Key Stage 3 Science aims to stimulate pupils’ curiosity and enthusiasm to develop a sense of wonder in Science. Developing skills in scientific methods of enquiry helps to increase pupils’ scientific knowledge and their understanding of scientific processes.

For further details see the Statutory Requirements for Science and the Non-Statutory Guidance for Science.

Key Elements

The Key Elements are a way to connect learning in Science to Learning for Life and Work.

The Key Elements that Science contributes to more fully are:

  • Personal Understanding;
  • Personal Health;
  • Media Awareness;
  • Ethical Awareness;
  • Employability;
  • Economic Awareness; and
  • Education for Sustainable Development.


For more information on Science contact:

Kathryn Gilbert
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2632


Science Topic Units of Work

The Key Stage 3 Statutory Guidelines for Science outline the main features of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. Teachers plan topics with the ‘Big Picture’ of the Curriculum at Key Stage 3 in mind.

Each unit links to the Key Stage 3 Big Picture. All units identify specific opportunities to promote and develop:

  • Key Elements;
  • Cross-Curricular Skills; and
  • Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities.

You can incorporate these features into subject schemes of work.

The units encourage active and learning teaching methods. You can find further details here.

Managing Me: Risk and Safety PDF, 1.5 MB - uploaded 25-06-2018

Bones and the Skeleton PDF, 6.1 MB - uploaded 25-06-2018

Living in a Material World PDF, 1.7 MB - uploaded 25-06-2018

Ageing As We Grow PDF, 2.1 MB - uploaded 25-06-2018

Consumer Product Testing PDF, 1.7 MB - uploaded 25-06-2018

Skin - Our Protection from the World PDF, 2.7 MB - uploaded 25-06-2018

The Brain and Learning PDF, 1.7 MB - uploaded 25-06-2018

Active Learning and Teaching methodsActive Learning and Teaching methods for Key Stage 3

This booklet offers practical advice on a range of methods you may want to integrate into your daily learning and teaching activities.

STEMworks MicrositeSTEMworks

An exciting new website developed to support learning and teaching at Key Stage 3 of STEM related subjects including Science, Technology and Design, Mathematics, Home Economics and Employability.

Science: A Global DimensionScience: A Global Dimension

The activities in this resource give pupils opportunities to explore issues within science education from a global perspective. The resource focuses on three key areas which can be examined using the key concepts of the Global Dimension: Bias in Science; Mobile Phones; and Water.

Skills through Chemistry ResourceDeveloping Skills through Chemistry

The aim of this resource is to support teachers in using their own resources in different ways so that pupils have opportunities to develop the statutory Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities, and the Cross-Curricular Skills, while developing their understanding of chemistry content. It includes a topic planner, which can be edited to become a scheme of work, and some sample lessons to show how Royal Society of Chemistry resources support the Northern Ireland Curriculum.

Science through Stories Science through Stories

Stories are an engaging way to spark thinking about science. These stories have been developed for Key Stage 3 learners with cognitive difficulties. Each topic has both a fictional and a factual version of the story. This allows for repetition of key ideas and also caters for differing preferences.

General Science Links

Please review all links to judge their suitability before using them with your class.

The STEM website provides lesson plans, demonstrations, investigations, worksheets and activities for all areas of science. You must register and set up an account before you can access the resources. Registration is free and fast.

The TES website has topic summaries, class activities and class tests uploaded by other teachers. Once registered, any teacher can upload material. Registration is free and fast. You should assess each activity before using it with your class.

The Association for Science Education offers teachers information about developments in science education. Teachers can join (£98 for secondary teachers) to take advantage of the many Continuing Professional Development opportunities, conferences and papers. If you don’t want to join, you can still access a lot of relevant information. It’s well worth taking the time to look through this site.

The School Science website lists events in the UK and science topics. Each topic has links to suitable books, workshops for schools and free activities and simulations on other sites. There are many ideas for encouraging pupils to be involved and engaged in science.

The Teachit Science site provides hundreds of worksheets, activities, posters and presentations uploaded by other teachers. You must register to access the PDF files. Registration is free and fast. If you want to access other resources or upload your own material, you must pay a fee to upgrade your membership. The free resources are very useful and free membership is well worth it.

BBC Bitesize is an excellent revision tool for teachers and pupils. It has notes, summaries and revision tests for all Key Stage 3 subjects, including Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Each subject is sub-divided into topics. It’s well worth exploring the site to make the best use of the available materials.

Biology Links

Topic: Cells, Tissues, Organs

The Lincnet site has a PDF with lesson plans that you can use or adapt to introduce and develop the structure of cells topic. It has useful links to develop areas of study further, including:

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) website has an excellent activity that introduces Year 8 and 9 pupils to the structure of a cell. To find the PDF, search for Build your own Cell Wall on the public engagements tab of the website.

The Bioman website has interactive games designed to explore the cell and its organelles. Although many of the cell processes described are more detailed than required even at Key Stage 4, it is presented in an enjoyable way. A high ability Year 10 class would enjoy this. You could recommend it to AS Biology pupils struggling to make sense of the cell ultra-structure. Search for Cell Biology Games on the Bioman website. has a detailed lesson plan for teaching the topic of cells, tissues, organs and organ systems. It also has guidance, a slideshow, practical ideas on how to illustrate the concepts and pupil activities. It may be too detailed for some classes, but you can choose ideas that would be useful. Search for Cells to Tissues to Organs on the website.

The Teenage Cancer Trust have developed free resources targeted at post primary pupils to support cancer awareness. They can provide a free “Understanding Cancer Together” presentation and online resources which include downloadable lesson plans and other teaching materials.

Topic: DNA and Genetics

BBRSC produced this booklet to accompany a workshop. It contains an overview of activities and then a detailed explanation of each. It includes instructions and resources. You can ask your class to work through the booklet completing all activities, or simply choose those most suitable. It has some excellent ideas for introducing pupils to DNA. Search for Discovering DNA on the BBRSC website.

This Australian Genetics website has a lot of factsheets and worksheets. The worksheets in the Primary section for Stage 3 and Stage 3 extension are suitable for Year 8, and perhaps Year 9, classes. The High School section is more detailed and the Facts and Fun section has pictures of some features that are inherited. Search for schools on the website.

Search the Primary Resources website for inheritance investigation to find a PDF of a challenging investigative activity that will test a high ability Year 10 class. It includes extension activities pupils could complete in collaboration with the Mathematics department.

Search the Science Teacher website for Genes and Inheritance. These teaching resources have a video clip explaining how to extract DNA from strawberries. It is suitable for Year 10 and GCSE pupils. Other activities and clips are more suitable for GCSE pupils.

The Your Genome website has a variety of activities with differing degrees of difficulty. Some may be too detailed for Key Stage 3, but the DNA Origami activity is well worth a try. Search the site for activities.

Topic: Plant Biology and Ecology

The BBSRC website resource is designed with Key Stage 2 in mind, however it is suitable for Year 8 pupils who have had limited exposure to science and germination in primary school. It includes measurement activities and so provides the opportunity to collaborate with the Mathematics department. The workbook includes excellent teacher and pupil pages. Search for Easy Peasy seed germination.

Search YouTube for Photosynthesis in Plants or Photosynthesis Songs for Children to find clips that introduce photosynthesis or a catchy song to help younger pupils to remember photosynthesis.

The Biology Corner website has worksheets that introduce pupils to random sampling.

The Smile Oregon State website has a lesson on using quadrats to sample a field. It provides an opportunity to collaborate with the Mathematics department. Search for Schoolyard Quadrats.

Chemistry Links

Topic: Atomic structure, bonding and the Periodic Table

Search YouTube for:

  • Atoms and Molecules for Kids, which is an animated video clip. The first part introduces the atom and its structure, the second part explains bonding and valency;
  • The NEW Periodic Table Song, which helps pupils to memorise the elements of the periodic table in order of atomic number; or
  • Tom Lehrer’s song listing the elements in alphabetical order.

The NeoK12 website has lessons, videos and activities that are worth exploring to find one that suits your class. Search for Periodic Table.

The Chemical Elements website is an interactive periodic table that allows pupils to explore the elements in more detail, including atomic number and electronic structure.

Search the Ducksters website for Chemical Bonding for a simple introduction to bonding. It also has information on many other relevant chemistry topics.

Topic: Quantitative – Balancing equations

The Study website offers lessons and quizzes on many chemistry topics. Search for Chemical Equations: Lessons for Kids. This lesson on balancing equations offers simple techniques to introduce what is often a difficult topic. You must join to unlock the entire lesson, but this is fast and free.

Search YouTube for Balancing Chemical Equations for Beginners to find a simple, easy to understand, six minute long animation that explains balancing equations.

This Terrific Science lesson plan introduces the concept of the mole and would suit a high ability Year 10 class, particularly if the pupils plan to study Double Award Science or Chemistry for GCSE. It provides worksheets and activities, including mole calculations.

Topic: Chemical Reactions

Search Owlcation for 5 Hands On Experiments to Teach Kids about Chemical Reactions, under the STEM tab. This activity presents five simple reactions that all Year 8 pupils can do. It is a fun way to introduce the types of chemical reactions that pupils will encounter when studying chemistry, yet they are simple enough for a low ability Year 8 class.

Search How Stuff Works for Science Projects for Kids: Chemical Reactions, for some examples of simple chemical reactions to encourage pupils’ interest and enthusiasm for chemistry. You can use these experiments to introduce chemistry or as an end of term or post exam project for Years 8 and 9.

The Science area of BBC Bitesize explains reactivity and lists metals from the most to the least reactive.

The Oxford Home Schooling website has a lesson plan that you can use as it is or adapt. It provides a comprehensive lesson for teaching the reactions of metals and the Reactivity Series. It is detailed and would probably be best suited for a Year 10 class.

Physics Links

Topic: Forces

The Frugal Fun 4 Boys and Girls website is has plenty of experiments and demonstrations of STEM activities. Search the site for How Strong Is Spaghetti. This practical activity introduces pupils to forces. It is an enjoyable way to investigate engineering and bridge design.

  • Search for Build a Da Vinci Bridge to find a project to further understanding and discussion of forces, bridges and mechanical engineering. Suitable for all Key Stage 3 classes. You could use this as an end-of-term activity or in teaching the Forces topic.
  • Search for Balloon Pinwheel Science Demonstration to find a practical activity that introduces Newton’s Third Law of Motion using a simple demonstration.
  • Search for Lego Gravity Project to find an activity that explores forces, gravity and momentum. Pupils could do this at home or bring their own Lego into school.

Topic: Speed and velocity

The practical physics website offers a huge range of investigations that include clear diagrams explaining how to set up equipment and how to carry out the practical activity.

  • Search for race time measurement for an experiment that introduces pupils to the language of measurement, including concepts of range, reproducibility, mean value, true value, accuracy, instrument resolution and, most importantly, measurement uncertainty. You could use a Connect 4 game instead of the wooden statistics board mentioned.
  • You could also search for instantaneous and average velocities to investigate the difference between instantaneous and average velocity.

This PDF worksheet from the share.nanjing-school website has questions about calculating speed, distance and/or time.

Topic: Energy

Click on Energy in the Topics list on the home page of Energy Kids website to find a huge range of practical investigations in every area of energy. Details of investigations and explanations are clearly presented. This site is very useful for all teachers, especially physics non-specialists teaching all of the Key Stage 3 Sciences.

  • It has an introduction to energy transformation and the conservation of energy.
  • The Fun and Games section of the site has online games based on the topic of energy. There is also a teachers’ area.

Search for Renewable Energy under the Environment tab of the eschool today website for information about all types of renewable energy. Pupils could use this to research the topic.

Topic: Space

Search for Astronomy on the Institute of Physics site for a huge range of materials to support teaching about space and astronomy.

Search for Activities under the Parents tab of the jump start website to find a PDF with instructions for making a simple solar system using easy to obtain materials. Each pupil can make their own to bring home or display in the classroom.

Planets for kids is an excellent site providing information on each planet and other bodies in our solar system.

Click on the Learn About Space link on the space kids website to find an easy to read guide to our solar system and the planets in it suitable for Year 8 classes.