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Science - Intent

At Withycombe primary school our children are scientists! Our intent is to provide a broad and balanced science curriculum which allows our pupils to recognise the significance of science in their everyday lives. We explicitly teach pupils the skills, knowledge and vocabulary that they need to become methodical, analytical and inquisitive scientists with a love of learning.

We want our children at Withycombe to have no limits to what their ambitions might be and to remember and cherish their science lessons. We aspire for our children to confidently explore the world around them and do so by encouraging our pupils to be enquiry-based learners. 

Our aim is to make Science lessons as exciting and engaging as possible in every year group, providing stimulating and challenging experiences that develop their knowledge and vocabulary, curiosity and encouraging our pupils to ask ‘big’ questions, allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of the world they live in.

Our science teaching ensures our pupils develop the necessary (substantive and disciplinary) knowledge as they progress through the school, enabling them to become the scientists of the future. In addition, we aspire for our pupils to understand the continuing importance of science in solving global challenges such as climate change, food availability and access to clean drinking water.

We believe in building a strong foundation, beginning with learning through play and exploring in the EYFS, to give children the tools to confidently explore and discover, whilst developing enquiring minds as they progress though the school. We believe in developing skills and knowledge as building blocks which relate to one another and which are transferrable to different areas of learning, achieved through a coherently planned and sequenced curriculum. 

Our curriculum has been developed to be inclusive of the needs of every child. 

An important aspect of science in Withycombe is to capture the awe and wonder of the everyday, linking this to scientific concepts but also to the spirituality we aim to develop in every year group. Stopping to ponder the ‘awe’ful and the awful in everyday life and by showing the children that science is all around us every day.

 

Implementation

At Withycombe we teach science, in accordance with the National Curriculum.

We ensure that all children are exposed to high-quality teaching and that a range of learning experiences are encountered within a broad and balanced science curriculum, which stimulate their natural curiosity and provided them with real-life understanding of concepts taught.

Science teaching and planning ensures clear progression in children’s learning. We recognise that the subject consists of a set of complex concepts and procedures which need to be broken down into simpler component parts and sequenced over time.  We understand that substantive knowledge (the factual content of the curriculum) should be delivered in a careful sequence in order for pupils to connect, understand and build their learning incrementally in meaningful chunks (without over-loading children’s working memory).

 

This also means that teachers’ explanations build from what pupils already know and that related prior knowledge must be re-visited before introducing new ideas.

 

Alongside this disciplinary knowledge (focussing on the more practical aspects of science) is taught and presented explicitly, allowing children to ‘work scientifically’ in order to gain knowledge e.g. by testing out a hypothesis, use apparatus and techniques with increasing confidence, analyse data or using evidence to explain something.

 

The science learning is designed and modelling to enable exploration of and build upon children’s prior knowledge. The children are also given regular opportunities to review the learning taken place in previous topics and lessons.  We recognise that high quality practical work will only take place properly when pupils have enough prior knowledge to learn from the activity. 

Teachers are able to address misconceptions and tailor the learning to each child’s individual needs and ensure learning is accessible for all children, including through differentiation and scaffold.

We start each topic with elicitation allowing the children to review their previous learning and also share what they already know about a new topic.

Children are given knowledge organisers at the start of each topic to support acquisition of knowledge and key vocabulary – these are used as a support tool during lessons.

In EYFS pupils are introduced to scientific vocabulary that categorises and describes the natural world. These words provide the ‘seeds’ for developing scientific concepts that will be built on in later years.

Pupils have opportunities to ask their own questions and consider which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best way of answering them. Children predict and carry out investigations as well as concluding their findings. They are encouraged to present their findings using scientific and appropriate language, alongside pictures and diagrams.

To support teaching, teachers access a range of resources and planning from different sources which are age appropriate, CPD is also provided for teachers to ensure levels of knowledge are built and confidence maintained. 

Cross curricular links are carefully thought out and planned throughout the year to ensure children are able to makes links in their learning and connect to the wider world. Science planning also takes into account what is taught in other subjects e.g. it ensure coherence with what is taught in maths.

Assessment for learning takes place throughout a child’s learning journey. Activities are also planned at the end of each taught unit, and used by teachers to inform planning and to address any misconceptions or individual need.

Each class has a clear assessment tracker which enables teachers to track the learning of individual children and plan for effective future learning, the same tracker is used across the school so progress can be easily seen across year groups. Assessment also helps children to retrieve knowledge form memory and help them retain what has been learnt.

Where possible, we develop children’s cultural capitol in science by inviting in visitors to talk about their roles and experiences, this will include members of our own community. .

 

Impact

Through our implementation children will have a secure knowledge of science concepts and will have built a set of transferrable enquiry skills. We have established through children’s voice survey that they are able to talk excitedly about what they have learned and use a range of age appropriate vocabulary to go with this. 

Our aim is that children have learned and remembered new concepts and become and remain enthusiastic science learners.

We hope to foster children who are independent thinkers and who question the world around them, making connections in their learning across the curriculum.

We aim to see the impact of our teaching by preparing our children to:

  • care for the planet they live on and understand some of the major issues facing society and talk about science with love and excitement

  • question why things happen and how things work

  • make outstanding progress across key stages and relative to their own starting point

  • have built knowledge and skills and can use key concepts to make connections

  • ask questions and make observations about the world around them using scientific knowledge

  • analyse data and articulate conclusions using evidence

  • follow and design scientific enquiries

  • become increasingly autonomous in their decision-making when carrying out investigations and when ‘working scientifically’

  • work collaboratively