In our school we learn about the world around us through exploration. We aim to make the majority of science lessons a hands on experience that not only focuses on scientific knowledge but also enquiry skills.
Each topic focuses on one scientific skill so that children are able to get a deeper grasp of that particular skill. Occasionally, a larger topic is split into two parts and looks at two different enquiry skills. On their journey through school, each topic’s skills are then assessed through a hands-on investigation at the end of the topic. By the end of Year 6, children should be able to put these skills together to attempt to answer their own scientific question with minimal adult input.
In the EYFS, children experience science through their continuous provision and stories. Children are encouraged to talk about and ask questions about their experiences. Discussion is then promoted as each child journeys towards Year 6 with support from progressive topic specific vocabulary.
Our curriculum provides all pupils with:
•Ensuring pupils master core content through the development of key concepts and timely revisiting of key knowledge
•Sequencing the curriculum and selecting knowledge to allow for gradual development of vertical concepts – the ‘big ideas’ in science – to provide firm foundations for KS3 and KS4
•Preventing common misconceptions that are often formed at an early age and prove problematic at the later stages of pupils’ science education
•Purposefully teaching appropriate knowledge that goes beyond the KS1 and KS2 national curriculum, to aid current and future understanding, and to smooth the transition to KS3
•Encouraging pupils to apply and make connections between the disciplines of science, the wider curriculum and the wider world
•Sequencing Working Scientifically elements so that they are explicitly taught and practised alongside the substantive knowledge, and regularly reviewed and built upon across the years and key stages
•Making deliberate and explicit links to other curriculum areas – particularly geography and mathematics – to ensure there is a consistent approach to teaching content, and that pupils are always first taught content in the most relevant subject. For example, pupils are taught how to construct bar charts or calculate the mean in mathematics before they are applied in science
•Planning practical tasks that have a clear purpose: to demonstrate or prove substantive concepts, or to allow pupils to deliberately practice working scientifically skills in a relevant context
Curiosity and excitement about science:•Selecting examples and applications of science that inspires pupils’ curiosity about the world and natural phenomena
The ‘big ideas of science education’ were first published by Wynne Harlen and a group of experts in science education in 2010. These ideas set out key concepts that, when understood together, allow pupils to understand the world around them.
The ideas are expressed in the form of narrative descriptions that builds the understanding of key ideas from primary to secondary education. They cannot be understood in single units or lessons; we need to build concepts by attending to them in small steps within the curriculum.
Ten ideas are ideas of science, and span the disciplines of chemistry, biology and physics. Four are ideas about science, and contribute to pupils’ disciplinary understanding of how scientists work today.
We have been working hard to increase science capital throughout the school and dispel the “mad-scientist” stereotype. Last year, and again this, we have been lucky enough to receive a visit from BAE systems in conjunction with the Royal Navy. They have run workshops with the children to show how science makes their jobs easier. Each topic also has links to modern day and historical scientists that have made a significant contribution to their subject area.