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Science

Introduction

The primary goal of the Zhonghua Secondary School Science Department is to support the school's mission and vision of nurturing her students to be Scholars and Leaders as well as to prepare them for life in the 21st century.

 

ZHSS science department implements a curriculum that is inclusive and caters to students of diverse scientific abilities. Lower Secondary students will undergo a customized two-year Lower Secondary Science (LSS) Curriculum that is designed and implemented by ZHSS teachers. The LSS provides training on the various science process skills that will serve as a strong foundation for our students’ further science education. At Upper Secondary, students are given the opportunities to experience different science curriculum based on their interests and abilities. To enhance the science education curriculum, the Science Department actively provide opportunity for her students to participate in science competitions as well as to collaborate with external programmes with her partners.

 

In recognition for her excellent science programme, Zhonghua Secondary School is chosen to be South Zone (Centre of Excellence) Science.


Mission

To nurture Zhonghuarians to be Scholars and Leaders through a rigorous science education that involves the acquisition of scientific knowledge, development of science process skills and cultivation of important attitudes required of a scientist.

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Strategies and Programmes

Curriculum

ZHSS aligns herself to Ministry’s Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD)’s belief of developing scientific literacy in her students through a rigorous Science curriculum that is structured to place emphasis on: Knowledge of Science; Skills and Processes; Ethics and Attitudes; and Knowledge about the characteristic features of Science. Encapsulating the 4 emphasis is the ZHSS Science I3 (Integrate, Inquiry. Inspire) Framework. 

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INTEGRATE

Integrated science is a science curriculum that deliberately draws the interrelationship between the main areas of science. This provides the opportunities whereby students can discuss issues that arise from the interaction of science, technology and society instead of studying a particular science concept in isolation. Students will also be reminded that the matters of science are also matters of the everyday world. Correlation between what is taught in the classroom and issues of worldwide significance will be explicitly highlighted so that students will be consciously aware of the immediate impact of science in their lives, thus creating an awareness of the significance of science in the students’ world.


Institutes that believe in the importance of teaching science in an integrated manner include Princeton University. They believe by bridging the traditional barriers between the biological and the physical sciences, they can provide a curriculum that is fun because the focus will be on the fundamentals of science that is” most likely to be important and useful in the 21st century, as opposed to the traditional path of science education that has remained the same for 50 years or more”(Princeton University, 2011) Furthermore, research has shown that with an integrated approach, the curriculum will be able to provide meaningful learning experiences that enhance knowledge and conceptual understanding (Harrell, 2010).


Thus after garnering insights from research as well as understanding the requirement of MOE CPDD curriculum guidelines, ZHSS has embarked on a journey to integrate the Lower Secondary Integrated Science syllabus with specific aims as follows: (i) to emphasize that some principles and concepts are common to all science but there are others that is more particular to the specific field of biology, chemistry and physics; (ii) to promote interdisciplinary enquiry through practical investigations, (iii) to co-ordinate of the subject matter of the three separate sciences; and (iv) to introduce students to the methods used by scientists and to the ways in which scientific discoveries are made.


In crafting of the LSS, references are made to syllabi that have successfully integrated in the three sciences. An example would be the Coordinated Sciences that is offered by University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). They suggested that in order for a syllabus to work, there must be coordination in the content as well as ideas. Coordination of content refers to process of identifying content of one science that is related to the content of another science. Example of this would be the Kinetic Particle theory that is taught in all three sciences. The teaching sequence is than proposed so that duplication of teaching is avoided. Coordination of ideas refers to the teaching sequence in which concepts that are common to two or more sciences are developed according to a common theme. An obvious example of a concept common to all the sciences is that of energy. Energy is taught in Physics as a manner in which a change would occur while in biology is seen as a currency for biological activity. Hence, students have two separate views of the concept of energy and the concept is compartmentalized. With integrated science, students will be able to conceptualize how energy of the sun is captured by the plant, and transferred to the consumers. The energy in the food is then released due to the breaking of chemical bonds, after which, the energy is used in the production of heat, motion and light which is the domain of physics.

 

INQUIRE

The Science Education in Zhonghua advocates a future-orientated curriculum that aims to provide a conducive and challenging learning environment that engages our students in academic excellence. The cornerstone of our pedagogy is to adopt an inquiry-based approach in the teaching and learning of science as we believe this method will allow our students to learn the principles and concepts of Science, acquire the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists, and understand the nature of science as a particular form of human endeavor. We create a learning environment that focuses on conceptual learning and engages students in meaningful activities that enable them to apply and communicate their knowledge. Technology is used as a tool to help all students actively learn science in an inquiry-based curriculum. The inquiry-based process uses varied instructional strategies and scientific technologies to enable students to develop as self-directed learners.

 

Science is taught primarily using the inquiry-based approach. Students are given the opportunity to explore natural phenomena and conduct investigative experiments to test their hypothesis. Lower Secondary students are trained in science process skills such as observing, comparing, contrasting and hypothesizing. At Upper Secondary, students are closely monitored and trained in both in science investigative and practical skills by conducting an hour of laboratory work per week. During practical, inquiry based learning is conducted based on the Predict, Observe and Explain (POE) model of the inquiry or the 5 E (Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration and Elaboration) Learning Cycle Model which are complementary to each other. Examples of such practicals are tasks that require students to design a model to explain transport in plant, explanation of electrolysis processes as well as predicting the laws of reflection in the topic of light. Upper Secondary Students are also given various opportunities to be involved in various competitions which provides them the perfect opportunity to exercise their critical thinks against their peers.

 

The department believes that students acquire knowledge of science not only in the classroom or laboratory from their teachers but also from field trips and science research programs. The department actively seeks to opportunities to infuse the learning of science in other subjects. For examples, our lower Secondary School students enjoyed a Math and Science Trail at AMK-Bishan Park as well as Changi Airport. The department also explores new ways to teach science and has experimented on teaching concepts of science in soil analysis in her Forensic Science enrichment class.

 

INSPIRE

Zhonghua Science department aims to inspire her students to be passionate in science through a three-pronged approach – Teacher’s professional development, external competitions and strategic partnerships.


Teacher professional development

Teachers in the science department are encouraged to constantly upgrade themselves professionally. Currently, there are three teachers who have obtained their Masters in Education while one teacher is currently pursuing her Masters in Science(Life Science). The department also has two senior teachers who are currently mentoring younger teachers in the profession. With deeper knowledge in the area of teaching and learning, these teachers has taken the curriculum leadership in creating lesson packages that are both engaging and relevant to the students.

 

Enrichment

The Science Department believes in a science curriculum that is progressive. The department collaborated with the Mathematics Department to embark on a curriculum that integrates science and the LEGO EV3 programming application. This initiative served as a platform to introduce and excite students in computer programming. The two departments also collaborated to design a Maths and Science Trail @ AMK-Bishan Park. 


Competitions

Besides helping our students to excel in National Examinations, we believe in providing opportunities for students to explore beyond the scope of the national science curriculum. By exposing students to various competitions, students will be able to experience how science can be used in real life.



Achievements

COMPETITION

2015

2016

2017

Singapore Junior Biology Olympiad

 

 

1 Silver
1 Bronze

Singapore Junior Chemistry Olympiad

2 Gold Award
1 Silver

6 Bronzes
8 Merit

2 Gold
4 Bronze
3 Credit

Singapore Junior Physics Olympiad

2 Silver
1 Bronze
2 Honourable Mention

3  Merit awards

2  Silver
3  Bronze
2 Honourable Mention

UNSW Science Competition

4 High Distinctions
33 Distinctions

6 High Distinctions
27 Distinctions

2 High Distinctions
10 Distinctions

C.B Paul Science Competition

4  Silver award
2  Bronze award

2  Silver Awards

1  Gold award
1  Bronze Award

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