Southmead Primary School

Southmead Primary School

Headteacher: Mr Nicholas Plumb

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Science

Dr Corney is our Science Lead.

At Southmead Primary School we have designed our Science Curriculum to enable children to learn confidently through enquiry, exploration, investigation and discovery. As a result, our Science Curriculum helps them to develop a deeper understanding of the world in which they live. Our Curriculum also enables the children to develop an understanding of how major Scientific ideas and discoveries (such as evolution, electricity, or astronomy) have played a vital role in shaping our society. This helps to prepare them for life in a world in which Scientific and technical knowledge and skills increasingly command a premium in the jobs market.

As a result, our Curriculum is filled with Scientific ideas which stimulate and excite pupils’ curiosity, and we use practical Scientific investigations to help respond to this curiosity, generating specific results, challenging assumptions, and extending knowledge. Because we explicitly link Scientific ideas with direct practical experience, we are able to engage our learners at many different levels. Our aim is to build Science capital (Science-related knowledge, attitudes, experiences and values) for all our children, regardless of their background and educational starting point, so that they are inspired to continue to use Science in their everyday life, education and potentially, their future career.

We deliver a Science Curriculum that:

  • Develops a progression of key transferable Scientific skills;
  • Builds upon prior knowledge and understanding at each stage;
  • Develops creativity, inventiveness, and links to other STEM subjects;
  • Challenges all learners;
  • Inspires and excites the children through engaging, inquiry-based practical sessions;
  • Encourages the children to be self-motivated, independent, curious and resilient learners;
  • Develops aspirational learners with an awareness of the key role that Science plays within our society and the opportunities that this could create for their future careers.

 

The Southmead Science Curriculum has been designed to systematically cover all National Curriculum subject objectives for Science at the appropriate time in the Curriculum. In EYFS and KS1, Science is embedded in wider topic teaching. In KS2 Science is taught as a separate/discreet subject. The key resources that KS2 Science teachers use are produced by the Hamilton Trust, a UK charity working to support inspirational teaching and learning in STEM subjects. Materials produced by the Hamilton Trust are then tailored to meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school.

Teachers plan Science using planning documents specific to their Key Stage, which allow children to build upon prior knowledge and understanding. Planning and Assessment tools also outline the progression of ‘Working Scientifically’ skills, which teachers use to plan enquiry-based lessons, in order to support children’s journeys to become independent and resilient learners. Working Scientifically is a continuous area of study alongside specific Science topics. This continuous strand is a crucial part of Scientific learning and is assessed alongside the children’s knowledge of each Science topic. The types of enquiry which we regularly plan to include in Science lessons in all year groups include:

Exploring:

Discovering what happens through play and exploration, e.g. what happens when you add water to fabric?

 

Observing over time:

Often linked to exploring but with a time variable included, e.g. using a thermometer to observe temperature changes of water.

 

Sorting, classifying and identifying:

Putting things into groups based on their characteristics, e.g. in how many different ways can you sort these materials or animals?

 

Fair test:

Used when we can control all the variables except the one we are changing, e.g. which ‘towel’ material will absorb the most water?

 

Pattern seeking:

Used when there are too many variables to control and so a true fair test is not possible, e.g. do some people have stronger muscles because they use them more?

 

Problem solving:

Using the Science we know to solve a problem, e.g. “using what you have learned about thermal insulation and material strength, design an effective travel mug that will keep liquids as warm as possible, and will be robust enough to survive physical impacts, without breaking”.

 

Researching and analysing secondary sources:

Using secondary sources to help answer Scientific questions that cannot be answered easily through practical investigations, for example:

  • what habitat changes are occurring in the Amazon rainforest/polar regions?
  • what are environmental conditions like on other planets?
  • what are the effects of fats, sugar or salt, on the body?

 

The teaching, learning and sequencing of Science follows our Curriculum map, which ensures coverage of all National Curriculum biology, chemistry and physics topics, as well as providing the widest possible opportunity to practise and develop the skills of Working Scientifically. Science is normally taught through weekly sessions, although in KS1 these may occasionally be blocked and applied in theme weeks.

At Southmead, investigative Science is a core element of our Science Curriculum and almost all of our Science is taught through individual/group practical investigation (where safe/useful to do so), or is supported by practical teacher-led demonstrations (depending on Risk Assessment or resource limitations). 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.

Pupils are regularly 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 often involves making a prediction, keeping the test 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. Our aim is always for pupils to carry out systematic investigations, working on their own, or with others. They can talk about their work and its significance, using a wide range of Scientific language, conventional diagrams, tables, charts, and graphs to communicate their ideas.

The understanding of and ability to use tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary is taught specifically and is an essential aspect of Scientific development. At Southmead this is developed alongside subject knowledge, with the children in KS2 developing this further by creating Scientific Glossaries at the back of their Science books. In lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4) the focus of these sections is the accurate spelling of the different Scientific terms. In upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6) the focus is on generating and recording explanations for these terms, either individually, or at a class level. These Scientific Glossaries help support vocabulary that may also be displayed around the classroom and help the children to use the correct terms when undertaking or reporting on an investigation and spell them correctly.

Knowledge organisers have recently been introduced for teachers and pupils to use for each KS2 topic, for reference and assessment purposes. These resources map out the key knowledge, vocabulary and investigative skills needed to master key concepts in each topic and also help to prepare the Yr6 children for more independent learning in KS3.

Formative assessments are integrated into classroom Science teaching to ensure teachers have an in-depth knowledge of the children’s learning and can inform their next steps. Low stakes testing of Science (such as the use of Head Start Science tests in KS2) helps to inform termly assessments of pupil progress carried out by teachers. Academic research has demonstrated that recapping/revising material (for example, using a knowledge organiser) prior to a low-stakes test, sitting the test, and then reviewing answers afterwards, helps to support long term memory development and secures the understanding of skills.

The Science Curriculum at Southmead is led and overseen by a Science Coordinator, who is able to monitor Science teaching, evaluate and review learning progress, and share good practice among Science teachers. Our Science Coordinator regularly attends the North Devon ‘Connecting STEM Teachers network’, convened by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng). Engagement with this group provides the opportunity to liaise with other Science Coordinators in the local area and to benefit from events, materials and resources provided for free by RAEng. The Science Coordinator also works with a range of other Science and STEM companies/organisations in the locality, including the North Devon Manufacturers Association, local STEM Champions and Community Interest Groups such as 361 Community Energy. Multi-year visits (e.g. Science shows and the Astronomy Dome) and school participation in regional/national competitions and challenges in the areas of STEM in general and Science in particular are also arranged by the Science Coordinator.

 

  • Children will become resilient, independent and curious scientists who ask questions which are increasingly based on their Scientific understanding and willingness to find things out for themselves;
  • Science will be a high-profile subject throughout the school;
  • Children will be enthusiastic and motivated Scientific learners with an understanding of the importance of novel Scientific research;
  • Children will begin to have an awareness of the wide range of Scientific careers available to them and will have an interest in pursuing STEM subjects at Secondary School; and
  • Children will leave for Secondary School equipped with the Scientific knowledge and transferable Science skills needed to succeed in their further education.

EYFS SCIENCE CURRICULUM

 

This is taught through understanding the world and the natural world. Practical activities and guided experiments are linked to our themes encouraging explorations and intrigue. We use open-ended questions.

Science is explored through the children’s understanding of the natural world. Our learning environment is key to enhancing independent learning. We provide opportunities for children to question, wonder, explore, discover, experiment and observe through direct experiences. The children are introduced to scientific vocabulary to help them further their understanding and are asked open-ended questions, so that they can make predictions and have opportunities to question. Our Early Years provision is carefully considered and set up to ensure that children can make cross-curricular connections and opportunities to apply newly introduced language. Children can use resources and the environment around them to notice similarities and differences and changes over time, such as growing plants in our garden.

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