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Science

"The good thing about science is that it is true whether you believe in it or not." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

What does science look like at Cubitt Town Primary School?

Intent 

The science curriculum at Cubitt Town Primary School aims to develop the active interest and enthusiasm of all groups of pupils. It provides opportunities for discovery and challenge and for pupils to take greater responsibility (commitment)  for their learning. We want our children to understand the complexity of the world around them and take a closer look so they can understand the wonders that we live amongst. This is the core purpose of scientific investigation.

The intent of our science curriculum is to deliver a curriculum which is accessible to all and that will maximise the outcomes for every child so that they know more, remember more and understand more ensuring they are fully prepared for KS3.  

Our science curriculum intentions are:

  • A science curriculum which develops learning and results in the acquisition of substantive knowledge (knowledge of the topics) and disciplinary knowledge (how scientists investigate a hypothesis and come to conclusions) which enables children to truly think scientifically.  
  • To create purposeful and experiential learning as much as possible so the children can truly experience the phenomenon of science and allow their first hand experiences to help them understand their observations. 
  • Where possible and relevant, links will be made between science and other curricular areas of study, key events nationally and locally, our individual student needs and prepare our students for KS3. 
  • A scheme of work which provides appropriate subject knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the EYFS and National Curriculum science Programmes of study.  
  • To fulfil the duties of the National Curriculum whereby schools must provide a balanced and broadly-based curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities and responsibilities and experiences for later life. 

Our curriculum has been built to include our key curriculum drivers: 

The children are encouraged to develop our school values (the 6Cs) when studying science, with a specific focus on curiosity as we strive to engage the children with their learning through exciting and thought provoking stimulus. We understand that children learn in a variety of ways, and so where appropriate, children will learn science outside the classroom, with visits to places of scientific interest and museums. Through our key concepts for all year groups, children’s scientific enquiries will use a range of resources to interpret a range scientific data.  We recognise that communication is the key to articulating ideas, developing understanding and engaging others. Through key enquiry questions children learn to debate, discuss and communicate their thoughts about key concepts known and learnt in science - be they existing ideas, misconceptions or collaborative discourse.

In our curriculum we have also considered the journey of a child through the school, so that our curriculum is progressive, building on prior learning, and regularly revisiting taught concepts. Each year group has a science programme which has been designed specifically to match the needs of our school, ensuring all children meet the full programme of study outlined in the National Curriculum. 

Implementation

How is the curriculum for science organised?

To ensure coverage, depth and balance in the science curriculum, the subject leader has used the National curriculum and the Focus Education document ‘Weaving knowledge, skills and understanding into the National Curriculum’.  Also meetings with THEP and discussions with staff and SLT have all contributed into the organisation of our curriculum.

Long term plan

A curriculum plan from EYFS to year 6 to ensure coverage and progression is achieved ensuring students are fully prepared for KS3. The long-term plan also details the substantive and disciplinary knowledge to be taught for each topic, with a key inquiry question which the topic is based around. Both substantive and disciplinary concepts are taught using a spiral curriculum, so they are constantly revisited, and extended, throughout KS1 and KS2.

Our substantive concept:

  • Knowledge of the products of science, such as concepts, laws, theories and models: this is referred to as scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding in the national curriculum

Our disciplinary concept: 

  • Knowledge of how scientific knowledge is generated and grow: this is specified in the ‘working scientifically’ sections of the national curriculum and it includes knowing how to carry out practical procedures

Medium term plan

Details the substantive knowledge and sequence of lessons for each topic.

Progression document

This details the progression of skills and knowledge we expect the children to make through their time at Cubitt Town. The progression document details progression from EYFS all the way through to Year 6 and is split into observing closely, performing tests, identifying and classifying, and recording findings in KS1. In KS2 it is split into planning, obtaining and presenting evidence and considering evidence and evaluating.

Vocabulary

The MTP features vocabulary relating to specific topics alongside general scientific keywords. This will be highlighted to the children at the beginning of lessons through dual coding, stories and recap sessions and revisited through subsequent learning and knowledge quizzes. Vocabulary will be displayed in both the laboratory and classrooms.

Fiction and non-fiction books

A document that details a range of books that are topic specific to be used in guided reading lessons and for further reading is sent out each half term. Both fiction and non-fiction books will be used throughout school, in order to embed concepts and to provide children with an understanding of scientific the topic. We understand the importance of stories and nursery rhymes in EYFS and how these can give children an insight into foundational scientific concepts for access to science lessons in key stage 1. 

Enhancements

We work hard to ensure our students learning is enhanced at every turn, examples include:

  • trips within the local area
  • workshops from outside specialists
  • hand on learning opportunities as often as possible
  • scientific competitions
  • family science twilight sessions to promote scientific practice
  • science fairs in collaboration with Tallow Chandlers
  • consistent speaking and listening opportunities

How do we teach science? 

We teach science in a variety of ways as outlined below:

  • Use of practical enquiry - We aim for most of our science lessons to be practical or at least involve an investigative element be it classification, oracy discussions or research 
  • Technology - The use of ICT including web-based resources , virtual reality headsets and data analysis programs such as numbers and Arduino science journal enhances the students learning experience. We aim to record data using technology so they can document their learning and present it in a clear and impactful way.
  • Recap and retrieval - Use of ‘quick quizzes and mind maps (dual coding) to ensure children are revisiting prior learning to enable them to build a schema of knowledge therefore enabling them to know more and remember more. The four principles of memory (Education Inspection Framework) are also taken into consideration: what content pupils need to know, what they pay attention to, avoiding overload, and allowing for practice. 
  • Active learning - On top of the focus on practical learning, we recognise that children learn in a variety of ways, and so where appropriate, children will learn science outside the classroom, with visits to places of scientific interest and museums. For example, visits to the Science Museum and Mudchute Farm are regular trips that our children enjoy.
  • Reading is the core of the curriculum at Cubitt Town and enhances science understanding further through high quality texts.

Approaches to teaching

A wide variety of teaching approaches are used in science lessons to ensure children make good progress, and all learning styles are catered for. Class teachers ensure there is a good balance of whole class, group work and individual learning in science lessons. We also aim to incorporate links to our Oracy curriculum with presentations by teachers, visitors and children; role play; discussions and debates and challenges. We use Oracy in science to support children to constantly review their understanding, considering changing viewpoints and justifying opinions and ideas

EYFS

Our curriculum is organised so children in reception meet the aims of EYFS framework. The early learning goals are taken from Understanding our world and are as follows:

  • Understand the world - involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

This includes:

  • Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
  • Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
  • Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

How do we support our SEND learners? 

We believe that all learners should primarily access the high quality teaching first and be immersed in class discussions during science lessons. Therefore, SEND learners access the same learning as all other children but will be given further support, adapted outcomes and a tailored approach to suit each individual’s needs. Strategies used to support our SEND learners include: 

  • A pre-teach of topic specific vocabulary as an additional task
  • A reader to support when required 
  • Print outs of work/presentations to scaffold with independent tasks 
  • Learning assistive programs to be used when applicable
  • More time allocated to process information or instructions broken down into manageable chunks
  • IT based support – listening to podcasts, reading of texts, videos

This is monitored by our Head of inclusion Angie Drew 

Impact

We assess children’s work in science by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons, AfL questioning, by utilising key learning recall questions at the start of each lesson and with the use of ‘quick quizzes’ for assessment of topic substantive knowledge. An assessment is recorded in the pupils’ end of year report. Summative assessments are made for each topic, be it a written test, a piece of writing or an oral outcome to ensure knowledge retention. 

All our staff, senior leaders and governors are involved in measuring the impact of our science curriculum in differing ways. This is planned through the School Development Plan, using our annual monitoring cycle and termly development plan to map out monitoring and review over the year. 

Oliver Hart is our science Subject Leader. There is a clear monitoring cycle in place which evaluates science teaching and learning, outcomes, pupil and parent voice. These outcomes feed into action planning to continually evaluate and improve our teaching and learning in science. 

Monitoring and evaluation could include: 

  • A review of learning in books 
  • Lesson observations  
  • Evaluation of the impact of staff professional development  
  • A review of medium-term planning  
  • Talking to pupils about learning in history 
  • Team teaching
  • Governor review trails to evaluate the impact of the curriculum - this could be reviewing the website or the curriculum offer, talking to staff and pupils.

Links to support our science teaching and learning