Junior science has been drawn up to cater for a full range of student ability, aptitude and achievement. The syllabus has three major components, biology, chemistry and physics, and is concerned with the development of scientific knowledge, skills, concepts and attitudes essential for the responsibilities of citizenship in today’s world. All students are required to study these three components. The course is activity-based in its design and emphasises the practical experience of science for each individual student. The importance of the processes of science as well as knowledge and understanding is reflected in the course structure.
The teaching approach to junior science in St. Joseph of Cluny Secondary School is very much investigative. Through a variety of prescribed and non-prescribed investigations and experiments, students attain the specified learning outcomes, developing appropriate science process skills and a knowledge of underlying science concepts. In St. Joseph of Cluny Secondary School, science education at junior cycle encourages the development of manipulative, procedural, cognitive, affective and communication skills through practical activities that foster investigation, imagination, and creativity. Opportunities are provided for observing and evaluating phenomena and processes and for drawing valid deductions and conclusions. Students are enabled to acquire a body of scientific knowledge appropriate to their age, and an understanding of the relevance and applications of science in their personal and social lives. A balanced understanding of the physical, biological and chemical dimensions of science is provided, thus facilitating the further study of science in the senior cycle.
All students in St. Joseph of Cluny study science for the junior certificate. There are typically four science classes in each junior cycle year, each with approximately 20 students. The use of I.T. features strongly in the teaching of junior science. Slideshow presentations, animations and interactive computer simulations are all used to enhance the learning experience of the students. Educational science outings are also organised for students throughout the year. Students are facilitated and actively encouraged to participate in science exhibitions and competitions e.g. The Annual Young Scientist Exhibition. The school’s well-equipped laboratories allow students to develop, through practical experience, a scientific curiosity and a sense of inquisitiveness in the world around them. Arising out of their experience in the junior cycle, it is hoped that many students will be encouraged to study one or more of the science subjects in the senior cycle, thus preparing themselves for further study or work in this area.