What does Science look like at High Ercall?
At High Ercall Primary School we recognise the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life and encourage children to be inquisitive throughout their time at school and beyond. We want children to develop an enthusiasm and enjoyment of scientific learning, and discovery, and to build upon their resilience and problem solving skills.
The 2014 National Curriculum for Science aims to ensure that all children:
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 skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
At High Ercall we believe that the transfer of skills from the other core subjects is important and necessary to the teaching of Science. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their scientific vocabulary and articulating scientific concepts clearly and precisely. We ensure that they are assisted in making their thinking clear, both to themselves and others, and we build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. We feel that pupils should be able to describe processes and key characteristics in their own words, but they should also be familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately and precisely. We enable them to build up an extended specialist vocabulary, which is supported through our use of ‘vocabulary mats’ for each topic area and Key Stage. Pupils are also taught, and are expected, to apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including collecting, presenting and analysing data as part of working scientifically.
We ensure that the Working Scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout children’s time at the school so that they can apply their knowledge of science when using equipment, conducting investigations, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently. This enables them to continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings.
What do we want children to be able to do by the end of Year 6?
We follow the National Curriculum expectations for Science and expect that our pupils will have met, or exceeded, the expected standards for Year 6 pupils. As the pupils progress through school we expect them to be able to understand the ‘Scientific Method’ for carrying out investigations and to be able to use different types of enquiry in order to answer questions. They should have acquired knowledge about the world around them and be able to ‘work scientifically’, using cross-curricular learning. They should be curious and respectful of our universe and ready for the transition to Key Stage 3.
How will this support the children in lifelong learning?
Science contributes towards many subjects, and it is important that children are given opportunities to apply and use their skills in real contexts. Where possible, cross curricular links are made in order to provide meaning and context to the teaching. This will allow the children to gain an understanding of how Science fits in to everyday life and make connections with the real world. The skills of reasoning, curiosity, investigation, mathematics and resilience developed through Science are those that will be used across all learning and into adulthood.
How is the curriculum for Science organised and how do we teach it?
Science is taught one afternoon per week and there is a clear and progressive long-term plan detailing topic areas and when to teach them. Due to mixed year groups it is vital that we follow the plan to ensure coverage for all throughout their time at High Ercall. The ‘Engaging Science’ scheme of work is used from reception to Year 6, ensuring a challenging curriculum offer with a clear development of skills and knowledge.
Teachers create a positive attitude to Science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of Science involves the following;
Problem solving opportunities that allow children to find out for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning.
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.
Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics.
Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.
Children are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities, visits, trips and visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class.
Mind maps are used to determine prior knowledge at the start of a topic. A new map is then created and added to each week as the learning evolves. Children use this to recap what they have learnt so far and may take part in short quizzes at the start of a lesson to determine progress, understanding and any misconceptions.
Scientific enquiry posters are displayed in class and used to develop the pupils’ understanding, together with miniature versions that are glued in books alongside any investigations that take place.
How do we review learning in Science?
Learning in Science is reviewed regularly by looking at books and talking to children, along with termly data analysis. Teachers provide assessments of children’s attainment in ‘working scientifically’ each term and both attainment and progress are monitored. Following this, feedback is given to staff and any concerns discussed together in order to support individuals with their learning.
We also review the impact of our Science curriculum through:
Marking and feedback according to our policy (mainly verbal feedback)
Lesson observations and team teaching sessions
Moderation of learning across the staff team
Governor review trails and feedback, including meetings with Subject Lead
In class quizzes or assessments
The successful approach at High Ercall results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local environment, and planned outdoor learning activities, ensure that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them. Through various workshops, visits and interactions with experts, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Children at High Ercall discuss Science with enthusiasm and can explain their learning confidently and coherently.
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