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WHAT ARE PHYSICAL SCIENCES?
Physical Sciences investigate physical and chemical phenomena. This is done through scientific inquiry, application of scientific models, theories and laws in order to explain and predict events in the physical environment.
This subject also deals with society’s need to understand how the physical environment works in order to benefit from it and responsibly care for it. All scientific and technological knowledge, including Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), is used to address challenges facing society. Indigenous knowledge is knowledge that communities have held, used or are still using. This knowledge has helped protect the environment for millennia. Some indigenous knowledge lends itself to science, but those examples that do not lend themselves to science are still knowledge however. In the subject Physical Sciences challenges such as the safe disposal of chemical waste, responsible utilisation of resources and the environment, alternative energy sources are addressed.
SPECIFIC AIMS OF PHYSICAL SCIENCES
The purpose of Physical Sciences is to equip learners with investigating skills relating to physical and chemical phenomena, for example, lightning and solubility. Examples of some of the skills that are relevant for the study of Physical Sciences are classifying, communicating, measuring, designing an investigation, drawing and evaluating conclusions, formulating models, hypothesising, identifying and controlling variables, inferring, observing and comparing, interpreting, predicting, problem solving and reflective skills.
Physical Sciences promotes knowledge and skills in scientific inquiry and problem solving; the construction and application of scientific and technological knowledge; an understanding of the nature of science and its relationships to technology, society and the environment. Physical Sciences prepare learners for future learning, specialist learning, employment, citizenship, holistic development, socio-economic development, and environmental management. Learners choosing Physical Sciences as a subject in Grades 10-12, including those with barriers to learning, can have improved access to: academic courses in Higher Education; professional career paths related to applied science courses and vocational career paths. The Physical Sciences plays an increasingly important role in the lives of all South Africans owing to their influence on scientific and technological development, which are necessary for the country’s economic growth and the social well being of its people.
Six main knowledge areas inform the subject Physical Sciences. These are:
• Matter and Materials
• Chemical Systems
• Chemical Change
• Waves, Sound and Light
• Electricity and Magnetism
TIME ALLOCATION OF PHYSICAL SCIENCES IN THE CURRICULUM
The teaching time for Physical Sciences is 4 hours per week, with 40 weeks in total per grade. The time allocated for the teaching of the content, concepts and skills includes the practical work. These are an integral part of the teaching and learning process.