Year 10 Science

Science at Year 10

Students are required to study the equivalent of a full year of Science (ie. two semester units) at the Year 10 level.  Students anticipating a career in the Sciences may take an additional Science unit as an elective if desired.  The units offered include general science units according to the Victorian Curriculum (Forensic Science and Environmental Science) as well as electives for students wishing to specialise in agriculture and horticulture (10 AgHort), biology (Genetics and Evolution), chemistry (10 Chemistry) and physics (10 Physics).

A Science Pathways  page is provided to assist with your subject choice.  Consulting this diagram and the flow charts below is essential for ensuring that your Year 10 subject choices will prepare you to do the VCE Science courses of your choosing.

Accelerated Studies

At Year 10 Students may undertake one of the VCE Science subjects (VCE Agriculture and Horticulture Unit 1, VCE Biology Units 1 and/or 2,  VCE Physics Unit 1) as part of their required allotment. Note that students wishing to undertake the accelerated Physics unit (VCE Physics Unit 1) should have both a keen interest in experimenting as well as strong mathematical skills.  VCE Psychology Unit 1 can also be taken as an accelerated study in Year 10 but this must be counted as an elective unit and chosen in addition to another two Science units as it does not cover Victorian Curriculum content.

VCE Biology Units 1 and 2

VCE Agriculture & Horticultural Studies Unit 1

VCE Physics Unit 1

VCE Psychology Unit 1

Agriculture & Horticultural Studies Pathways

AgHort careers image10 AgHort is a direct pathway for VCE Agricultural and Horticultural Studies but can also be followed by VCE Unit 1 and 2 Biology or Psychology or Unit 3 and 4 Environmental Science.


10 AgHort

In this unit students study local agricultural and horticultural operations and the biological factors that influence these operations. They develop an understanding of how the biological and physical components of the environment and human resources influence the type of agriculture undertaken at particular locations. They apply their knowledge and skills in establishing a small business project involving the care of living plants or animals.

Students demonstrating a high level of competency would be able to undertake Units 3 & 4 Agricultural/Horticultural Studies the following year (numbers permitting).


Chemistry Pathways

Chemistry careers image


Either 10 Chemistry and 10 Environmental Science provide a Pathway for VCE Chemistry but can also be followed by VCE Unit 1 & 2 AgHort, Biology or Psychology or Unit 3 & 4 Environmental Science.

Note that it is NOT recommended that VCE Chemistry be taken without first studying 10 Chemistry or 10 Environmental Science.



10 Chemistry


This unit is recommended for students thinking of studying VCE Chemistry.  Essential background theory is investigated in two main contexts:
 Analysis of Unknown Compounds and Organic Chemistry.

Students extend their use of chemical formulae and the Periodic Table to describe ionic compounds and balance chemical equations. They apply their chemical knowledge and practical skills to analyse unknown substances and, during the process, investigate a range of reaction types. The factors which influence the rate of chemical reactions are accurately explored using data-logging equipment.

When studying organic chemistry, students investigate the diverse substances that come from organic matter, ranging from fuels to fragrances. They learn how to systematically name these compounds and explore both the combustion of fuels and measurement of their boiling points.

NOTE: Due to overlap in content, 10 Chemistry cannot be taken with 10 Environmental Science.

10 Environmental Science

A study of the environment begins with an understanding of Earth’s major interactions and the cycles involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.  Students then consider the factors which impact upon these systems resulting in loss of biodiversity, climate change, melting polar caps and increased acidity of the seas.  Students study the evolution of species and the use of fossils as evidence.smallerEnviropic
The role of Chemistry in the environment is also explored, beginning with foundation work on the Periodic Table and the way in which properties are linked to atomic structure. Students spend a significant amount of time developing their Chemistry skills, extending their use of chemical formulae and the Periodic Table to describe ionic compounds and balance chemical equations.  Students carry out a range of chemical reaction types and investigate how the rates of these reactions can be controlled.
Students conduct an extended fieldwork investigation at a local wetland, making use of data-logging equipment.

 Due to overlap in content, 10 Chemistry cannot be taken with 10 Environmental Science.


Biology Pathways

Biology careers image



Studying either Genetics & Evolution or Forensic Science provides a good introduction for VCE Biology but these subjects also be followed by VCE Unit 1 & 2 AgHort or Psychology or Unit 3 & 4 Environmental Science.




Genetics and Evolution

The way you look is part of your genetic make-up.  Genetics is the branch of Biology concerned with heredity and the study of laws governing similarities and differences between parents and offspring.
This unit also considers DNA and RNA, their structure and role in the genetic code and making proteins.
The way that humans use their understanding of genetics is studied through gene technologies, DNA fingerprinting and genetically modified organisms, including the ethics associated with these fields
This unit also looks at Darwin’s theory of evolution and how we explain biodiversity.
Natural selection, variations in populations and the use of fossil evidence is explored with an emphasis on the evolution of hominids (humans).

NOTE: Due to overlap in content, 10 Genetics & Evolution cannot be taken with 10 Forensic Science. 

Forensic Science

In this unit, students study Genetics and Physics concepts in the context of Forensic Investigations.
When considering car crashes, an understanding of forces and movement is necessary (including Newton’s laws of motion). Through a knowledge of momentum and inertia, stress and strain, they consider what happens in collisions to both the passengers and the car, including the role of crumple zones and airbags.
Students also learn about DNA, its structure and function in the body and its role in determining inherited characteristics. They also investigate the techniques of DNA fingerprinting, blood spatter and blood typing.
Students work in teams to experiment with practical forensic techniques.

NOTE: Due to overlap in content 10 Forensic Science cannot be taken with 10 Genetics & Evolution or with 10 Physics. 

 Physics Pathways

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Either 10 Physics or 10 Forensic Science is a pathway for VCE Physics but can also be followed by VCE Unit 1 & 2 AgHort, Biology or Psychology or Unit 3&4 Environmental Science.






Experiments such as this one investigating vehicle crashes would be completed as part of the Year 10 Forensics and Year 10 Physics courses.

This unit is particularly recommended for students thinking of studying VCE Physics.  In this unit, students carry out guided experimental investigations relating to such things as forces involved in driving cars, avoiding or surviving collisions, and launching a rocket they make themselves.
They learn how to design experiments to test their predictions and how to apply mathematical models to account for their experimental data.
They study the laws of Newton and Einstein and consider the different forms of energy at work in moving objects.
In the magnetism component of the course they study how magnets interact along with field models and the relationship between electricity and magnetism.

NOTE: Due to overlap in content, 10 Physics cannot be taken with 10 Forensic Science.



VCE Psychology Pathways

Any Year 10 Science can be followed by VCE Unit 1 & 2 Psychology, access the VCE Psychology page for more information about Psychology courses.


VCE Environmental Science Pathways

Any Year 10 Science can be followed by VCE Unit 3 & 4 Environmental Science but the preferred entry pathways are outlined on the VCE Environmental Science page.  VCE Environmental Science will only offered every second year (ie. 2019, 2021) so plan accordingly.

If you will be in Year 11 in the year VCE Environmental Science is offered, follow one of the pathways suggested above.


If you will be in Year 12 in the year VCE Environmental Science is offered follow one of the pathways suggested above.


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