Science Curriculum Statement
Through our science curriculum at Pilsley we aim to inspire a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world around us. Science is actively taught through questioning, discovering and investigating. Children are given regular opportunities to engage with the natural environment to build a connection with nature. Both indoors and outdoors, pupils are encouraged to ‘be scientists’ to stop and look closely, be enquiring, and ask questions. We strive to help children to become highly observant, spotting changes, noticing patterns, grouping and linking ideas and events. We aim to instil a sense of rigor throughout the science curriculum, embedding the habit of working scientifically, encouraging them to apply this way of thinking to other contexts. Children are regularly introduced to scientific words and vocabulary; learning to express their ideas and communicate effectively.
By planning a vibrant, relevant and interesting science curriculum children are given the opportunity to understand the breadth of science and importance it plays in our everyday lives. Children will develop a body of scientific knowledge that they can continue to build on throughout their school career and beyond. Children will embed an understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science by having the chance to pose and answer questions which they can interrogate through practical investigations. They will find out about scientific pioneers and their contributions to our development. Through regular events, trips and workshops children will meet people working in the field of science to help them understand its practical applications. Science has shaped the modern world as we know it and could hold the key to our future prosperity. Therefore, at Pilsley we strive to build scientific learning and thinking across our whole curriculum.
At Pilsley C of E Primary School we provide a creative science programme based around the Cornerstones Curriculum. This is a thematic approach to learning that is mapped to the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculums. Science is taught in class groups through cross curricular projects which provide a rich context for investigations and subject knowledge. Children develop a bank of scientific knowledge as they move through the school which builds on their knowledge from preceding years. Children’s understanding is carefully checked using assessment for learning strategies to iron out misconceptions as they arise.
The Cornerstones projects cover units of work and areas of learning from the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum programmes of study.
Science in the Foundation Stage
In the Foundation Stage the science curriculum is covered within the specific area of learning and development 'Understanding the World'. This area of learning "involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore and observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment." EYFS statutory Framework 2018.
In Foundation Stage children:
- Talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects.
- Look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.
- They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
- Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
In key stage one children study units on:
animals, including humans
living things and their habitats
In key stage two children continue to study the units from key stage one. Pupils also study:
Forces and magnets
Properties and changes of materials
States of matter
Earth and space
Evolution and inheritance.
Threaded through each unit of work is a commitment to developing children’s understanding of how to work scientifically. Children’s knowledge and competence at applying scientific methods and skills builds incrementally as they move through each body of knowledge.
Each class follows a two year rolling programme of Cornerstones projects. The Subject leader and class teachers consider the content of each project in the long term planning of the two-year cycle. Key skills and knowledge from each project are identified to ensure pupils are taught all elements of the National Science curriculum at the appropriate stage. Where units of study are not covered in sufficient depth through cross curricular learning, science learning is planned as a discrete unit.
At the beginning of each investigative learning project, the children are given the opportunity to identify their own interests, questions and subject knowledge to ensure that projects are tailored to the group of pupils participating. This enables teachers to take account of the children’s varying starting points and adapt projects to ensure children can dig deeper into projects, where appropriate, or identify those who may need support to access the programme of study. Learning for each project is inspired by a ‘memorable experience’ which could be a workshop, visitor, trip or event which sets the scene for the project, sparking children’s curiosity.
Wherever possible, scientific learning and enquiry are rooted in practical contexts. The children work in a range of groupings and environments to provide breadth to their experiences. Children Working in collaboration in with others are encouraged to develop respect for the opinions of others and to work in a democratic way. Science investigations are embedded in project learning and allow children time to explore and investigate the materials they will be using. Children make predictions before they complete a test or investigation (either by following set instructions or later on by devising their own investigations) children work scientifically to record their outcomes in a range of ways, they scrutinize their results and to draw comparisons and look for patterns. They are given the opportunity to share their outcomes and ask and answer questions about them. Across the science curriculum, there is an expectation that children will employ skills and knowledge from other areas of learning applying them to a high standard. This includes, maths, literacy and information and communication technology which is used to record results and share findings.
Assessment for learning strategies are used in all lessons. Teachers and subject leaders use observations, discussions with pupils as they work, pupils written work, sketches, video clips, photos, and feedback from investigations to evaluate pupil outcomes against attainment targets. Teachers consider how pupils use scientific vocabulary, explore materials, observe phenomena, plan and engage with investigations, interpret results and report conclusions to check understanding and engagement. These strategies provide a clear picture of a child’s level of development and well-being and ensure that teachers can quickly assess when a child does not understand or requires greater support. Lessons are flexible to allow teachers to adapt to the needs of the children. Teachers use their Assessment for learning strategies to adapt future lessons to ensure all pupils make excellent progress.
Progress is assessed regularly. At the end of each term, assessment data is gathered and progress is checked by subject coordinators and the Senior Leadership Team. Teachers moderate their judgements across the school and in local clusters. Subject co-ordinators monitor children’s recorded work and liaise with teachers to monitor judgements against national level descriptors.
Science in the Foundation Stage
In the Foundation Stage the science curriculum is covered within the specific area of learning and development called 'Understanding the World'. This area of learning "involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore and observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment." EYFS statutory Framework 2018.
Understanding the World has three strands:
- People and Communities
- The World
In Foundation Stage we follow the cornerstones curriculum imaginative learning projects which provide lines of enquiry across the curriculum including Understanding the World.