For Science subject content is presented at Ordinary level.
New features of this specification include learning outcomes across the unifying strand, Nature of science, and the four contextual strands: Physical world, Chemical world, Biological world and Earth and space.
There is a new focus given to the Nature of science which aims to promote greater engagement and thinking about how science works; carrying out investigations, communicating in science, and the role and contribution of science and scientists to society.
Nature of science
This is the unifying strand; it permeates all the strands of the specification. The elements of
this strand place a focus on how science works; carrying out investigations; communicating in
science; and developing an appreciation of the role and contribution of science and scientists to
society. There is a strong focus on scientific inquiry. There is no specific content linked to the
Nature of science strand itself, and its learning outcomes underpin the activities and content
in the contextual strands. The learning outcomes are pursued through the contextual strands
as students develop their content knowledge of science through scientific inquiry. In doing so,
students construct a coherent body of facts, learn how and where to access knowledge, and
develop scientific habits of mind and reasoning skills to build a foundation for understanding
the events and phenomena they encounter in everyday life. This makes the science classroom a
dynamic and interactive space, in which students are active participants in their development.
They can engage not only in experimental activities and discussion within the classroom, but
also in researching and evaluating information to look beyond claims and opinions to analyse the
evidence which supports them.
Earth and space
This strand provides an ideal setting for developing generalising principles and crosscutting
concepts. To develop a sense of the structure of the universe and some organising principles
of astronomy, students explore relationships between many kinds of astronomical objects and
evidence for the history of the universe. Students use data to discern patterns in the motion of the
Sun, Moon, and stars and develop models to explain and predict phenomena such as day and night,
seasons, and lunar phases. The cycling of matter, with carbon and water cycles as well-known
examples, provides a rich setting for students to develop an understanding of many physical and
chemical processes including energy conservation and energy resources, weather and climate, and
the idea of cycling itself. They will come to appreciate the impact of human activity on Earth and
explore the role and implications of human space exploration.
This strand involves the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. As students study this
strand they will develop understandings of the composition and properties of matter, the changes
it undergoes, and the energy involved. They learn to interpret their observations by considering
the properties and behaviour of atoms, molecules, and ions. They learn to communicate their
understandings using representations, and the symbols and conventions of chemistry. Our way
of life depends on a wide range of materials produced from natural resources. In this strand
students will learn about assessing the resources used to produce a material over its lifecycle
(extraction, use, disposal and recycling). Using this, they are better able to understand sciencerelated challenges, such as environmental sustainability and the development of new materials,
and sources of energy.
Junior Cycle Science
This involves the exploration of physical observables, often in relation to motion, energy, and
electricity. Students gain an understanding of fundamental concepts such as length, time, mass
and temperature through appropriate experiments. This allows them to develop simultaneously a
sense of scaling and proportional reasoning, to recognise the need for common units, and to select
and use appropriate measuring equipment. Exploring concepts such as area, density, current, and
energy helps students develop the ability to identify and measure a range of physical observables,
and through experimenting, to investigate patterns and relationships between them. Students
also design and build simple electronic circuits. Students develop an understanding of the concept
of energy and how it is transformed from one form to another without loss. They also research
sustainability issues that arise from modern physics and technologies, and our generation and
consumption of electricity.
This strand leads students to an understanding of living things and how they interact with each
other and the environment. In this strand students are introduced to the cell as the basic unit of
life, and how characteristics are inherited from one generation to the next. Students develop an
understanding of the diversity of life, life processes and how life has evolved. Students will explore
body systems and how they interact, and learn about human health. They will investigate living
things and their interdependence and interactions with ecosystems. They will learn about issues
of social importance, such as the impact of humans on the natural world.
While the learning outcomes associated with each strand are set out separately here, this should
not be taken to imply that the strands are to be studied in isolation. To give further emphasis to
the integrated nature of learning science, the outcomes for each of the contextual strands are
grouped by reference to four elements: