step up and step down transformers. A knowledge of transformer
construction is not required. Calculations involving transformers are not expected.

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Suggestions for practical work that could be used to support Theme 2

Science B

It is the responsibility of the centre to be aware of the health and safety implications of any practical work, and to
ensure that risk assessments for practicals are carried out.

156

Model the limestone cycle: decomposition of CaCO3 to give CaO, reaction with water to give Ca(OH)2, add
more water and then filter to give limewater and use of limewater to test for CO2.

Thermal decomposition of CaCO3 to show limelight.

Make concrete blocks in moulds, varying content, and carry out strength tests.

Test physical properties of metals, for example, density/thermal and electrical conductivity.

Demonstrate fractional distillation of crude oil using CLEAPSS mixture (take care to avoid confusion with the
continuous process in a fractionating column).

Test oil fractions for viscosity, ease of ignition and sootiness of flame.

Compare the energy content of different fuels, for example, by heating a fixed volume of water.

Make models of polymer chains from plastic and cocktail sticks.

Test the products of combustion of fuels to show that carbon dioxide is produced.

Investigate the effect of changing different variables on the output of solar cells (for example, distance from the
light source, the use of different coloured filters and the area of the solar cells).

Demonstrate a model water turbine linked to a generator.

Model the National Grid.

Investigate the properties of ceramics.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.4.3 Theme 3: My property


We use a range of electrical appliances in our homes on a daily basis and as a result many families have to budget
carefully to cover the cost of electricity bills. Many appliances work using electromagnetic waves. Electrical and
electronic engineers work to ensure that our appliances are efficient and that they are safe to use.
In this theme there are two contexts:
3.4.3.1

The cost of running appliances in the home

3.4.3.2

Electromagnetic waves in the home

Candidates need to understand that:


It is useful for energy consultants to be able to compare the running costs of different electrical appliances in our
homes. Energy is used for heating and to power electrical appliances in the home. Electrical appliances transfer
energy. The rate at which the energy is transferred in an electrical appliance is called the power.

Science B

3.4.3.1 The cost of running appliances in the home

Energy labels help consumers work out which appliances are most efficient and cost-effective.
Candidates need to:
1. Know that energy is normally measured in joules and that 1 watt = 1 joule/second.
2. Calculate the power consumed by an electrical appliance using the formula:
Power
(watts)

= potential difference
(volts)

current
(amps)

3. Carry out simple calculations for different electrical appliances in the home using the formula:
Power
= energy transferred
(kilowatt, kW) (kilowatt-hour, kWh)
(watts, W)
(joules)

time
(hours, h)
(seconds, s)

4. Interpret the readings taken from a domestic electricity meter and know that a unit of electricity = 1 kWh.
5. Calculate the costs of using different electrical appliances using:
Total cost = number of kilowatt-hours cost per kilowatt-hour.
6. Interpret information from energy labels on appliances and know why this is useful.
7. Draw and interpret Sankey diagrams that show the types of energy transferred by an electrical appliance.
8. Explain the meaning of the term efficiency when applied to simple energy transfers in electrical appliances,
and give reasons for energy losses in appliances.
9. Calculate the efficiency of an appliance using the equations:
efficiency = useful energy out
total energy in
efficiency = useful power out
total power in

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Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I

the efficiency of different appliances used in the home


the costs of running home appliances.

Additional guidance

Science B

6.

Candidates should appreciate that the EU Energy Label is a compulsory notice applied to all white goods sold within
the EU. It allows consumers to clearly see the efficiency and energy consumption of a product.

3.4.3.2 Electromagnetic waves in the home


Candidates need to understand that:
Electronic engineers use electromagnetic radiation for radio, mobile phones, and cable and satellite television.
Waves transfer energy from a source to other places without any matter being transferred.
The various types of electromagnetic radiation form a continuous spectrum from high frequency (short wavelength)
gamma rays to low frequency (long wavelength) radio waves. The uses of different types of electromagnetic
radiation depend on these and other properties. Home owners are often concerned about the risks of using
devices such as mobile phones that rely on electromagnetic waves.
Candidates need to:
1. Know that electromagnetic radiation travels as waves and moves energy from one place to another.
2. Know that the number of waves per second produced by a source is called the frequency and is measured in
hertz (Hz).
3. Know the order of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves (low frequency/long wavelength) to
gamma rays (high frequency/short wavelength).
4. Know that the higher the frequency of the wave the higher the energy.
5. Use the equation:
velocity (m/s) = frequency (Hz) wavelength (m).
6. Name and describe the uses of the different types of electromagnetic waves used in our homes:
(a) radio waves TV and radio
(b) microwaves mobile phones, satellite TV and cooking
(c) infrared remote controls for TV and DVD players
(d) visible light fibre optic cables
(e) UV sun beds.
7. Know that X-rays and gamma rays are not usually used in the home as they can damage the body, but can be
used in medicine for X-rays and radiotherapy.

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Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I

how the uses of different types of waves depend on their properties


the dangers of using electromagnetic waves for various purposes, eg sun beds, mobile phones and
microwave cookers.

Additional guidance
6.

Candidates should appreciate the dangers associated with the use of each type of wave, and will be asked to show
an understanding of how decisions about the use of communication devices are made.

Science B

Suggestions for practical work that could be used to support Theme 3


It is the responsibility of the centre to be aware of the health and safety implications of any practical work and to
ensure that risk assessments for practicals are carried out.
I

Construct a model house, using sensors and data loggers to measure temperatures with and without various
types of insulation.

Investigate how the efficiency of an electric motor varies with the load.

Candidates read the electricity meter at home on a daily or weekly basis (with permission from their parents).
They could then look for trends in usage and try to explain these, for example, in terms of weather conditions.

Demonstrate the use of an electrical joulemeter to investigate the energy transferred by low-voltage lamps of
different powers, and by low-voltage motors and low-voltage immersion heaters.

Investigate the efficiency of low-voltage bulbs invert in water and measure temperature change.

Use a class set of skipping ropes to investigate frequency and wavelength.

Carry out traditional experiments with a slinky spring.

Carry out traditional investigations using ripple tanks, including the relationship between depth of water and
speed of wave.

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Unit 3: Making My World a Better Place


In recent years scientific knowledge and understanding has increased, resulting in the introduction of new
materials, drugs and technologies. Many of these are beneficial to us but some have implications on society and
the environment.

Science B

The Earth provides us with the resources necessary for our continued existence. Scientists play a vital role in
furthering our understanding of how resources can be removed from the Earth and used for our benefit whilst
ensuring sustainability.
Scientists such as research chemists, materials scientists, environmental scientists and polymer scientists all work
to try to produce new products and minimise their impact on the environment. They also realise that the home
environment needs to be monitored in order to maintain our health and wellbeing.
This unit is assessed by a one-hour written paper, which is worth 25% of the overall marks for the specification.
Application of knowledge and understanding gained in discussing, evaluating and suggesting implications of data
and evidence is also assessed in the written paper. Areas that could be covered are highlighted at the end of each
context.
This unit is divided into three themes:
Theme 1: Improving health and wellbeing
Theme 2: Making and improving products
Theme 3: Improving our environment

3.5.1 Theme 1: Improving health and wellbeing


People working in the medical professions use their knowledge to diagnose and treat disease and illness, or to
research new ways of treating disease. In both cases, medical scientists need to be aware of how the healthy
body works as well as what may cause the body to become unhealthy.
In this theme there are three contexts:
3.5.1.1

The use (and misuse) of drugs

3.5.1.2

The use of vaccines

3.5.1.3

The use of ionising radiation in medicine

3.5.1.1 The use (and misuse) of drugs


Candidates need to understand that:
Most drugs are legal and used to improve our quality of life by helping cure or prevent disease but many may
cause side-effects if they are over-dosed. Some drugs are illegal and some are used for recreational purposes.
There is evidence that links respiratory and circulatory disorders to the misuse of tobacco and alcohol.
Drug testing for illegal drugs is carried out in some workplaces to improve the health and safety of employees.
Before new medicines can be released onto the market, they must be tested extensively and must be passed by
the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

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Candidates need to:


1. Know that before a medicine can be used for treating a disease it undergoes extensive clinical trials.
2. Know that disease may be treated with medicines that contain useful drugs (eg penicillin is an antibiotic, aspirin
is anti-inflammatory).
3. Know that most bacteria, but not viruses, may be killed by antibiotics.
4. Describe how some bacteria develop resistance to, or may not be easily treated by, antibiotics (for example,
MRSA). Pathogens mutate spontaneously, producing resistant strains.
5. HT only: explain how resistant strains develop:

(b) individual resistant pathogens survive and reproduce, so the population of the resistant strain
rises

Science B

(a) antibiotics kill individual pathogens of the non-resistant strain

(c) now, antibiotics are not used to treat non-serious infections such as mild throat infections in
order to slow down the rate of development of resistant strains.
6. Know that some medicines, including painkillers, help to relieve the symptoms of disease, but do not provide a
cure (for example, aspirin, paracetamol, treatments for high blood pressure, antidepressants and sleeping
tablets).
7. Describe the problems caused by over-prescribing of antibiotics, including resistance and costs to the NHS.
8. Give examples of recreational drugs that may harm the body (alcohol, nicotine, antidepressants,
amphetamines, barbiturates, heroin, cocaine and cannabis).
9. Know that some people may become dependent on, or addicted to, recreational drugs because the drug
changes some of the chemical processes in the body, and they suffer withdrawal symptoms without them (for
example, nicotine in tobacco).
10. Know that tobacco smoke contains substances that cause diseases of the respiratory and circulatory
systems.
11. Know that tobacco smoke also contains carbon monoxide, which reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the
blood.
12. Know that alcohol affects the nervous system by slowing down reactions (loss of self-control) and causes
long-term damage to the liver and brain.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I
I
I
I
I

the impact of legal (alcohol and tobacco) and illegal drugs on the body
the link between smoking and respiratory and circulatory diseases
the misuse of antibiotics, resulting in bacterial resistance and increased costs to the NHS
the issues caused by the over-use of symptom-relieving drugs
the issues of testing new drugs on animals and humans
personalisation of medicines.

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Science B

Additional guidance
1.

Candidates should appreciate that extensive research is carried out in laboratories using cells, tissues and animals
and in clinical trials in healthy volunteers and patients before a new medicine is marketed. They should also be aware
that the safety of all medicines is monitored throughout their use. Strict regulations control the research of new
medicines on animals.

5.

HT only.

9.

Candidates should be able to discuss the use and abuse of medical and recreational drugs and need to know the
reasons why tobacco and alcohol are considered dangerous and why their use is discouraged (for example, through
advertising and restriction of sales to young people).

3.5.1.2 The use of vaccines


Candidates need to understand that:
Medical scientists have known for a long time that recovery from some diseases, which we now know to be
infections, leads to freedom from the same disease again, often for life. This is called immunity.
Medical scientists have developed vaccination, which can prevent certain diseases occurring in the first place.
Vaccination is the simplest, most efficient and cost-effective way to prevent life-threatening infections in the
community.
Vaccination has helped to reduce the frequency of certain diseases in many parts of the world.
There are occasional scares about the safety of some vaccines. Some people believe vaccines overload our
immune system, making it less able to react to other diseases that are now threatening our health such as
meningitis, AIDS and cancer. Other people are concerned about possible side-effects of vaccines, although these
are usually mild and not life-threatening.
Candidates need to:
1. Name some diseases caused by bacteria (tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid) and viruses (influenza, measles,
mumps, rubella, polio).
2. Know that pathogens can enter the body through wounds, the respiratory system, the digestive system and
by sexual transmission, as a result of unhygienic conditions or contact with infected people.
3. Know that some types of bacteria and viruses make us feel ill when they reproduce rapidly in the body
(bacteria by producing toxins and viruses by causing cell damage).
4. Describe how platelets help to form a barrier to infection through a cut.
5. Describe how white blood cells help to defend against pathogens.
6. Describe how antibodies in the blood provide immunity to certain diseases.
7. Explain how vaccination protects humans from infection.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

162

the value to individuals and populations of being vaccinated against diseases, including concerns
about side-effects and effects on the immune system
how the occurrence of diseases has changed as a result of increased use of vaccinations.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional guidance
2.

Candidates should be able to describe some of the bodys natural defence mechanisms against microbes (for
example, that platelets help the blood to clot at the site of a wound and that white blood cells engulf and digest
foreign cells).

5.

Candidates should know the action of phagocytes and lymphocytes.

7.

Candidates should know that vaccination involves the introduction of a mild or dead form of the infecting bacterium or
virus, which causes white cells to produce antibodies against it. If the same organism later infects the person, the
antibodies are produced quickly enough to destroy the organism and prevent development of the disease.

Candidates need to understand that:


Over time scientists have discovered that ionising radiation can be very helpful to us but also very harmful. They
have found out that certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum we use in our daily lives pose hazards that are
specific to the type of electromagnetic wave.

Science B

3.5.1.3 The use of ionising radiation in medicine

Medical professionals diagnose and treat certain diseases, such as cancer, by using ionising radiation. Both
professionals and patients need to be monitored and protected from the harmful effects of the radiation.
Radiotherapy is the treatment of cancer using high-energy (ionising) radiation. The ionising radiation damages or
destroys cells in the area being treated, making it impossible for the cancer cells to continue to grow.
Before treatment with ionising radiation there are ethical issues that may have to be considered.
Candidates need to:
1. Know that X-rays and gamma rays are examples of transverse waves.
2. Know that X-rays and gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation.
3. Understand that ionising radiation kills living cells and because of this can be used to treat cancer.
4. State the characteristics and properties of the three main types of nuclear radiation emitted continuously by
radioactive sources (alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays).
5. Describe the characteristic properties of X-rays (penetration) that enable them to be used to diagnose medical
disorders.
6. Know that some medical imaging equipment involves the use of gamma rays, which can be detected using a
gamma camera.
7. Know that the use of high-energy radiation can be dangerous and needs to be monitored.
8. Explain why people who work with radiation wear film badges and why these are monitored regularly to check
the levels of radiation absorbed.
9. Be able to describe the construction of a film badge.

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Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

I
I

the advantages and disadvantages of using ionising radiation for the diagnosis (including medical
tracers) and treatment of diseases
the care of health workers who use ionising radiation as part of their everyday work
ethical issues that may need to be considered by doctors and patients before the treatment of cancers
with ionising radiation.

Science B

Additional guidance
4.

Candidates should be able to describe the properties (penetrating power, hazards) and the nature (particles or waves)
of alpha, beta and gamma radiation emitted from radioactive sources.

6.

Candidates should appreciate that both external and internal radiation may be used for diagnosis. X-rays pass easily
through flesh but not through denser material such as bone or metal, and can be detected using photographic film.
Tracers are specially formulated substances which collect in a specific part of the body. These substances (sometimes
called radiopharmaceuticals) emit faint gamma ray signals which are detected using a gamma camera. Details of the
gamma camera are not required.

Suggestions for practical work that could be used to support Theme 1


It is the responsibility of the centre to be aware of the health and safety implications of any practical work, and to
ensure that risk assessments for practicals are carried out.

164

Use pre-inoculated agar in Petri dishes to evaluate the effect of disinfectants and antibiotics.

Investigate the effects of drugs (caffeine-based drinks, sleeping pills, alcohol) on Daphnia heartbeat rate.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.5.2 Theme 2: Making and improving products


Scientists seek to make new products from naturally occurring starting materials such as metals, rocks and
minerals by physical or chemical change. These products affect our quality of life and wellbeing.
When developing and making new products scientists have to be concerned about the effect of doing so on the
environment.
In this theme there are three contexts:
Uses of electroplating

3.5.2.2

Developing new products

3.5.2.3

Selective breeding and genetic engineering

Science B

3.5.2.1

3.5.2.1 Uses of electroplating


Candidates need to understand that:
Many household objects are made of metals that corrode in the presence of water and air. Electroplaters use their
knowledge of the reactivity of metals to ensure that our property lasts as long as possible and is suitable for
purpose. Electrolysis is used to electroplate some metals. The electroplating industry is concerned about the risks
involved in the electroplating process because many of the materials used are hazardous.
Candidates need to:
1. Give reasons for electroplating metals (prevention of corrosion, decoration).
2. Name some household objects that are electroplated to prevent corrosion.
3. Describe the process of electroplating as the application of a metal coating to a metallic or conducting surface
by electrolysis.
4. Know that electrolysis involves the movement of charged particles in an electrolyte.
5. Know that the cathode is the negative electrode and the anode is the positive electrode in an electrolysis cell.
6. Know that the article to be electroplated is made the cathode, and immersed in an aqueous solution
containing ions of the required metal. The anode is usually a bar of the metal used for plating. During
electrolysis metal is deposited on the article as metal from the anode goes into solution.
7. Understand that charged particles are called ions and that ions are atoms which have either lost or gained an
electron.
8. HT only: be able to complete simple equations to show the process at the cathode and anode:
(a) Mn+ + ne  M
(b) M  Mn+ + ne
9. Explain why nickel jewellery is electroplated with precious metals (prevention of allergies or for decoration).

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Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I
I
I

the potential risks to employees in the electroplating industry


the suitability of different metals for electroplating items
knowledge of charged particles to explain the electroplating of metal objects.

Science B

Additional guidance
2.

Suitable objects that are electroplated include jewellery, cutlery, cookery utensils and decorative items.

8.

HT only.

3.5.2.2 Developing new products


Candidates need to understand that:
Scientists are constantly seeking alternative products, especially in industry where being at the forefront of
technology means commercial success. Materials scientists study how things are put together (including their
atomic structure) and their chemical and physical properties. They use this information to create new materials and
products. They look at what they require from materials and then alter the materials to make them better suited to
their job in both the home and the wider world.
Candidates need to:
1. Give examples of new products and suggest uses for them:
(a) smart (self-healing) paints a coating that heals its own scratches when exposed to sunlight
(b) superconductors substances whose resistance becomes almost zero at low temperatures, which
reduces energy losses
(c) smart materials substances that are able to change their properties in response to the environment
(d) chromic materials thermochromic, photochromic materials that change their colour according to
changes in temperature and light intensity.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

the advantages and disadvantages of modern products compared with traditional products.

Additional guidance
Applications of smart paints include coating virtually anything that can be scratched, ranging from electronics to aircraft
and cars.
Applications of superconductors include powerful electromagnets used in MRI scanners and magnetic levitation (for
example, Maglev trains).
Applications of smart materials include dental braces, spectacle frames, shrink wrap packaging and wound dressings.
Applications of chromic materials include intelligent packaging that contains inks that change colour according to storage
temperature, spectacle lenses, windows, rear-view mirrors, light detectors, optical switches and light intensity meters.

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3.5.2.3 Selective breeding and genetic engineering


Candidates need to understand that:
The human population is increasing rapidly. This has had implications for feeding all of the people. Agricultural
scientists have worked to produce animals and crops with favourable characteristics in order to produce more
food for the increased population.
Some people believe that the risks connected with selective breeding such as inbreeding and the development of
unfavourable characteristics are a disadvantage.

Geneticists are also using their techniques to help couples with fertility problems or to create designer babies,
and for gene replacement therapy.

Science B

Biotechnologists have developed plant tissue culture (micropropagation), which allows the rapid production of
many genetically identical plants that may be used for food. They have also developed techniques that allow
culture of animal and human organs.

Candidates need to:


1. Explain how selective breeding of plants and animals involves selecting the parents with desired
characteristics, crossing them, selecting from their offspring, and then repeating the process over several
generations.
2. Understand that cloning techniques involve laboratory processes to produce offspring that are genetically
identical to the donor parent.
3. Explain how genetic engineering involves the transfer of foreign genes into the cells of animals or plants at an
early stage in their development so that they develop with desired characteristics.
4. Describe how human insulin is produced using genetically modified bacteria.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

I
I
I

the economic, social and ethical issues concerning genetic engineering, genetically modified foods and
designer babies
the ethics of genetic engineering compared to selective breeding
the ethics of gene replacement therapy
examples of risks associated with selective breeding and genetic engineering.

Additional guidance
2.

Knowledge required of cloning techniques is limited to tissue culture, where fragments of tissue from an animal or
plant are transferred to an artificial environment in which they can continue to survive and function. The cultured tissue
may consist of a single cell, a population of cells, or a whole or part of an organ.

3.

Candidates will be expected to understand examples of the use of genetic engineering and to know some of the
changes that can be made to an organisms characteristics by genetic engineering.

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Suggestions for practical work that could be used to support Theme 2

Science B

It is the responsibility of the centre to be aware of the health and safety implications of any practical work, and to
ensure that risk assessments for practicals are carried out.

168

Grow new plants from tissue cultures.

Electrolysis of copper sulfate solution using copper electrodes.

Investigate the factors that affect electrolysis of copper sulfate/electroplating of copper.

Investigate smart materials, eg memory wire, pressure-sensitive resistance film.

Calibrate a chromic strip to be used as a forehead thermometer.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.5.3 Theme 3: Improving our environment


We all need to be aware of the effects that making and using products in everyday life can have on the world
around us. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to lessen the damage we do by improving the ways we
make, use and dispose of products.
Energy is expensive and should not be wasted. Energy consultants need to understand how heat is transferred.
Home owners need to show how energy efficient their house is before they can sell it.
Environmental scientists realise that pollution-free air in the home is important for our health and wellbeing.
In this theme there are three contexts:
Environmental concerns when making and using products

3.5.3.2

Saving energy in the home

3.5.3.3

Controlling pollution in the home

Science B

3.5.3.1

3.5.3.1 Environmental concerns when making and using products


Candidates need to understand that:
In everyday life we rely on a vast array of products to sustain and improve our standard of living. Environmental
scientists realise that making and using some products have a polluting effect on the environment during
manufacture, use and disposal. Scientists, technologists and engineers working in different areas are now seeking
ways to solve these problems and to make products more environmentally friendly.
Plant biologists and polymer scientists are involved in producing biodegradable plastics from plants that could be
used for packaging.
Some consumers are concerned not only about the quality of products and their cost but also about the effect on
the environment of their production and disposal. Consumers are often encouraged to consider the amount and
type of packaging of the product.
Candidates need to:
1. Describe the main ways in which making and using products may result in increased emissions of natural
greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing global warming, including:
(a) carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels in vehicles and power stations
(b) methane from decomposition of rubbish in landfill sites and various forms of agriculture
(c) nitrous oxide from vehicle exhausts and power stations and as a result of increased use of nitrogen-based
fertilisers.
2. Explain how increased greenhouse gases absorb more long-wave radiation from the Earth and retain heat in
the atmosphere.
3. Know about international agreements such as the Kyoto agreement on climate change to achieve the
stabilisation of the dangerous gases carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
4. Describe how leaching of artificial fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides causes pollution in lakes and rivers
(eutrophication).
5. Explain the process of eutrophication resulting from over-use of fertilisers.

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6. Explain how indicator species may be used to monitor changes in pollution levels:
(a) water pollution bloodworm, water louse, sludgeworm, rat-tailed maggot
(b) air pollution lichen.
7. HT only: describe the methods of degrading plastics:
(a) photo-degradable those that degrade after prolonged exposure to sunlight

Science B

(b) oxo-degradable an additive helps to break down the plastic, allowing access by microbes.
8. HT only: explain why plastics such as Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH) and Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH)
are used for plastic films for packaging and shopping bags.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

the environmental impact of landfill sites for the disposal of waste materials including plastics

the advantages and disadvantages of using plants to make plastics

disposal of waste material by incinerating or recycling

changes to the composition of water and air as a consequence of industrial activity

use of data gained from indicator species to evaluate the levels of pollution

the advantages and disadvantages of using biodegradable products in landfill.

Additional guidance

170

1.

Candidates should appreciate how greenhouse gases may be produced by human activity. Methane is formed when
domestic kitchen waste and plants decay and where there is very little air. It is found frequently around water and
swamps. Rice (a major food product) grows mainly in flooded fields, where bacteria in waterlogged soil release
methane. Bacteria that break down organic matter in wetlands and bacteria that are found in farm animals also
produce methane naturally. Amounts of nitrogen-based fertilisers used have increased with the need for greater crop
yields, and use of more intensive farming practices. Where large applications of fertiliser are combined with soil
conditions favourable to denitrification, large amounts of nitrous oxide can be produced and emitted into the
atmosphere. Similarly, the widespread and poor control of the use of animal waste as fertiliser can lead to substantial
emissions of nitrous oxide from agricultural soils.

3.

Candidates should appreciate that the Kyoto agreement was generally seen as an important first step towards a
global emission reduction regime that would stabilise greenhouse gas emissions, but Australia and the USA refused to
sign the agreement. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol was that it set up binding targets for 37 industrialised
countries and the European Community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average
of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 20082012.

7.

HT only. Biodegradable products break down into substances that may be useful (for example, in
compost). Non-degradable products use productive land in landfill, and partial breakdown produces toxic
materials that may leak into the environment.

8.

HT only. Candidates should appreciate that PVOH and EVOH are water-soluble plastics and
biodegradable.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.5.3.2 Saving energy in the home


Candidates need to understand that:
Energy consultants advise home owners and builders of measures that may be taken to reduce the rate of heat
loss in our homes. Over the past few years the parts of the building regulations that relate to energy efficiency have
been revised several times in line with the need for increased energy efficiency, and to reduce the impact that
buildings have on global warming. This has meant significant changes to the thickness of insulation required for
buildings to help save money on utility bills and reduce effects on the environment. Energy consultants also
consider the payback time when installing energy-saving measures.
Candidates need to:
1. Describe how heat is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation in the home.
Science B

2. Describe ways of minimising heat loss in the home (for example, insulation, double glazing, hot water tank
jackets, thermostatic controls, draught excluders).
3. Know that the U-value is the measure of the rate of heat loss through a material.
4. Explain the term payback time in relation to installing energy-saving measures.
5. Explain the difference between efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of methods used to reduce domestic energy consumption

U-values of different types of material.

Additional guidance
1.

3.

Knowledge of heat transfer mechanisms should be limited to:


I

conduction the transfer of heat energy through a substance (for example, metal) without the substance
moving

convection the transfer of heat energy by gases or liquids moving

hot objects emit heat energy by radiation.

Candidates should be able to interpret U-value data. Any formulae required to interpret data will be given.

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3.5.3.3 Controlling pollution in the home


Candidates need to understand that:
Scientists realise that clean air is something we all need for a healthy home environment. In certain circumstances
indoor pollution can be more serious than outdoor pollution.

Science B

Some of the build-up of indoor pollution in today's homes is a direct result of our efforts to be energy efficient. As
energy consultants strive to design homes that are more energy efficient an environment is created which is
susceptible to indoor air quality problems. Air conditioning in our homes and offices means that air is recycled
many times over, often with fresh air entering only when we open doors or windows. Surveyors have realised that
pollution may also be caused by the type of soils beneath our homes.
Candidates need to:
1. Name some of the common pollutants in homes (dust, mould and spores, pollen, smoke, fumes from
household products).
2. Name some of the common symptoms of exposure to high indoor pollution levels (asthma, headaches,
tiredness, dizziness, nausea, itchy nose, sore throat).
3. Interpret hazard labels on household products.
4. State the risks associated with these hazards, and know ways of minimising these risks.
5. Explain why domestic boilers need an adequate supply of air to work efficiently.
6. Explain how incomplete combustion of fuels used in domestic boilers results in lower energy output and the
formation of toxic combustion products (carbon monoxide) and soot.
7. Know that radon is a radioactive gas and is a cause of cancer.
8. Understand that if rocks and soil beneath the home contain large concentrations of radium or uranium, radon
may become a pollutant.

Within this context, candidates should be able to use scientific data and evidence to discuss,
evaluate or suggest implications of the following:
I

the hazards and risks caused by using household products

methods of reducing pollution in the home including the use of less toxic products

the importance of ventilation in the home

the dangers of radon gas in the home.

Additional guidance
6.

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Balanced chemical equations for incomplete combustion are not required.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Suggestions for practical work that could be used to support Theme 3


It is the responsibility of the centre to be aware of the health and safety implications of any practical work, and to
ensure that risk assessments for practicals are carried out.
Demonstrate the production of solid particles by incomplete combustion using a Bunsen burner yellow flame or
a candle flame to heat a boiling tube of cold water.

Demonstrate burning sulfur or coal in oxygen and test the pH of the gas produced.

Grow cress from seeds and add various concentrations of sodium metabisulfite solution to show how acid rain
affects plants.

Investigate the effects of SO2 on growth of cress seedlings.

Science B

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Subject Content Book
Additional Applied Science

Additional Applied Science


4505

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Unit 1 AAS1 Science at Work

Additional Applied Science

Unit 1 is divided into six sections:


3.3.1

Following standard procedures

3.3.2

Health and safety at work

3.3.3

The use of science in maintaining health and fitness

3.3.4

The use of science to develop materials for specific purposes

3.3.5

The use of science in food production

3.3.6

The use of science in analysis and detection

Each section begins with an overview to put the


content into clear and relevant contexts, emphasising
why such knowledge is relevant to people today and
why the work of the scientists concerned is important.
Teachers should use the sections entitled Candidates
need to understand that: to introduce candidates to
the content and to encourage informed discussion
around the subject covered.

176

Additional guidance, expansion of the content and


clarification on what may be examined is given at the
end of each section. Numbering in the additional
guidance boxes corresponds with the numbering of
the subject content above it.
The subject content is assessed by a 60 minute written
paper, which is worth 40% of the overall marks for the
specification.

The substantive content of each section is presented


under the heading Candidates need to: as a series of
numbered statements containing details of what
candidates need to know and understand and what
they will be assessed on.

Application of knowledge and understanding gained in


discussing, evaluating and suggesting implications of
data and evidence is also assessed in the written
paper. Areas that could be covered are highlighted at
the end of each section.

At the end of each section there is a box highlighting


areas where candidates will be expected to apply the
knowledge and understanding they have gained in
discussing, evaluating and suggesting implications of
data and evidence (How Science Works).

The content of Unit 1 directly links to the


investigation and research that candidates will
carry out in the Controlled Assessment unit (Unit 2).

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.1 Following standard procedures

Candidates need to understand that:


When working in laboratories scientists follow standard procedures to obtain evidence.
In developing procedures, scientists will often start with an observation and make a hypothesis to explain their
observation. They then test their hypothesis, with trials and experiments that can also be carried out by other
people, to show why their data and results are correct.
A standard procedure describes exactly how to carry out an experiment or procedure, and ensures that everyone
who carries out a particular experiment does it in exactly the same way so that the results collected are consistent.
For these reasons, standard procedures are very important in the scientific workplace and are used when
monitoring and controlling processes and when making and analysing substances. Standard procedures are
agreed within a company or organisation and may be agreed nationally or internationally.

Additional Applied Science

Throughout this course candidates will learn that standard procedures are an important part of practice in science
laboratories. They will learn about the importance of using scientific methodology and following standard
procedures, and how to use them correctly.

Throughout this course, candidates need to be able to:


1. Explain the importance of using standard procedures to obtain evidence.
2. Read a procedure and check to see if there is anything they do not understand.
3. Set out their work area appropriately and collect together the equipment and materials needed.
4. Follow instructions one step at a time.
5. Select instruments of appropriate sensitivity and use them to make accurate observations or measurements.
6. Identify possible sources of error and repeat observations and measurements, when necessary, to improve
reproducibility and repeatability.
7. Use evidence collected from their experimental work to make informed conclusions.
8. Present their evidence and conclusions in a suitable report that clearly communicates their findings to others.

Additional guidance
Whilst completing practical work throughout the course and their investigations for Unit 2, candidates should be able to
use the principles of scientific methodology and follow standard procedures.
Candidates should appreciate that scientists start investigations by asking a question or recognising a problem. In order
to answer the question or solve the problem scientists carry out research and make a hypothesis. They then test the
hypothesis by doing experiments or tests. They analyse the evidence they obtain from the experiments and make
conclusions from their analyses. Finally, they communicate their conclusions and the procedures they have followed to
others.
Examination questions may also require candidates to give reasons for selecting appropriate instruments and to identify
anomalous results from given data.

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Additional Applied Science

3.3.2 Health and safety at work


In this section, candidates will learn about the regulations that deal with health and safety in the workplace and
about the importance of assessing and managing risk assessment and applying safe practice. Candidates will be
expected to apply safe practices throughout the practical work they undertake during the course.
Candidates need to understand that:
Strict regulations control the way in which scientists work and behave in laboratories and other workplaces.
Regulations are designed to protect the people who work in potentially hazardous environments. Both
employers and employees have responsibilities for ensuring that these regulations are followed and that all work
is carried out safely.
Candidates need to know:
1. That the Health and Safety at Work Act deals with occupational health and safety in the United Kingdom.
2. That the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the regulatory body responsible for the regulation of risks to
health and safety in the workplace.
3. The commonly used hazard symbols (biohazard, dangerous for the environment, explosive, highly flammable,
harmful/irritant, oxidising, radioactivity, electrical hazard and toxic).
4. The common safety signs used in workplaces (mandatory signs for eye protection, hand protection, breathing
masks, ear protection; safe condition signs: first aid, eye wash, emergency shower and fire alarm point).
5. The common types of fire extinguishers (water, foam, powder and carbon dioxide) and which type of fire each
should be used on.
6. How to carry out a health and safety check of their own working area.
7. How to carry out risk assessments for all practical activities undertaken during this course.

Additional guidance
7.

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Whilst completing practical work throughout the course and their investigation for Unit 2, candidates should be able to
complete and use appropriate risk assessments.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.3 The use of science in maintaining health and fitness


In this section candidates will learn about some of the science and techniques used by healthcare scientists who
work in maintaining health and fitness.

This section should be delivered as far as possible in terms of the knowledge, understanding and skills that
healthcare scientists (for example, sports physiologists, nutritionists, dieticians and physiotherapists) use to carry
out their work.

3.3.3.1 Healthcare scientists


Candidates need to understand that:
Healthcare scientists play a vital role in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a huge number of medical
conditions and in rehabilitation. Together with doctors and nurses, healthcare scientists include pharmacists,
dieticians, physiotherapists and people involved in the coaching and training of sportsmen and women.

Additional Applied Science

Physiologists are interested in the health and fitness of the parts of the body involved in exercise. Nutritionists and
dieticians help to optimise performance by controlling energy and nutrient intake.

Candidates need to know:


1. At least two occupations in healthcare science.
2. The roles of at least two healthcare scientists.
3. The role of a fitness practitioner.

Additional guidance
Candidates may link this part of the specification with their Unit 2 report.

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Additional Applied Science

3.3.3.2 Exercise and the human body


Candidates need to understand that:
Healthcare scientists working in fields related to exercise and fitness need a detailed understanding of the organs
and organ systems in the body and understand the need for personal fitness. Before healthcare scientists can
advise on personal fitness, they need to be able to take baseline measurements of physiological changes that
happen in the body before, during, and after exercise from a large number of people to build up a model of normal
values. They can then compare these values with readings from individuals and use them to develop ways of
improving fitness.
Candidates need to know:
1. The physiological changes that occur during exercise (linked to breathing and heart rate): increase in heart
rate, increase in the volume of blood pumped with each beat, increase in the breathing rate and increase in the
volume of each breath.
2. How to take baseline measurements of:
(a) the heart rate (pulse) and the breathing rate at rest and during exercise, and how to monitor the recovery
rate immediately after exercise
(b) temperature
(c) the vital capacity and tidal volume of the lungs using a spirometer and to be able to define these terms
(d) the glucose content of blood and urine using a dip-stick method
(e) the strength of a muscle using the grip test method.
3. The parts of the thorax related to breathing (ribs, intercostal muscles, diaphragm, lungs, trachea, bronchi,
bronchioles and alveoli), and be able to recognise these on a diagram.
4. How the structure of the thorax enables ventilation of the lungs.
5. The structure of the human cardiovascular system.
6. The function of the heart and lungs in providing glucose and oxygen to the muscles.
7. The word equation for aerobic respiration:
glucose + oxygen  carbon dioxide + water (+ energy)
8. The formula equation for aerobic respiration:
C6H12O6 + 6O2  6CO2 + 6H2O (+ energy)
9. That if insufficient oxygen is reaching the muscles, they use anaerobic respiration to obtain energy.
10. That anaerobic respiration is the incomplete breakdown of glucose and produces lactic acid.
11. That anaerobic respiration releases much less energy than aerobic respiration.
12. That oxygen debt may occur in muscles due to the build up of lactic acid, which needs to be
converted back to glucose.
13. That the thermoregulatory centre in the brain monitors and controls body temperature.

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14. How humans maintain a constant body temperature:


(a) by sweating (evaporation)
(b) by the dilation of blood vessels that supply skin capillaries.

16. How blood glucose levels are controlled by the hormone insulin.
17. How blood glucose levels are controlled by the hormone glucagon.
18. That glycogen is the storage carbohydrate that is used when circulating blood glucose drops to a low level.

Additional Applied Science

15. How humans maintain the correct amount of water in the body.

Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


I

calculate pulse and breathing rate.

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I
I

suggest suitable measurements to take in order to monitor physiological changes during exercise
discuss the importance of taking accurate, repeatable and reproducible measurements.

Additional guidance
5.

Candidates should be able to describe the structure of the heart and the pathway of the blood through the heart.
They should be able to name the atria and ventricles and should understand how these structures function with
valves to pump the blood.
Candidates should know the differences in both structure and function between the main blood vessels (arteries,
veins and capillaries) and why a pulse can be felt in an artery. They should know the composition of the blood and the
function of the red blood cells (carrying oxygen) and the plasma (carrying glucose).

712. Candidates should be able to explain aerobic and anaerobic respiration and the consequences of both types of
respiration in terms of energy released (when extra energy is needed during vigorous exercise, lactic acid is
produced). Higher Tier candidates also need to know that the lactic acid later needs to be converted back
to glucose, incurring an oxygen debt.
8.

Higher Tier only.

11. Higher Tier only.


12. Higher Tier only.
15. Control of fluid balance should be limited to the kidney maintaining a balance between water taken in and the water
lost. Loss of water occurs in sweat, faeces, urine.
16. Candidates should know that if the blood glucose concentration is too high (following a meal), the pancreas releases
insulin into the blood, which causes the liver to remove glucose from the blood and store it as insoluble glycogen.
17. Higher Tier only.
Candidates also need to know that if the blood glucose concentration is too low (for example, during
exercise) the pancreas releases glucagon, which causes the liver to convert glycogen back to glucose
and release it into the blood.

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3.3.3.3 Injuries to the human body

Additional Applied Science

Candidates need to understand that:


Healthcare professionals who treat injuries need to know how the healthy body works so that they can use the
information they obtain from examining injuries to decide on the best form of treatment.
Healthcare professionals who help to treat injuries include physiotherapists, who use various massaging and
manipulation techniques to treat muscle, ligament and joint injuries. They may also advise on the design and
supervision of exercise programmes following injury. Scientists use the principles of biomechanics to study the
science of movement and biomaterials scientists can advise on appropriate materials and methods to use in
creating artificial joints and limbs.
Candidates need to know:
1. That sports physiotherapists treat skeletal-muscular injuries.
2. That injuries may result in damaged ligaments, pulled or torn muscles, tendon rupture, torn cartilage, damaged
joints, dislocation or fractured bones.
3. The functions of the skeleton in support, protection and allowing movement.
4. The antagonistic action of muscles in moving bones.
5. The role of muscles in moving bones, which act as simple levers.
6. That the turning or twisting effect of a force about a pivot is called its moment.
7. That moment can be calculated using the equation:
moment =
force
(newton
(newtons, N)
metres, Nm)

perpendicular
distance to the
pivot (metres, m)

8. The structure and function of a synovial joint and its parts (cartilage, synovial fluid and synovial
membrane).
9. That worn or injured joints can be replaced by artificial joints made from appropriate materials.

Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


I

discuss the appropriateness of certain materials for artificial joints.

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

evaluate issues arising from use of artificial joints and limbs.

Additional guidance

182

4.

Candidates should know that a joint is where bones meet. Limbs are moved in different directions using joints.
Tendons join muscle to bone, enabling movement. Ligaments join bone to bone, stabilising the joint.

5.

Candidates should be familiar with the structure of the arm (including humerus, radius, ulna, tendons, ligaments,
biceps and triceps), and should be able to describe the action of antagonistic muscles (biceps and triceps).

8.

Higher Tier only.


Candidates should know that in a synovial joint (for example, the knee), cartilage reduces friction,
synovial fluid lubricates the joint and the synovial membrane produces the synovial fluid.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.3.4 Nutrition for exercise and fitness

Candidates need to know:


1. How the daily energy requirement for an individual depends on the mass of the individual (weight) and that this
requirement increases during exercise.
2. Methods used to record dietary habits of individuals (24-hour dietary recall and diet diaries).
3. How to calculate:

Additional Applied Science

Candidates need to understand that:


The correct combination of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water is essential to maximise
athletic performance. Nutritionists and dieticians analyse a persons nutritional intake and use the results of their
analyses, together with their knowledge of how the body uses nutrients, to advise on how to maximise the
performance of the body during exercise.

(a) Basic Energy Requirements (BER) (for every kg of body mass 5.4 kJ are required every hour).
(b) Body Mass Index using the equation:
BMI = mass (in kilograms, kg)
height (in metres, m)2
4. That Body Mass Index is an indicator of ideal weight.
5. That athletes increase their intake of complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) before competing to increase
glycogen stores in the muscles.
6. That some athletes eat a diet high in protein to build muscle.
7. The terms isotonic, hypertonic and hypotonic as related to sports drinks.
8. The composition of isotonic sports drinks (water, glucose and electrolytes).

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I
I
I

compare a normally balanced diet with a diet used by a person competing in sport
evaluate a range of different diets and comment on their suitability for athletes
interpret BMI results.

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Additional Applied Science

Additional guidance

184

2.

Candidates should be able to analyse different diets and diet diaries and suggest suitable diets that may help athletes
to achieve optimum athletic performance.

3.

Candidates should be able to calculate Basic Energy Requirements (BER) and Body Mass Index (BMI) and to
interpret the data obtained. They should be able to use the data in terms of the advice that nutritionists may offer
particular types of athletes.

4.

Candidates should also be aware of the limitations of the use of BMI and that it could lead to incorrect advice in
certain circumstances. For example, a weightlifter is likely to be short and very heavy, because muscle weighs more
than fat.

5.

Candidates should be able to explain the purpose of high-carbohydrate diets and why and when these are used to
achieve maximum performance. They should also be aware of the disadvantages of a high-carbohydrate diet.

6.

Candidates should be able to explain the purpose of high-protein diets and why and when these are used to achieve
maximum performance.

8.

Hypertonic drinks contain high levels of glucose and can be used to supplement carbohydrate intake. Hypotonic
drinks contain little glucose and quickly replace fluids lost by sweating.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.4 The use of science to develop materials for specific purposes


In this section, candidates will learn about some of the reasons why materials are chosen by materials scientists for
particular purposes.

3.3.4.1 Materials scientists


Candidates need to understand that:
Materials scientists are concerned with the design, manufacture and use of all classes of materials (including
metals, ceramics, polymers and biomaterials), and with energy, environmental, health, economic and
manufacturing issues related to materials. Materials scientists conduct research into the structures and properties
of materials in order to obtain information that could be used to develop new products or enhance existing ones.

Additional Applied Science

This section should be delivered as far as possible in terms of the knowledge, understanding and skills that
materials scientists use to carry out their work.

Products must be quality tested before going on sale to ensure that they comply with national and international
standards and mandatory regulations that determine formulation, biological, chemical and physical properties, and
that they are safe to use.
Candidates need to know:
1. That new products and materials are tested to assess quality and fitness for purpose.
2. The names of at least two organisations that are responsible for setting and testing product standards.
3. That products marketed in the European Community should carry the CE Mark.

Additional guidance
2.

Organisations that set standards for products include the British Standards Institute and the European Committee for
Standardisation.

3.

CE marking is a process that applies to a wide variety of products and one which manufacturers located in the EU
or importers of goods into the EU must complete.

Candidates may link this part of the specification with their Unit 2 report.

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3.3.4.2 The properties and uses of materials

Additional Applied Science

Candidates need to understand that:


Deciding which new materials to use to make a product requires a thorough understanding of the properties of the
material and a detailed knowledge of materials science.
Materials scientists often use scientific models to represent the structure of a material. They sometimes undertake
laboratory experiments to test a hypothesis that they have developed from a scientific model, such as a test for the
tolerance of a material under tension or compression.
Candidates need to know:
1. The following terms, and how they are used to describe the properties of materials:
(a) hardness
(b) density
(c) stiffness / flexibility
(d) toughness / brittleness
(e) compressive and tensile (breaking) strength
(f) thermal conductivity
(g) electrical conductivity.
2. That tensile strength is the ability to resist stretching and that compressive strength is the ability to resist
crushing or squashing.
3. How to carry out tests on materials to determine the properties given above, plus resistance to corrosion
(air and water).
4. How to recognise the parts of objects that are in tension or compression.
5. How to use the following relationships to compare materials:
Density =

mass
volume

Stress (N/cm2) =

force (in newtons, N)


cross-sectional area (in cm2)

Hookes Law: Force = Constant


(N)
(N/cm)

Extension
(cm)

6. The main types of materials (wood, metal, polymer, ceramic and composite).
7. The characteristic properties of metals (high tensile strength, thermal conductivity, flexibility and hardness).
8. That metals are malleable, can be hammered into shape and rolled into sheets.
9. That metals make excellent structural materials.
10. That alloys are a mixture of two or more elements, of which at least one is a metal.
11. The characteristic properties of polymers (low density, flexibility and low thermal conductivity).

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12. That thermoplastic polymers (for example, polyethene) are flexible and soften when heated, so are
easy to mould and shape.
13. That altering the chain length and the amount of branching in a polymer affects the strength of
forces between the chains and changes the melting point, density and strength of a polymer.

15. That ceramics are hard, brittle solids with very high melting points, low thermal conductivity and high
resistance to chemical attack.
16. That composites are a combination of materials.
17. The properties of composites in terms of the properties of their components.
18. Examples of the types of material used for sports and medical equipment and transport.

Additional Applied Science

14. That thermosetting polymers (with strong cross-links between the chains that remain rigid once
set) do not melt when heated and cannot be remoulded.

19. The reasons for using different types of material in sports and medical equipment and in transport.
20. The advantages and disadvantages of synthetic materials compared with natural materials.
21. How different properties of materials are desirable for different purposes:
(a) low density
(b) smoothness
(c) high tensile strength
(d) thermal insulation
(e) flexibility
(f) shock-absorbency.

Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


I
I

assess the suitability of materials for a particular purpose (by comparing properties)
compare the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic and natural materials.

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

suggest reasons why materials for specific purposes have changed over time.

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Additional guidance

Additional Applied Science

7.

Candidates should be able to link properties of metals to the model of metallic bonding.

11. Candidates should be able to link the properties of polymers to the model of their bonding (compounds made up of
large long-chained molecules with strong covalent bonds between the atoms in the chain and weaker forces of
attraction between the chains).
12. Higher Tier only.
13. Higher Tier only.
14. Higher Tier only.
19. Some materials and examples of their uses include:
I

aluminium alloys used, for example, in aircraft frames, bicycle frames and tennis racquets

stainless steel used, for example, in exhaust systems, car trim /grilles, road tankers, ship containers, chemical
tankers, surgical instruments, surgical implants, MRI scanners and golf clubs

titanium and its alloys used, for example, in the building of high-performance bicycle frames, aircraft frames and
replacement hip joints

polymers materials for sports clothing, for example as the foam inner layer of cycle helmets

Kevlar a polymer used, for example, to increase the ability to absorb energy in, eg, tennis racquets and the
shafts of golf clubs

Composites for example, laminated windscreens

carbon fibre a composite material used, for example, to make bicycle frames, racing dinghies /yachts, tennis
rackets, badminton rackets, and the shafts of golf clubs

ceramics used, for example, as heat-resistant tiles on space shuttles and catalytic converters

carbon /ceramic a light, hard material used, for example, as brakes on racing cars.

Please note that this list is not exclusive.

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3.3.5 The use of science in food production

Candidates will learn about how microorganisms can adversely affect human health but also how they can be
used to benefit humans. They will also consider some economic and environmental aspects of food production.
This section should be delivered as far as possible in terms of the knowledge, understanding and skills that food
scientists (including nutritionists, dieticians, food analysts, agricultural scientists and those working in public health)
use to carry out their work.

3.3.5.1 Agricultural and food scientists


Candidates need to understand that:
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is an independent food safety authority set up by an Act of Parliament in 2000
to protect the public's health and consumer interests in relation to food. The FSA is responsible for the entire UK
food industry from farming, food production and distribution to retail and catering.

Additional Applied Science

The application of science and technology by agricultural scientists has increased food production throughout the
developed world. In this section, candidates will learn about some of the science and techniques used by
agricultural and food scientists, including microbiologists, in the production of food.

The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) has a responsibility for ensuring that the farming
industry is thriving and that they produce a sustainable, healthy and secure food supply.
Candidates need to know:
1. That the work of agricultural and food scientists may include:
(a) the study of farm crops and animals in order to develop new ways of improving their quality and quantity
(b) the control of pests and weeds safely and effectively
(c) the conservation of soil and water
(d) the use of biotechnology to manipulate the genetic material of plants and crops to make them more
productive or resistant to disease.
2. That agricultural and food scientists may be found in many different types of employment, including:
(a) the food production and processing industries
(b) research to, for example, look for new food sources
(c) sport, where they help athletes understand the links between their performance and what they eat and drink
(d) analysis of food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar or protein, or searching for substitutes
for harmful or undesirable additives such as nitrites.
3. That the FSA and Defra are regulatory authorities responsible for the safe production of the food we eat and
that they also consider the ethical implications of food production.
4. The role of the regulatory authorities in the safe production of food.

Additional guidance
Candidates may link this part of the specification with their Unit 2 report.

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Additional Applied Science

3.3.5.2 Microorganisms and food safety


Candidates need to understand that:
Food poisoning is caused by the growth of microorganisms, usually bacteria, and by the toxins they produce when
they grow. Microbiologists and Public Health Inspectors are responsible for monitoring the growth of bacteria in
places where their presence causes harmful effects.
Candidates need to know:
1. Examples of bacteria that cause food poisoning (campylobacter, E.coli and salmonella).
2. Optimum conditions for the growth of bacteria (warmth, moisture and food source).
3. The common symptoms of food poisoning (stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea).
4. That food hygiene is concerned with the care, preparation and storage of food in order to prevent food
poisoning.
5. How food preparation areas are kept free of bacteria:
(a) good personal hygiene
(b) wearing protective clothing
(c) use of disinfectants on surfaces
(d) using detergents to wash up
(e) sterilisation using high temperatures or gamma rays
(f) correct disposal of waste
(g) control of pests such as insects and mice.
6. The ways in which the growth of bacteria can be slowed down or stopped:
(a) refrigeration: slows down, but does not stop, the growth of bacteria
(b) freezing: stops bacteria multiplying but does not kill them
(c) heating: for example, ultra-heat treatment, where foods such as milk are heated to 132 C for one minute
and then rapidly cooled, which kills virtually all microorganisms and their spores
(d) cooking: at the correct temperature kills microorganisms
(e) drying: removes water so bacteria cannot digest and absorb the food source
(f) salting: makes it impossible for bacteria to reproduce because they lose water from their cells by osmosis
(g) pickling: the addition of vinegar to lower pH and inactivate most microorganisms.
7. How to carry out tests on food products to determine the level of bacteria in the food.
8. How to use aseptic techniques to swab areas to detect the presence of bacteria.
9. How to complete serial dilutions to make accurate bacteria counts.
10. How to make streak plates to identify the type of bacteria present.

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Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

discuss the problems of contamination of food products.

Candidates should be able to describe and use standard laboratory techniques to detect the presence of bacteria and
bacterial contamination in food.

3.3.5.3 Useful microorganisms in the production of food


Candidates need to understand that:
Microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and other fungi play an important part in the production of some foods
and drinks. Microbiologists study these living organisms to see what factors favour their growth and how their
growth can be controlled to produce useful products.

Additional Applied Science

Additional guidance

Candidates need to know:


1. How bacteria, yeast and other fungi are used in food production (yoghurt, cheese, bread, beer and wine).

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

discuss the advantages of using microbes for food production.

Additional guidance
Candidates should be familiar with:
I

the use of bacteria to produce lactic acid in the production of yoghurt and cheese from milk

fermentation producing carbon dioxide gas, which makes dough rise

the use of yeast in fermenting sugar (maltose) to make beer and in fermenting the sugars in grape juice to make
wine.

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3.3.5.4 The use of organic and intensive farming in the production of food

Additional Applied Science

Candidates need to understand that:


Agricultural scientists study how plants grow, determining which nutrients plants need. Two contrasting
approaches to food production are intensive and organic farming.
Intensive farming produces large quantities of food cheaply and efficiently by maximising the growth of crops and
farm animals. Agricultural scientists have produced artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers using chemical
reactions. These products allow food to be produced economically and are less labour intensive than using natural
pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers.
Organic farming uses natural methods of producing crops and raising farm animals. Some consumers are willing
to pay more for an organic product that has been produced in a more environmentally friendly way.
Candidates need to know:
1. That the work of agricultural and food scientists has resulted in:
(a) intensification of farming practices higher inputs are used to produce higher livestock or crop yields
(b) technological and scientific developments in growing crops and rearing animals
(c) better methods of storage, refrigeration and transportation of food.
2. That plants need the minerals nitrates, phosphates, potassium and magnesium, which they obtain from soil,
for healthy growth.
3. That as crops grow they remove the essential nutrients from the soil and that these nutrients need to be
replaced.
4. That by creating controlled environments, farmers can:
(a) manage the inputs of light, temperature and ventilation to provide the best conditions for plant/animal
growth
(b) increase availability of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis
(c) restrict animal movement to reduce energy loss in respiration.
5. The word equation for photosynthesis:

carbon dioide + water

(light energy)
glucose + oxygen

6. How intensive farming increases crop yields by using artificial fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
7. That artificial fertilisers consist of soluble chemical compounds (for example, ammonium nitrate) as a source of
nitrogen, and can be made by neutralisation reactions.
8. That artificial fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are produced using chemical reactions that need
to be controlled to make an economical product.
9. The factors that affect how quickly a chemical reaction occurs (concentration, temperature, use of catalysts
and surface area), and be able to explain these in terms of collision theory.
10. The terms actual yield, theoretical yield and percentage yield, be able to use them correctly and be able to
calculate these yields.

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11. That some products are made using reversible reactions (eg ammonia: N2 + 3H2

2NH3)

12. That in reversible reactions the conditions affect the yield of the products.

14. How organic farming keeps animals under more natural conditions.
15. The advantages and disadvantages of both types of farming (food quality, cost, animal welfare and effect on
environment).
16. How to plan and assess how well a plant grows under various conditions.

Additional Applied Science

13. How organic farming uses the alternative methods of natural fertilisers, natural pesticides and mechanical
methods of eliminating weeds in crop production.

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

suggest the effect on the environment of the continued use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides
and fungicides and the effect of other factors associated with intensive farming
discuss the ethics of food production and its distribution.

Additional guidance
3.

Candidates should know that nutrients can be replaced by either natural (manure) or chemical fertilisers. They should
also know why plants need certain nutrients, for example, nitrates for healthy leaf growth, phosphates for good root
development and potassium for a high fruit yield.

11. Higher Tier only.


Candidates will be expected to write balanced chemical equations for the production of ammonia.
12. Higher Tier only.
The understanding of reversible reactions should be limited to a qualitative treatment of the effects of
temperature and pressure (the manufacture of ammonia for later use in fertiliser production such as
ammonium nitrate).
1315. Candidates should understand how controlled environments are used in intensive farming and be able to
compare these with the techniques used in organic farming (for example, use of natural pests such as ladybirds or
parasitic wasps and mechanical methods of weed control). Candidates should appreciate that if animals are kept
warm they will use less energy, and hence body weight, producing heat. If animals have good ventilation they will
keep healthy and a good food supply will promote growth. Animals farmed organically need more space, more time
and more labour to look after and cost more to produce, but the animals may be better cared for.
16. Candidates should be able to describe and carry out an investigation to determine how well a plant grows under
various conditions. An example would be to grow Brassica rapa or radishes using different nutrient conditions, light
conditions or amounts of water and overcrowding.

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3.3.5.5 The use of selective breeding and genetic engineering in the production of food

Additional Applied Science

Candidates need to understand that:


Agricultural scientists have developed new methods of producing plants and animals with favourable characteristics.
Both crops and livestock have been bred so that they produce more food or are more economical to harvest.
Candidates need to know:
1. That selective breeding allows agricultural and food scientists to:
(a) choose the characteristics of the food item required
(b) produce a more uniform crop (for example, in terms of size or harvesting time)
(c) extend an organisms tolerance range.
2. That selective breeding involves selecting the parents with desired traits, crossing them, selecting from their
offspring and then repeating the process over several generations.
3. That genetic engineering involves the transfer of foreign genes into the cells of animals or plants
at an early stage in their development so that they develop with desired characteristics.

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

discuss the economic, social and ethical issues concerning cloning and genetic engineering and
suggest possible long-term evolutionary problems
consider the impact of selective breeding and genetic engineering on the methods of food production
over time.

Additional guidance
3.

194

Higher Tier only.


Candidates will be expected to understand examples of the use of genetic engineering and to know
some of the changes that can be made to an organisms characteristics by genetic engineering.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.6 The use of science in analysis and detection

Analytical scientists use scientific techniques to identify and to match substances and objects.
This section should be delivered as far as possible in terms of the knowledge, understanding and skills that
analytical scientists use to carry out their work.

3.3.6.1 Analytical scientists


Candidates need to understand that:
Analytical scientists answer questions and solve problems. The most important part of their work is to provide
sufficient evidence that can be verified and used by others to confirm the answers to the questions and problems
they investigate.

Additional Applied Science

One of the important tasks undertaken by scientists is the analysis and identification of chemical and biological
substances. Analytical scientists are found in the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, in the healthcare
and forensic services and in public protection. It is important that an analytical scientist works, records and
interprets results accurately and performs the necessary tests and experiments safely.

Analytical scientists use a variety of scientific procedures, mathematical principles, problem solving methods
(including the use of complex instruments, chemical, biological, physical and microscopic examining techniques) to
obtain and analyse evidence and consult reference literature to verify their work.
The work of analytical scientists includes:
I

monitoring the production process of everything from food and drink to cosmetics and pesticides, ensuring
that the quality of products is maintained

determining the stability and quality of drugs and how they might be improved

analysing body tissues and fluids to help medical staff diagnose disease

analysing substances found at crime scenes to assist in criminal investigations

monitoring and testing air, water and industrial waste.

Candidates need to know:


1. The importance of the work of analytical scientists working, for example,in forensic science, environmental
protection (for example, Defra) healthcare (for example, public health laboratories) and in pharmaceuticals.

Additional guidance
Candidates may link this part of the specification with their Unit 2 report.

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3.3.6.2 Analysing samples using qualitative chemical tests

Additional Applied Science

Candidates need to understand that:


Qualitative analysis is an important aspect of the work of the analytical scientist. Chemical tests can be used to
determine which substances are present in a sample.
The melting point and boiling point of a substance and its behaviour when it is dissolved in water depend on its
structure and bonding. The characteristic behaviour of a substance enables it to be identified.
Candidates need to know:
1. The structure of an ionic compound: a giant lattice held together by strong forces of attraction between
positively charged and negatively charged ions (for example, sodium chloride).
2. Why ionic compounds have high melting points.
3. That many substances obtained from living materials are organic compounds with covalent bonding.
4. The names of some simple covalent compounds, given their formulae, and the formula, given the name of the
compound (CO2, H2O, C2H5OH, C6H12O6).
5. That, although the covalent bonds between the atoms in a molecule are strong, the forces between the
molecules are weak.
6. Why covalent compounds have low melting points and boiling points.
7. That flame tests are used to identify metal ions.
8. How to detect the presence of the metal ions Na+, K+, Ca2+ and Cu2+ using flame tests.
9. How to test the solubility of a compound in water.
10. How to remove solid matter to obtain a clear solution for use in further tests.
11. How to use universal indicator paper and pH meters to measure the pH of a solution.
12. How to use precipitation reactions to detect the presence of the non-metallic ions Cl and SO42, and the metal
ions Ca2+, Cu2+, Fe2+, Fe3+ and Pb2+.
13. How the CO32 ion reacts with dilute hydrochloric acid and the positive result of this test.
14. How to test for carbon dioxide using limewater.
15. How to test for an alcohol (ethanol) using acidified potassium dichromate solution and how this reaction was
used in the original breathalyser.

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Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


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I

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

suggest ways of improving the accuracy and reproducibility of the results obtained from tests on
samples
discuss the advances in breathalyser technology over time.

Additional guidance

Additional Applied Science

determine whether an ionic compound is soluble in water


determine the formula for an ionic compound
suggest the name of a product resulting from a precipitation reaction
draw conclusions about the identity of substances when given the results of a series of chemical tests.

Candidates need to be able to write word equations where appropriate.


Higher Tier candidates need to be able to write balanced symbol equations where appropriate.
1 and 2. Candidates should know that in ionic compounds the strong electrostatic attraction between ions of opposite
charge gives the compounds a close regular structure. The strong force of attraction makes it difficult to separate the
ions, which is why ionic compounds have a high melting point.
5 and 6. Candidates should know that atoms in covalent compounds share electrons and that these compounds are
easy to boil and melt. This is because the bonds that hold the atoms together in a covalent compound are strong
but the bonds that hold the molecules together are weak.

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Additional Applied Science

3.3.6.3 Analysing samples using quantitative techniques


Candidates need to understand that:
Analytical scientists use quantitative analysis to determine the amount of a substance present in a sample. Titration
techniques can be used, for example, to determine the amount of acid in rainwater, lactic acid in milk and certain
types of metal ions in polluted river water.
Candidates need to know:
1. That the relative atomic mass of an element is the mass of its atom relative to the mass of other atoms.
2. How to calculate the relative formula mass of a compound using the formula and the relative masses of the
atoms it contains.
3. That the relative formula mass of a substance, in grams, is known as one mole of that substance.
4. How to calculate the masses of reactants and products from given balanced equations.
5. How to carry out titrations to determine the amount of substance in a sample.

Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


I

interpret results from analytical reports.

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

suggest ways of improving the accuracy and reproducibility of the results obtained from titrations.

Additional guidance
Candidates need to be able to write word equations where appropriate.
Higher Tier candidates need to be able to write balanced symbol equations where appropriate.
5.

198

Titrations should be limited to acidbase techniques (for example, to determine acid content of rainwater or the
concentration of acid in vinegar).

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.6.4 Analysing samples using paper and thin-layer chromatography

Candidates need to know:


1. How coloured mixtures are separated using thin-layer and paper chromatography with both water and nonaqueous solvents.
2. That in chromatography substances are separated by the movement of a solvent (the mobile phase) through a
medium (the stationary phase).
3. How to analyse a simple chromatogram produced by paper or thin-layer chromatography and use it to identify
a substance in a mixture.

Additional Applied Science

Candidates need to understand that:


Chromatography is a technique that can be used to determine the number of components in a mixture. It can be
used by analytical scientists to, for example, separate and compare samples of ink to obtain a match between the
ink used in a particular pen with the ink used in a forged document.

4. That chromatography depends on the relative attractions of molecules of a solute to the solvent
and the medium.
5. Why different colours in the mixture are carried different distances by the solvent.
6. How to use the equation below to compare samples:
Rf

distance travelled by substance


distance travelled by solvent

Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


I

identify and match samples from chromatograms.

Additional guidance
1 and 2. Candidates should be able to describe both paper and thin-layer chromatography techniques and should
understand that separation of components in a mixture is caused by the substances that are more soluble in the
solvent (the mobile phase) travelling faster. The component that is the most soluble in the mobile phase will move
farthest up the paper.
Candidates should appreciate that the thin-layer technique provides the opportunity to use a range of non-aqueous
solvents.
4.

Higher Tier only.

5.

Higher Tier only.

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Additional Applied Science

3.3.6.5 Analysing samples using instrumental techniques


Candidates need to understand that:
Analytical scientists use more expensive and powerful electronic equipment than is available for use in the school
laboratory. The equipment they use gives more accurate results, often using very small quantities of material.
Examples of techniques used by forensic scientists include gas-liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and
infrared spectrometry.
The comparison microscope, polarising microscope and the electron microscope are also important tools used in,
for example, the forensic science laboratory to compare samples.
Candidates need to know:
1. The distinctive features of bullets, fibres, seeds and soil that enable samples to be matched using results
obtained from different types of microscope.
2. The distinctive features of pollen grains and layers of paint.
3. How to interpret simple traces obtained from gas-liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and
infrared spectrometry.
4. Why instrumental techniques provide more precise and reliable evidence than that obtained from
simple laboratory experiments.

Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


I

decide whether observable features indicate a link between different samples and objects, for example,
a suspect and the scene of a crime
use traces from instrumental techniques to identify and match samples, for example,
evidence with a possible suspect.

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

discuss how the use of modern analytical techniques has changed the work of analytical scientists
over time.

Additional guidance
1.

Candidates need to know that measurements or distinctive features could be used to compare and analyse
samples. For example, a bullet passing through the barrel of a gun picks up scratch marks. A test-fired bullet could
be compared under a comparison microscope with a bullet from the crime scene to see if they have the same
scratch marks. If the scratch marks line up it could prove that the gun fired the bullet.
Fibres have distinctive features, which can be detected under the electron microscope including, for example, colour,
pattern and texture (wool has a pattern of surface scales and silk and most synthetic fibres have smooth surfaces).

200

2.

Pollen grains are much smaller than seeds and the distinctive features of pollen grains include size, surface pattern
and colour, which can be viewed with an electron microscope.

3.

Higher Tier only.


Experimental details of gas-liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and infrared spectrometry are
not required. Candidates will be expected to interpret traces to identify a match between an unknown
and known substance.

4.

Higher Tier only.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

3.3.6.6 Analysing body fluids


Candidates need to understand that:
Blood typing can determine whether a bloodstain is human and to which blood group it belongs.

Candidates need to know:


1. The composition of blood (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma).
2. The four main blood groups (A, B, AB and O).
3. That simple animal cells have a nucleus, cytoplasm and cell membrane.
4. That DNA is located in the nucleus of the cell.

Additional Applied Science

Samples of DNA can be extracted from blood, semen and saliva. When cut up into fragments and separated by
electrophoresis, the DNA profile can be matched with great certainty to the DNA provided by, for example, a
suspect of a crime. This technique can also be used to show whether or not people are related.

5. That DNA is unique to the individual (except identical twins).


6. That children inherit their DNA from their parents.
7. That electrophoresis is used to identify DNA fragments.
8. That very small samples of material are required for electrophoresis.
9. How to interpret simple DNA profiles.
10. That DNA profiles can be compared and used to determine whether people are related or were at the scene of
a crime.
11. Why DNA profiles in forensic investigations are of greater use than relying on evidence solely from blood
groups.
12. How charged particles move in an electric field and how this movement can be used to separate
them in order to produce a DNA profile.

Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


I

identify and match evidence from analysis of body fluids.

Candidates should be able to use scientific explanations to:


I

discuss the ethical implications of storing DNA profiles.

Additional guidance
12. Higher Tier only.
Candidates should know that DNA is negatively charged when in an alkaline solution. In an electric field
DNA fragments move towards the positive electrode. The smaller molecules of DNA move much faster
than the larger ones and a DNA profile can be produced.

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Additional Applied Science

3.3.6.7 Analysing glass or plastic samples


Candidates need to understand that:
Different types of glass or plastic have different refractive indices. This enables fragments of glass and plastic to be
compared and matched (for example, fragments found at a crime scene could be matched with fragments found
on a suspects clothing or a vehicle involved in a road traffic offence).
The refractive index of a glass fragment is found by noting its disappearance when it is immersed in oil with the
same refractive index.
The refractive index of blocks of glass or plastic can be obtained by measuring the angle of incidence and the
angle of refraction and calculating sin i/sin r.
Candidates need to know:
1. How the refractive index of a glass fragment is determined using the oil immersion technique:
I

a small fragment of glass is immersed in a special oil on a microscope slide

as the oil is heated the refractive index of the oil changes and at a certain temperature the interface
between the oil and glass will disappear

the temperature of the oil is used to work out the refractive index of the glass.

2. That when light enters a more dense medium it is refracted towards the normal, and that when it enters a less
dense medium it is refracted away from the normal.
3. How to measure the refractive index of a glass block by measuring angles of incidence and refraction.
4. How to use the following equation to determine refractive index:
Refractive index

sin i
sin r

where i is the angle of incidence and r is the angle of refraction.

Candidates should be able to use scientific data to:


I

202

identify and match different types of glass and plastic.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Unit 2 AAS2 How Scientists Use Practical Techniques


3.4.1 Introduction

The documents provided by AQA for each


assignment are:

This unit is assessed by Controlled Assessment. It is


worth 60 % of the marks for the award. The aim of this
unit is for candidates to develop their own practical
and analytical skills to solve problems, work safely and
accurately and to understand the roles of scientists
working in different disciplines.

a list of task titles


a set of Teachers Notes describing the
investigation, suggesting applications, suggesting
ways of contextualising the task for candidates
and suggesting approaches to setting the
practical
notes for candidates on what they are
expected to do.

The total number of marks available for this unit is 90.


In this unit, candidates will carry out two assignments:
I

Assignment 1 comprises research into the work


of a scientist followed by a practical investigation
based on one technique that such a scientist
might use. The particular nature of the scientists in
this assignment will be specified by AQA in the
options given. Assignment 1 is worth 40 marks.
Assignment 2 is a practical investigation set in an
applied context. It is worth 50 marks.

AQA expect that the assignments within this unit


should take a total of approximately 45 hours to
complete.
Each year, AQA will supply four options for each
assignment for candidates to choose from. The
investigations supplied by AQA will be based on, and
will link directly to, the subject content of Unit 1.
It is expected that candidates will follow a practical and
investigational approach throughout their course and
appreciate that scientists and those who work with
science are involved in many types of activity.
Access arrangements (see sections 4.5 and 5.4) can
enable candidates with special needs to undertake this
assessment.
For each assignment, candidates must complete at
least one option although they may attempt any
number of the four options supplied by AQA. For each
assignment, the work that achieves the best mark
should be submitted. The two options may be chosen
from the same area of the specification, but teachers
must ensure that candidates do not carry out the
same technique in Assignment 2 as they have done in
Assignment 1.

Additional Applied Science

3.4.2 Levels of control in task setting, task


taking and task marking
Controlled Assessment is designed to address
problems, such as plagiarism, recognised in
coursework. For each subject, Controlled Assessment
regulations from Ofqual stipulate the level of control
required for task setting, task taking and task marking.
The 'task' is what the candidate has to do; the 'level of
control' indicates the degree of freedom allowed to
teachers and candidates for different aspects of the
'task'. For this unit, the task is an investigation.
Task setting high control
Each year AQA will provide a number of equivalent
investigations for each assignment, set in appropriate
contexts for candidates to complete. Centres should
choose at least one investigation for each assignment
which candidates should complete. It is permissible to
complete more than one investigation and submit the
best for moderation purposes.
Task taking medium control
Research may be undertaken under limited
supervision. This means that candidates need not be
under the direct supervision of staff at all times.
However, candidates are required to complete all of the
work other than research under informal supervision.
This means that the centre must ensure that:
I
I
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plagiarism does not take place


any sources candidates use are clearly recorded
each candidates preparation for the final
production of the work is their own.

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Additional Applied Science

Supervision of candidates must ensure that they


complete the tasks as set by AQA and as
contextualised by the centre.
Teachers may provide limited guidance to candidates.
Teachers may review candidates work and provide
advice at a general level but must not provide detailed
and specific advice on how the draft may be improved
to meet the assessment criteria. The nature of any
guidance provided and the details of any feedback
given must be clearly recorded on the Candidate
Record Form.
Candidates may be guided on the approach they
might adopt but the outcome must remain their own.
Likewise, feedback may summarise progress to date
and propose suggested broad approaches for
improvement but the detailed correction or annotation
of work for feedback purposes is not allowed.
Candidates may work in small groups during their
research and practical work, but each candidate must
record and process the data then use it to make
conclusions and evaluations individually.
Centres must ensure that the work of all candidates is
collected at the end of each session and returned to
candidates at the beginning of the next session.

Assignment 1 gives candidates the opportunity to find


out about the work of a person who uses science in
connection with healthcare, food, materials or in
analysis of substances.
This assignment builds on the scientific knowledge and
skills learnt by candidates in preparation for the
examined unit (Unit 1). Candidates must research and
carry out practical work in an applied context.
It is expected that the assignment should take
approximately 1015 hours to complete, including
preparation, practical activity and research time.
Candidates need to appreciate that scientists have
many different types of role in different types of
organisation: they may classify things, obtain or make
things, tackle specific problems, monitor and control
changes. The more that scientists know about the
materials and equipment they work with, the more
effective they can be in their work.

Work may be either handwritten or word processed.


Candidates using computers to write their report
should not be allowed to take their work away on
removable media such as memory sticks or CDs

Each year, AQA will provide a list of four types of


scientist working within the following areas of the
specification, all of which are linked to the subject
content of Unit 1, and an outline for a practical
investigation that illustrates a technique that a
particular scientist may use in their work.

Task marking medium control

The particular kinds of scientist are:

AQA provide marking criteria and further guidance on


how to mark the assignments for the unit (see sections
3.4.43.4.7). The criteria are common to all
investigations.

1.
2.
3.
4.

AQA moderate your marking, in accordance with the


procedures outlined in Section 7 of the specification.

3.4.3 Quality of Written Communication


Candidates are expected to write their reports clearly,
using good English and structuring the report in a
logical and ordered way. The assessment of Quality of
Written Communication (QWC) is included as an
integral part of the assessment criteria. There are no
discrete marks for QWC. The expectation is that in
order to achieve the mark for the relevant criteria,
candidates must have satisfied the QWC statement in
each case.
The total number of marks available for this unit is 90.

204

3.4.4 Assignment 1: Investigating the work


of scientists and how they use science

a scientist working within the healthcare sector


a materials scientist
a scientist working with food
an analytical scientist.

Candidates will need to:


1. research the work of one of these scientists and
prepare a report on their research
2. develop a hypothesis for a given investigation
3. carry out, using standard procedures, the
investigation to collect evidence to test the
hypothesis
4. analyse and draw conclusions from the data /
evidence they obtain.
Teachers should contextualise the outline practical
investigation and prepare a method and operating
procedure for their candidates to follow. The practical
technique should allow the candidate to understand
the importance of, and appreciate the reasons for,
using standard operating procedures.

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Candidates will need to decide how they obtain


information and the sources of information that are
used. They may wish to use information from visits,
questionnaires, the internet or CD-ROM.

In their report for this assignment, candidates should:


I

I
I

state the purpose of the type of organisation in


which the scientist works
state the purpose of the practical investigation
they are undertaking
give an account of the work of the scientist and
link it to the scientific knowledge from the
specification
describe the qualifications required by this
scientist to carry out their work
explain how this scientist would use their practical
skills and scientific knowledge to carry out the
investigation
state their hypothesis
record their observations and results of their
practical investigation appropriately
analyse patterns and draw scientific conclusions
from their results
include a list of the resources that they have used
in their research.

I
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research and processing secondary data


making a hypothesis
following standard operating procedures
collecting and processing primary data
analysing primary and secondary data.

Marks allocated to these areas are indicated in the


table of marking criteria in Section 3.4.5.
Each of the marking criteria has statements for three
levels of increasing demand. Generally, a candidate
who satisfies a Level 2 (or 3) statement is also awarded
the marks allocated to the Level 1 (or Levels 1 and 2)
statements. In some cases, a best-fit approach may
be more appropriate in arriving at an overall mark for
each strand.

Additional Applied Science

Candidates will need to demonstrate skills associated


with research and communication. They should be
able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant
information and be able to structure their report
appropriately. They should be reminded of the rules
concerning plagiarism and that plagiarised work will
receive no credit.

The report should demonstrate candidates skills in:

The total number of marks for Assignment 1 is 40.

205

206

0 marks

No relevant
content.

No relevant
content.

No relevant
content.

No relevant
content.

Skill area

1. Research
1A.
Information
on the
organisation

1B.
Information
on work of
the scientist

1C.
Qualification
skills used by
the scientist

1D.
Sources of
information

(1 mark)

A limited range of sources of


information is given, some of which
may have been provided to the
candidate.

(12 marks)

The qualifications required by the


scientist are stated and at least one
practical skill that is required to carry
out the investigation mentioned.

There is a brief account of the


work of the scientist and at least
one link to scientific knowledge
from the specification.
(12 marks)

(12 marks)

There is a statement of the


purpose of the type of organisation
in which the scientist works and of
the investigation to be completed.
Information is poorly organised
and lacks a coherent structure,
although it may contain
some valid points.

Level 1

3.4.5 Marking criteria for Assignment 1

(23 marks)

There is a record of using a range


of identified sources of information,
showing some degree of selection.
The limitations of the data and
conclusions that the scientist may
recognise are given.

(34 marks)

There is a description of the


qualifications required by the
scientist and how practical skills
are used to carry out the
investigation.

There is a description of the work


of the scientist and some relevant
links to scientific knowledge from
the specification are identified.
(34 marks)

(34 marks)

There is a description of the


purpose of the type of organisation
in which the scientist works and of
the investigation to be completed.
Information shows some
organisation and structure and
contains some valid evidence.

Level 2

3 AO1
3 AO2

Assessment
Objective

3 AO1
3 AO2

There is a bibliography containing a 5 AO2


wide range or sources of information
and the relevant information has been
selected from this. Alternative strategies
that the scientist may use to improve
the data collected from the
investigation are given.
(45 marks)

There is a description of the


qualifications required by the
scientist and an explanation of
how practical skills and scientific
knowledge are used to carry out
the investigation.
(56 marks)

There is a detailed account of the


6 AO1
work of the scientist, with clear links
to scientific knowledge from the
specification.
(56 marks)

There is an explanation of the


type of organisation in which the
scientist works and of the
investigation to be completed in
terms of the benefits to society.
Information is logically organised
and structured coherently, and
is supported by a range of
valid evidence.
(56 marks)

Level 3

Additional Applied Science

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

No relevant
hypothesis
presented.

No data
collected or
results
presented.

No attempt
made to
identify
patterns or
manipulate
the data and
no conclusions
given.

2. Making a
hypothesis

3. Following
standard
procedures
and collecting
data

4. Analysing
data/
evidence
and drawing
conclusions

Total

0 marks

(12 marks)

There is some attempt to identify


patterns and carry out calculations.
A vague explanation that the
scientist may make in a report of
the investigation is given. The
conclusions show little logical
structure or organisation.

(13 marks)

The investigation has been carried


out, but only vaguely following the
standard operating procedure.
Simple observations and
measurements have been made
and there is some attempt to
record the results appropriately.

A vague hypothesis has been


stated for the investigation, but it
has little scientific foundation.
(1 mark)

Level 1

(34 marks)

Patterns within the data/


observations have been identified
and calculations carried out.
Conclusions that the scientist may
make in a report of the investigation
are given, which are consistent with
the evidence. The conclusions
show some organisation and
structure and relate directly to the
evidence obtained.

(48 marks)

The investigation has been carried


out, following the standard operating
procedure with some guidance.
Careful and accurate measurements
and observations have been made
and have been recorded in
appropriate tables and graphs, with
little guidance. Observations that it
would be appropriate to repeat
have been recognised.

A hypothesis has been stated,


which is relevant to the
investigation.
(2 marks)

Level 2

Patterns within the data/


observations are identified
and explained and some
expertise in manipulating the
data to carry out calculations
is demonstrated. Conclusions
that the scientist may make,
based on the evidence collected
in a report of the investigation
are given. The conclusions
are clear and logical and relate
directly to the evidence obtained,
demonstrating a comprehensive
scientific understanding.
(56 marks)

The investigation has been carried


out, independently following the
standard operating procedure.
Accurate and precise
measurements and observations
have been made throughout and
have been independently recorded
accurately and in appropriate
table and graphs. Reasons for
repeating any measurements
or observations have been given.
(911 marks)

A reasoned hypothesis with


scientific justification has been
given for the investigation.
(3 marks)

Level 3

40

3AO2
3AO3

8AO2

3AO2

Assessment
Objective

Additional Applied Science

Skill area

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

207

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

Additional Applied Science

3.4.6 Assignment 2: How scientists use


evidence to solve problems
Assignment 2 gives candidates the opportunity to
solve or respond to a scientific problem. Scientists
carry out investigations as part of their work. Whilst
carrying out investigations those employed in sciencebased jobs may have to:
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plan how to carry out an investigation to solve a


problem safely
take part in research activities
make measurements and observe changes
correctly and accurately
use particular scientific knowledge
communicate and explain their findings to other
people.

For this assignment, each year AQA will publish a list of


four investigations based on, and linked directly to, the
subject content of Unit 1. Candidates will need to use
a range of practical skills and knowledge to carry out
one investigation chosen from those supplied by AQA.
The investigation should be considered as an integral
part of the teaching programme.
When carrying out this assignment candidates will
learn about:
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some techniques that may be used by different


types of scientists
the importance of hazard and risk
the purpose of each technique and how it works
the use of simplified techniques in their own
investigations
the importance of working safely and accurately
when collecting first-hand data
the collection of data from databases and other
secondary sources
interpreting results and drawing conclusions
evaluating methods of data collection and
considering the reliability of evidence
presenting evidence.

This assignment may be carried out under informal


teacher supervision.
We expect that the assignment should take
approximately 2530 hours to complete, including
preparation time.
Preliminary work
In preparation for the assessment, teachers lead a
discussion group with the candidates to outline the

208

task, discuss the assessment criteria, discuss the


technique to be used and illustrate the variety of
equipment available.
Candidates should be left to themselves to plan the
investigation and decide what variables they will study,
the range interval and number of repeats they will take.
The teacher should show, and expect candidates to
familiarise themselves with, the techniques(s) to be
used in the investigation and with the equipment
available to them.
As far as possible, there will be no restriction on the
methods to be used.
At the end of the preliminary session, candidates need
to research how the investigation would be used in a
workplace context and should write their plan and risk
assessment. This should take no more than one or two
lessons (about 1 hours). Work may be handwritten or
word processed. Candidates work (including that
done on removable media such as memory sticks or
CDs) must be collected in at the end of the lesson and
returned at the beginning of the next. The candidates
completed plans and risk assessments should be
made available for later use but must be kept securely
between lessons then combined with the completed
report for marking and moderation.
Practical work and data collection
The teacher may provide a method after the candidate
has produced their own plan if the candidates plan is
not adequate, uses equipment that cannot be sourced
by the centre or is considered unsafe.
The practical work and data collection may be carried
out under informal supervision during normal class
time. Candidates may work individually or in groups
during their practical work, but each candidate must
record and process the data individually.
The method suggested in the Teachers Notes could
be used, but this should not preclude centres from
adapting this method to suit their own needs.
Instructions of a general nature may be given to
candidates, but these must not be so prescriptive as to
preclude candidates from making their own decisions.
During the investigation candidates should make and
record observations with precision and accuracy; ICT
may be used where appropriate or available. If working
in groups, candidates must identify the data that has
been collected under their own direction.
Candidates data/results, including work done on
removable media such as memory sticks or CDs, must
be collected by the teacher at the end of each lesson.
Candidates must not be allowed to work on the

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

presentation or processing of their data between


lessons.

5. analyse the data and make scientific conclusions


based on their analysis

We expect that the practical work will take place over a


number of lessons. At the end of each lesson,
candidates work (including any done on removable
media) must be collected in and returned at the
beginning of the next.

6. evaluate the investigation

This work may be carried out under informal


supervision during normal class time. Candidates must
work individually to write up their findings, analyse their
data and present their evaluations and conclusions.
Candidates should produce a report of their
investigation in which they clearly:
1. describe the purpose of the investigation and plan
how they will carry out their investigation, including
selecting appropriate equipment

Marks allocated to these areas are indicated in the


table of marking criteria in Section 3.4.7.
Each of the marking criteria has statements for three
levels of increasing demand. Generally, a candidate
who satisfies a Level 2 (or 3) statement is also awarded
the marks allocated to the Level 1 (or Levels 1 and 2)
statements. In some cases, a best-fit approach may
be more appropriate in arriving at an overall mark for
each strand.

Additional Applied Science

Writing the report

7. explain how a scientist might use the results of the


investigation in their workplace.

The total number of marks available for Assignment 2


is 50.

2. prepare a risk assessment for the investigation


3. record the data they have obtained appropriately
4. process the data and carry out calculations

209

210

No evidence
There is only a basic attempt at
of risks having risk assessment and only brief
been identified. references to health and safety
practices.

2. Assessing
and
managing
risk

(12 marks)

(12 marks)

The plan devised is basic, stating


the purpose of the investigation
and including some of the
equipment needed, but overall
lacks a coherent structure.

No plan
presented.

1. Planning

Level 1

0 marks

Strand

3.4.7 Marking criteria for Assignment 2


Assessment
Objective

Control measures that are firmly


based on scientific reasoning to
reduce the risks identified have
been suggested.

Control measures to reduce the


risks identified have been
suggested, although these may
be based on a common-sense
approach rather than on any
scientific reasoning.
(35 marks)

(68 marks)

The relevant hazards involved


with the investigation have been
identified, together with the
appropriate associated risks.

8 AO2

The plan devised clearly states


3 AO1
the purpose of the investigation
3 AO2
and includes precise details of all
the equipment needed. It is logically
organised, clearly written and well
structured in a series of ordered
steps that could easily be followed
by another person.
(56 marks)

Level 3

Most of the relevant hazards


involved with the investigation have
been indentified together with
associated risks.

The plan devised states the


purpose of the investigation and
includes the equipment needed.
It shows some organisation and
structure and is clear enough for
another person to follow to collect
appropriate data, although there
may be some errors.
(34 marks)

Level 2

Additional Applied Science

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

0 marks

No data
collected
or results
presented.

3. Collecting
data/
evidence

(13 marks)

Overall, recording of results has


no coherent structure.

A simple bar chart or line graph


has been constructed from
scales provided.

Data is recorded in a simple form


such as a two-column table
(possibly with some errors,
for example, incorrect/missing
headings or units).

Basic observations have been


made from first-hand evidence
obtained during the investigation.

Level 1

Results are recorded in a


structured way, although there
may be some errors.
(47 marks)

Observations that it would be


appropriate to repeat are
recognised.

An appropriate graph or chart is


constructed, from candidates
own scale chosen, but with
some guidance on the type
of chart or graph.

There may be some inconsistency


in recording of data in terms of
number of significant figures.

Data is recorded in a more


complex form such as a table of
three or more columns with few
errors that adequately represents
the data obtained.

Rational, accurate observations


have been made from first-hand
evidence obtained during the
investigation.

Level 2

(811 marks)

Results are recorded logically


and clearly, with only minor errors.

Anomalous results are indentified


and an explanation given why it
would be appropriate to repeat
certain results.

An appropriate chart or graph has


been constructed independently,
with no guidance given on scales.

There is consistency in recording


data in terms of using an appropriate
number of significant figures
throughout.

Data is recorded in a sophisticated


way, such as table of three or
more columns, with correct units
and headings, that represents
the data obtained.

Rational, accurate, reliable


observations have been made
from the first-hand evidence
gained during the investigation.

Level 3

11AO2

Assessment
Objective

Additional Applied Science

Strand

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

211

212

0 marks

No attempt
made to
identify
patterns in
the evidence
or manipulate
data.

No attempt
to draw any
conclusions
from the data/
evidence
obtained.

Strand

4. Processing
primary and
secondary
data/
evidence

5. Analysing
primary and
secondary
data/
evidence

(12 marks)

Conclusions containing a simple


statement of what the evidence
shows are given. The conclusions
show little logical structure or
organisation. There is no reference
to secondary data.

(12 marks)

Simple calculations (such as


calculation of a mean from
three results) have been
carried out. Calculations are
poorly organised, lack coherent
structure and may contain errors.

Simple patterns have been


identified within data/evidence
with guidance.

Level 1

Some comparison with secondary


data has been made and some
suggestions made on how to
increase the validity of the data.
(34 marks)

Conclusions, showing some


organisation and structure, are
given and relate directly to the
evidence obtained.

Assessment
Objective

The conclusions illustrate a


comprehensive scientific
understanding.
(56 marks)

Conclusions are clear and


logical and relate directly to
the evidence obtained (both
primary and secondary),
recognising its limitations.

6AO3

Patterns within data/evidence


8 AO3
have been identified and clearly
explained using, for example, linear,
directly proportional or by describing
a complex relationship where
appropriate.

Level 3

Complex calculations involving


mathematical formulae are
carried out to an appropriate
number of significant figures
The need to exclude any anomalous and with few errors.
readings from the calculation has
been recognised.
(35 marks)
(68 marks)

Calculations (such as a mean


from a set of at least three results)
have been carried out to an
appropriate number of
significant figures.

Patterns within data/evidence have


been identified and the quantitative
relationship between two variables
described where appropriate.

Level 2

Additional Applied Science

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

No evaluation
evident.

No attempt
to put the
investigation
into a
workplace
context.

6. Evaluating
the practical
activity

7. Workplace
context

Total

0 marks

(1 mark)

A simple workplace application


of the investigation is given.
There is not necessarily any
scientific evidence.

(12 marks)

Although there may be some valid


points, there are significant errors
and/or omissions in the use of
technical terms, spelling,
punctuation and grammar, leading
to an overall lack of clarity.

A basic evaluation of the practical


activity and a simple suggestion
for improvement are given.

Level 1

A workplace application of the


practical investigation is described
and a suggestion made as to how
the findings could be used.
The opinion uses scientific fact
but appreciates that this may be
influenced by more evidence.
(23 marks)

The evaluation contains a range of


technical terms, although not all are
used correctly and there are
omissions and errors in spelling
punctuation and grammar, leading
to inconsistency and some lack
of clarity.
(34 marks)

An evaluation of the practical


activity is given, describing the
effectiveness of working methods
and making some justified
suggestions for improvement
so that more reliable evidence
can be obtained.

Level 2

6AO3

Assessment
Objective

50

A workplace application of the


5AO2
practical investigation has been
researched and explained that
summarises how the findings
could be used. Scientific evidence
from the investigation has been
used to provide a basis for opinion.
(45 marks)

(56 marks)

The evaluation is clearly expressed,


using technical terms correctly,
and with few errors in spelling,
punctuation or grammar.

A reasoned and logical evaluation


of the investigation is given,
covering both strengths and
weaknesses of working methods
and including justified suggestions
for improvement so that more
reliable and precise evidence can
be obtained.

Level 3

Additional Applied Science

Strand

GCSE Sciences Subject Content Book for teaching from September 2011 onwards (version 1.0)

213