Scientific literacy for all
Everyone studies the GCSE Science course which aims to develop scientific literacy and views science from the perspective of a member of the public. It is taught in the context of topics of relevance and interest to young people. Future scientists will also benefit from learning about how science works. It takes 10% of curriculum time and leads to one GCSE grade.
There are nine modules. Students study all of them. An overview and map summarising each module is available below. The module map shows how the Ideas about Science and Science Explanations develop in the module story, and in related modules. Links between modules in GCSE Science and GSCE Additional Science are included. We are grateful to OUP for permission to publish these resources on this website.
This is a list of the modules in the 2006 course. The 2011 modules are similar. See the OCR 2011 specification.
- B1 You and your genes
- C1 Air quality
- P1 Earth in the Universe
- B2 Keeping healthy
- C2 Material choices
- P2 Radiation and life
- B3 Life on Earth
- C3 Food matters
- P3 Radioactive materials
Most people are unlikely ever to be producers of new scientific knowledge. But we all need to be informed users and consumers of scientific knowledge. For this we need to understand:
- Ideas about science which show how science works and
- Science explanations which help us to make sense of our lives.
Knowledge of these ideas and explanations underpins our definition of scientific literacy, and forms the basis of the GCSE Science course.
What do we mean by 'scientific literacy'?
One way of answering the question is to identify the knowledge and skills to be expected of a scientifically literate person. We would expect a scientifically literate person to be able to:
- appreciate and understand the impact of science and technology on everyday life;
- take informed personal decisions about things that involve science, such as health, diet, use of energy resources;
- read and understand the essential points of media reports about matters that involve science;
- reflect critically on the information included in, and (often more important) omitted from, such reports; and
- take part confidently in discussions with others about issues involving science.