At LEH Foshan, science is one of the core subjects of our British curriculum. Through a high-quality science education, we provide our students with the foundations for understanding the world through the three specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics, nurture budding scientists and equip them with the scientific knowledge and critical thinking skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
Science is a practical subject and so we base much of our learning around ‘hands-on’ activities, where students can observe the phenomena that they are being taught about. From Year 6 investigating how to separate materials, through to Sixth Form students preparing aspirin, measuring the wavelength of light from a laser or investigating the effect of antibiotics on bacteria, the theory is inextricably bound to practical work.
Our British Curriculum
Our science curriculum is based on the well-established and recognised English National Curriculum, and it aims to develop a sense of curiosity and wonder in our students, along with a respect for logical thinking and the scientific process. This involves going beyond the specification when necessary, to give more breadth and depth to our students’ understanding.
Year 4 - 6, Prep School
Currently, the Year 6 students are following a scheme of work from the Hamilton Trust, based in the United Kingdom. This covers all of the required content of the KS2 curriculum, in a project-based format. Titles of some of the topics include ‘Electric Art’, ‘Medical Manoeuvres’ and ‘The Science of Sport’, and each of the topics includes practical and written exercises to develop and nurture a love of science from an early age.
Year 7 - 8, Key Stage 3
Students cover all three science subjects - Biology, Chemistry and Physics - over the two years. Whether learning about the microscopic particles that make up atoms; considering how organisms are built up from cells or studying how forces affect our daily lives, students will be encouraged to ask questions, delve deeper into the topics that really interest them and develop an appreciation of the scientific method. Critical thinking will be key when looking at collected data and the conclusions drawn from it. Safe working practices will be identified and utilised and students will be encouraged to apply their knowledge to real-world situations; not all of them will become brain surgeons or astrophysicists but all will have to have an informed opinion on global warming, genetic modification or the development of alternative fuel sources.
Year 9 - 11, Key Stage 4, IGCSE
Science at LEH Foshan is a compulsory subject at Key Stage 4 and follows the Edexcel IGCSE programme. In this stage, three science subjects are taught as independent subjects.
Biology offers an opportunity to learn about life processes in greater depth and reflects on the ever-changing face of Biology in the world today. Biotechnology, genetic engineering and areas such as stem cell research are included in this exciting and dynamic course.
Chemistry looks at explaining trends and patterns in the behaviour of the elements of the Periodic Table and the vast array of materials that are formed from them, when elements combine with each other.
Physics is the study of the forces that shape our lives, from those that hold sub-atomic particles together in the nuclei of atoms to those that hold our place in the Universe; the energy transfers that drive everything around us; the majestic wonder of the stars in the firmament and the consequences of the fusion and fission of atomic nuclei.
Year 12 - 13, A Level
In this stage, Biology, Chemistry and Physics remain as three independent subjects but become optional for students.
The content is organised into six key concepts: cells as the units of life; biochemical processes; DNA, the molecule of heredity; natural selection; organisms in their environment and observation and experiment. Observation, enquiry, experimentation and fieldwork are fundamental to biology, allowing relevant evidence to be collected and considered as a basis on which to build new models and theories.
The content covers the major topics in chemistry including molar calculations, structure and bonding, energetics, equilibria, Group chemistry, transition metals and a range of organic chemistry. Some of the content is new to students, other topics take a more in-depth and extended look at what has been previously encountered.
The content covers the major topics in physics. Some of the content is new to students e.g. aspects of cosmology and the finer structure of the familiar sub-atomic particles, while other topics take a more in-depth and extended look at what has been previously encountered.
Master the Science Language
Science has a language all of its own. There are many subject-specific words or terms that are not generally used in everyday speech (ionic bond, photosynthesis and gravitational potential energy for example) and others that may have a slightly different meaning, depending on the context (if ‘money disappears into a black hole’ for example, it’s usually not flying off into space!). Definitions of key terms, repetition of the use of vocabulary,(online) flashcards and glossaries, explanations of command words are all ways in which students can acquire and master the subject-specific vocabulary needed in science.
Experienced Science Teachers
Our current science staff have a wealth of experience behind them in a variety of countries, across a range of courses. One thing that they both have in common is an enthusiasm for our subjects and our students, both of which continue to offer new learning opportunities for them every year.
Dr Martin Kirk
Dr Martin Kirk is the Head of Science & Technology Faculty at LEH Foshan. Previously Dr Kirk was in the UK teaching IGCSE and A Level Chemistry, and he has also taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics for over 25 years in British international schools around the world including in Thailand, Dubai, Spain and China. Dr Kirk is also an associate examiner of Pearson A-Level chemistry. He has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, both from the University of Leeds.
- Knowing that you have experience teaching all three Science subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), how are these three subjects connected and what is essential to achieve success in all 3 subjects?
It helps if you can see the links between the different subjects, to obtain a broader understanding of how the three disciplines form a complete whole. For example, Physics and Chemistry share links with respect to the behaviour and structure of materials; Biology and Chemistry in the bonds that go into making up molecules and the biochemical reactions that keep living organisms alive. Being able to refer back to previous knowledge in a different context helps students gain a better understanding of the science involved.
Mr Neil Cairnie
Mr Neil Cairnie is the Head of Biology at LEH Foshan. He has over 30 years of experience in teaching sciences in public and international schools in Canada, Malaysia, and China. He followed his Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Master’s in Science in Biology at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.
- What can parents do to help their child with science learning?
Encourage your child to ask questions about the world around them – why is the sky blue, why do boats float, why don’t plastics decompose, what is global warming, why do antibiotics not work on viruses? After this, encourage them to find out the answers, or, better still, find out the answers together. Watch science programmes on the television or online. Ask them about what they have learned in Science class this week.
We are excited to welcome a physics teacher to join the Science Department in the school year 2022-2023. Please follow our WeChat Public Account for more details in future updates!
The learning environment makes an important contribution to students’ enjoyment of science, by providing suitable and attractive spaces that stimulate students’ learning. Our science laboratories are equipped and crafted to UK education standards. Facilities such as fume cupboards, eyewash stations and gas supply controls are installed to safeguard any hands-on activities.
We have piped-in gas and a larger selection of chemicals. Year 11s were the first to benefit from this with the classic 'elephant toothpaste' experiment demonstrating catalysis (hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide) and the reactions of sodium and potassium with water.
Chemicals are safely and securely stored and managed by a technician. More hazardous materials are kept in a double-locked inner room which has a bomb-proof camera to monitor any incidents. This enables emergency services to respond quickly in such an event to contain the situation.
STEM Collaboration with LEH UK
In conjunction with our sister school LEH UK, our students have used an electron microscope to study the microscopic world, and, as part of the LEH UK Science Fair, have explored the galaxy and beyond with the aid of NASA’s latest telescope.
STEM Co-ordinator Mr Brittain from LEH UK arranged with our staff to introduce the LEH Electron Microscope to LEH Foshan students in November 2021. Students were able to find out how to use the electron microscope and were able to suggest topics for study. The fine detail of a moth’s eyeball and the structure of a butterfly’s wings were just two of the objects explored during the after-school sessions.
James Webb Space Telescope Project
LEH UK invited us to join their Science Fair online on the 21st February and our Year 6 students chose the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as their project. Under the benevolent eyes of Mr Cairnie and Mr Farnsworth, the students have researched the history of using telescopes in space exploration, looked at the technology that is being used in the JWST and are making a scale model of it. In the end, we sent a video recording of our presentation across to LEH UK and we also enjoyed the virtual tour of the presentations in London that was provided for us by one of LEH (UK)’s students.
We look forward to introducing more collaboration projects with LEH UK in the future, online or physical, and encouraging more interactions between the two schools so that students can learn from each other.