In the full range of Science subjects and topics, students learn Science skills and cover knowledge that is defined by the Victorian Curriculum, but we also teach the standards that make up the Capabilities; that is, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Learning and Ethical Capabilities.
Ethics are a natural fit for Science studies. The pace of progress at the cutting edge of Science spills back into the curriculum before long and students should be prepared to engage in discussion happening in the media relating to important ideas like nuclear energy generation, filling low Earth orbit with satellites to fund colonisation of Mars, genetic engineering of food, personalised medicine and climate change impacts on the biosphere.
Currently we have two year levels exploring ethics in Science. At Year 8, the Ethical Capability focuses on criteria for determining the importance of ethical issues and why groups of people might have different approaches to ethical concerns depending on their context and experience. Year 8 students are looking at how this thinking impacts on decisions about resources like packaging and food and in decisions about energy generation.
At Year 10, the Ethical Capability focuses on complex issues including identifying ethical questions and weighing up evidence using the four frameworks used to make ethical judgements. Students are working in teams to explore a contemporary bioethical issue including as cloning pets, transgenics, DNA privacy, organ donation and de-extinction.
Our recent earthquake reminds us that Science doesn't just take place in laboratories.... although it made us all nervous to have our houses rumbling with the energy from moving rocks many kilometres away. Year 7s are learning about ecology and food webs. They have been monitoring the Peregrine Falcons and their new chicks nesting in Collins Street. Year 7s have also been building energy pyramids. Year 10s have been modelling with paper - in fact, using toilet roll to illustrate as a geological timeline of the past 4,600,000,000 years of Earth's history and the milestones in evolution.
We have some great examples of home school supervision by Felis catus and Canis Lupis familiaris.