Starting Year 8 – Science Ideas

For my daughter’s Year 7 science we actually had 2 books – one was a Collins and one was an Oxford one. And I started the year not knowing which one we would use, so we dipped in and out of both for a while until we found our feet. And in the end it was the Oxford Activate 1 book which we preferred (and when her dad did Physics with her during the lockdown he also preferred the Activate book).

So based off last years’ experience we are sticking with the Activate series and using the Activate 2 student book as our main resource. However this year we are also using the workbook which goes with it. (There are two different workbooks – we are using the Higher one but there is also a Foundation one.  I have not seen the foundation workbook so I can only comment on the Higher workbook.) With her Year 7 science I often downloaded extra worksheets from Twinkl for practice pages but when her dad started doing physics with her he did not have the time to search for extra worksheets (he was doing physics with her in the evenings after he had finished his work and we realized that using a set workbook which lines up with the student book just makes more sense and is better time management on my side – plus the workbook only costs £4.99 which is probably less than I would pay in printing costs for the extra pages that I printed out).

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We have not started using the Workbook yet but some quick comments about it – it lines perfectly with the student book and it has all the answers in the back.  It also has a pinchpoint question after each topic (this focuses on a difficult concept) and chapter revision pages as well.  I will write a proper review once we have used it for a bit and can give feedback but initial thoughts are it looks good, I think it is good value for money and it will be that extra bit of practice that we were wanting in her year 7.

Okay so main Science topics are coming from the Activate 2 range and then we are getting the Oaka Topic packs as an extra. We love these topic packs, just perfect for my daughter’s learning style, so we are definitely sticking them with this year. So far I only have 2 – Plants and Photosynthesis and the Food and Digestion pack but I am going to get some Chemistry and Physics ones as well. (I often just get the Oaka packs as we do the topics. If you want to read more about Oaka Science Topic packs I have some photos and comments on the Light pack here – Light Topic Pack).

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This year I am also introducing the Oaka Pairs matching game.  At the moment we have the Biology set but I also want to get the Physics and Chemistry set.  It is a simple matching of cards activity but we think it is a good revision / reinforcing activity.  And we have also extended it into a quick explanation activity – she randomly selects a picture card and then she has to explain what the card is showing.

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So what does Activate 2 cover (in other words what are the topics I am planning on doing this year).


  • Health and Lifestyle (so food, nutrients, digestive system)
  • Ecosystem Processes (photosynthesis, leaves, plant minerals and respiration, food chains and food webs)
  • Adaptation and Inheritance (adapting to change, inheritance, natural selection, extinction).


  • Periodic Table (metals and non-metals, groups and periods)
  • Separation Techniques (solutions, solubility, filtration, evaporation and chromatography)
  • Metals and Acids (metals and water, metals and oxygen, extracting metals, ceramics, polymers, composites)
  • The Earth (sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, the rock cycle, the carbon cycle)


  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Energy (energy transfer, energy resources)
  • Motion and Pressure (speed, motion graphs, pressure in gases, pressure in liquids and pressure in solids).

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Just by looking at those categories there are a few that I know we have already covered in a lot of detail so I think those sections will be more revision which means we can spend longer on other areas and possibly include extra topics – for example expanding on the cell based knowledge that we did this year and human biology (two areas my daughter is very interested in).

Although the plan is to mainly follow the Activate books and use the Oaka Topic Packs I have no doubt we will still dip into Twinkl from time to time.  They do have a wide range of Secondary resources on the sites these days.  One of the Science items that lots of you may find helpful is Twinkl’s KS3 Science Curriculum Overview – which is their plan on how you can split the KS3 science curriculum over year 7, 8 and 9.

Starting Year 8 Science resource ideas

As always I will write detailed reviews about the resources once we have had time to use them.

For those of you interested here are Amazon Links for the Activate Books

Activate 2 Student Book

Activate 2 Intervention Workbook (Higher) (Chandlergrevatt)

Admin Bit – the resources here are all chosen by us, some are free press copies and some are paid for.

I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love

About ofamily

Home educating family based in the UK. We try to make learning fun
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