Science at Westmorland Primary School
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
At Westmorland, we recognise that practical scientific enquiry is fundamental for children to develop scientific understanding. Our aim is to create independent, confident and curious young scientists who develop a life-long interest in Science. We expect our Science curriculum to sustain pupil’s natural curiosity to ensure that they understand, retain and apply scientific knowledge taught across the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
Science is a body of knowledge built up through experimental testing of ideas. Science is also methodology, a practical way of finding reliable answers to questions we may ask about the world around us. Through the teaching of the specific disciplines biology, chemistry and physics we develop children’s ideas and ways of working that enable them to make sense of the world in which they live through explanation, prediction, investigation and analysis.
The key scientific knowledge we expect children to acquire and the working scientifically skills that they apply are informed by the national curriculum and sequenced to enable progression up through the school. In following our curriculum, children’s subject knowledge, independent enquiry skills and communication using specialist enquiry develops as children progress up through the school.
Knowledge organisers have been created for every unit in every year group to show what the expected outcomes are and what scientific vocabulary children should know. We have ensured that coverage progresses from year group to year group so that teachers are aware of what children should already know and what they will learn subsequently.
Existing knowledge is checked at the beginning of each topic. This ensures that teaching is informed by the children’s starting points. This enables gaps and misconceptions to be addressed and allow children’s subject knowledge to grow.
We build upon the knowledge and skill development of the previous years. 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.
Whenever possible, lessons involve practical enquiries, problem solving opportunities and real life context to allow children to develop conceptual understanding. Children are encourage to ask their own questions and their curiosity is celebrated within the classroom.
Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure that skills are systematically developed throughout the children’s school career becoming increasingly more independent and sophisticated.
Teacher’s provide constant opportunities for children to recap, reflect and consolidate their learning to help children retain and retrieve what they have learnt, to make links and to develop a secure conceptual understanding. Children create their own knowledge organisers throughout each topic, which allows them to develop their understanding and allows for misconceptions to be addressed.
At Westmorland’s we pride ourselves on the implementation of our MORE INTENT (See Science MORE intent). In particular, we recognise the need to develop oracy skills for our children. Wherever possible:
• Children work collaboratively in small groups.
• Teachers model appropriate scientific vocabulary and how to share scientific concepts
• Children are given opportunities to articulate scientific concepts clearly and precisely
• Dual coding is used to help children explain scientific concepts (using correct vocabulary)
• Where needed, key scientific vocabulary is pre-taught.
Science teaching at Westmorland results in fun engaging lessons that equip children with the foundations of a life-long love of science. Children develop their scientific vocabulary and are more confident at articulating what they have learnt. Their increasing confidence in working scientifically engages their curiosity and enables them to solve new problems.
Assessment is formed using a range of informal strategies such as:
• Children’s contributions to class discussions
• Quiz style questions
• Verbal and written outcomes from learning
• Children’s independent knowledge organisers
• Observations and careful questioning of pupils working scientifically.
The science subject leader also carries out pupil voice interviews to assess what children have learnt in current and previous topics and feedback is provided to relevant class teachers to celebrate outcomes or to address areas that need revisiting.