Coursework B 2012 Science Facts

The study of Science entails practical laboratory work (experiments) along with the study of theory. In the modern world where advances in Science and Technology are bringing great changes to our lives, the study of Science is particularly relevant to help people assess the implication of these developments.

The study of Science at Junior Certificate level involves the study of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Applied Science.

Junior Certificate Science marks are distributed as follows:

  • Coursework A – 10%    (Experiments and investigations specified in the syllabus)
  • Coursework B – 25%    (2 specified investigations)
  • Terminal examination – 65%    (Section 1 – Biology / Section 2 – Chemistry / Section 3 – Physics)Science branches into 3 separate subjects for the Leaving Certificate:
  • Biology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Physics.

Coursework B
Student Investigations Each student is required to undertake two specified investigations in their third year and to submit a pro forma report on these for assessment. These additional investigations, based on the topics and learning outcomes in the syllabus, will be set by the examining body and will vary from year to year. These investigations account for 25% of the students final Junior Certificate grade and will require substantial time investment, by the student, during the year. Students will be notified of the investigation titles well in advance of the laboratory time they will be allocated to conduct the investigations, and this laboratory time-slot cannot be altered. DES deadlines for submission by the students of their report must be adhered to, and, in order to prevent missed deadlines, students are expected to exercise due diligence in the preparation, planning and conduct of their chosen investigations. Students who fail to do so will not be given additional time, and reports still incomplete come deadline, will be submitted as is.

Investigation Titles 2013

Compare by means of investigation the vitamin C content of a number of commercial and fresh fruit juices.

Compare by means of investigation methanol, propan-1-ol and candle wax in terms of their effectiveness as fuels.

Investigate any two factors that affect the output from a solar cell when light is shone on it.


We have developed a blank copy of the Coursework for your use.  It differs slightly from the state examinations booklet in that we have specified how many resources you reference, how many safety aspects you must specify, etc…(Note – these numbers are a minimum).  A copy of a blank Coursework B booklet can be found here.

Additional coursework B material can be found in the table below to help you with your projects.Summaries:
The following table contains a summary of all the JC Science chapters complete with appropriate past questions.  It is an excellent revision guide.

There is a shortage of people in Ireland with training in Science and Technology to meet our current needs. It is also important to remember that a Science subject is required at Leaving Cert level for some third level courses, e.g. Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering, Food Science etc.

Students’ Corner:

To remember the characteristics of life:

Real Elephants Noses Grow Really Really Massive

Respiration. Excretion. Nutrition.Growth. Reproduction.Responsivity.Movement

Useful websites:

Department of Education and Science sites:URL:
Department of Education and Science
State Examinations Commission
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment
Scoilnet, the NCTE schools website
Teacher Support Network sites:URL:
Second Level Support Service – Physics and Chemistry
Biology Support Service
Chemistry Support Service
Physics Support Service
Irish Science Teachers’ Association – membership is   open to all teachers of science
The Association for Science Education (UK) –   membership is open to all teachers of science
National Science Teachers Assocation (USA) – membership   is open to all teachers of science
Resource sites:URL:
Concept Cartoons offer excellent starting points for   discussion and thinking
Science Enhancement Programme – focuses on scientific   enquiry and practical work, scientific knowledge and conceptual   understanding, scientific research and developments
Drawing tool for both teachers and pupils
Puzzle makers
Crossword construction kit
Wordsearch construction kit
Hot Potatoes software – construct crosswords,   wordsearches, cloze test, matching exercises
Chemical Jigsaw Puzzle
PhET – Physics Education Technology, interactive   physics animations from the Unversity of Colorado
Freezeray Interactive Science Resources
BBC Schools site – human body interactive games
Science photograph library – teachers can register,   then download and use the images, as long as credit for source is given
Science Smarties – a variety of assessments for each   topic of the Junior Cert. syllabus, from a TeachNet Ireland site
Science, Technology and Society sitesURL:
Ingenious Ireland
The science behind the news
Science and technology in
Science trail at the science centre, Birr
General Interest sites:URL: has a section on science
How Stuff Works
Natural History Museum of Ireland
Explore materials science
NASA Astrobiology Institute
Exploratorium – interactive with many DIY experiments
Timeline for events in science and mathematics
European Space Agency Human Spaceflight – teachers   can request a free copy of the Education Kit aimed at students aged 12-15


Here’s how to get 35% of your Junior Cert Science mark without having to learn any Science:

  1. Get the first 10% by having your lab book written up – it’s automatic and doesn’t necessarily mean you did any experiments. It certainly doesn’t mean you learnt anything; in fact if you missed out on any expeiments just copy them from somebody else and make up a date (try to ensure it was a day when the school was open).
    Technically we the teachers shuldn’t be signing off on this section unless we know it represents a fair reflection of the students’ actual work, but in practice this is rarely going to be the case. it may be that we see the results our students get as a reflection of our own teaching ability; we may have inherited the students from other teachers or indeed schools so may have no way of knowing how much of the previous work is legitimate; it may be a task too many for already busy teachers to monitor, particulary if the students themselves have little regard for the excercise or simply lack the necessary organisational skills to keep up to date themselves.
  2. Get the next 25% by having your two designated investiagations written up in the correct format. This isn’t very difficult and the average mark here is about 90%. The important thing to remember here is that it doesn’t matter how well you did the actual investigations or how clever your approach was (or indeed if you bothered to do the investigations yourself in  the first place) – all the marks here go for how you write it up.

If you think the final mark that students actually obtain may be somewhat inflated by the hoop-jumping above, you’re not alone. In fact some of us would go so far as to think it makes a mockery of the whole subject at this level.

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