Enabling students to understand and analyse contemporary issues in science and technology

How science works

An understanding of ideas about how science works is the core of this course, as relevant as an understanding of the topics or the science explanations.

All how science works ideas are covered at least twice throughout the course. Although they been linked to particular topics in the specification they are relevant to a wider range of issues and may be examined in any context.

Under each how science works idea on the right, you will find links to the activities that develop these ideas and to web sites and other sources of information for both AS and A2.

Many of the ideas encountered at AS are covered again in A2, some of them in more detail. A few new ideas are included at A2, these are indicated in bold in the summary in section 3.5 of the specification. A wider knowledge of ways of handling data and of statistical ideas is expected but modelling of complex situations is the only completely new set of ideas.

Students are expected to draw on their knowledge of how science works in all the work they do and to refer to the relevant ideas in their written answers. They will use the ideas to help interpret the main features of a scientific paper or other reports in the case study. And many of the questions they formulate as part of problem based learning activities will arise from an understanding of how science works.

For more detailed information about How Science works, see the specification for the course which is available on the AQA website. Section 3.5 of the specification is a helpful summary that sets out what is required in one place.