Science 10 Discovery Course Outline


Here’ more info than you probably wanted about this course, but sometimes parents like to know what the heck is going on all day at school, so here you go:

What’s Disco?

“We want the lovers of science, the inquisitive, the keen. Basically, we want the science-geeks.”

The Science Discovery Program (formerly known as Science Honours)  is intended to encourage those with a keen interest in science. We will focus on hands-on experiments and the use the model of Project Based Learning in our exploration of topics in all branches of Science, from material covered in the classroom to science in the ‘real-world’.  The intention of this course is to develop a deeper understanding in science, and not to have a “harder” course. Achievement tends to be as good, or better, than in the regular science classes. Students will prepare for, and write, the same final exam as all other Science 10 students.


  1. The Science Discovery Program in grade 9 & 10 is intended to encourage those who have a keen interest in science.
  2. To use the strategies of Inquiry and Project Based Learning
  3. To engage in meaningful science.
  4. To be in a learning environment with others who really like science.
  5. To produce authentic displays of learning

Why Study Science?

Here’s what the Ministry of Education has to say about that:

“Science education in British Columbia is designed to provide opportunities for students to develop scientific knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will be relevant in their everyday lives and their future careers. In addition to introducing them to current concepts, findings, and processes in various scientific disciplines – biology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and geology – it encourages them to

  • develop a positive attitude toward science
  • examine basic concepts, principles, laws, and 
theories through scientific inquiry
  • demonstrate respect for precision
  • develop awareness of assumptions in all 
forms of science‐related communication
  • separate fundamental concepts from the less 
important or irrelevant
  • identify supporting or refuting information 
and bias
  • recognize that scientific knowledge is continually developing
  • use given criteria for evaluating evidence and sources of information
  • actively gain knowledge, skills, and attitudes that provide the basis for sound and ethical problem solving and decision making
  • assess the impact of science and technology on individuals, society, and the environment
  • cultivate appreciation of the scientific endeavour and their potential to contribute to science

To prepare students for further education and for their adult lives, the Science 8 to 10 curriculum engages students in the investigation of scientific questions and the development of plausible solutions. Science education develops and builds on students’ sense of wonder about the world around them and encourages a feeling of responsibility to sustain it. Science education fosters students’ desire to meet a challenge, take risks, and learn from mistakes. It prompts a curiosity about the changing world and helps students understand that the skills and knowledge they are gaining will be refined and expanded to reflect advances in scientific knowledge and technology.”

Wow! Are you scared yet? Don’t worry; you can already do most of those things. In fact, kids your age have been “scientists” since birth, and I hope we teachers haven’t beaten that out of you already! Doing science is actually very natural, but us grown-ups often ruin it by using strict rules, big words, and lots of math. My hope is that you will have some fun learning about nature and seeing why science is one of the great ways to learn about the unknown.

Course Content:

Physical Science: Energy

Big Idea: Energy is conserved and its transformation can affect living things and the environment.
  • Where does energy come from and what happens to it?
  • Types of energy
  • Categories of energy
  • Potential Energy
  • Kinetic Energy
  • Thermal Energy and Heat
  • Energy transformations
  • Law of Conservation of Energy
  • Nuclear Energy
  • How do energy transformations affect the environment?

Physical Science: Chemical Reactions

Big Idea: Chemical processes require energy change as atoms are rearranged. 
  • rearrangement of atoms in chemical reactions and the law of conservation of mass
  • acid-base chemistry
  • reactions: types include synthesis, decomposition, single-double replacement, combustion/oxidation, neutralization
  • energy change during chemical reactions: exothermic and endothermic — activation energy
  • practical applications and implications: household chemical safety (e.g., ammonia and bleach), combustion (e.g., kindling temperature, ignition point, oxygen concentration), polymer chemistry, semiconductors, resource extraction (e.g., ore, fracking), pulp and paper chemistry, food chemistry, corrosion/prevention, tanning, traditional medicines, phytochemistry, pharmaceuticals, environmental remediation, water quality, oil spill cleanup

Life Science: Genetics

Big Idea: Genes are the foundation for the diversity of living things.
  • DNA Structure and function
  • Genes and chromosomes
  • Simple patterns of inheritance
  • Mutation and its impact on evolution
  • Natural selection
  • Artificial selection
  • Application of genetics and ethical considerations

Earth Science: Cosmology

Big Idea: The formation of the Universe can be explained by the Big Bang Theory
  • Evidence that supports the big bang theory
  • Formation of the Universe
  • Advancement of technology deepened our understanding of the Universe

How will the course be marked?

Formative Assessments

This stuff is hugely important and to answer the most frequent question I get: “Yes, it gets marked!”

However, it’s not for marks, if that makes sense. This is the everyday practice that helps you learn and prepares you for “game-day”.


  • In class discussions and questions
  • Textbook questions
  • Test review packages
  • Project ‘Check-in’s
  • Mini-quizzes
  • Other Class Work Assignments
Summative Assessments

Game-day! This is the stuff that counts toward your report-card mark. This kind of assessment will not happen often, but when it does, you must be prepared.


  • Tests (70% of your class mark)
  • Quests (somewhere between a quiz and a test)
  • Labs
  • Projects

Provincial Exam: Nope! Sorry kids, no more Provincial Exams in grade 10.

Final Exam: Yup! Sorry kids, there will be a final exam during the third week of June covering the whole year. This exam will be worth 20% of your final grade. Your total class mark for the year will be worth 80% of your final grade.

Retests may be written for each unit test providing you meet the retest criteria (more on this in class). If a retest is done, the retest mark will be used, not the original mark.

Note: Students will be informed of their cumulative class mark throughout the year.  For example, the mark they will be shown in the second term will not be a second term only mark, but will be their current overall class mark for the entire year.

 Even more gory details about this course:


Areas of Focus for Science 10 Discovery, this year: 

  1. Project-based learning

Learning particularly makes sense and ‘matters’ when it involves real life and is directly relevant to the learner in some way.  We will offer a number of individual and team projects that embed course-learning outcomes in the context of either plausible ‘real life’ scenarios or actual local or global issues which students can reasonably and legitimately tackle.

  1. Creative Application of Knowledge

The knowledge industry is shifting from simply accessing knowledge to creatively applying it in new contexts, usually in collaboration with others.  We will provide students with opportunities to discover new knowledge, creatively and collaboratively organize knowledge, and present it in a range of media.

  1. Assessment for Learning

This involves a shift of the focus of assessment from being primarily the way to “get grades” for students, to being primarily a way of providing them feedback to help them learn.  The “feedback” assessment is called Formative Assessment and does not count for grades but is more like coaching feedback regarding what student are doing right and what they need to change or learn next. Assessment to provide a snapshot of how well students have mastered course-learning outcomes is called Summative Assessment.

Lab Reports:  Lab reports will sometimes require a formal write-up, and at other times labs will be an informal activity; but in either case, labs are an important and essential component of your learning in this course.

Quizzes will be used mainly as a formative assessment. They will carry little or no weight in the overall grade, but are an invaluable opportunity for learning. They will guide your learning by revealing what you understand now, and what you will need to study in more detail. They will help guide my instruction as well. The most important assessments in this course will be the formative ones.

Regular Homework from worksheets, or the textbook, is expected to be done for the next class, as it is essential that you practice the applications of newly learned concepts as soon as possible.  There will be an opportunity each class to ask questions about the homework. Don’t panic! While I understand the importance of practice, reflection and review, I also have kids! I know that you are busy people, and don’t always have time for homework. I promise to try my best to give you time in class to get your work done, and I will not give marks for homework.

Tests will be based upon the course learning outcomes.  There will be one or two major unit tests each term, and if you do a good job of assignments, quizzes and labs, you can expect to do well on tests.

Replacement Tests (retests):  There will be an opportunity for students to write retests. If you choose to do a retest, that mark will be used, not the original mark (this means you could actually lose marks if you don’t prepare for the retest). Retest opportunities will only be offered to those students who have not missed any prior tests, and who have completed all of the unit assignments. Retesting is a privilege and not a right. Please do not abuse it.

Additional help:  I will be available during Focus times, and after school on most days in room 234. I will not be in during the mornings before school (that’s when I ride my bike:)

Equipment:  A calculator is essential for this course, and should be brought to every class. Also paper, pencils, erasers and the textbook (when in use) should be brought to each class.

Contact: Click here to visit my Contact Page. There is a permanent link to this page via one of the tabs at the top of this page.

Oak Bay High Department of Geeks