At Puss Bank School and Nursery, our science curriculum aims to fascinate children with how science plays such a key part in their everyday lives. By providing high quality learning opportunities, children gain knowledge through practical, first-hand experiences. Our children gain a secure understanding of scientific concepts whilst also developing a range of scientific skills that are transferrable to the wider curriculum and beyond. Children will develop their natural curiosity about the world around them by asking questions, devising and conducting investigations and enquiries, problem solving and forming conclusions. By studying the work of scientists past and present, we encourage the children to have an appreciation of how the application of science has changed our lives or the lives of others and the potential it has to do so in the future.
- Scientific Knowledge: At Puss Bank School and Nursery, we ensure that previous knowledge and key concepts are built upon systematically and explicitly.
- Scientific Enquiry: We want each child to ‘Be a Scientist’ and have first-hand opportunities to develop their progressing scientific skills within every unit of science taught, exploring their own ideas, developing and deepening conceptual understanding. Thinking and reasoning is nurtured alongside a host of qualities, including resilience, determination and confidence.
- Science Vocabulary: Technical and scientific vocabulary is learned, practised and used, as children communicate effectively in a variety of ways.
- Application to everyday life: Children recognise the contribution that science has made and continues to make, that affects their lives, or the lives of others, both in the present and potentially for their futures.
At Puss Bank School and Nursery, we base our science teaching on the Hamilton Trust Scheme of work for Science from Years 1 -6. This follows the National Curriculum programmes of study and ensures that there is a clear progression of children’s work and teachers’ expectations in our school. Children’s work shows a range of topics and evidence of the curriculum coverage for all science topics. However, each unit of work is also adapted to give a high profile to activating and building on prior learning, developing key vocabulary, ensuring children are sometimes following their own lines of enquiry in their learning, and making the links to their everyday life explicit. Lessons are also adapted to ensure that they meet the needs of all the children.
We encourage children in the EYFS to foster a sense of curiosity and develop awe and wonder about science in their everyday lives through the Understanding the World strand of learning. Children learn about enquiry through their first-hand experiences, making use of the indoor and outdoor environments. The two accompanying documents with this document are the curriculum map for science, which outlines the topics studied for each year group across the year, and the progression map which shows the development of knowledge and skills across the whole school.
What a science lesson looks like at Puss Bank School and Nursery:
At Puss Bank School and Nursery, a strong science lesson begins with the recall/review of previous learning from last lesson. If this is the first lesson in a unit, it is crucial to recall prior learning from previous years. This should be through a stimulus rather than purely through memory recall. This builds the foundations for new learning. Key vocabulary is made explicit and revisited within the unit of work to ensure understanding. Any misconceptions that arise within a lesson are addressed in a timely fashion.
New learning is then introduced through discussion, perhaps using concept cartoon, picture or a similar stimulus, to allow children to begin to explain and justify their ideas, sometimes forming their own lines of enquiry based on their developing knowledge. New vocabulary is presented and explained. This discussion should then lead into some first-hand practical work to explore their ideas further, leading to deepening knowledge.
Children record their learning in almost all sessions. Children’s books should evidence the range of learning opportunities that have taken place within a unit and across the year, in line with the school’s planning and progression documents. Feedback provided may summarise a child’s strength, challenge a misconception, provide an opportunity to deepen their understanding, or promote further independent enquiry and will be in line with the school policy.
Over the course of each academic year, a wide range of investigative experiences are provided to enable the children to become strong scientists. These include children having opportunities to make observations over time, to seek and recognise patterns, to undertake comparative or fair tests, to sort, group, identify and classify and to conduct their own research using secondary sources. We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, and 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.
Wider Science Experiences for our Children
Science takes a high profile throughout the school as a core subject and is taught on a weekly basis. Additionally, in raising our aspirations for the children, we also enhance and enrich the children’s learning in the following ways:
We celebrate British Science Week every year in March, co-ordinating activities across the whole school based around the theme. We promote events that are available for families in the local area during this week.
We utilise local STEM ambassadors to lead activities for all age groups and invite a range of visitors from the wider community who share their passion for science that has been developed through their careers.
Local visits are planned so that they effectively support learning and create memorable experiences for the children, for example Chester Zoo and Jodrell Bank.
Children in Key Stage 2 have the opportunity to attend a Science Club during the Spring Term, where activities are co-ordinated by STEM ambassadors and link to community groups. Upon completion of the club, children are presented with their Crest Superstar Award.