At Southridge our science curriculum encourages our children to experience and explore the world around them. Our shared vision and principles, which have been jointly created by the staff and children, helps the children to develop their understanding of scientific concepts and make links between different ideas and experiences. We aim to stimulate our children's curiosity, finding out why things happen in the way they do. We teach methods of enquiry and investigation to help our children learn to ask scientific questions and begin to appreciate the way science will affect their future on a personal, national and global level.
The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- Are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
Teaching and learning style
We use a variety of teaching and learning methods in science lessons in order to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding. Prior learning is regularly revisited through retrieval activities to ensure the children have a solid foundation which can then be built upon. The children apply their knowledge and scientific skills regularly through a range of enquiries to help them answer specific questions. We encourage the children to ask, as well as answer, scientific questions. They have the opportunity to apply their maths skills through data handling activities e.g. statistics, graphs, pictures, and photographs. They use technology in science lessons where it enhances their learning, take part in role-play and discussions and present reports to the rest of the class. They regularly engage in a wide variety of problem solving activities.
Wherever possible, we involve the pupils in ‘real’ scientific activities, for example, researching a ‘real’ problem or carrying out a practical experiment and analysing the results. Lessons are regularly taken outdoors to enhance the children’s learning and give it real life context. The children also find out about historical, current and diverse scientists to help them understand the impact science has on the world around them and to help them see themselves as the scientists of the future. Our class science ambassadors are supported to share topical science news with their peers.
The curriculum is supported and enhanced by trips, drama shows and visitors in the school e.g. Rockpool School, High Borrans Field Study Week, Technology Tom, Centre for Life, Zoolab etc. Parents and carers who work in STEM industries are encouraged to share their work with the children, this helps to bring their learning to life. In the summer term the whole school takes part in a themed STEM week. This allows the children to work together across classes and year groups to explore, test, research and apply their knowledge to a range of different contexts and always includes visitors which further enhance the experience.
We recognise that there are children of different backgrounds and needs in all classes and we ensure that we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the tasks to the age, stage of development, ability and needs of each child.
Planning guidelines for Science within the Curriculum
The National Curriculum provides the framework for the science we teach at Southridge. The children will learn substantive knowledge - the established knowledge that has already been produced by science, alongside the disciplinary knowledge - an understanding of the methods that are used to establish the substantive facts. As such, there are regular opportunities built into the curriculum for children to develop their scientific and investigating skills.
We have planned the topics in science so that they build upon prior learning. We ensure that there are opportunities for the children of all abilities to develop both their skills and knowledge in each unit and we also build progression into the science scheme of work, so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.
We teach science in Nursery and Reception classes as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year, primarily in the area of Knowledge and Understanding of the World. As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the scientific aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which underpin the Curriculum planning for children aged 0 – 5. Science makes a significant contribution to the objective in the ELGs of developing a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world.
Science contributes significantly to the teaching of English in our school by promoting the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Some of the texts that the children study in literacy are of a scientific nature. The children develop oral skills in science lessons through discussions and through recounting their observations of scientific experiments. They develop their writing skills through writing reports and projects and by recording information.
Science contributes to the teaching of mathematics in a number of ways. The children use weights, measurements and timers and learn to estimate, predict and compare. They develop the skills of accurate observation and recording of events both in tables and graphically. They use numbers in many of their answers and conclusions.
Children use computing in science lessons where appropriate. They use it to support their work in science by learning how to find, select, and analyse information on the internet. Useful web links related to each topic are included in the unit plans. Children use computing to record, present and interpret data and to review, modify and evaluate their work and improve its presentation.
Personal, health, social and citizenship education (PHSE)
Science makes a significant contribution to the teaching of personal, social, and health education. Specific topics are taught covering being healthy (diet, exercise etc.). In addition the subject matter lends itself to raising matters of citizenship and social welfare. For example, children study the way people recycle material and how environments are changed for better or worse. They also get opportunities to take part in debates and discussions. Science promotes the concept of positive citizenship.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Science teaching offers children opportunities to examine some of the fundamental questions in life, for example, the evolution of living things and how the world was created. Through many of the amazing processes that affect living things, children develop a sense of awe and wonder regarding the nature of the world. Science raises many social and moral questions. We give them the chance to reflect on the way people care for the planet and how science can contribute to the way we manage the earth’s resources. Science teaches children about the reasons why people are different and, through an understanding of physical and environmental factors, it promotes respect for other people.
Making Science Inclusive
We teach science to all children, whatever their ability. Science forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a balanced education for all children. We provide learning opportunities that are matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties. Our work in science takes into account the targets set in the children’s Individual Education Plans (IEPS).
Assessment and recording
We assess children’s work in science by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher marks their work, providing comments or questions which move the children forward in their learning (see Marking policy).
Children write a ‘Can I…’ statement at the beginning of each piece of work. At the end of the lesson they are encouraged to self-assess against this statement to reflect how well they have understood and achieved the objective. The teacher can then use this information to further challenge or support a child as necessary.
Throughout a unit of work teachers make regular judgements about the progress children have made in scientific enquiry work and also the knowledge base of each pupil in relation to the unit. The teacher records whether a child is working towards, has met or has exceeded the National Standard on their assessment grid. We use this information as the basis for planning the next steps in learning.