Combined Science Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 - 6)

186  Download (0)

Full text


Science Education Key Learning Area

Combined Science

Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 - 6)

Jointly prepared by the Curriculum Development Council and The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority

Recommended for use in schools by the Education Bureau HKSARG

2007 (with updates in June 2018)




Preamble i

Acronym iii

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

1.1 Background 1

1.2 Implementation of Science Subjects in Schools 2

1.3 Rationale 3

1.4 Curriculum Aims 4

1.5 Interface with the Junior Secondary Curriculum and Post-secondary Pathways


Chapter 2 Curriculum Framework 7

2.1 Design Principles 7

2.2 Learning Targets 9

2.2.1 Knowledge and Understanding 9

2.2.2 Skills and Processes 9

2.2.3 Values and Attitudes 10

2.3 Curriculum Structure and Organisation 11

2.3.1 Curriculum Structure 11

2.3.2 Time Allocation 13

Part 1 Physics 17

Part 2 Chemistry 41

Part 3 Biology 77

Chapter 3 Curriculum Planning 96

3.1 Guiding Principles 96

3.2 Progression 96

3.3 Curriculum Planning Strategies 99

3.3.1 Suggested Learning and Teaching Sequence 99 3.3.2 Coordination between the Teaching of Biology,

Chemistry and Physics parts


3.3.3 Curriculum Adaptations for Learner Diversity 100


3.4 Curriculum Management 101

3.4.1 Effective Curriculum Management 101

3.4.2 Roles of Different Stakeholders in Schools 102

Chapter 4 Learning and Teaching 105

4.1 Knowledge and Learning 105

4.2 Guiding Principles 105

4.3 Approaches and Strategies 107

4.3.1 Approaches to Learning and Teaching 107 4.3.2 Variety and Flexibility in Learning and Teaching



4.3.3 From Curriculum to Pedagogy: How to start 108

4.4 Interaction 109

4.4.1 Scaffolding Learning 109

4.4.2 The Use of Effective Questioning 109

4.4.3 The Use of Feedback 110

4.5 Catering for Learner Diversity 111

4.5.1 Strategies to Cater for Learner Diversity 111 4.5.2 Information Technology as a Learning Tool to cater for

Learner Diversity


4.5.3 Catering for Gifted Students 113

Chapter 5 Assessment 115

5.1 The Roles of Assessment 115

5.2 Formative and Summative Assessment 116

5.3 Assessment Objectives 117

5.4 Internal Assessment 119

5.4.1 Guiding Principles 119

5.4.2 Internal Assessment Practices 121

5.5 Public Assessment 122

5.5.1 Guiding Principles 122

5.5.2 Part 1: Physics 124

5.5.3 Part 2: Chemistry 126

5.5.4 Part 3: Biology 128

5.5.5 Standards and Reporting of Results 130


Chapter 6 Learning and Teaching Resources 132 6.1 Purpose and Function of Learning and Teaching Resources 132

6.2 Guiding Principles 132

6.3 Types of Resources 133

6.3.1 Textbooks 133

6.3.2 References 133

6.3.3 The Internet and Technology 134

6.3.4 Community Resources 135

6.4 Flexible Use of Resources 136

6.5 Resource Management 136

6.5.1 Accessing Useful Resources 136

6.5.2 Sharing Resources 137

6.5.3 Storing Resources 137

Appendices 1


Time-tabling Arrangement and the Deployment of Teachers to cater for the Diverse Needs of Students

Resources published by the Education Bureau



Glossary 148

References 153

Membership of the CDC-HKEAA Committee on Physics (Senior Secondary) Membership of the CDC-HKEAA Committee on Chemistry (Senior Secondary) Membership of the CDC-HKEAA Committee on Biology (Senior Secondary)


(Blank page)



The Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB, now renamed Education Bureau (EDB)) stated in its report1 in 2005 that the implementation of a three-year senior secondary academic structure would commence at Secondary 4 in September 2009. The senior secondary academic structure is supported by a flexible, coherent and diversified senior secondary curriculum aimed at catering for students’ varied interests, needs and abilities. This Curriculum and Assessment (C&A) Guide is one of the series of documents prepared for the senior secondary curriculum. It is based on the goals of senior secondary education and on other official documents related to the curriculum and assessment reform since 2000 including the Basic Education Curriculum Guide (CDC, 2014) and the Secondary Education Curriculum Guide (CDC, 2017a). To gain a full understanding of the connection between education at the senior secondary level and other key stages, and how effective learning, teaching and assessment can be achieved, it is strongly recommended that reference should be made to all related documents.

This C&A Guide is designed to provide the rationale and aims of the subject curriculum, followed by chapters on the curriculum framework, curriculum planning, pedagogy, assessment and use of learning and teaching resources. One key concept underlying the senior secondary curriculum is that curriculum, pedagogy and assessment should be well aligned. While learning and teaching strategies form an integral part of the curriculum and are conducive to promoting learning to learn and whole-person development, assessment should also be recognised not only as a means to gauge performance but also to improve learning. To understand the interplay between these three key components, all chapters in the C&A Guide should be read in a holistic manner.

The C&A Guide was jointly prepared by the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) and the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) in 2007. The first updating was made in January 2014 to align with the short-term recommendations made on the senior secondary curriculum and assessment resulting from the New Academic Structure (NAS) review so that students and teachers could benefit at the earliest possible instance. The updating in November 2015 and June 2018 are made to align with the recommendations from the medium-term NAS review and the ongoing review of the curriculum and assessment of senior secondary subjects respectively review made on curriculum and assessment. The CDC is an advisory body that gives recommendations to the HKSAR Government on all matters relating to curriculum development for the school system from kindergarten to senior

1 The report is The New Academic Structure for Senior Secondary Education and Higher Education – Action


secondary level. Its membership includes heads of schools, practising teachers, parents, employers, academics from tertiary institutions, professionals from related fields/bodies, representatives from the HKEAA and the Vocational Training Council (VTC), as well as officers from the EDB. The HKEAA is an independent statutory body responsible for the conduct of public assessment, including the assessment for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE). Its governing council includes members drawn from the school sector, tertiary institutions and government bodies, as well as professionals and members of the business community.

The C&A Guide is recommended by the EDB for use in secondary schools. The subject curriculum forms the basis of the assessment designed and administered by the HKEAA. In this connection, the HKEAA will issue a handbook to provide information on the rules and regulations of the HKDSE Examination as well as the structure and format of public assessment for each subject.

The CDC and HKEAA will keep the subject curriculum under constant review and evaluation in the light of classroom experiences, students’ performance in the public assessment, and the changing needs of students and society. All comments and suggestions on this C&A Guide may be sent to:

Chief Curriculum Development Officer (Science Education) Curriculum Development Institute

Education Bureau

Room E232, 2/F, East Block

Education Bureau Kowloon Tong Education Services Centre 19 Suffolk Road


Fax: 2194 0670




AL Advanced Level

ApL Applied Learning

ASL Advanced Supplementary Level C&A Curriculum and Assessment CDC Curriculum Development Council CE Certificate of Education

EC Education Commission

EDB Education Bureau

EMB Education and Manpower Bureau

HKALE Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination HKCAA Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation HKCEE Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination HKDSE Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education

HKEAA Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority HKEdCity Hong Kong Education City

HKSAR Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

IT Information Technology

KLA Key Learning Area

KS1/2/3/4 Key Stage 1/2/3/4

LOF Learning Outcomes Framework

MOI Medium of Instruction

NOS Nature of Science

NGO Non-governmental Organisation OLE Other Learning Experiences P1/2/3/4/5/6 Primary 1/2/3/4/5/6

PDP Professional Development Programmes


QF Qualifications Framework

RASIH Review of the Academic Structure for Senior Secondary Education and Interface with Higher Education

S1/2/3/4/5/6 Secondary 1/2/3/4/5/6

SBA School-based Assessment

SEN Special Educational Needs SLP Student Learning Profile

SRR Standards-referenced Reporting

STSE Science, Technology, Society and Environment TPPG Teacher Professional Preparation Grant

VTC Vocational Training Council


Chapter 1 Introduction

This chapter provides the background, rationale and aims of Combined Science as an elective subject in the three-year senior secondary curriculum, and highlights how it articulates with the junior secondary curriculum, post-secondary education, and future career pathway.

1.1 Background

The Education Commission’s education blueprint for the 21st Century, Learning for Life, Learning through Life – Reform Proposals for the Education System in Hong Kong (Education Commission, 2000), highlighted the vital need for a broad knowledge base to enable our students to function effectively in a global and technological society such as Hong Kong, and all subsequent consultation reports have echoed this. The 334 Report advocated the development of a broad and balanced curriculum emphasising whole-person development and preparation for lifelong learning. Besides the four core subjects, Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics and Liberal Studies, students are encouraged to select two or three elective subjects from different Key Learning Areas (KLAs) according to their interests and abilities, and also to engage in a variety of other learning experiences such as aesthetic activities, physical activities, career-related experiences, community service, and moral and civic education. This replaces the traditional practice of streaming students into science, arts and technical/commercial subjects.

Study of the three different areas of biology, chemistry and physics often complement and supplement each other. In order to provide a balanced learning experience for students studying sciences, the following elective subjects are offered under the Science Education KLA:

 Biology, Chemistry and Physics

These subjects are designed to provide a concrete foundation in the respective disciplines for further studies or careers.

 Science

This subject operates in two modes. Mode I, entitled Integrated Science, adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the study of science, while Mode II, entitled Combined Science, adopts a combined approach. The two modes are developed in such a way as to


provide space for students to take up elective subjects from other KLAs after taking one or more electives from the Science Education KLA.

Mode I: Integrated Science

This is designed for students wishing to take up one elective subject in the Science Education KLA. It serves to develop in students the scientific literacy essential for participating in a dynamically changing society, and to support other aspects of learning across the school curriculum. Students taking this subject will be provided with a comprehensive and balanced learning experience in the different disciplines of science.

Combined Science (Physics, Chemistry) Mode II: Combined Science Combined Science (Biology, Physics)

Combined Science (Chemistry, Biology)

Students wishing to take two elective subjects in the Science Education KLA are recommended to take one of the Combined Science electives together with one specialised science subject. Each Combined Science elective contains two parts, and these should be the parts that complement the discipline in which they specialise.

Students are, therefore, offered three possible combinations:

 Combined Science (Physics, Chemistry) + Biology

 Combined Science (Biology, Physics) + Chemistry

 Combined Science (Chemistry, Biology) + Physics

1.2 Implementation of Science Subjects in Schools

Five separate Curriculum and Assessment Guides for the subjects of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Integrated Science and Combined Science are prepared for the reference of school managers and teachers, who are involved in school-based curriculum planning, designing learning and teaching activities, assessing students, allocating resources and providing administrative support to deliver the curricula in schools. Arrangements for time-tabling and the deployment of teachers are given in Appendix 1.


1.3 Rationale

The emergence of a highly competitive and integrated economy, rapid scientific and technological innovations, and a growing knowledge base will continue to have a profound impact on our lives. In order to meet the challenges posed by these changes, Combined Science, like other science electives, provides a platform for developing scientific literacy and for building up essential scientific knowledge and skills for lifelong learning in science and technology.

Combined Science complements the study of one other specialised single science subject.

This arrangement serves to provide a balanced learning experience for students across the sciences and broadens their future choices for further study and work. It also helps to cater for the diverse interests and needs of students.

The Combined Science courses attempt to make the study of the subject exciting and relevant.

It is recommended that the learning of science should be introduced in real-life contexts.

The adoption of such contexts and the range of learning, teaching and assessment strategies suggested are intended to appeal to students of all abilities and aspirations, and to stimulate their interest and motivation in learning. Together with other learning experiences, students are expected to be able to apply knowledge of science, to appreciate the relationship between science and other disciplines, to be aware of the Science-Technology-Society-Environment (STSE) connections through the discussion of contemporary issues, and to become responsible citizens.

More specific descriptions of the rationale of the subjects, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are described in the C&A Guides of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.


1.4 Curriculum Aims

The overarching aim of the Combined Science Curriculum is to provide science-related learning experiences for students to enable them to develop scientific literacy, so that they can participate actively in our rapidly changing knowledge-based society, prepare for further studies or careers in fields related to science, and become lifelong learners in science and technology.

The broad aims of the curriculum are to enable students to:

 develop interest and maintain a sense of wonder and curiosity about science, and a respect for all living things and the environment;

 construct and apply knowledge of science, and appreciate the relationships between science and other disciplines;

 appreciate and understand the nature of science;

 develop skills for making scientific inquiries;

 develop the ability to think scientifically, critically and creatively, and solve problems individually and collaboratively in science-related contexts;

 understand the language of science and communicate ideas and views on science-related issues;

 develop open-mindedness, objectivity and pro-activeness;

 be aware of the social, ethical, economic, environmental and technological implications of science, and be able to make informed decisions and judgments on science-related issues; and

 develop an attitude of responsible citizenship, and a commitment to promote personal and community health.

1.5 Interface with the Junior Secondary Curriculum and Post-secondary Pathways

This curriculum builds on the Syllabuses for Secondary Schools – Science (Secondary 1-3) (CDC, 1998). Through studying the core parts of the junior secondary science curriculum, students should have developed a basic foundation in science. This secondary curriculum requires students to use the scientific knowledge and understanding and apply process skills acquired in their junior secondary science study.


Students who take Combined Science to complement their specialised study of one science subject (i.e. Biology, Chemistry or Physics) in senior secondary years, will acquire in-depth knowledge in a specialised science discipline and complement this with a foundation of science knowledge and skills over a wider spectrum. Students will be able to proceed to further study in post-secondary courses, or to a range of career pathways, in various fields related to science, technology, medicine or engineering. Figure 1.1 shows the continuum of learning for students studying Combined Science.

Figure 1.1 Multiple Pathways to Higher Education and the Workplace S4-6

Combined Sci/

Integrated Sci


4-year Bachelor

Degrees Sub Degrees

& Vocational Related Courses

Further Professional Qualifications Further Studies/Work

S4-6 Physics/Chemistry


S1-3 Science


(Blank page)


Chapter 2 Curriculum Framework

The curriculum framework for Combined Science embodies the key knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that students are to develop at senior secondary level. It forms the basis on which schools and teachers can plan their school-based curriculum and design appropriate learning, teaching and assessment activities.

2.1 Design Principles

The design of this curriculum is based on the learning goals and overarching design principles of the senior secondary curriculum as explained in Chapter 3 of the 334 Report and the Secondary Education Curriculum Guide (CDC, 2017a).

(1) Prior knowledge

This curriculum builds upon the prior knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, and learning experiences expected of students in the S1-3 Science Curriculum. There is a close connection between the topics in the S1-3 Science Curriculum and the Combined Science Curriculum.

(2) Balance between breadth and depth

The Combined Science Curriculum serves as one of the elective subjects to widen the spectrum of subjects available for student choice. A balanced coverage of topics is selected to broaden the scientific understanding of students.

(3) Balance between theoretical and applied learning

Theoretical learning of the conceptual knowledge in this curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in scientific principles and concepts. Students are expected to understand the applications of scientific knowledge through studying the interrelationships of science, technology, society and the environment.

(4) Balance between essential learning and a flexible and diversified curriculum This curriculum provides students with essential knowledge and concepts, while the choice of different combinations allows flexibility to cater for the needs and interests of students.


(5) Learning how to learn and inquiry-based learning

In this curriculum, a wide range of learning activities is suggested to help develop students’

overall capacities for self-directed and lifelong learning. In addition, teachers are recommended to adopt a range of learning and teaching strategies, e.g. contextual approach, scientific investigation, problem-based learning and issue-based learning to enhance students’

understanding of various contemporary issues.

(6) Progression

Students can explore their interests through the study of foundation topics in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This will ensure smooth progression to S5 and S6 when they choose the science subject they wish to specialise in.

(7) Smoother articulation to multiple progression pathways

This curriculum enables students to pursue academic and vocational/professional education and training with articulation to a wide range of post-secondary and university studies or to the workplace.

(8) Greater coherence

There are cross-curricular elements in the curriculum to strengthen the connections with other subjects.

(9) Catering for diversity

There are differences among students in various dimensions such as interests, needs and abilities. This curriculum provides opportunity for students to choose among different combinations according to their interests and needs. It is designed to enable students to achieve the learning targets at their own pace depending on their ability.

(10) Relevance to students’ life

Motivation and interest are key considerations for effective learning. This curriculum provides means to ensure that learning content and activities are relevant to students’ real life, i.e. to the issues, events and substances that they encounter daily.


2.2 Learning Targets

The learning targets of the Combined Science Curriculum are categorised into three domains:

knowledge and understanding, skills and processes, and values and attitudes. Through the learning embodied in the curriculum, students will achieve the relevant learning targets in various science-related contexts.

2.2.1 Knowledge and Understanding

Students are expected to:

 understand phenomena, facts and patterns, principles, concepts, laws and theories in science;

 acquire knowledge of techniques and process skills used in scientific investigation;

 apply scientific knowledge and understanding to familiar and unfamiliar situations;

 develop an understanding of developments, current issues, technological applications and social implications of science;

 appreciate the applications of science in society and in everyday life; and

 learn vocabulary, terminology and the textual conventions of science.

2.2.2 Skills and Processes

Students are expected to:

 develop scientific thinking and problem-solving skills;

 acquire an analytical mind to evaluate science-related issues critically;

 communicate scientific ideas and values in meaningful and creative ways with appropriate use of symbols, formulae, equations and conventions, as well as by verbal means;

 plan and conduct scientific investigations individually and collaboratively with appropriate instruments and methods, collect quantitative and qualitative data with accuracy, analyse and present data, draw conclusions, and evaluate evidence and procedures;

 make careful observations, ask relevant questions, identify problems and formulate hypotheses for investigation;

 realise the importance of evidence in supporting, modifying or refuting proposed scientific theories;

 acquire practical skills such as manipulating apparatus and equipment, carrying out given procedures, analysing and presenting data, drawing conclusions and evaluating experimental procedures;


 identify the pros and cons of the applications of science for informed decision-making;

 use information technology to process and present scientific information; and

 develop study skills to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of learning; as well as the abilities and habits that are essential for lifelong learning.

2.2.3 Values and Attitudes

Students are expected to:

 develop positive values and attitudes such as curiosity, honesty, respect for evidence, perseverance and tolerance of uncertainty through the study of science;

 develop positive values and attitudes to health and adopt a healthy lifestyle;

 show an interest in the study of science, appreciate the wonders and complexity of Nature, and show respect for all living things and the environment;

 be aware of the dynamic nature of the body of science knowledge, appreciate the role and achievements of science and technology in understanding the world, and recognise their limitations;

 be aware of the impact of science in social, economic, industrial, environmental and technological contexts;

 be willing to communicate and make decisions on issues related to science and demonstrate an open-minded attitude towards the views of others;

 appreciate the interrelationship of science with other disciplines in providing societal and cultural values;

 appreciate the importance of working safely in a laboratory and be aware of the importance of safety for themselves and others;

 develop personal integrity through objective observation and honest recording of experimental data;

 develop a habit of self-reflection and the ability to think critically;

 recognise the importance of lifelong learning in our rapidly changing knowledge-based society; and

 recognise their responsibility for conserving, protecting and maintaining the quality of the environment for future generations.


2.3 Curriculum Structure and Organisation

2.3.1 Curriculum Structure

The curriculum consists of three parts:

Part 1: Physics Part 2: Chemistry Part 3: Biology

Students can choose any two parts to form a basis of study. Hence, there are three options available:

The content of the curriculum is organised into various topics. However, the concepts and principles of science are interrelated and should not be confined by any artificial boundaries between topics. The order of presentation of the topics in this chapter should be regarded as one of a range of possible teaching sequences. Teachers should adopt sequences that best suit their chosen teaching approaches. For instance, some parts of a certain topic may be covered in advance if they fit naturally into a chosen context. There are five major parts in each topic: Overview, Students Should Learn and Should Be Able to, Suggested Learning and Teaching Activities, Values and Attitudes, and Science, Technology, Society and Environment (STSE) connections.

Physics Chemistry Biology

Combined Sci (Phy, Chem)

Combined Sci (Bio, Phy)

Combined Sci (Chem, Bio)


(1) Overview

This part outlines the main theme of the topic and highlights the major concepts and important science principles to be acquired. The focus of each topic is briefly described and the interconnections between sub-topics are outlined.

(2) Students Should Learn and Should be Able to

This part lists the intentions of learning (Students Should Learn) and learning outcomes (Students Should Be Able to) to be acquired in the knowledge content domain of the curriculum. It provides a broad framework upon which learning and teaching activities can be developed. General principles and examples of learning and teaching strategies are described in Chapter 4.

(3) Suggested Learning and Teaching Activities

This part gives suggestions for some of the different skills that are expected to be acquired in the topic. Some important processes associated with the topic are also briefly described.

Since most of the generic skills can be acquired through activities associated with any of the topics, there is no attempt to give direct recommendations on which topics or activities promote them. However, students need to acquire a much broader range of skills than are mentioned in the topics. Teachers should use their professional judgment to arrange activities to develop the skills listed under “Skills and Processes” in the curriculum framework. This should be done through appropriate integration with knowledge content and with due consideration to students’ abilities, interests and school context. Further discussion on learning and teaching strategies is covered in Chapter 4.

(4) Values and Attitudes

This part suggests positive values and attitudes that can be promoted through discussion during the study of certain topics.

(5) STSE Connections

This part suggests some issue-based learning activities or topics related to the study topic.

Students should be encouraged to develop an understanding of issues associated with the interconnections of science, technology, society and the environment. Through discussion, debate, information search and project work, students can develop their skills of communication, information handling, critical thinking and making informed judgments.

Teachers are encouraged to select other issues of current public concern as themes for meaningful learning activities.


2.3.2 Time Allocation

The suggested content and time allocation2 for each of the three subjects involved in possible Combined Science options are listed in the following tables.

Part I : Physics Suggested

lesson time (hours)

I Heat a. Temperature, heat and internal energy 15

b. Transfer processes c. Change of state

II Force and Motion a. Position and movement 37

b. Force and motion c. Projectile motion

d. Work, energy and power e. Momentum

III Wave Motion a. Nature and properties of waves 32 b. Light

c. Sound IV. Electricity and


a. Electrostatics 33

b. Circuits and domestic electricity c. Electromagnetism

Scientific Investigations 8

Students should conduct simple investigations in the form of experiments.

Subtotal: 125

2 The lesson time for Liberal Studies and each elective subject is 250 hours (or 10% of the total allocation time) for planning purpose, and schools have the flexibility to allocate lesson time at their discretion in order to enhance learning and teaching effectiveness and cater for students’ needs.

“250 hours” is the planning parameter for each elective subject to meet local curriculum needs as well as requirements of international benchmarking. In view of the need to cater for schools with students of various abilities and interests, particularly the lower achievers, “270 hours” was recommended to facilitate schools’

planning at the initial stage and to provide more time for teachers to attempt various teaching methods for the NSS curriculum. Based on the calculation of each elective subject taking up 10% of the total allocation time, 2500 hours is the basis for planning the 3-year senior secondary curriculum. This concurs with the reality check and feedback collected from schools in the short-term review, and a flexible range of 2400±200 hours is recommended to further cater for school and learner diversity.

As always, the amount of time spent in learning and teaching is governed by a variety of factors, including whole-school curriculum planning, learners’ abilities and needs, students’ prior knowledge, teaching and assessment strategies, teaching styles and the number of subjects offered. Schools should exercise professional judgement and flexibility over time allocation to achieve specific curriculum aims and objectives as well as to suit students' specific needs and the school context.


Part 2: Chemistry Suggested lesson time


I Planet Earth a. The atmosphere 6

b. The ocean

c. Rocks and minerals

II Microscopic World a. Atomic structure 21

b. The Periodic Table c. Metallic bonding

d. Structures and properties of metals e. Ionic and covalent bond

f. Structures and properties of giant ionic substances

g Structures and properties of simple molecular substances

h. Structures and properties of giant covalent substances

i. Comparison of structures and properties of important types of substances

III Metals a. Occurrence and extraction of metals 22 b. Reactivity of metals

c. Reacting masses

d. Corrosion of metals and their protection

IV Acids and Bases a. Introduction to acids and alkalis 27 b. Indicators and pH

c. Strength of acids and alkalis d. Salts and neutralisation e. Concentration of solutions

f. Volumetric analysis involving acids and alkalis

g. Rate of chemical reaction V Fossil Fuels and

Carbon Compounds

a. Hydrocarbons from fossil fuels 19 b. Homologous series, structural

formulae and naming of carbon compounds

c. Alkanes and alkenes

d. Alcohols, alkanoic acids and esters e. Addition polymers and condensation

polymers VI Redox Reactions,

Chemical Cells and Electrolysis

a. Chemical cells in daily life 23 b. Reactions in simple chemical cells

c. Redox reactions

d. Redox reactions in chemical cells e. Electrolysis


VII Chemical Reactions and Energy

a. Energy changes in chemical reactions 7 b. Standard enthalpy changes of

reactions c. Hess’s Law Scientific Investigations

Simple investigations are subsumed in the lesson time suggested for each topic.

Subtotal: 125

Part 3: Biology Suggested

lesson time (hours) I Cells and Molecules of


a. Molecules of life 19

b. Cellular organisation

c. Movement of substances across membrane

d. Cell cycle and division e. Cellular energetics

II Genetics and Evolution a. Basic genetics 22

b. Molecular genetics

c. Biodiversity and evolution III Organisms and


a. Essential life processes in plants 69 b. Essential life processes in animals

c. Reproduction, growth and development

d. Coordination and response e. Homeostasis

f. Ecosystems

IV Health and Diseases a. Personal health 5

b. Diseases

Scientific Investigations 10

Ten hours of the total lesson time are allocated for conducting relatively large-scale or cross-topics investigations. The time required for conducting simple investigations and practical work has already been included in the suggested lesson time for each topic.

Subtotal: 125 The detailed content of the topics and the learning outcomes of the Biology, Chemistry and Physics parts are listed in their respective sections.


(Blank page)


Part 1: Physics

I Heat


This topic examines the concept of thermal energy and transfer processes which are crucial for the maintenance and quality of our lives. Particular attention is placed on the distinction and relationships among temperature, internal energy and energy transfer.

Students are also encouraged to adopt microscopic interpretations of various important concepts in the topic of thermal physics.

Calculations involving specific heat capacity will serve to complement the theoretical aspects of heat and energy transfer. The practical importance of the high specific heat capacity of water can be illustrated with examples close to the experience of students. A study of conduction, convection and radiation provides a basis for analysing the containment of internal energy and transfer of energy related to heat. The physics involving the change of states is examined and numerical problems involving specific latent heat are used to consolidate the theoretical aspects of energy conversion.

Students should learn Students should be able to a. Temperature, heat and

internal energy temperature and thermometers

realise temperature as the degree of hotness of an object

interpret temperature as a quantity associated with the average kinetic energy due to the random motion of molecules in a system

explain the use of temperature-dependent properties in measuring temperature

define and use degree Celsius as a unit of temperature


Students should learn Students should be able to heat and internal


realise that heat is the energy transferred as a result of the temperature difference between two objects

describe the effect of mass, temperature and state of matter on the internal energy of a system

relate internal energy to the sum of the kinetic energy of random motion and the potential energy of molecules in the system

heat capacity and specific heat capacity

define heat capacity as


and specific heat capacity as

T m c Q

determine the specific heat capacity of a substance

discuss the practical importance of the high specific heat capacity of water

solve problems involving heat capacity and specific heat capacity

b. Transfer processes conduction, convection and radiation

identify the means of energy transfer in terms of conduction, convection and radiation

interpret energy transfer by conduction in terms of molecular motion

realise the emission of infra-red radiation by hot objects

determine the factors affecting the emission and absorption of radiation

c. Change of state melting and freezing, boiling and condensing

state the three states of matter

determine the melting point and boiling point

latent heat realise latent heat as the energy transferred during the change of state without temperature change

interpret latent heat in terms of the change of potential energy of the molecules during a change of state

define specific latent heat of fusion as   Q


Students should learn Students should be able to

define specific latent heat of vaporization as

m Q


solve problems involving latent heat

evaporation realise the occurrence of evaporation below boiling point

explain the cooling effect of evaporation

discuss the factors affecting rate of evaporation

explain evaporation in terms of molecular motion

Suggested Learning and Teaching Activities

Students should develop experimental skills in measuring temperature, volume, pressure and energy. The precautions essential for accurate measurements in heat experiments should be understood in terms of the concepts learned in this topic. Students should also be encouraged to suggest their own methods for improving the accuracy of these experiments, and arrangement for performing these investigations should be made, if feasible. In some of the experiments, a prior knowledge of electrical energy may be required for a solid understanding of the energy transfer processes involved.

Possible learning activities that students may engage in are suggested below for reference:

Studying the random motion of molecules inside a smoke cell using a microscope and video camera

Performing an experiment to show how to measure temperature using a device with temperature-dependent properties

Calibrating a thermometer

Reproducing fixed points on the Celsius scale

Performing experiments to determine specific heat capacity and latent heat

Measuring the specific latent heat of fusion of water (e.g. using a domestic electric boiler, heating an ice-water mixture in a composite container, or using ice calorimeter)

Performing experiments to study the cooling curve of a substance and determine its melting point

Determining factors affecting the rate of evaporation

Feeling the sensation of coldness by touching a few substances in the kitchen and clarifying some misconceptions that may arise from their daily experience


Studying conduction, convection, radiation, the greenhouse effect and heat capacity by designing and constructing a solar cooker

Challenging their preconceived ideas on energy transfer through appropriate competitions (e.g. attaining a temperature closest to 4oC by mixing a soft drink with ice)

Using dimension analysis to check the results of mathematical solutions

Reading articles on heat stroke and discussing heat stroke precautions and care

Values and Attitudes

Students should develop positive values and attitudes through studying this topic. Some particular examples are:

to be aware of the proper use of heat-related domestic appliances as this helps to reduce the cost of electricity and contributes to the worthwhile cause of saving energy

to be aware of the large amount of energy associated with the transfer of heat and to develop good habits in using air-conditioning in summer and heating in winter

to develop an interest in using alternative environmentally friendly energy sources such as solar and geothermal energy

to be aware of the importance of home safety in relation to the use of radiation heaters and to be committed to safe practices in daily life

STSE Connections

Students are encouraged to develop an awareness and understanding of issues associated with the interconnections among science, technology, society and the environment. Some examples of such issues related to this topic are:

the importance of greenhouses in agriculture and the environmental issues of the

“greenhouse effect”

debates on the gradual rise in global temperature due to human activities, the associated potential global hazards due to the melting of the polar ice caps and the effects on the world’s agricultural production

projects, such as the “Design of Solar Cooker”, to develop investigation skills as well as foster the concept of using alternative environmentally friendly energy sources


II Force and Motion


Motion is a common phenomenon in our daily experience. It is an important element in physics where students learn to describe how objects move and investigate why objects move in the way that they do. In this topic, the fundamentals of mechanics in kinematics and dynamics are introduced, and the foundation for describing motion with physics terminology is laid. Various types of graphical representation of motion are studied.

Students learn how to analyse different forms of motion and solve simple problems relating to uniformly accelerated motion. They also learn about motion in one or two dimensions and rules governing the motion of objects on Earth.

The concept of inertia and its relation to Newton’s First Law of motion are covered.

Simple addition and resolution of forces are used to illustrate the vector properties of forces.

Free-body diagrams are used to work out the net force acting on a body. Newton’s Second Law of motion, which relates the acceleration of an object to the net force, is examined.

The concepts of mass, weight and gravitational force are introduced. Newton’s Third Law of motion is related to the nature of forces. The study of motion is extended to projectile motion which leads to an investigation of gravitation.

Work is a process of energy transfer. The concepts of mechanical work done and energy transfer are examined and used in the derivation of kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy. Conservation of energy in a closed system is a fundamental concept in physics. The treatment of energy conversion is used to illustrate the law of conservation of energy, and the concept of power is also introduced. Students learn how to compute quantities such as momentum and energy in examples involving collisions. The relationship among the change in the momentum of a body, impact time and impact force is emphasised.


Students should learn Students should be able to a. Position and movement

position, distance and displacement

describe the change of position of objects in terms of distance and displacement

present information on displacement-time graphs for moving objects

scalars and vectors distinguish between scalar and vector quantities

use scalars and vectors to represent physical quantities

speed and velocity define average speed as the distance travelled in a given period of time and average velocity as the displacement changed in a period of time

distinguish between instantaneous and average speed/velocity

describe the motion of objects in terms of speed and velocity

present information on velocity-time graphs for moving objects

use displacement-time and velocity-time graphs to determine the displacement and velocity of objects

uniform motion interpret the uniform motion of objects using algebraic and graphical methods

solve problems involving displacement, time and velocity

acceleration define acceleration as the rate of change of velocity

use velocity-time graphs to determine the acceleration of objects in uniformly accelerated motion

present information on acceleration-time graphs for moving objects

equations of uniformly accelerated motion

derive equations of uniformly accelerated motion at

u v 

t v u s21(  )

2 2 1at ut s  

as u


solve problems involving objects in uniformly accelerated motion


Students should learn Students should be able to vertical motion under


examine the motion of free-falling objects experimentally and estimate the acceleration due to gravity

present graphically information on vertical motions under gravity

apply equations of uniformly accelerated motion to solve problems involving objects in vertical motion

describe the effect of air resistance on the motion of objects falling under gravity

b. Force and motion Newton’s First Law of motion

describe the meaning of inertia and its relationship to mass

state Newton’s First Law of motion and use it to explain situations in which objects are at rest or in uniform motion

understand friction as a force opposing motion/tendency of motion

addition and resolution of forces

find the vector sum of coplanar forces graphically and algebraically

resolve a force graphically and algebraically into components along two mutually perpendicular directions

Newton’s Second Law of motion

describe the effect of a net force on the speed and/or direction of motion of an object

state Newton’s Second Law of motion and verify F=ma experimentally

use newton as a unit of force

use free-body diagrams to show the forces acting on objects

determine the net force acting on object(s)

apply Newton’s Second Law of motion to solve problems involving motion in one dimension

Newton’s Third Law of motion


realise forces acting in pairs

state Newton’s Third Law of motion and identify action and reaction pair of forces

mass and weight distinguish between mass and weight


Students should learn Students should be able to

c. Projectile motion describe the shape of the path taken by a projectile launched at an angle of projection

understand the independence of horizontal and vertical motions

solve problems involving projectile motion

d. Work, energy and power

mechanical work interpret mechanical work as a way of energy transfer

define mechanical work done W = Fs cos

solve problems involving mechanical work

gravitational potential energy (P.E.)

state that gravitational potential energy is the energy possessed by an object due to its position under gravity

derive P.E. = mgh

solve problems involving gravitational potential energy

kinetic energy (K.E.) -

state that kinetic energy is the energy possessed by an object due to its motion

derive K.E. = ½mv2

solve problems involving kinetic energy

law of conservation of energy in a closed system


state the law of conservation of energy

discuss the inter-conversion of P.E. and K.E. with consideration of energy loss

solve problems involving conservation of energy

power define power as the rate of energy transfer

apply t

PW to solve problems

e. Momentum linear momentum -

realise momentum as a quantity of motion of an object and define momentum p = mv

change in momentum and net force

understand that a net force acting on an object for a period of time results a change in momentum

interpret force as the rate of change of momentum (Newton’s


Students should learn Students should be able to law of conservation of

momentum -

state the law of conservation of momentum and relate it to Newton’s Third Law of motion

distinguish between elastic and inelastic collisions

solve problems involving momentum in one dimension only

Suggested Learning and Teaching Activities

Students should develop experimental skills in measuring time and in recording the positions, velocities and accelerations of objects using various types of measuring instruments such as stop watches and data logging sensors. Skills in measuring masses, weights and forces are also required. Data-handling skills such as converting data of displacement and time into information on velocity or acceleration are important. Students may be encouraged to carry out project-type investigations on the motion of vehicles.

Considerable emphasis is placed on the importance of graphical representations of physical phenomena in this topic. Students should learn how to plot graphs with a suitable choice of scale, display experimental results in graphical forms and interpret, analyse and draw conclusions from graphical information. In particular, they should learn to interpret the physical significances of slopes, intercepts and areas in certain graphs. Students should be able to plan and interpret information from different types of data source. Most experiments and investigations will produce a set of results which may readily be compared with data in textbooks and handbooks.

Possible learning activities that students may engage in are suggested below for reference:

Performing experiments on motion and forces (e.g. using ticker-tape timers, multi-flash photography, video motion analysis and data loggers) and a graphical analysis of the results

Using light gates or motion sensors to measure the speed and acceleration of a moving object

Inferring the relationships among acceleration, velocity, displacement and time from a graphical analysis of empirical data for uniformly accelerated motion

Using light gates or motion sensors to measure the acceleration due to gravity

Using light gates or motion sensors to determine the factors affecting acceleration

Using force and motion sensors to determine the relationship among force, mass and acceleration


Performing experiments on energy and momentum (e.g. colliding dynamic carts, gliders on air tracks, pucks on air tables, rolling a ball-bearing down an inclined plane, dropping a mass attached to a spring)

Using light gates or motion sensors to measure the change of momentum during a collision

Using light gates or motion sensors and air track to investigate the principle of conservation of linear momentum

Using force sensors to measure the impulse during collision

Performing experiments to show the independence of horizontal and vertical motions under the influence of gravity

Performing experiments to investigate the relationships among mechanical energy, work and power

Determining the output power of an electric motor by measuring the rate of energy transfer

Estimating the work required for various tasks, such as lifting a book, stretching a spring and climbing Lantau Peak

Estimating the K.E. of various moving objects such as a speeding car, a sprinter and an air molecule

Investigating the application of conservation principles in designing energy transfer devices

Evaluating the design of energy transfer devices, such as household appliances, lifts, escalators and bicycles

Using free-body diagrams in organising and presenting the solutions of dynamic problems

Tackling problems that, even if a mathematical treatment is involved, have a direct relevance to their experience (e.g. sport, transport and skating) in everyday life and exploring solutions of problems related to these experiences

Using dimension analysis to check the results of mathematical solutions

Challenging their preconceived ideas on motion and force by posing appropriate thought-provoking questions (e.g. “zero” acceleration at the maximum height)

Increasing their awareness of the power and elegance of the conservation laws by contrasting such solutions with those involving the application of Newton’s Second Law of motion

Investigating motion in a plane using simulations or modelling (

Using the Ocean Park Hong Kong as a large laboratory to investigate laws of motion and develop numerous concepts in mechanics from a variety of experiences at the park (


Values and Attitudes

Students should develop positive values and attitudes through studying this topic. Some particular examples are:

to be aware of the importance of car safety and be committed to safe practices in their daily life

to be aware of the potential danger of falling objects from high-rise buildings and to adopt a cautious attitude in matters concerning public safety

to be aware of the environmental implications of different modes of transport and to make an effort to reduce energy consumption in daily life

to accept uncertainty in the description and explanation of motions in the physical world

to be open-minded in evaluating potential applications of principles in mechanics to new technology

to appreciate the efforts made by scientists to find alternative environmentally friendly energy sources

to appreciate that the advances in important scientific theories (such as Newton’s laws of motion) can ultimately have a huge impact on technology and society

to appreciate the contributions of Galileo and Newton that revolutionised the scientific thinking of their time

to appreciate the roles of science and technology in the exploration of outer-space and the efforts of humankind in the quest to understand nature

STSE Connections

Students are encouraged to develop an awareness and understanding of issues associated with the interconnections among science, technology, society and the environment. Some examples of such issues related to this topic are:

the effects of energy use on the environment

the reduction of pollutants and energy consumption by restricting the use of private cars in order to protect the environment

penalising drivers and passengers who do not wear seatbelts and raising public awareness of car safety with scientific rationales

how the danger of speeding and its relation to the chances of serious injury or death in car accidents can be related to the concepts of momentum and energy

the use of principles in mechanics in traffic accident investigations


modern transportation: the dilemma in choosing between speed and safety; and between convenience and environmental protection

evaluating the technological design of modern transport (e.g. airbags in cars, tread patterns on car tyres, hybrid vehicles, magnetically levitated trains)

the use of technological devices including terrestrial and space vehicles (e.g. Shenzhou spacecraft)

enhancement of recreational activities and sports equipment

the ethical issue of dropping objects from high-rise buildings and its potential danger as the principles of physics suggest

careers that require an understanding and application of kinematics and dynamics


III Wave Motion


This topic examines the basic nature and properties of waves. Light and sound, in particular, are also studied in detail. Students are familiar with examples of energy being transmitted from one place to another, together with the transfer of matter. In this topic, the concept of waves as a means of transmitting energy without transferring matter is emphasised. The foundations for describing wave motion with physics terminology are laid. Students learn the graphical representations of travelling waves. The basic properties and characteristics displayed by waves are examined; reflection, refraction, diffraction and interference are studied, using simple wavefront diagrams.

Students acquire specific knowledge about light in two important aspects. The characteristics of light as a part of the electromagnetic spectrum are studied. Also, the linear propagation of light in the absence of significant diffraction and interference effects is used to explain image formation in the domain of geometrical optics. The formation of real and virtual images using mirrors and lenses is studied with construction rules for light rays.

Sound as an example of longitudinal waves is examined and its general properties are compared with those of light waves. Students also learn about ultrasound. The general descriptions of musical notes are related to the terminology of waves. The effects of noise pollution and the importance of acoustic protection are also studied.

Students should learn Students should be able to a. Nature and properties of


nature of waves


interpret wave motion in terms of oscillation

realise waves as transmitting energy without transferring matter




Related subjects :