CALOW CHURCH OF ENGLAND (VC) PRIMARY SCHOOL
‘Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.’ – Edwin Hubble
Through a positive, caring environment based on Christian values, we provide a range of opportunities for every child to reach their full potential in Science. Children will have opportunities to ask questions, carry out enquiries, explore, formulate ideas and find out more about the amazing world around them with curiosity and wonder. They will understand more about the beauty of the Earth and life on it, as well as its place in a wider universe.
The 2014 National Curriculum states why we teach science in schools:
‘A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics…Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sentence of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena.’
It aims to ensure that all children:
- 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 Calow Church of England (VC) Primary School, we foster children’s natural curiosity and encourage them to be inquisitive about the world around them through their time here and beyond. We provide a range of high-quality, interesting and inspiring learning experiences that allow all children to fully maximise their scientific ability and potential.
Throughout the programmes of study, the children will acquire, develop and extend key knowledge as well as developing their ability to work scientifically through planning, carrying out and evaluating investigations.
We help children to understand more about how science relates to other areas of the curriculum, including Maths, Computing and Geography, and how it is essential to a vast range of STEM careers that they may be interested in. Children are also taught science in a global and historical context in order to understand how it has developed through time and in different parts of the world.
Teachers and teaching assistants create a positive environment relating to science and investigations within the classroom. Science is taught on a weekly basis, with some enquiries and investigations scheduled for longer sessions when needed. Children work independently, in learning pairs and within groups so that they can learn collaboratively and discuss ideas and questions.
The teachers and teaching assistants in EYFS use the guidance from Development Matters and Birth to Five Matters to support the progressive development of scientific skills and knowledge, building on the children’s own interests and fascinations.
In the EYFS the development of scientific understanding is founded on rich first-hand experiences which engage and inspire young children. As the children learn through play, their knowledge, feelings and ideas become visible and they start to incorporate the new things they are learning into their play and their interactions with the indoor and outdoor learning environments.
Through exploration, observation and investigations supported by adults who facilitate young enquiring minds the children develop understanding and skills which support:
- the known to the unknown
- the familiar to the unfamiliar
- the local to the global
- the first-hand to the secondary.
The careful choice of key texts in EYFS supports the development of early scientific skills such as exploring, comparing and contrasting. Through listening to a broad and rich selection of stories, poems and non-fiction texts the children develop their understanding of the ecologically diverse natural world.
Key vocabulary and concepts are taught in a carefully planned progressive sequence through developmentally appropriate activities to support understanding and future learning in science
In KS1 and KS2, the National Curriculum units are followed in each year group, which provides a full breakdown of the statutory content to be covered in each unit. Teachers use the key learning content in the DfE’s Science programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2 to ensure all necessary content is covered. Most units are taught for a term, with some units being taught over two terms.
Teachers use a range of resources to support them in planning their units. Units are based on the PLAN resources, which give a useful insight into key prior learning and future learning so that teachers have reference to progression and where the unit they are planning fits into the children’s learning journey in Science. This resource also details key learning and vocabulary as well as common misconceptions to be aware of. These plans give possible activities and evidence to be gathered, but teachers also use other resources, such as STEM, Hamilton Trust and Explorify, when planning their lessons to ensure that children gather a rich and deep knowledge of each topic.
The importance of story is also recognised in science and, where appropriate, key texts are used within a unit to support the children’s understanding and recall of an aspect of a topic.
Key scientists are focussed on throughout Y1 – Y6. Some scientists are studied in more detail using the resource ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’ from the Primary Science Teaching Trust. Over their time in school, this means that children find out about historic and contemporary scientists and their discoveries through practical investigations and research.
Knowledge organisers for each topic detail the key facts, vocabulary and scientists that the children need to know.
Working scientifically is included within all units. PLAN resources are used to ensure that there is a clear progression in the types of scientific enquiry, including observation over time; comparative and fair testing; identifying and classifying; pattern seeking and researching using secondary resources. These plans and a ‘working scientifically tracker’ aid teachers in ensuring that all elements are covered and revisited where appropriate in KS1, LKS2 and UKS2 to allow children to practise and refine their investigative skills. Symbols for a range of enquiry skills are used consistently across KS1 and 2 and are displayed in classrooms so that they can be referred to during lessons. These are as follows:
A range of questions for children across school are used from the document ‘Working Scientifically in the Primary Classroom: Progression of Enquiry Skills from EYFS to KS3’ written by the CIEC.
Formative and summative assessment is carried out on an ongoing basis, with teachers addressing misconceptions in a timely manner from discussion, questioning, observations during practical work and the marking of written work. PLAN documents give exemplification of work with annotations to support teachers in their assessment. Quizzes, knowledge organisers and informal tests are also used to inform teachers of children’s attainment and this is recorded on the school Insight platform and discussed with children and parents during learning conferences and in their written report.
Cross curricular science also complements children’s learning, with links made especially in areas such as mathematics, computing, R.E. and geography. Class visits may also encompass science, for example, visiting the National Space Centre. Science themed days, including sessions with family members, are carried out to further enthuse children and facilitate them working with, and learning from, different people.
The schools’ extensive grounds are also used to facilitate science teaching and learning and during this year, links will be developed with the Forest Schools Programme as a member of staff undertakes the training.
Through the well-structured and engaging teaching and learning in Science, children develop enquiring minds and expand and improve the range of scientific skills detailed. Their knowledge in each area develops over their learning journey, allowing them to move to the next key stage with the required knowledge and skills to progress well and reach their full potential. They see the links between Science and other areas of the curriculum, such as Maths and Geography.
Children are able to present their knowledge in a range of forms and explain their ideas, theories and findings clearly, using scientific vocabulary accurately. They understand more about the work of a range of scientists, the importance of this work in the past and how this relates to the present and future.
Children are encouraged to continue to ask about, and research into, areas that they are interested in so that they understand more about the world around them and look at it with an inquisitive mind. They will also understand how science relates to a range of careers that they may want to pursue in the future and how it relates to a range of current world issues. It empowers them to look at the world with awe and wonder, whilst knowing that they have the capability to change the world using this knowledge.
‘Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.’ – Marie Curie