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 National Curriculum Programmes of Study and adapt lesson plans from the Hamilton Trust Scheme of Work. This ensures that our children develop their understanding of the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics whilst also providing a framework for the progression of children’s knowledge and skills throughout each strand. As a core subject, science is taught by class teachers every week in Key Stage 1 and 2 in planned and arranged blocks. Our teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide opportunities for practical, explorative and investigative learning. Each unit of work is further adapted to develop a secure understanding of key scientific concepts and vocabulary. Teachers have high expectations for all pupils and make the links to the children’s everyday lives explicit.
We encourage children in the EYFS to develop a sense of curiosity, awe and wonder about science in their everyday lives through the Understanding the World strand of learning set out within the EYFS Statutory Framework. Children will learn about enquiry and through enquiry in a wide range of teacher-led, child-initiated and continuous learning opportunities, making good use of our school’s indoor and outdoor environments.
Alongside this document, our curriculum map for science outlines the topics studied across the year in each year group whilst the progression map shows the key knowledge and skills that that the children will acquire and develop across the whole school. These have been identified within each unit and across each year group so ensure that our curriculum is both continuous and progressive.
Over the course of each academic year, we ensure that a wide range of investigative experiences are planned for, to enable the children to become confident scientists. These include children having opportunities to :
- make observations over time
- seek and recognise patterns
- carry out comparative or fair tests
- sort, group, identify and classify
- conduct their own research
Working Scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout the children’s time at our school in line with the National Curriculum Programme of Study. In encouraging our children to ‘be scientists,’ we support our children’s learning when they are working scientifically so that they can confidently apply their knowledge of science when using equipment, collecting and interpreting results and forming conclusions based on real evidence. We also educate the children about the work of a wide range of scientists, past and present, so that they can understand how scientific thinking has changed over time, how it is being used currently in the world around them, or may even be used in the future.
What a science lesson looks like at Puss Bank School and Nursery:
At Puss Bank School and Nursery, every lesson has a clear focus and point of enquiry. Each science lesson will begin with the recall of previous learning. If this is the first lesson in a unit, it is crucial to review prior learning from previous years, preferably using equipment or a memorable stimulus which also allows the children to build the foundations for new learning. Previous vocabulary is also reviewed and made explicit and revisited within the unit of work to ensure that the children retain their understanding of it.
New learning or knowledge, including new vocabulary, is then introduced, presented and explained. Teachers have a secure scientific subject knowledge and understanding of the key idea being introduced and are also aware of common misconceptions that may arise in relation to the new learning. They engage the children in guided group tasks to give them time to discuss or talk about these new ideas or concepts. This allows the children to begin to explain and justify their ideas, sometimes forming their own lines of enquiry based on their developing knowledge. Teachers will use questioning to assess children’s understanding throughout the lesson so that should misconceptions arise, these can be addressed in a timely manner. The lesson should then lead into some first-hand practical work that relates to the new learning so that the children can further their understanding, develop their skills and deepen their knowledge.
Children can record their learning in variety of ways an should do so in almost every session. Children’s books will 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.
The children should review their learning at the end of a session or unit so that teachers can evaluate if all children are ready to progress.
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 that are based around the theme. We also promote events that are available for families in the local area.
We utilise local STEM ambassadors to provide learning activities and invite a range of visitors from the wider community into school to share their passion for science with the children and support their learning.
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.
At Puss Bank School and Nursery, the impact of this will ensure that children not only acquire the appropriate age-related knowledge linked to the science curriculum, but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points, and within their everyday lives.
All children will have:
- Secure knowledge of key scientific concepts.
- A richer vocabulary which will enable to articulate their understanding of taught concepts.
- An enjoyment of science related learning which may inspire and impact their future life choices.