The National Curriculum states, “A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science.”
The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
- are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
At Whitmore Park Primary School, our science curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in children about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living. We intend to develop children who are not only inquisitive and knowledgeable but also able to plan fair investigations and experiments which they can use to form conclusions using scientific vocabulary. We want our children to be able to discuss and write about the aspects of science they have learnt using scientific vocabulary. We want children to be able to build arguments and explain concepts confidently using appropriate language.
Through our Long-Term Plan (LTP), the children acquire and develop the key knowledge (used as LO in lessons) and scientific vocabulary that has been identified within each unit (listed on science knowledge mats.) Knowledge mats are used as teaching and retrieval practise tool throughout the unit and are passed up each year to enable teachers to practise retrieval of knowledge taught from previous years.
Key skills (used as Success Criteria in lessons) are mapped for each year group and are progressive throughout the school. These ensure systematic progression to identified skills end points which are in accordance with the Working Scientifically skills expectations of the national curriculum. We want children to use this bank of skills to independently plan investigations and fair experiments. Children will therefore complete at least one supported investigation/experiment per half term, so that by Year 5/6 children are able to plan and conduct fair tests independently. We use a ‘Big Question’ for each topic to encourage children to want to explore, investigate and experiment.
Science teaching at Whitmore Park Primary School is taught as discrete units. Teachers adapt and extend planning to match all pupils’ needs, their interests, current events, their own teaching style, the use of any support staff and the resources available.
Our school aspires to promote children’s independence and for all children to take responsibility for their own learning, therefore we encourage children in each class to devise at least one independent investigation per half-term; where possible, linked to the Big Question.
Our children begin their science experience in Early Years Foundation Stage, with informal investigation within the setting. Teachers facilitate children’s curiosity with open ended questions and clearly thought-out learning experiences which are both child and adult lead. In KS1 and KS2, children continue to build on their science knowledge and skills with more formal weekly science lessons for one hour per week.
Our approach to science takes account of the school’s context, where possible we ensure access to people with specialist expertise and places of scientific interest. When appropriate, we use our school grounds to enhance the teaching of science.
As we want our children to have a love of science and aspiration to be a scientist or life-long learner of science, we research and learn about scientists or inventors linked to the unit we are studying.
Foundation Stage/Key Stage 1
The principal focus of science teaching in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly constructed world around them. They should be encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They should be helped to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways.
Most of the learning about science should be done using first-hand practical experiences, but there should also be some use of appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos. “Working scientifically” must also be taught through and clearly related to the teaching of substantive science content in the LTP.
Pupils should read and spell scientific vocabulary at a level consistent with the increasing word reading and spelling knowledge at Key Stage 1.
Years 3 – 4
The principal focus of science teaching in Years 3 and 4 is to enable pupils to broaden their Scientific view of the world around them. They should do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions.
They should ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways to answer them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out. “Working scientifically” must also be taught through and clearly related to the teaching of substantive science content in the LTP.
Pupils should read and spell scientific vocabulary correctly and with confidence.
The principal focus of science teaching in Years 5 and 6 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They should do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically.
In years 5 and 6, they should encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They should also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They should select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information. Pupils should draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings. “Working scientifically” must also be taught through and clearly related to the teaching of substantive science content in the LTP.
Pupils should read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly.
At Whitmore Park Primary School, we us Rosenshine’s 10 Principles of Instruction to ensure all children achieve in science:
- Begin the lesson with a review of previous learning.
- Present new material in small steps.
- Ask a large number of questions.
- Provide models and worked examples.
- Practise using the new material.
- Check for understanding frequently and correct errors.
- Obtain a high success rate.
- Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks.
- Independent practice.
- Monthly and weekly reviews of knowledge and vocabulary learnt.
We use our science knowledge mats to support this practice and continually refer back to these during topics. We also use them for retrieval practice beyond the point of teaching.
The successful approach to the teaching of science at Whitmore Park Primary School will result in a fun, engaging, high quality science education, that provides children with the foundations for understanding the world around them.
The impact of science will be measured through regular monitoring of the provision of teaching and learning, planning, work done in books or evidenced on Seesaw and pupil voice. Our aim is to show impact through the following:
- Children demonstrate a love of science work and an interest in further study and work in this field.
- Children retain knowledge that is pertinent to science with a real-life context.
- Children who can question ideas and reflect on knowledge, using the key science vocabulary identified for each unit.
- Children who can articulate their understanding of scientific concepts and be able to reason scientifically, using rich language linked to science.
- Children demonstrate an enthusiasm for mathematical skills through their science work, showing organised recording and interpreting of results.
- Children work independently and practically to investigate and experiment.
- Children achieve age related expectations in science at the end of their cohort year.
Summative Assessment of science is completed through formal strategies (e.g. Learning By Questions quizzes taken half-way through and at the end of a topic) and informal strategies (e.g. use of concept maps, verbal/written outcomes, reflection tasks/presentations and other retrieval practices). Teachers use these to inform their end of year teacher assessments on DCPro.
Formative assessment is used continually by teachers to assess the impact of science teaching and learning in their classrooms, as this allows for misconceptions and gaps to be addressed as soon as possible. A variety of Assessment for Learning methods will be used for this, some of which are mentioned above.
British Science Week
The theme: exploration and discovery
Pupils took part in a STEM project and learned about Coventry’s heritage of design and engineering. The Lanchester archive brought 2 cars to our school for pupils to compare. They had a wonderful day, designing cars for the futures and learning about flight.
“Such a brilliant day at Whitmore Park with so many keen inventors and engineers making gliders, researching history and designing cars inspired by a unique 1920s Lanchester car and a modern electric vehicle – thanks for making us so welcome! #lovelanchester”