Students attending Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Secondary Schools in Singapore follow a well-defined syllabus for Science.

The lower secondary general science syllabus builds upon what was learnt in primary schools. Students from different schools learn topics from Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The topics are grouped under the themes: Diversity, Models, Systems and Interactions. From secondary three, students get to concentrate on specific science subjects.

The sequence of topics, and the depth to which each topic is covered, vary between schools. Here is a sample overview.

Physics

Secondary One

1. Diversity: Physical properties and measurements

– explain choice of materials based on physical properties (density, strength, hardness, flexibility, electrical/ thermal conductivity, boiling/ melting point)

– estimate, measure, +/- error correction, zero / parallax errors

– metre rule, measuring tape, vernier callipers, micrometer screw gauge, displacement can, electronic balance, pendulum, ticker tape

– density formula, predict sink or float by comparison

– environmental impact of excessive paper and plastic, 3Rs

2. Interactions: Forces

– definition and effects of a force (start, stop, accel, decel, change direction, deform, turn)

– contact (frictional, elastic, electrostatic) and non-contact (magnetic, gravitational) forces

– mass vs weight, how to measure, precision vs accuracy

– acceleration = speed / time, calculations

– pressure, calculations, explain daily applications, atmospheric pressure phenomena

3. Interactions: Energy and work done

– definitions, calculations (GPE=mgh, KE=1/2mv2, WD=Fd, W=mg)

– law of conservation of energy, energy conversion and transfer

– compare WD vs non-WD situations, direction of forces

– sources of energy and impact on environment

Secondary Two

1. Model: Light

– ray model of light, ray diagrams

– properties of light: light and shadows (eclipses), smooth / rough / coloured surfaces

– reflection, refraction, total internal reflection

effects and uses of plane / curved reflecting surfaces 

– mixture / components of white light, dispersion, prisms, colour vision

lenses, eyes

2. Interactions: Electromagnetic waves and sound

– transverse and longitudinal waves

– vibrating source, particles of medium interact, energy transfer

– loudness and wave amplitude; pitch and frequency

– sound (speech, music, ultrasound) vs noise

3. Models: Particulate nature of matter

– explain kinetic model => random constant motion of small discrete particles

– explain solid, liquid, gas by particles arrangement and movement

– explain physical properties (e.g. volume, shape, density, compressibility)

– explain state transitions, expansion, contraction, conservation of mass 

4. Interactions: Heat energy and its transmission

– contraction and expansion: explain with heat transfer, effect on volume and density, explain daily applications

– conduction, convection and radiation; explain daily uses (e.g. vacuum flask, double-glazed windows, solar heaters)

– different rate of heat flow by different materials

– effect of nature of surface and temp gradient on radiation

– global warming and climate change

5. Systems: DC electricity

– current, potential difference and resistance: definition, formula and SI units

– circuit diagrams and components

– series and parallel arrangement of resistors and batteries

– chemical, heating and magnetic effects of electricity

– Power, calculations, SI unit, kWh costing of electricity use

– Practical use of electricity, hazards and precautions

Chemistry

Secondary One

1. Diversity: Chemical composition of matter

– elements, compounds, mixtures

– classification of elements by their properties

– know compounds are ≥2 elements chemically combined

– know mixtures are ≥2 elements OR compounds, NOT chemically (physically) combined

– distinguish solute, solvent and solution

– understand solutions and suspensions are mixtures

– environ: impact of disposal of elements (mercury) and mixtures (sewage)

2. Diversity: Seperation techniques

– for mixtures only

– magnetic attraction, filtration, evaporation, sublimation, (fractional) distillation, paper chromatography

– obtain potable water by filtration (reservoir), desalination (sea water), reverse osmosis (sewage water)

Secondary Two

1. Models: Atoms and molecules

– subatomic structure: protons, electrons, neutrons

– structure – function relationship

– a molecule: ≥2 atoms chemically combined

– periodic trends

– understand chemical formulas

– applications, social and ethical issues, risks and costs

2. Models: Chemical bonding

– ionic, covalent

– writing and balancing chemical equations

3. Interactions: Chemical changes

– chemical reactions, heating, expose to light, pass electric current, oxidation (rust)

– chemical equations; re-arrangement, not creation / destruction, of atoms

– acids, bases and salts (acid-alkali, acid-metal, acid-carbonate)

– indicators

– benefit (cook, respire) and harm (rust, decay, burn) of chem reactions

Biology

Secondary One

1. Diversity: Living things

– classify into taxonomic groups, dichotomous keys

– value of biodiversity (food, medicine, raw materials)

– beneficial and harmful effects of bateria (e.g. gut flora)

– reasons for depletion / extinction of species (e.g. hunting, disease, invasive competitors, habitat change or destruction)

2. Diversity: Cells

– structure – function relationship

– identify sub-cellular components, infer if plant / animal cell

– levels of organisational complexity: cells, tissues, organs, systems, organisms

– explain division of labour at cellular level

3. Systems: Transport in living things

– particles level: diffusion, osmosis, active transport

– plant transport: diffusion of gases (leaves) and mineral salts (roots), osmosis for water absorption (roots), transpiration, xylem / phloem

4. Interactions: Ecology / Ecosystems

– with physical environ (water, air, temp, light, minerals, acidity/alkalinity)

– with other organisms: prey-predator, symbiotic, mutualism, parasitism

– adaptations: structural and behavioral

– photosynthesis and respiration, energy flow, cycles (carbon, water, nitrogen)

– respiration vs breathing

– decomposers help nutrients recycling

5. Human sexual reproduction

– heredity, genetic variation, fertilisation

– secondary sexual characteristics

– structure – function of male and female parts, comparison to plant parts

– menstrual cycle

– temporary and permanent birth control methods

– STIs: viral (AIDS) and bacterial (gonorrhoea, syphilis)

– abortion and pre-marital sex: issues and consequences

Secondary Two

1. Systems: Biological molecules

– carbohydrates, proteins, fats

2. Systems: Human digestion

– alimentary canal structure – function

– enzymes: characteristics, properties, lock-and-key hypothesis

– hygiene, food handling practices

3. Systems: Human circulation

– arteries, veins, capillaries

– structure – function

– RBCs, WBCs, blood composition

– interaction with digestive, respiratory and excretory systems