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Supporting KS3 science at home

Boy using microscope
As KS3 science becomes more in-depth, your child will benefit from your support. Here’s what they’ll learn and how you can help.

Life and living processes

Your child will learn about cells and cell functions and how these relate to life processes in a variety of organisms.

They will investigate humans as organism, looking at digestion, the role of enzymes and how products are absorbed into the bloodstream. They will also explore the rest of the human body – the skeleton, joints and antagonistic muscle pairs (for example, biceps and triceps), reproduction and adolescence, the respiratory system, and the effect of alcohol, solvents, and other drug abuse on health.

Finally, they will be taught about green plants and their environment. They will study photosynthesis, classification and breeding and ways to protect living things and the environment.


Children will learn how solids, gases and liquids can be characterised by melting and boiling point and density, how chemical reactions form compounds and how solubility changes with temperature. They will learn to recognise chemical changes in everyday situations (ripening fruit, cooking food etc).

They will also explore metals and how they react with oxygen, water, acids and oxides of other metals, and what the products of these reactions are.

Physical processes

Children will learn about series and parallel circuits, how to measure current and voltage, magnetic fields, and that ‘like' magnetic poles repel and ‘unlike' poles attract.

Forces and motion is another key topic. Children will learn how to determine speed and that the weight of an object on Earth is the result of the gravitational attraction between its mass and that of the Earth. They will also learn about the positions of the Earth, sun and moon and about the use of artificial satellites and probes to observe space.

In exploring light and sound, children will learn about how light and sound travels, that white light can be dispersed to give a range of colours, that sound causes the eardrum to vibrate and that people have different audible ranges.

Finally, children will learn about energy resources and conservation - the distinction between renewable and non-renewable resources and how temperature can lead to transfer of energy.

Help your child at home

  • Discuss the selective breeding of fruit and vegetables to suit the consumer market (specific size of carrot, seedless grapes etc).
  • Note when environmental topics are featured in the news. Use this as an opportunity to consider some of the issues in the light of what your child is learning at school.
  • Get cooking! Use any opportunity to point out the chemical reactions that might be occurring, such as using lemon juice to prevent avocado turning brown, using baking powder to make cake. There's plenty of information on these processes in the Planet Science Diner at Planet Science.
  • Check out the Science Bob website to learn how to build an electromagnet.
  • Invest in Science: a children's encyclopedia (Dorling Kindersley, £17.99). It’s the perfect companion for homework or projects.
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