21st Century Science – GCSE

21st Century Science GCSE

All science GCSEs will be revised for first teaching in 2011. This site will be updated when the new specification has been approved.
Suggested Resources:

Watching the Earth teaching resources with links to Physics A specification.
Climate change teaching resources with links to AQA science.
A set of PowerPoint slides for climate change may be found on our Ambassadors pages
21st century science page on climateprediction.net

Our recommended links for:
Carbon cycle
Climate change/ the Greenhouse Effect
Climate models
Extreme weather
Chemicals in the Earth’s atmosphere: ozone and pollution
Energy and radiation

Link to specification site, and the http://www.21stcenturyscience.org/ site

Science A

P2.3 How does electromagnetic radiation make life on Earth possible?

  1. recall that the Earth is surrounded by an atmosphere which allows light radiated from the Sun to pass through;
  2. recall that this radiation provides the energy for photosynthesis and warms the Earth’s surface;
  3. recall that photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and adds oxygen, and that this reverses the effect of respiration;
  4. understand that the Earth emits electromagnetic radiation that is absorbed by some gases in the atmosphere, so keeping the Earth warmer than it would otherwise be. This is called the greenhouse effect;
  5. understand that the ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet radiation, producing reversible chemical changes in that part of the atmosphere;
  6. understand that the ozone layer protects living organisms, especially animals, from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.

P2.4 What is the evidence for global warming, why might it be occurring, and how serious a threat is it?

  1. recall that one of the greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere is carbon dioxide, present in small amounts;
  2. recall that other greenhouse gases include methane, present in trace amounts, and water vapour;
  3. interpret simple diagrams representing the carbon cycle;
  4. use the carbon cycle to explain:
    1. why for thousands of years the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere was approximately constant;
    2. how decomposers play an important part in the recycling of carbon;
    3. that during the past two hundred years, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been steadily rising;
    4. that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is largely the result of:
      • o burning increased amounts of fossil fuels as an energy source;
      • o burning forests to clear land;
  5. 5. understand that computer climate models provide evidence that human activities are causing global warming;
  6. 6. understand that global warming could result in:
    • a. climate change and how this could make it impossible to continue growing some food crops in particular regions;
    • b. extreme weather conditions in some regions;
    • c. rising sea levels due to melting continental ice and expansion of water in the oceans, which would cause flooding of low-lying land.

    This module offers opportunities for illustrating the use of ICT in science. For example:

    • computer climate modelling;
    • displaying data on stratospheric ozone concentrations as a false colour map.

    Use of ICT in teaching and learning can include:

    • PowerPoint slides to illustrate evidence of climate change;
    • video clip to illustrate infrared imaging;
    • animation to model Sun’s radiation and greenhouse effect;
    • animation to model effect of carbon dioxide levels on global temperature;
    • computer climate models.

    Additional science A

    Module C5: What types of chemicals make up the atmosphere?

    Physics A: see Science A