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Facilitating a journey of discovery in students, Science fosters active thinkers who can explore the world and beyond by learning about the natural world through observation and experimentation.

In Science, students in Years 7 to 10 learn the foundations of scientific investigation and continue building on them as they are guided through a curriculum in Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

As Year 11 and 12 students continue their academic journey, Mater Dei College offers a range of Science options including ATAR Chemistry, Physics, Human Biology and Psychology, as well as our General courses in Human Biology and Psychology.

A scientifically literate society is vital for our community and culture’s progress and stability. Our goal is to prepare students for success, nurturing their inquisitive nature and giving them the tools to use in the future if they wish to pursue a pathway in Science.

Learn more about the Science courses we offer below.

Biological Sciences

Years 7 to 10

In Biological Sciences, students will have the opportunity to investigate and learn about cells, the building blocks of all living things. Students will develop their practical skills in microscopy, in order to view cells from a variety of species, calculate the field of view at various magnifications and then use this information to estimate the size of the specimen they are viewing. Students will also begin to understand the structural organisation of complex organisms and their need for specialised cells to perform specific functions. Students will then begin to develop an understanding of how different systems work together and rely on each other to ensure the organisms survival.    

Chemical Sciences

Years 7 to 10

In Chemical Sciences, students will learn about the Kinetic Theory of Matter and how all matter is made up of tiny particles in constant motion. The state of matter of substances is determined by the arrangement and motion of the particles of which it is composed. Students will begin to understand the link between the properties of substances and their composition and begin to investigate how chemical reactions enable particles to rearrange themselves in order to create new substances with new properties. 

Earth & Space Sciences

Years 7 to 10

In Earth and Space Sciences, students will investigate the building blocks of rocks and the similarities and differences between the three major types of rocks. They will be able to describe the processes involved in creating these different types of rocks and how long it can take for them to form. Students will also begin to understand that rock formation and destruction is a dynamic process and be able to identify the conditions required to change one rock type to another. 


Years 7 to 10

In Physics, students will understand the concept of energy and how energy can exist in different forms. Students will have the opportunity to learn the distinction between energy transfer and energy transformation and use this subject specific terminology to describe energy changes in certain systems. Students will be able to use their knowledge and understanding in order to suggest methods to reduce wasted energy and energy loss from systems.  

Science in Practice

Year 11

Science in Practice is a new and exciting course that gives hands-on practical science experiences and exploration of topics that are highly relevant to the contemporary needs and interests of senior students.

Students will study the fascinating field of Forensic Science, with investigation into the science of solving crimes and civil cases. Students will learn a range of techniques for collecting and interpreting evidence left at the scene of crimes such as fingerprints and footprints, blood and DNA, hair and fibres. Students will also consider how chemicals, guns, bullets and body parts can help solve crimes. Recent developments in forensic science such as psychological profiling, computer crime and forgery provide further opportunities to develop awareness and skill for investigating scientifically.

Students will also be taken on a journey of opportunity to explore science through an indigenous lens! A wide range of topics will be considered such as traditional ecological knowledge, medicinal plants, astronomy and cosmology, food sources and preservation. There will be an emphasis on how many indigenous communities have developed sustainable agricultural practices that harmonize with their local ecosystems. These practices often involve crop rotation, seed saving, agroforestry, and the use of traditional farming techniques adapted to local conditions. It will be emphasised that indigenous science is diverse and varies across cultures and regions. Each indigenous community possesses its own unique knowledge and practices that contribute to their understanding of the natural world and their place within it.

Students will be challenged in a range of learning tasks including many practical investigations, research, multi-media presentation, collaborative problem solving, report writing, outdoor field work, model building and personal projects. Science in Practice will provide a great opportunity to learn science and develop many skills needed in the workplace and beyond.

Chemistry ATAR

Years 11 & 12

Chemistry is the study of materials and substances and the transformations they undergo through interactions and the transfer of energy. Chemists can use an understanding of chemical structures and processes to adapt, control and manipulate systems to meet particular economic, environmental and social needs. This includes addressing the global challenges of climate change and security of water, food and energy supplies, and designing processes to maximise the efficient use of Earth’s finite resources. Chemistry develops students’ understanding of the key chemical concepts and models of structure, bonding, and chemical change, including the role of chemical, electrical and thermal energy. Students learn how models of structure and bonding enable chemists to predict properties and reactions and to adapt these for particular purposes. Studying Chemistry provides students with a suite of skills and understandings that are valuable to a wide range of further study pathways and careers. An understanding of chemistry is relevant to a range of careers, including those in forensic science, environmental science, engineering, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and sports science. Additionally, chemistry knowledge is valuable in occupations that rely on an understanding of materials and their interactions, such as art, winemaking, agriculture and food technology.

Human Biology ATAR

Years 11 & 12

Human biology covers a wide range of ideas relating to the functioning human. Students learn about themselves, relating structure to function and how integrated regulation allows individuals to survive in a changing environment. They research new discoveries that are increasing our understanding of the causes of dysfunction, which can lead to new treatments and preventative measures. Reproduction is studied to understand the sources of variation that make each of us unique individuals. Through a combination of classical genetics, and advances in molecular genetics, dynamic new biotechnological processes have resulted. Population genetics is studied to highlight the long term changes leading to natural selection and evolution of our species. An understanding of human biology is valuable for a variety of career paths. The course content deals directly and indirectly with many different occupations in fields, such as science education, medical and paramedical fields, food and hospitality, childcare, sport and social work. Appreciation of the range and scope of such professions broadens their horizons and enables them to make informed choices. This helps to prepare all students, regardless of their background or career aspirations, to take their place as responsible citizens in society.

Human Biology General

Years 11 & 12

In Human Biology General, students learn about themselves, relating the structure of the different body systems to their function and understanding the interdependence of these systems in maintaining life. Reproduction, growth and development of the unborn baby are studied to develop an understanding of the effects of lifestyle choices. Students will engage in activities exploring the coordination of the musculoskeletal, nervous and endocrine systems. They explore the various methods of transmission of diseases and the responses of the human immune system. Students research new discoveries that help increase our understanding of the causes and spread of disease in a modern world. An understanding of human biology is valuable for a variety of career paths. The course content deals directly and indirectly with many different occupations in areas, such as social work, medical and paramedical fields, food and hospitality, childcare, sport, science and health education. Appreciation of the range and scope of such professions broadens students’ horizons and enables them to make informed choices. This helps to prepare all students, regardless of their background or career aspirations, to take their place as responsible citizens in society.

Physics ATAR

Years 11 & 12

Physics is a fundamental science that endeavours to explain all the natural phenomena that occur in the universe. Its power lies in the use of a comparatively small number of assumptions, models, laws and theories to explain a wide range of phenomena, from the incredibly small to the incredibly large. Physics has helped to unlock the mysteries of the universe and provides the foundation of understanding upon which modern technologies and all other sciences are based. Studying senior secondary science provides students with a suite of skills and understandings that are valuable to a wide range of further study pathways and careers. Studying physics will enable students to become citizens who are better informed about the world around them and who have the critical skills to evaluate and make evidence-based decisions about current scientific issues. The Physics ATAR course will also provide a foundation in physics knowledge, understanding and skills for those students who wish to pursue tertiary study in science, engineering, medicine and technology.

Psychology ATAR

Years 11 & 12

Psychology is the scientific study of how people think, feel and act. It aims to answer important questions such as what factors influence human development. While there are other disciplines that overlap with psychology’s main aim to understand humans, psychology is rigorous in its use of scientific method. This allows for systematic exploration into the complexities of human behaviour based on evidence gathered through planned investigations. This course is designed to integrate the understanding of scientific principles, the acquisition of psychological knowledge and the application of both in an enjoyable and contemporary way. The study of psychology is highly relevant to further studies in the health professions; education, human resources, social sciences, sales, media and marketing and management.

Psychology General

Years 11 & 12

In Psychology General, students will be introduced to psychological knowledge which supports an understanding of the way individuals function in groups. Students learn about well-known psychological models and theories, and the methods used to conduct scientific investigations in the discipline of psychology. Acquiring this foundation of scientific method and critical thinking is a valuable skill which students can apply throughout their study, work and everyday lives.