Subject co-ordinator: Danielle Scaife - Last reviewed: March 2022
At St Stephen’s RC Primary School, we strive to provide a World Class science education that develops children’s understanding of the world through the scientific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
In an ever-changing world, where our children’s future jobs may not even exist yet, it is vital our children understand how science has already changed their lives and how it may shape future prosperity.
We seek to provide children with scientific knowledge, methodologies, and processes but also to give them the real world uses of this science. At St Stephen’s, we aim to give all children cultural capital in science to allow them to understand that science is a broad and diverse field which is open to everyone. Research suggests that the more science capital a child has, the more likely they are to aspire to pursue Science post-16. It is our intent, that our science teaching gives children knowledge and understanding of how science works and how it is relevant to their everyday life. Our children are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation through exciting investigations, which build on their natural curiosity. They are expected to:
- Draw on prior knowledge to predict outcomes.
- Decide upon the most appropriate enquiry type to find answers
- Offer explanation as to what is occurring/what they have observed
- Use appropriate scientific vocabulary and ideas
- Explain the ‘why?’
We provide a range of different types of scientific enquiry throughout children’s time at St Stephen’s and also encourage open-ended questioning, where they decide how to try to find answer. It is important children are not always directly guided to the ‘right’ answer and they realise that some of the most significant scientific advancements occurred from mistakes or someone saying ‘What if…..?’
As well as using technical terminology accurately and precisely, children will also apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including: collecting, presenting and analysing data.
We believe that as well as being able to understand a scientific enquiry for themselves, it is important our children can also explain this coherently and with a critical mind to someone else.
At St Stephen’s we are passionate that a broad and balanced science education is the entitlement of all children. Enabling all children to access a scientific education should also encourage open-mindedness, self-assessment, perseverance and responsibility, which are skills they can apply in all walks of life.
'You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself.'
St Stephen’s RC Primary will use a range of strategies to introduce, explore, and fully understand scientific learning. When required, this will be adapted to best suit each class and each individual learner so that they are able to make their personal best progress with their learning.
Each year group’s learning objectives will come from the national curriculum, within an appropriate time of the year and within the children’s developmental stages so that they are best able to access the learning. Science lessons are taught once a week to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum. To ensure children retain knowledge, lessons will begin by reviewing previous learning and teachers will plan opportunities to recap and draw on prior knowledge.
Where possible, lessons should also refer to real world scenarios where scientific learning applies or show the children the types of occupations that might use this learning. Within the Developing Experts Scheme, children are introduced to different professionals who talk about how the children’s current area of study links to their profession.
Teachers plan for key questions that aim to:
- draw out and deepen understanding;
- move learning along;
- address potential misconceptions
Where appropriate, tasks should show a clear differentiation between groups of children to allow them all to show their understanding of the learning objective. Differentiation should be by supporting a variety of learning styles and recording mediums. It should not be by literacy ability/written output or degree of adult support. All children should have an equitable opportunity to show their level of understanding, regardless of literacy ability. Any children with specific SEN requirements need to be planned for, so they also have the same opportunities to learn and show understanding.
Provision for extension within the lesson or between different ability groups should be provided for where possible, to ensure all children have the opportunity to show a developing understanding with the lesson.
Across the year, children should have the opportunity to complete relevant investigations that engage them with their learning and further their understanding. They should have the opportunity to focus on particular working scientifically objectives and develop their skills in these areas. These will progress across the year and also between year groups.
Children must have the opportunity to use a variety of practical equipment.
Links should be made between relevant literacy and maths objectives where these have already been taught, to support the embedding of this learning and show the practical application of these skills.
Children need to be shown that there are a variety of types of scientific investigations and be taught these across their time in school:
- Fair and comparative testing
- Pattern seeking
- Observation over time
- Sorting and classifying
- Research using secondary sources
They will develop an understanding of what the differences are between these types of investigations, the pros and cons of each, as well as when it is best to select a particular approach. In KS2, children will be asked to identify the type of enquiry that is most suitable and circle this on the ‘Enquiry Slip’ As children move through KS2 they may then be given opportunity to choose their own approach to learning and how best to investigate.
At St Stephen’s, we aim to enrich our pupil’s vocabulary across all subjects. In Science, teachers will spend ten minutes towards the beginning of every science lesson teaching and reviewing relevant scientific vocabulary. This is done in a variety of ways including class discussion, videos and group activities. We will constantly refer to and model use of this vocabulary in the hope that it will become embedded in children’s long term memory and that they will use the vocabulary to explain their understanding. Scientific vocabulary is also on the children’s knowledge organisers for them to refer to throughout the unit.
The subject coordinator will conduct regular monitoring to check coverage and progression, giving timely and focused feedback to all staff. Staff members will have access to ongoing training and other resources to improve their confidence and ability to teach science effectively. The Science Lead is completing a 5-month course based on Science Capital.
If our intent and implementation are successful, then at St Stephen’s Primary we would expect to see:
- A broad and engaging curriculum that makes use of a range of resources, such as visitors and local attractions
- Children and staff who are enthusiastic about scientific learning
- Children and staff who can speak confidently about science, including uses in the real world
- Children who have an understanding of how their Science learning is relevant to the real world
- Children who can use appropriate scientific vocabulary in oral and written form
- All children being successful in sharing their understanding of scientific concepts
- Children who can make links between different areas of science and other subject areas
- Children who can recall prior scientific learning when required and use this to understand new learning
- Children increasingly being able to instigate their own investigations confidently and interpreting their findings
- Staff who are able to anticipate potential misconceptions and address these confidently
- Children meeting their age-related expectations in science consistently
Knowledge and Understanding
- be curious about the things they observe, experiencing and exploring the world around them with all their senses
- use this experience to develop their understanding of key scientific ideas and make links between different phenomena and experiences
- begin to think about models to represent things they cannot directly experience
- try to make sense of phenomena, seeking explanations and thinking critically about claims and ideas
Processes and Skills
- acquire and refine practical skills needed to investigate questions safely
- develop skills of predicting, asking questions, hypothesising, planning, fair testing, observing, measuring, recording, evaluating results based on evidence and understanding, drawing conclusions and using these skills in investigative work
- practise mathematical skills in real life contexts
- learn why numerical skills and mathematical skills are useful and helpful in understanding
Values and Attitudes
- work with others, listening to their ideas and treating these with respect
- develop respect for evidence and evaluate critically ideas which may or may not fit evidence available
- develop the ability to work in an increasingly independent way
- develop a respect for the environment and living things and for their own health and safety