Science is about children developing a sense of enquiry and extending their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Scientific ideas stimulate and excite pupils’ curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. Investigation also satisfies their curiosity by providing specific answers, challenging assumptions and extending knowledge. Because science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage learners at many levels.
At Southmead, investigative science is the core element of our science curriculum and almost all of our science taught through practical investigation or supported by practical demonstration. Throughout the school our young scientists are encouraged to develop and evaluate explanations through experimental testing and observation. They also learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, now or in the future.
At Key Stage 1 pupils observe, explore and ask questions about living things, materials and physical phenomena. They begin to work together to collect evidence to help them answer questions and to link this to simple scientific ideas. They begin to evaluate evidence and consider whether tests or comparisons are fair. They use reference materials to find out more about scientific ideas. They share ideas and communicate them using scientific language, drawings, charts and tables.
At Key Stage 2 science teaching at Southmead follows a 2-year rolling program, which splits the National Curriculum into lower Key stage 2 (Years 3&4) and upper Key stage 2 (Years 5&6). This means that the whole of the LKS2 science curriculum is covered in the first two years of the Key stage, and the whole of the UKS2 curriculum is covered in the second two years. Although year-specific content is not necessarily taught in that year, this flexibility means that every child covers every curriculum topic during the four years, while ensuring that children in split-year classes do not repeat something they have been taught recently. A different science theme is taught each term, using the science topics laid out in the National Curriculum.
Key Stage 2 pupils are encouraged to think about their own understanding of the world around them, to ask questions and to explore finding the answers to these questions through investigations. They are taught first how to ask a question and then how to test this through a planned investigation. This involves making a prediction, keeping it fair by changing the one variable they are testing for, using a range of equipment safely, measuring and recording their results, drawing conclusions from these and then presenting their findings. The pupils carry out more systematic investigations, working on their own and with others. They talk about their work and its significance, using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts, graphs and ICT to communicate their ideas.