Friday 11th March
Squeals of delight could be heard this morning as children first saw a glimpse of the huge planetarium that filled the hall. Throughout the day, each class has truly loved their experiences inside the planetarium. Once inside the dome, children have been immersed in learning about the solar system, the work of the International Space Station and lying back and watching the night time sky.
The importance of science in the curriculum
Science stimulates and excites pupils’ curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. It also satisfies their curiosity with knowledge. Because science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage learners at many levels. Scientific method is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling. This is an ignition to critical and creative thought. Through science, pupils understand how major scientific ideas contribute to technological change – impacting on industry, business and medicine and improving the quality of life. Pupils recognise the cultural significance of science and trace its world-wide development. They learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world.
The school aims to:
Strategy for implementation
Science is a core subject of the National Curriculum. Science is allocated ten per cent of the taught time at both key stages. Science objectives are covered throughout topics/ themes in each class and the Science Subject Leader monitors the completion of objectives and ensures continuity when variations in mixed age classes occur.
Planning takes into account that the school places a high emphasis on the development of pupils’ skills of scientific enquiry. In the substantial majority of lessons the skills for scientific enquiry are taught alongside the knowledge and understanding of our world and everything in it, including animals and humans at different levels, learning about the local environment to the solar system enabling wiser judgements about human influence on the natural world.
Pupils in the Foundation Stage develop their knowledge, understanding and skills through play activities and direct teaching from which the pupils undertake planned tasks (Knowledge and Understanding of the World). To develop scientific thought the children take part in investigations throughout the year.
At 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, to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. The work covered in Key Stage 1 builds on the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage learning about Animals including humans, with a particular focus on senses, Seasonal changes, All living things and their habitats, including plants, and investigating everyday materials. They begin to work together to collect evidence to help them answer questions and to link this to simple scientific ideas. They begin to evaluate evidence and consider whether tests or comparisons are fair. They use reference materials to find out more about scientific ideas. They share ideas and communicate them using scientific language, drawings, charts and tables with the help of ICT as appropriate.
At Key Stage 2
At Key Stage 2 pupils are able to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas, exploring and talking about their ideas through questioning 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.
Pupils learn about a wider range of living things, materials, electricity, forces, evolution and inheritance. They make links between ideas and explain things using simple models and theories. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar phenomena, everyday things and their personal health. They think about the effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and in other contexts. They carry out more systematic investigations, working on their own and with others. They use a range of reference sources in their work. They talk about their work and its significance, using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts, graphs and ICT to communicate their ideas.
Teaching and learning
All lessons have clear learning objectives that are shared and reviewed with the pupils effectively, to give a clear focus for the lesson. A variety of strategies, including questioning, discussion, concept mapping and marking, are used to assess progress. Teachers assess children’s knowledge and skills on a regular basis that informs next steps in learning. Activities inspire the pupils to experiment and investigate the world around them and to help them raise their own questions such as "Why...?", "How...?" and "What happens if...?"
Activities develop the skills of enquiry, observation, locating sources of information, selecting appropriate equipment and using it safely, measuring and checking results, making comparisons and communicating results and findings. Lessons make effective links with other curriculum areas and subjects, especially literacy, numeracy and ICT. Activities are challenging, motivating and extend pupils’ learning. Pupils have frequent opportunities to develop their skills in, and take responsibility for, planning investigative work, selecting relevant resources, making decisions about sources of information, carrying out activities safely and deciding on the best form of communicating their findings.
Assessment and recording
Teachers’ assessment mostly takes place at the end of each unit of work which notes any attainment and progress which is significantly lower or higher than expected. The teachers use the NC objectives alongside target tracker to analyse pupils’ progress in the units of work they have completed, and then use this information to plan accordingly.
At the end of each school year teachers complete the annual report to parents. This report takes the form of a summary of the teachers’ observations and continued assessment of the pupils at work thus giving parents a view of what their children know, understand and can do. Assessment relies on observation and/or the collection of written evidence of investigative skills; this again is recorded onto target tracker.
Continuity and progression
The school ensures curriculum continuity by following the National Curriculum objectives for each Key Stage.
Inclusion/ SEN / A, G & T
Planning at all levels ensures that the interests of boys and girls are taken into account, as well as catering for the range of abilities within the class. The pupils work individually, in pairs, as part of a small group and as a whole class. They use a variety of means for communicating and recording their work. All pupils, including those with special educational needs, undertake the full range of activities. Children that are gifted or talented in Science are given extension work to challenge their thinking and understanding even further. Teacher assessment determines the depth to which individuals and groups go during each unit of work.
Science is taught sometimes as a discrete subject but can also be included in a topic based unit. The programmes of study are covered in units of work using the school’s agreed long term plans for science, for each year group.
Learning resources are kept in the resource area. Relevant equipment is taken to the class by teachers or responsible pupils. The Science Subject Leader is responsible for the maintenance of this area. The children are taught not to be careless with equipment, to respect animals and plants and to use consumables efficiently.
The learning environment
Classrooms will sometimes have displays of current science topics. The profile of science should reflect its place as a core subject. Resources for the unit of work being covered should be appropriately accessible. Other sources of information should be available.
Health and Safety
Safe practice must be promoted at all times. Teachers must also take into account the school's Health and Safety policy. Particular attention must be given to avoiding the use of anything that aggravates individual pupils’ allergies. Safety issues will have been identified in medium-term planning and risk assessments must be completed, when activities are identified that are unusual and beyond the scope of normal safety practice.
Science across the curriculum
The teaching of literacy, numeracy and ICT is promoted strongly in science as part of this school’s drive to raise standards in English and mathematics. Science is used to extend and enable the pupils to practice the skills of language and literacy and numeracy.
In particular, at Key Stage 1, the pupils are encouraged to use their speaking and listening skills to describe what they see and explain what they are going to do next. At Key Stage 2 the pupils are encouraged to develop their skills of writing to record their planning, what they observe and what they found out. In relation to science, they should be applying their literacy skills at levels similar to those that they are using in their English work.
At both key stages the pupils are expected to use their knowledge and understanding of measurement and data handling at appropriate levels. In science, they should be applying their numeracy skills at levels similar to those that they are using in their mathematics lessons.
Information and Communications Technology
The pupils’ ICT skills are applied as identified in the medium-term planning. At both key stages this should involve the pupils using ICT to: locate and research information (CD ROM, internet); record findings (using text, data and tables); log changes to the environment over time (sensing equipment); gain confidence in using calculators, digital video cameras, digital cameras, and tape-recorder, as well as the computer.
The teaching of science provides numerous opportunities for the development of higher order thinking skills. Scientific enquiry demands a range of different types of thinking and processes that can be developed through thoughtful questioning. Questions for thinking maybe included in science plans and can be further developed by the teacher.
Spiritual development is encouraged through reminding pupils of the wonder of science and the effect of scientific discoveries on the modern world. Topical scientific issues are also discussed as appropriate.
Personal, social and health education
Health education is taught as part of the units on humans, learning about the human body, health and growing, teeth and eating, moving and growing, keeping healthy and life cycles.
As a school, we are currently working towards the PSQM Award, in order to: