INTENT – to what do we aspire for our children?
‘A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.’
Source: National Curriculum (updated Jan 2021).
At St Werburgh’s Primary, we work together towards excellence, underpinned by the following values:
- broad, diverse and inclusive and celebrates scientists from all cultures from all around the world
- develop respect and positive attitudes towards others and the natural world
- be collaborative by working together, sharing and using each other’s ideas, being respectful, responsible and safe
- ask questions in order to develop and connect ideas
- Investigate emerging understanding of scientific concepts
- engaging enrichment opportunities
- perseverance to record data accurately over time
- approaching science learning with resilience and an open-mind
- to developing and articulating a secure foundational subject knowledge
Aims of the Science Curriculum
● 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.
● develop young scientists who can communicate their understanding both verbally and in written form through a rich vocabulary and the necessary oracy skills.
● develop a culture of scientific values and skills where asking questions, working collaboratively, testing hypotheses, and reflecting on lines of enquiry is part of the everyday life of the classroom.
● develop young scientists who feel empowered and passionate to engage with science beyond their time in primary school
● have access to a broad range of scientific experiences
In Reception we explore Science through the area of learning ‘The World’. This begins with understanding humans; where we think about them and their families and how they change over time from baby to the here and now. The children become meteorologists and study the weather and explore freezing and melting in play with water. Playing with sand and water and cornflour and water allows them to begin their understanding of cause and effect and changes in materials. As Scientists we study animals looking at similarities and differences between pets and wild animals, as well as the life cycles of creatures such as watching a caterpillar evolve into a butterfly. The children are taught about changes in seasons through non-fiction texts, local walks to study autumn and signs of spring as well as a visit to the local farm to see the new baby animals. Opportunities to watch things grow are done through planting cress seeds, beans and sunflowers. We link the seasons to growth and change and learn to name the parts of a flower.
Long term sequence
Our Science curriculum is knowledge and vocabulary rich, ensuring children gain a deep understanding of fundamental scientific knowledge and concepts as well as embedding key science specific vocabulary and terminology. In addition, children are encouraged to develop their scientific curiosity and understanding by working scientifically.
It is our intention that children become a little more expert as they progress through the curriculum, accumulating and connecting substantive and disciplinary scientific knowledge. Our curriculum follows the principles of instruction, is guided by understanding how the memory works and cognitive load theory.
Knowledge Organisers are used for each unit.
● Conveys the core knowledge in one place
● A reference point for children and teachers
● Used to support questioning and retrieval
● Used in books to support participation
● Highlights key vocabulary
● Reduces split attention effect
As well as ensuring pchidlren are taught key knowledge, each module is designed to offer children the opportunity to undertake scientific enquiries and develop their skills as a scientist in asking questions, planning and carrying out experiments, collecting and analysing information and drawing conclusions. The working scientifically objectives are clearly displayed on each of our science modules for both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. It is clear which of the objectives are being taught throughout a specific module which ensures full coverage and allows for skills to be built upon.
We recognise the vital role that oracy plays in the lives and life chances of our children, therefore we plan explicit opportunities to develop their oracy skills as well as opportunities to learn through oracy across the curriculum.
We promote oracy through science by teaching Tier 2 & 3 vocabulary which in turn allows the children to explain, discuss, debate and share their ideas when thinking about their science learning.
Linking curriculum and pedagogy
Our science curriculum is taught in each year group in modules that enable children to study in depth key scientific understanding, skills and vocabulary. Each module builds upon prior learning and these are strategically planned throughout the academic year with opportunities to introduce and revisit key concepts to deepen a child’s understanding and embed learning.
Each module is carefully sequenced to enable children to purposefully layer learning from previous sessions to facilitate the acquisition and retention of key scientific knowledge. Each module is revisited either later in the year or in the following year as part of a spaced retrieval practice method to ensure children retain key knowledge and information.
We want our children to have an expansive vocabulary and through teacher modelling and planning, children are given the opportunity to use and apply appropriate vocabulary.
Each lesson follows the model above.
– CONNECT to prior knowledge
– EXPLAIN new content, element of working scientifically and scientific vocabulary
– give and EXAMPLE of new learning
– Children ATTEMPT new learning with scaffolding
– APPLY new learning independently
– Children are CHALLENGED to integrate learning with prior knowledge
In every science lesson you would expect to see:
– Vocabulary explicitly taught and used by the children
– Knowledge notes and organisers used to scaffold the learning
– What success looks like; made clear
SEND and scaffolding
The curriculum at St Werburgh’s Primary is inherently designed to support children with SEND through universal quality first teaching. This includes:
– High expectations and aspirations for all learners
– A carefully structured and sequenced curriculum, specifically designed around how children learn
– Pre-planned and focused direct vocabulary instruction
– Modelling and demonstration
– Chunked instructions which are supported by visuals and gestures
– The use of manipulatives and multi-sensory approaches to enhance the curriculum
– Review, recall, repetition and retrieval
– Frequent formative assessment as teachers check for understanding
– Accurate and regular feedback
However, we recognise some children need provision ‘additional to’ quality first teaching in order to reach their potential as scientists. This includes:
– Carefully considered scaffolding
– Pre and post-teaching
– Pre-planned management of cognitive load
– Explicit instruction and modelling
– Structured challenge, without ceilings
– Alternative ways of recording
– Additional targeted adult support
In some instances, specialist adaptations are made to support the specific barriers of individual children.
Curriculum enrichment at St Werburgh’s
● Passport of experiences which includes Reception’s opportunity to go pond dipping, Year 1’s visit to the planetarium, Year 2’s minibeast hunt, Year 3’s visit to the museum for a fossil workshop, Year 4’s trip to Techniquest and Year 5’s opportunity to make and launch an air powered rocket.
● Science week celebrating diverse scientists.
● Termly assemblies focusing on inspiring diverse scientists such as Mae Jemison.
High quality outcomes:
Book looks will show:
– demonstrate pride and effort
– capture increasing understanding of scientific concepts and knowledge
– demonstrate a clear sequence of learning
– vocabulary clearly seen
– use scientific vocabulary
– talk about science specific concepts & skills
– talk about the ‘why’ behind their work
– explain how learning builds on previous knowledge
– articulate their progress regardless of starting point
CUSP is designed and built on the premise that ‘learning equals a persistent change in the long term memory.’ Therefore, the assessment structures are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum sometime after it has been taught.
Children will be assessed formatively as each lesson progresses. Children will be given tasks from which the teachers will draw conclusions. Adaptations will then be made as a result of that evidence.
Strategies that might be used are:
● Making explicit the learning intention and success criteria
● Eliciting evidence of children’s prior knowledge
● Feeding back at the point of learning
● Inclusive questioning i.e. cold call, mini whiteboards
● Retrieval practice i.e. cumulative quizzing
The curriculum is a progression model. Teachers will know whether students are making progress if they are learning more of the curriculum.
The CUSP curriculum is designed to ensure the sequencing of core knowledge, vocabulary, substantive concepts and disciplinary knowledge. They will know more, and remember more with the taught curriculum content. Essentially they will be able to do more with this knowledge in carefully designed learning tasks.
This will be assessed using the Book Study approach- talking with children and looking at their books systematically to reveal:
● Content and knowledge
● How the pedagogy and taught curriculum helps/hinders their learning