Science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence – including by making observations, carrying out investigations and modelling, and communicating and debating with others – in order to develop scientific knowledge, understanding, and explanations.

Why study Science?

By studying science students:

  • Develop an understanding of the world built on current theories.
  • Learn that science involves particular processes and ways of developing and organising knowledge and that these continue to evolve.
  • Use their current scientific knowledge and skills for problem solving and developing further knowledge.
  • Use scientific knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about communication, application and implications of science as these relate to their own lives and cultures and to the sustainability of the environment.

How is the learning area structured?

The fundamental aims of science education are expressed as a series of achievement aims, grouped by strand.

The strands include:

  • The Nature of Science
  • The Living World
  • The Planet Earth and Beyond
  • The Physical World
  • The Material World

The core strand, Nature of Science, is taught to all students up to Year 11.  Students in Years 12-13 are able to specialise in one or more science.


Biology is a fascinating subject, relevant to many careers.

At Year 12 students study life at cellular level, how the whole organism functions, genetic inheritance and how organisms adapt and evolve over time.  Students also explore the ecological patterns and inter-relationships between organisms and their environment, including field work on Wellington's south coast and practical work in the lab.

At Year 13 students explore some contemporary biological issues and the molecular biology techniques involved. As part of their study into plant and animal responses to the environment, and human biological and cultural evolution, Year 13 students visit Wellington Zoo overnight to observe animal behaviour first-hand. During this visit they take part in a variety of workshops, including cave painting, spear making, tool making, cord making, and fire making.


Chemistry is everywhere as it is the study of all matter.  With the increasing level of technological advancements the understanding of what chemistry is, becoming an important aspect for tomorrow's citizens.

In chemistry we aim to develop our students' knowledge about everyday materials, raise awareness of environmental issues and our dependence on chemical processes.  The course emphasises the relationship of chemistry to everyday life and how our lives depend upon the reactions that occur in the natural world.  How man has copied the reactions and the molecules in the natural world to develop current technologies.  There is an emphasis on practical work to develop laboratory techniques.  Experiments are used to help illustrate the theoretical ideas.

Chemistry is required if students wish to pursue a career in a science field as many external courses require the understanding gained in Level 2 and 3.


Physics is the study of things like moving objects, gravity, radioactivity, electricity, magnetism and light.  Physics is required or advised for many careers such as architecture, computer science, dentistry, electronics, engineering, medicine, veterinary science and telecommunications. 

The key topics for the Year 12 course are mechanics, light and waves, electricity and electromagnetism, and nuclear physics.  Students will learn to appreciate how physics impacts on society and will develop practical investigative skills and attitudes.

The Year 13 course builds on the material systems learned from the Year 12 course.  The key topics include waves, mechanical systems, electrical systems and atoms, photons and nuclei.  Practical work is included with all topics to encourage individual work and initiative.


Science involves people investigating the living, physical, material and technological parts of their environment and making sense of them in logical and creative ways.  Using systematic and creative processes of investigation, scientists produce a constantly changing body of knowledge and make an important contribution to shaping our world.