The aim of our Science Curriculum is to provide all St. Michael’s pupils with the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
The science curriculum is rich in key foundational knowledge and concepts.
Throughout Key stages 1 and 2 they will learn to use Science to explain what is occurring around them, predict how things might behave and analyse the cause.
Children are encouraged to develop their understanding of this idea through questioning, discovery and a ‘hands on’ practical approach to learning.
Science is taught via our half-termly Science Weeks in Years 1-6, while at Foundation Stage is covered in the 'Understanding the World' area of the EYFS Curriculum weekly.
Every lesson has a key question that pupils will be able to answer by the conclusion of the lesson as a result of new knowledge gained. .
Bespoke pupil workbooks aligned with to the Hamilton Trust scheme of learning are used from Years 2 to 6. Key knowledge and concepts are outlined in schemes of work. The spiral nature of the science curriculum ensures that concepts are returned to and developed in greater depth throughout KS1 and KS2.
Throughout their time at St Michael’s, pupils are given opportunities to engage with the following modes of scientific enquiry:
• Asking questions
• Observing closely
• Planning and performing simple tests
• Identifying and classifying
• Making predictions based on knowledge and experience
• Gathering and recording data
• Drawing conclusions
Schemes of Work are coherently planned and sequenced towards sufficient substantive and disciplinary knowledge for future learning.
Substantive Knowledge: this is the concepts, laws, theories and models which are referred to in the national curriculum as 'scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding'.
Substantive knowledge is organised into the 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.
By learning substantive and disciplinary knowledge, pupils not only know 'the science'; they also know the evidence for it and how this evidence is gained.
New knowledge is build on what has been previously taught while working towards clearly defined end points. When units 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.
The Hamilton Trust Science Scheme of Work develops children’s ability to work scientifically and have a hands-on, enquiry based approach to their Science learning.
Within the scheme 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. Our skills and progression map further supports the children’s development of vocabulary through clearly outlined expectations for all previous and future year groups. This allows teachers the opportunity to revisit what the children have learnt and also have an understanding on what they will be progressing onto.
Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of Science involves the following:
- Science is taught each half-term via a dedicated block of time - Science Week. The benefits of ‘blocking’ science are:
- It ensures that science is not ‘squeezed out’ in cramped weekly timetables.
- Teachers focus on the quality of implementation as the intent is systematically pre-determined.
- Facilitates effective building of sequential knowledge with shorter time periods between adding new knowledge onto existing.
- Provides meaningful opportunities to revisit and recap following a condensed sequence.
- Misconceptions can be addressed quickly and acted upon within the block.
- More effective use of time as not switching between different sets of resources - this is especially relevant to science as many lessons are taught via investigation.
- Assessment more meaningfully focused on one subject at a time and then revisited at key recall points.
- Positive impact on workload as teachers can focus on fewer subjects for specific periods.
- In EYFS, Science is developed through purposeful play based experiences which are represented in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments. The Long term plan focuses on the expectations from Development Matters / Early Years Outcomes. Photographic evidence, observations and discussions with the children are a main aspect of Science learning in EYFS.
- Using the Hamilton Science Scheme of Work alongside the custom designed pupil workbooks enables teachers to create fun and engaging lessons that excite and enthuse the children to meet the needs of all.
- Vocabulary is taught explicitly and reviewed every lesson.
- Existing knowledge, vocabulary and understanding is reviewed at the beginning of each topic and lesson to ensure that the children’s starting points inform teaching and that it takes account of pupil voice, incorporating children’s interests and needs.
- Throughout each area of Science, the children will be working scientifically, ensuring that the emphasis is on the children learning by doing. Teachers will plan and provide activities that will enable the children to test their previously held ideas.
- We build upon the knowledge and skill development of the previous years by referring to our whole school skills and knowledge progression map. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
- We follow an enquiry-based approach, which involves problem-solving opportunities that allow children to apply their knowledge, and find out answers to their questions themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom.
- Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess pupils regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning. Tasks are selected and designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.
- Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment/ resources, and various skills in order to embed scientific understanding. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.
- Teachers and children have access to knowledge organisers. Teachers use knowledge organisers to check for progression and continuity both within and across curriculum subjects and to ensure standards and expectations for learning are being implemented. Pupils review, revise and quiz themselves using their knowledge organisers.
- Teachers assess children against their knowledge, understanding of key vocabulary and also their ability to work scientifically. A variety of formative assessment strategies will be carried out such as: questioning, mind-mapping, concept cartoons, KWL grids, drawings, annotated diagrams, quizzes/ word games and children’s communication of science ideas – oral, posters, ‘if the answer is… what was the question’.
- The use of Forest School is available for all year groups and is used on a weekly basis to give the children the opportunity to explore and discover the world they live in through meaningful and planned lessons. Children are also offered visits, trips and visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class.
All children 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.
Pupil Science Workbooks:
Science Curriculum Documents: