“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.”
What Science looks like in our School
At St Mary’s School, it is our intention that Science will inspire children’s curiosity and fascination about the world around them. Our Curriculum allows the children to think “hard” when responding to key questions. Our pupils are encouraged to justify, reason, explain and describe, thus deepening their knowledge of different scientific concepts. We also engage in investigations, taking into consideration the importance of fair testing at KS1 and different variables in KS2. As the children progress through the school, there is an emphasis placed on applying rich vocabulary and understanding the etymology of words, particularly in Upper KS2.
The curriculum is progressive, allowing pupils to build upon prior knowledge and topics taught in the previous year groups. There is a broad balance between the teachings of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The pupils are also given the opportunity to revisit taught topics later in the academic year. This provides teachers the opportunity to address gaps in pupils’ learning and correct misconceptions, as well as allowing the pupils to consolidate knowledge and skills.
Topics also ensure that children are “thinking scientifically” in the form of investigations. At KS1, the pupils are encouraged to reflect on how to make their experiments “fair” by discussing which factors to change and keep the same. At KS2, an emphasis is placed on using different variables; independent, dependent and controlled variables. This terminology is introduced at Year 3, so pupils gain confidence when conducting experiments more independently in Upper KS2.
At EYFS, topics are carefully planned to ensure the pupils transition to KS1. Provisions in Reception give pupils the opportunity to engage in conversation, to narrate and make observations about the natural world.
“Curiosity” is one of our core Learning Behaviours at St Mary’s. We believe Science is crucial when promoting such intrigue. We would expect our pupils to feel confident when asking “Why” and “How” questions and to enjoy being curious. We aim to build a culture where there is “no such thing as silly question.”
Pupils will also have a deep subject knowledge, building upon prior topics as well as making links to other areas of the National Curriculum, e.g. History.
As investigators, we want our pupils to be resilient. Science isn’t perfect or expected. We want our children to be surprised by outcomes or results. It is important for our pupils to discuss their findings as well as understand that some investigations make take several attempts, thus the importance of planning and observing variables carefully.
This is what we do:
Science is taught every week from Year 1 – 6. Units range from 6-7 weeks in length. Children study a range of topics which cover Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Topics also include an opportunity to investigate and to think scientifically. We place an emphasis of pupils using rich vocabulary, particularly when studying the etymology of words. Vocabulary based activities are included in units.
In EYFS, learning through play is integral when promoting the children’s wonder about the natural world. In Reception, pupils are encouraged to ask questions and make observations using a “hands on” and practical approach. Staff encourage children’s thinking, using open ended questioning such as, “I wonder what will happen if I did this/change this?”
This is what you might typically see:
Children using ambitious vocabulary and making links between aspects of their learning. Children demonstrating curiosity and confidence when asking different questions. A range of modelled, guided and independent practice. Children using knowledge notes to support their learning.
What a Science lesson looks like in our school:
Each lesson begins by connecting to previous learning. This can be in the form of quizzing, discussions and questioning e.g. “Flipback Fours.” The knowledge note for the unit is introduced in the first lesson and the question for the unit is explored. Children then experience a range of activities in order to answer the question, over the course of unit. Some tasks can include; reasoning, classifying, describing and connecting. Lessons will include demonstration, guided learning and independent learning. Children are encouraged to refer to knowledge notes throughout their lessons.
Every lesson must include:
A unit question to guide the learning, modelled, guided and independent practice. This follows the structure: Example, Attempt, Apply and Challenge for more able pupils. The question in the knowledge note must be re-addressed at the end of the lesson e.g. “Do rocks change?” This can be a discussion or recorded. (Appropriate for key stage.)
This is how we know how well our pupils are doing:
Most children to be assessed at Age Related Expectations.
Children will be able to build upon prior learning and retain knowledge.
Children will be able to make connections between their learning and the wider world.
Pupils will be ambitious when using rich vocabulary and make links between words (etymology.)
Pupil will be able to comment upon how to make their investigations “fair” at KS1 or discuss the importance of different variables at KS2.
This is how we support pupils:
Adjustments will be made for children needing extra support. This may be in the form of adapted resources, small group adult support or additional scaffolding. Other pupils may be challenged further. Examples include encouraged to make connections between their learning and an unfamiliar context.