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Science education at Gippsland Grammar seeks to develop curiosity and understanding about the natural and physical world. It aims to provide experiences designed to challenge student’s view of the universe and encourage them to ask questions and find answers that foster their insights into the way science is applied and how scientists work in the community. It also aims to help students make informed decisions about scientific issues, careers and further study.

Year 9

Year 9 Science aims to provide the students with a variety of scientific experiences. The course is divided into the fields of biological, chemical, physical, and earth sciences.

In conjunction with covering the main topics students will be expected to use theories and models to inform their learning but also recognise that theories are contestable, and that science is an ever-evolving field. They will make links between science and technology and they will be expected to consider how society’s values can influence scientific research.

Students will aim to develop existing skills particularly in the areas of formulating hypotheses, planning and conducting research and experiments and processing accurate data. They will work to analyse patterns and data from research and experiments and draw conclusions based on this evidence. Students will also develop their skills in analysing the validity of their own conclusions and any secondary information that they obtain.

Year 10

The course aims to provide students with the experience of each of the disciplines of science in order to develop and extend their existing knowledge and skills, and to assist them in selecting studies for their VCE.

In Chemistry, students cover the topics of laboratory safety, the Periodic Table, bonding, writing chemical formulae and equations.

The Biology unit examines the genetic basis of inheritance, human inheritance, biodiversity, the chemical code for life and methods of controlling inheritance. The focus then moves to concepts of evolution in the context of natural selection.

In the Physics unit students explore the fundamental aspects of mechanics and are required to carry out calculations that use Newton’s Laws and the basic equations of motion. Energy transformations are explored in view of the Law of Conservation of Energy.

The Earth and Space Science covers ideas about the origin of the Universe, such as the Big Bang Theory, and looks at the Scientific evidence that is used to support these ideas.



VCE Biology enables students to investigate the processes involved in sustaining life at cellular, system, species and ecosystem levels. Students examine how life has evolved over time and understand that in the dynamic and interconnected system of life all change has a consequence that may affect an individual, a species or the collective biodiversity of Earth. The study gives students insights into how knowledge of molecular and evolutionary concepts underpin much of contemporary biology, and the applications used by society to resolve problems and make advancements.

Unit 1: How do living things stay alive?

In this unit students are introduced to some of the challenges to an organism in sustaining life.

Areas of Study

  1. How do organisms function?
  2. How do living systems sustain life?
  3. Practical investigation

Unit 2: How is continuity of life maintained?

In this unit students focus on cell reproduction and the transmission of biological information from generation to generation.

Areas of Study

  1. How does reproduction maintain the continuity of life?
  2. How is inheritance explained?
  3. Investigation of an issue.

Unit 3: How do cells maintain life?

In this unit students investigate the workings of the cell from several perspectives.

Areas of Study

  1. How do cellular processes work?
  2. How do cells communicate?

Unit 4: How does life change and respond to challenges over time?

In this unit students consider the continual change and challenges to which life on Earth has been subjected.

Areas of Study

  1. How are species related?
  2. How do humans' impact on biological processes?
  3. Practical investigation.

VCE Biology provides for continuing study pathways within the discipline and leads to a range of careers. Branches of biology include botany, genetics, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology and zoology. In addition, biology is applied in many fields of endeavour including biotechnology, dentistry, ecology, education, food science, forestry, health care, horticulture, medicine, optometry, physiotherapy and veterinary science. Biologists also work in cross-disciplinary areas such as bushfire research, environmental management and conservation, forensic science, geology, medical research and sports science.


VCE Chemistry enables students to examine a range of chemical, biochemical and geophysical phenomena through the exploration of the nature of chemicals and chemical processes. In undertaking this study, students apply chemical principles to explain and quantify the behaviour of matter, as well as undertake practical activities that involve the analysis and synthesis of a variety of materials.

Unit 1: How can the diversity of materials be explained?

In this unit students investigate the chemical properties of a range of materials from metals and salts to polymers and nanomaterials.

Areas of Study

  1. How do the chemical structures of materials explain their properties and reactions?
  2. How are materials quantified and classified?
  3. Research investigation

Unit 2: How do chemical reactions shape the natural world?

In this unit students explore the physical and chemical properties of water, the reactions that occur in water and various methods of water analysis.

Areas of Study

  1. How do chemicals interact with water?
  2. How are chemicals measured and analysed?
  3. Practical investigation

Unit 3: How can design and innovation help to optimise chemical processes?

In this unit students explore energy options and the chemical production of materials with reference to efficiencies, sustainability and the minimisation of their impact on the environment.

Areas of Study

  1. What are the current and future options for supplying energy?
  2. How can the rate and yield of chemical reactions be optimised?

Unit 4: How are carbon-based compounds designed for purpose?

In this unit students investigate the structural features, bonding, typical reactions and uses of the major families of organic compounds including those found in food and medicines.

Areas of Study

  1. How are organic compounds categorised and synthesised?
  2. How are organic compounds analysed and used?
  3. Practical investigation


VCE Physics enables students to use observations, experiments, measurements and mathematical analysis to develop qualitative and quantitative explanations for phenomena occurring from the subatomic scale to macroscopic scales. They explore the big ideas that changed the course of thinking in physics such as relativity and quantum physics. While much scientific understanding in physics has stood the test of time, many other areas continue to evolve, leading to the development of more complex ideas and technological advances and innovation. In undertaking this study, students develop their understanding of the roles of careful and systematic observation, experimentation and modelling in the development of theories and laws. They undertake practical activities and apply physics principles to explain and quantify phenomena.

Unit 1: How is energy useful to society?

Students examine some of the fundamental ideas and models used by physicists in an attempt to understand and explain energy. Models used to understand light, thermal energy, radioactivity, nuclear processes and electricity are explored. Students apply these physics ideas to contemporary societal issues: communication, climate change and global warming, medical treatment, electrical home safety and Australian energy needs.

Areas of Study

  1. How are light and heat explained?
  2. How is energy from the nucleus utilised?
  3. How can electricity be used to transfer energy?

Unit 2: How does physics help us to understand the world?

In this unit students explore the power of experiments in developing models and theories. They investigate a variety of phenomena by making their own observations and generating questions, which in turn lead to experiments.

Areas of Study

  1. How is motion understood?
  2. Options: How does physics inform contemporary issues and applications in society?
  3. How do physics investigate questions?

Unit 3: How do fields explain motion and electricity?

Students use Newton’s laws to investigate motion in one and two dimensions. They explore the concept of the field as a model used by physicists to explain observations of motion of objects not in apparent contact. Students compare and contrast three fundamental fields – gravitational, magnetic and electric – and how they relate to one another. They explore fields in relation to the transmission of electricity over large distances and in the design and operation of particle accelerators.

Areas of Study

  1. How do physicists explain motion in two dimensions?
  2. How do things move without contact?
  3. How are fields used in electricity generation?

Unit 4: How have creative ideas and investigation revolutionized thinking in physics?

Ideas that attempt to explain how the Universe works have changed over time, with some experiments and ways of thinking having had significant impact on the understanding of the nature of light, matter and energy.

Areas of Study

  1. How has understanding about the physical world changed?
  2. How is scientific inquiry used to investigate fields, motion or light?

VCE Physics provides for continuing study pathways within the discipline and can lead to a range of careers. Physicists may undertake research and development in specialist areas including acoustics, astrophysics and cosmology, atmospheric physics, computational physics, communications, education, engineering, geophysics, instrumentation, lasers and photonics, medical diagnosis and treatment, nuclear science, optics, pyrotechnics and radiography. Physicists also work in cross-disciplinary areas such as bushfire research, climate science, forensic science, materials science, neuroscience, remote sensing, renewable energy generation, sports science and transport and vehicle safety.


Psychology is a broad discipline that incorporates both the scientific study of human behaviour through biological, psychological and social perspectives and the systematic application of this knowledge to personal and social circumstances in everyday life. VCE Psychology enables students to explore how people think, feel and behave through the use of a biopsychosocial approach. As a scientific model, this approach considers biological, psychological and social factors and their complex interactions in the understanding of psychological phenomena. The study explores the connection between the brain and behaviour by focusing on several key interrelated aspects of the discipline: the interplay between genetics and environment, individual differences and group dynamics, sensory perception and awareness, memory and learning, and mental health.

VCE Psychology provides students with a framework for exploring the complex interactions between biological, psychological and social factors that influence human thought, emotions and behaviour. In undertaking this study, students apply their learning to everyday situations including workplace and social relations. They gain insights into a range of psychological health issues in society.

Unit 1: How are behaviour and mental processes shaped?

In this unit students investigate the structure and functioning of the human brain and the role it plays in the overall functioning of the human nervous system.

Areas of Study

  1. What influences psychological development?
  2. How are mental processes and behaviour influenced by the brain?
  3. How does contemporary psychology conduct and validate psychological research?

Unit 2: How do internal and external factors influence behaviour and mental processes?

In this unit students investigate how perception of stimuli enables a person to interact with the world around them and how their perception of stimuli can be distorted.

Areas of Study

  1. How are people influenced to behave in particular ways?
  2. What influences a person’s perception of the world?
  3. How do scientific investigations develop understanding of influences on perception and behaviour?

Unit 3: How does experience affect behaviour and mental processes?

In this unit students examine both macro-level and micro-level functioning of the nervous system to explain how the human nervous system enables a person to interact with the world around them.

Areas of Study

  1. How does the nervous system enable psychological functioning?
  2. How do people learn and remember?

Unit 4: How is wellbeing developed and maintained?

In this unit students examine the nature of consciousness and how changes in levels of consciousness can affect mental processes and behaviour. They consider the role of sleep and explore the concept of a mental health continuum and apply a biopsychosocial approach, as a scientific model, to analyse mental health and disorder.

Areas of Study

  1. How does sleep affect mental processes and behaviour?
  2. What influences mental wellbeing?
  3. How is scientific inquiry used to investigate mental processes and psychological functioning?