Science at Firs
Ready For Learning and Ready For Life.
Firs Primary School is committed to ensuring all children are able to access a knowledge-rich, broad and balanced curriculum with teaching and learning being at the heart of the delivery of the curriculum. It aims to be bold, free thinking and rigorous; underpinned by a commitment to the school values, ensuring equity, learner empowerment and encouraging social mobility. An essential element of our knowledge rich curriculum is the development of a broad and rich vocabulary, and the ambitious and explicit teaching of this. A renewed focus on speech and language is a key driver of the revised curriculum and this is supported by the Voice21 scheme to develop Oracy in the classroom.
Live: Children will have the scientific knowledge and a secure understanding of the scientific method to be able to hypothesize, analyse and make sense of the world around them.
Love: Children will develop a sense of deep curiosity and a love to investigate and deepen their understanding of how the physical world works.
Learn: Children will learn to become critical thinkers and approach scientific enquiry with an understanding of the different variables and biases that can influence results.
Aims of the Science curriculum:
As Firs Primary School draws from a wide area of different social and economic backgrounds, we follow a science curriculum that inspires a deep love of science and also raises children’s aspirations and understanding regardless of ethnic origin, gender, class, aptitude or disability. We aim to ensure that all children are equipped with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future and foster an awareness of the different pathways that can lead to a career in science.
Progression in the Science curriculum:
Science is taught through the ‘Love to Investigate’ scheme from Cornerstones. The Science curriculum is planned to build on solid foundations and allow children to progress over a period of time.
EYFS stage: As part of developing Knowledge and Understanding of the World, children are encouraged and given opportunities to explore the world around them, developing curiosity, making observations and using their senses. The approach in Reception enables learning to take place in an engaging context, grabbing the children’s interest and supporting them in making connections about the world around them. Opportunities for using the outdoors are maximised through walks during the seasons and adventures around the school grounds. Learning through play enables the children to experience first-hand the wonders around them, including, for example, hunting for frozen creatures in ice, or exploring changes in baking. This is where our budding scientists start to grow.
Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2: Science is taught discretely in Years 1 to 6 through motivating units taken from the Cornerstones programme and is explicitly linked to the National Curriculum programmes of study. Each lesson follows a three-step approach: Explore, Enquire and Reflect. In Key Stage 1, units include Using our Senses, Plant Detectives and Shaping Up. In Key Stage 2, units include Amazing Bodies, The Earth and Beyond and Rock Detectives. In addition, we also celebrate British Science Week with a focus on different scientist, followed by an area of science that the children explore, experiment and discuss from Reception through to Year 6.
Half-termly topics ensure full coverage of the National Curriculum programmes of study for Science for each year group. Lessons focus on scientific enquiry during which children carry out practical investigations alongside learning key scientific knowledge and understanding.
Explicit knowledge in the Science curriculum:
Each year the key science knowledge builds on learning from the previous years.
EYFS and Key Stage 1: The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly constructed world around them. They should be encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They should 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 of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should 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.
Lower Key Stage 2: The principal focus of science teaching in lower key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They should do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing 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. They should 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.
Upper Key Stage 2: The principal focus of science teaching in upper key stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They should do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. At upper key stage 2, they should encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They should also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They should 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.
Curriculum organisation of the Science curriculum:
As a school we decided to adopt the Cornerstones tool to develop our curriculum. A representative from Cornerstones worked with school leaders to explain how the online platform and units of work were developed and training was given to teachers to access these resources. Each year group was asked to look at the available units and identify 5 of the 9 that had the greatest breadth of study and matched the teacher and children’s interest, needs and gaps in knowledge. The chosen units were identified across the school and then the online system allowed us to identify gaps in knowledge. Coverage was considered in phases FSU, KS1, Y3-4, Y5-6. The science lead analysed the progression map from the Cornerstones online and used this to create the school progression map to ensure that this relevant, challenging and addressed the needs of our pupil’s cultural capital.
Reading, writing and talking in the Science curriculum:
The projects expose children to a wide range of ambitious, subject-specific vocabulary. Vocabulary is introduced, revisited and reinforced over time, so that children become confident and articulate as they progress throughout the curriculum. A set of display words and a knowledge organiser glossary are included with each unit to make it easy for children to use new words independently.
Each unit has a set of activity suggestions and resources to build links to other areas of the curriculum and further develop Reading, Writing and Talking skills. Explicit links are made between other subject areas including literacy, maths, ICT and Geography. The relevant essential science skills are covered through the subject areas taught. In Key Stage 1 pupils begin to explore, collect and evaluate evidence and communicate their findings through the use of scientific language, drawings, charts and photographs. At Key Stage 2 pupils plan and carry out their own investigations and apply their scientific knowledge to real life problems and discuss the most appropriate way to communicate their ideas.
Delivery of the Science curriculum:
At Firs our vision for Teaching and Learning is rooted in high expectations and an unconditional belief that every child can achieve and succeed according to their unique abilities. We believe in challenge, engagement and deep learning (mastery). This is promoted through careful curriculum planning, modelled examples of practice and the use of responsive teaching through planned and purposeful checking for understanding. A positive and stimulating learning environment ensure behaviour for learning is central to our vision, as we strive for a warm and productive classroom climate. We carefully plan assessment to ensure we develop retrieval and schema to build on learning and make connections between subjects. Finally, we explicitly plan for the delivery of Reading, Talking and Vocabulary in all subjects and this underpins our approach to teaching and learning at Firs.
Firs Foundation of Effective Practice ensures we have a whole school approach to delivering our curriculum vision. The six Foundations provide staff with a learning model to ensure we deliver lessons based on research evidence, the six Foundations we model our Teaching and Learning on:
Foundation 1: Culture and Climate.
Foundation 2: Checking For Understanding.
Foundation 3: Explaining and Modelling.
Foundation 4: Reading, Talking and Vocabulary.
Foundation 5: Curriculum Planning.
Foundation 6: Retrieval and Schema building.
In summary the impact of a powerful knowledge Science curriculum at Firs will have the following features:
- Subject driven.
- Imaginative and engaging.
- Provides pupils with knowledge that is outside of their lived experience.
- Ensure children are Ready For Learning and Ready For Life.