At Brampton Primary School, we believe that 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, vocabulary and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes.
Aims of the Science Curriculum
The National Curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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.
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 (Tier 3 vocabulary). In addition, children are encouraged to develop their scientific curiosity and understanding by working scientifically.
Key Stage 1:
- Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
- Use simple equipment to observe closely.
- Perform simple tests.
- Identify and classify.
- Use his/her observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
- Gather and record data to help in answering questions.
Lower Key Stage 2:
- Asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.
- Setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests.
- Making systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers.
- Gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions.
- Recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables.
- Reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.
- Using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.
- Identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
- Using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.
Upper Key Stage 2:
- Planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary.
- Taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate.
- Recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs.
- Using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests.
- Reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and a degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations.
- Identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.
In Early Years, children are encouraged and guided to use investigation and exploration to develop their understanding of the world. Our curriculum is designed to enable children to make sense of their physical world and their community. Children are encouraged to be scientists, to:
- Show curiosity and interest in the features of objects and living things.
- Describe and talk about what they see.
- Show curiosity about why things happen and how things work.
- Show understanding of cause-effect relations.
- Notice and comment on patterns.
- Show an awareness of change.
- Explain own knowledge and understanding, and ask appropriate questions of others.
- Investigate objects and materials by using all of their senses as appropriate.
- Find out about, and identify, some features of living things, objects and events they observe.
- Look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.
- Ask questions about why things happen and how things work.
- Making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants.
- know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments.
- Drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
- Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter. Science in EYFS is practical and children are guided to use key scientific language and develop their scientific oracy.
Modular Approach – At Brampton Primary School, Science is taught across each year group in modules that enable pupils to study in depth key scientific understanding, skills and vocabulary. Each module aims to activate and build upon prior learning, including EYFS, to ensure better cognition and retention. Each module is carefully sequenced to enable pupils 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 pupils retain key knowledge and information.
As well as ensuring pupils are taught key knowledge, each module is designed to offer pupils 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.
Cumulative Quizzing (Supporting Cognitive Load)
At the start of each module, pupils undertake a short quiz, using platforms such as Socrates, to establish prior knowledge and understanding of the module content. Throughout each module pupils continually revisit previous content to reinforce key knowledge and vocabulary. At the end of the module, pupils take another quiz to check their understanding and knowledge.
All modules have a sequenced overview outlining recommended number of sessions, key concepts, knowledge and vocabulary to be taught. Teachers use this overview to plan individual sessions approximately 60 minutes in length in KS1 extending to 90- 120 minutes in KS2. All planning incorporates cooperative learning techniques, key vocabulary, core concepts will support the needs of all pupils in the classroom.
Knowledge Organisers and Knowledge Notes
Accompanying each module is a Knowledge Organiser which contains key vocabulary, information and concepts which all pupils are expected to understand and retain. Knowledge notes are the elaboration and detail to help pupils acquire the content of each module. They support vocabulary and concept acquisition through a well-structured sequence that is cumulative. Each Knowledge Note begins with questions that link back to the cumulative quizzing, focussing on key content to be learnt and understood. Knowledge Organisers and Knowledge Notes are dual coded to provide pupils with visual calls to aid understanding and recall. Knowledge Organisers and Knowledge notes are referenced throughout each module.
Science and Literacy
In our Science curriculum we encourage pupils to access high quality texts to support their learning and develop their skills in accessing information from a range of sources. Teachers model reading Science texts and pupils spend time partner reading or reading independently to acquire knowledge or deepen their understanding.
Vocabulary forms a key part of our science wider curriculum. Subject specific Tier 2 and Tier 3 words are incorporated in each module and pupils are encouraged to develop their own ‘vital vocabulary’ lists.
When discussing their findings or presenting information, pupils are encouraged to speak using full sentences incorporating the key scientific vocabulary.
Pupils are encouraged to write across all areas of the curriculum and teachers model how to write purposefully in each subject using key structures and vocabulary. Pupils are encouraged to use their Science curriculum books as reference books, using previous work, knowledge organisers and knowledge notes.
All Science modules are underpinned by high quality texts which support wider curriculum reading through our school library service. As well as our own school library, online resources, and science equipment. In addition, we enable children to broaden their scientific understanding and curiosity through educational visits.
Continuous Professional Development
All staff have undergone remote CPD in Cognitive Load Theory, Spaced Practice Retrieval Theory and planning the wider curriculum which has supported the development of a modular wider curriculum.
The impact of our Science curriculum is measured through the monitoring cycle in school. This includes:
- Lesson observations
- Book monitoring
- Learning walks
- Discussions with class teachers
- Discussions with pupils
Monitoring is used to measure whether:
- Children enjoy and are enthusiastic about science in our school.
- 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.
- Children are becoming increasingly independent in science, selecting their own tools and materials, completing pupil lead investigations and choosing their own strategies for recording.
- Feedback from teachers has an impact on our pupils, often with next step questions to push learning on.
- All children are making progress, including EAL and SEND children.
Monitoring is also used to identify gaps in the curriculum that may need to be addressed across the school, or within individual year groups. Monitoring is an ongoing cycle, which is used productively to provide the best possible Science curriculum for our children.