Science provides children with the opportunity to understand the world around them and provides an exciting context to apply many of the other skills and disciplines they learn at school. The science National Curriculum sets out clear aims:
- 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
Our school has a carefully planned science curriculum that ensures children, from reception to year 6, cover these three aims in an accessible, creative and engaging way. The curriculum is planned to progressively increase pupil’s substantive and disciplinary science knowledge. We endeavour to develop a sense of awe, wonder and curiosity in all of our pupils.
Children learn best when engaged in stimulating and practical activities. Therefore, it is an expectation at Outwoods Primary School that every science lesson involves some practical elements.
The purpose of practical work is clear in relation to curriculum content so that practical activities can be set up and managed to develop pupils’ disciplinaryand/or substantive knowledge. Pupils are not expected to learn disciplinary knowledge only through taking part in practical work – disciplinary knowledge should be taught using the most effective methods.
The science curriculum follows the year by year progression of knowledge and skills as set out in the National Curriculum. This knowledge and skills document has been carefully mapped out and clearly shows the learning journey from reception to year 6 in all three disciplines of science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). Every unit has a clear learning journey - teachers make this as progressive as they can by carefully thinking about the order in which they teach and how each lesson leads into the next. Opportunities are provided for revisiting previous learning and this can be at the start of a lesson as a starter or during morning activities. The knowledge progression document is used to make relevant links to learning from previous years. Knowledge organisers can also be used to make these links. Key vocabulary is identified for each science topic and it is expected that these keywords will be explored through teaching and these will be shared with all children through the use of knowledge organisers.
We provide children with a range of opportunities to actively carry out all 5 types of scientific enquiry throughout their time at our school (Comparative/fair testing, Identifying, grouping and Classifying, Observing over time, Pattern Seeking and Research). Every child is given the opportunity to enjoy and make progress in science. In addition, the wider curriculum provides many opportunities to apply and deepen children’s understanding of science and teachers are expected to plan for these opportunities in their wider teaching.
Every lesson starts with a ‘big question’. This links to the key learning of the lesson but also explicitly refers to the real life implications of this learning. Lessons are led by outcome and not by activity. Children have the opportunity to develop their science capital through extra-curricular activities such as, after school science club, visitors and trips and special science learning days. The school takes part in national science events such as British Science Week and a yearly science fair is held. Outdoor learning is encouraged and we take advantage of all outdoor areas to enhance science learning. There is an expectation that outdoor learning is to be used as a way to provide a real context for the children to apply their knowledge and skills.
Science is taught as a discreet subject, although staff are encouraged to make cross curricular links wherever possible. Our hope is that, when children leave our school, they will have developed an enthusiasm for science and they will value and appreciate the range of skills it will provide them. We expect children to see themselves as scientists and an essential part of this is the promotion of curiosity and by encouraging them to ask questions. By the end of KS2, our expectation is, with sufficient scaffolding and prior knowledge given to them by their teacher, children will be able to develop their own questions, plan different types of enquiries to arrive at scientific conclusions.