Intent – What do we aspire in our children in Science?
The aim and purpose of teaching science at Mordiford is to provide opportunities for children to develop knowledge and understanding of important ideas, processes and skills whilst relating these to everyday experiences. Science changes our lives daily and is vital to the world’s future success and sustainability. We encourage children to be inquisitive learners throughout their time at Mordiford and beyond.
At Mordiford Primary School, scientific enquiry skills are embedded on a termly basis and when appropriate linked to other topics via cross-curricular opportunities. Many key concepts are revisited and developed throughout a pupils’ time at the school; topics, such as plants, are taught in Key Stage One and studied again in further detail in Key Stage Two. This learning allows pupils to build upon their prior knowledge and increase their enthusiasm for the topic, whilst embedding this knowledge into their long-term memory. The Science National Curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in our children about the universe and develops a respect for all living and non-living things in the environment with an understanding of their interdependence. We believe Science compasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes. Throughout the programmes of study, the children will acquire and develop key knowledge that has been identified within each unit and across each year group. The curriculum taught is designed to ensure children are able to acquire key scientific knowledge through practical experiences, using equipment, planning, conducting investigations and explaining concepts.
We work closely with the Marlbrook Collaboration Science Network enthusing and incorporating new ideas into the deliverance of our science curriculum. We also have close links with our local high schools and further education colleges to support, broaden investigations and enquiries. Our Year 5 and Year 6 children attend the St Mary’s High School Science Festival to broaden provision, acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. Children are offered visits, trips and visitors to complement and expand the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class. At Mordiford School, each year group takes part in a whole school enquiry approach, whereby the children are presented with materials to plan their own independent enquiry, using their previously learnt scientific skills.
This is the knowledge and understanding gained at each stage:
By the end of EYFS, children will:
- have had an opportunity to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and develop their knowledge and sense of the world around them;
- develop the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them make sense of the world;
- engage in activities based on first-hand experiences that encourage exploration, observation, problem solving, prediction, critical thinking and decision-making and discussion;
- experience a wide range of activities, indoors and outdoors, including adult focused, child-initiated and independent play;
- be stimulated, interested and curious;
- observed by adults and learning is recorded in a variety of ways.
By the end of Key Stage 1, children will:
- experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly constructed world around them;
- be encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice;
- 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 a period, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information;
- 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;
- carry out first-hand practical experiences;
- use appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos to support their learning;
- work scientifically;
- read and spell scientific vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word-reading and spelling knowledge at key stage 1.
By the end of lower Key Stage 2, children will:
- enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them;
- explore, talk about, test and develop 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;
- 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 of answering 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;
- draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out;
- work scientifically;
- read and spell scientific vocabulary correctly and with confidence, using their growing word-reading and spelling knowledge.
When working scientifically, by the end of lower Key Stage 2, children will:
- ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them;
- set up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests;
- make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, use a range of equipment, include thermometers and data loggers;
- gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions;
- record findings use simple scientific language, draw, label diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables;
- report on findings from enquiries, include oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions;
- use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions;
- identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes;
- use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.
By the end of upper Key Stage 2, children will:
- enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas;
- explore and talk about their ideas; ask their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analyse functions, relationships and interactions more systematically;
- encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates;
- recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time;
- select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing 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;
- 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;
- read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly.
When working scientifically, by the end of upper Key Stage 2, children will:
- plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognise and control variables where necessary;
- take measurements, use a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate;
- record data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs;
- use test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests;
- report and present findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and a degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations;
- identify scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.
Implementation – How is the curriculum for Science organised?
Science is taught in planned enquiry questions via the National Curriculum programmes of study. Lessons are taught weekly within each year group, creating positive attitudes towards science learning within their classrooms, or in our rich and varied scientific enquiry area. At Mordiford Primary, we have fantastic grounds and woodlands that provide our children the opportunities to explore the outside world safely. We encourage children to develop their interest in science through first hand experiences, allowing them to observe, question, classify, hypothesise and record their findings effectively.
Teachers plan a series of lessons which build on areas previously taught in other year groups and reinforce expectations that all pupils can achieve high standards in science. Within the National Curriculum the use of precise, technical scientific language is consistent across all year groups, as the vocabulary used in each unit is specified. This enables children to develop the appropriate vocabulary to discuss, reason and explain their scientific understanding more clearly and precisely. This allows teachers the opportunity to revisit what the children have learnt with an understanding on what they will be progressing onto.
Working scientifically skills are embedded throughout lessons and investigations take place to support pupil’s enquiry, development and understanding. These skills are embedded year by year, with new vocabulary and challenging concepts being introduced. Each Scientific topic has a knowledge organiser which outlines ‘sticky knowledge’ (including vocabulary) for the children to be supported through their topic and for this knowledge to be embedded. Each unit is underpinned by a rich substantive, disciplinary and ambitious knowledge.
Substantive knowledge – this is the concepts, laws, theories and models which are referred to in the National Curriculum as ‘scientific knowledge’ and conceptual understanding. These are organized into 3 subject disciplines: biology, chemistry and physics.
Disciplinary knowledge – this is referred to in the National Curriculum as ‘working scientifically’ and it includes knowing how to carry out practical procedures.
Ambitious knowledge – this is to provide a science education which enriches pupil’s aspirations and fosters their love of learning to equip them with the skills, science knowledge and cultural capital they need to access aspirations and careers, as well as responsibilities of later life.
By learning substantive and disciplinary knowledge, pupils not only know the science, but they also know the evidence for it and how the evidence is gained. New knowledge is built on what has previously been taught while working towards clearly defined end points. When programmes of study are repeated throughout the school, vocabulary and knowledge is revisited and it progresses to challenge the children’s thinking further as well as introducing new ideas and material.
Impact – how do we monitor our science curriculum?
At Mordiford Primary the impact of the science is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age-related knowledge, but also skills which will provide the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Teachers will assess children at the end of each programme of study and this will be passed up with the cohort, so future teachers are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the class. This gives teachers a strong understanding of whether certain objectives may need revising before knowledge is built on.
The subject lead ensures that there is a clear monitoring cycle in place which evaluates science teaching, learning, outcomes and the pupil voice. These outcomes feed into action planning to continually valuate and improve our teaching and learning in science.
How do we review and assess learning in science?
- Monitoring and reviewing long term and medium-term plans.
- A review of learning in books.
- Lesson observations.
- Evaluation of the impact of staff professional development.
- Interviewing and listening to the pupil’s voice.
All children will have:
- A wider variety of skills linked to scientific knowledge and understanding, and scientific enquiry/investigative skills.
- Children will be able to refer to prior knowledge to support their learning in each year group and as a result, they will apply this to scientific enquiry/investigation.
- A richer vocabulary which will enable to articulate their understanding of taught concepts.
- High aspirations, which will see them through to further study, work and a successful adult life.
“I like every science topic, I don’t have a favourite! I do like it when we use water though, it feels fun”
“It was really fun putting water on the rocks to find out if they were permeable or impermeable.” Year 3
“I loved our electricity topic. We got to figure out by ourselves how to build a circuit that made the bulb light up!”
“I loved learning about space. It has made me so interested in the whole universe and the stars.” Year 5