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Science

Science at Drake Primary

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Vision Statement

At Drake, we unlock opportunity and inspire everyone. Our aim is to inspire geneticists and astronauts of the future and build a curriculum of joy and curiosity.

 

Intent

Our science curriculum is determined by:

  • Reception: Early years foundation stage statutory framework
  • Key Stage 1 and 2: National Curriculum Science Programme of Study

 

At Drake Primary School, our curriculum 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 skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future (Department for Education, 2013). 

 

Science Overview

The purpose of science at Drake Primary School is to build scientific knowledge, and use this knowledge to work scientifically. Scientific knowledge is facts about the structure and behaviour of the natural and physical world. The science curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in pupils about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living.The purpose of science at Drake Primary School is to build scientific knowledge, and use this knowledge to work scientifically. Scientific knowledge is facts about the structure and behaviour of the natural and physical world. The science curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in pupils about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living.

 

Implementation

Science is taught once a week, for two hours. Lessons comprise a mixture of knowledge acquisition and experiments or investigations. Science lessons include explanation, modelling, scaffolding and practice. Working scientifically is embedded alongside subject knowledge and not taught as a separate strand. Our science curriculum builds on children’s prior learning; giving them the opportunity to embed their knowledge and develop new scientific skills.

 

We use the following 6 types of Scientific enquiry:

  • Comparative / Fair testing
  • Research
  • Observation over time
  • Pattern seeking
  • Identifying, grouping and classifying
  • Problem solving

 

Experiments allow pupils to test hypotheses and challenge their perceptions of the world around them. At Drake Primary School, we encourage pupils to be inquisitive in science lessons, asking questions and testing out their ideas. We aim to create resilient learners who are problem solvers, able to gather and assess data, can work in teams and independently. We provide a wide range of experiences, including outdoor learning to aid advancement of knowledge and skills in preparation for the future. We use current science research as exemplars and stimuli for learners. We are developing links with the John Innes Centre and their cutting-edge scientific research with the aim of inspiring the next generation of researchers (Trew et al., 2019).

 

We ensure that working scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout children’s time at Drake Primary School, so that they can apply their knowledge of science when using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and communicating concepts confidently. Over the course of the year, each year group completes a longitudinal study. This gives the children opportunities to apply their working scientifically skills and observe changes over time. The children gather evidence, take accurate measurements, analyse data and draw conclusions.

Teachers promote a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following:

 

  • Science is taught in planned unit blocks by the class teacher. Where appropriate, science lessons are linked to cross-curricular themes in order to enable the achievement of a great depth of knowledge. At other times, science is taught discreetly. 
  • All children in Years 1 to 6 have a science book where their learning is recoded.
  • A teacher may want to record the science learning by taking photos or videos on an iPad, creating a floor book or display. 
  • Curiosity is celebrated in the classroom. At the start of each science unit, teachers will use questioning to find out what the pupils already know and uncover any misconceptions about the unit. Children are encouraged to ask questions about the unit and their curiosity is celebrated in the classroom.
  • New vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. We also use science knowledge organisers and scientific glossaries to encourage independent science learning.
  • Teachers build upon the knowledge and skills of the previous years.
  • Teachers model how to use the working scientifically skills and scientific equipment.
  • Pupils use outdoor learning and Forest Schools to develop understanding of their environment. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that pupils learn through varied and first-hand experiences of the world around them. Frequent, continuous and progressive learning outside the classroom is embedded throughout the science curriculum
  • Experts are invited in, in person and virtually to develop understanding and increase exposure to STEM subjects. Pupils learn the possibilities for careers in science and have access to positive role models within the field of science. Pupils are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities, visits, workshops and visitors. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge that is being taught in class to broaden the curriculum. 
  • Events such as British Science Week, Big School Birdwatch and Switch Off Fortnight are celebrated and provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community
  • Drake Primary Eco-Council meets weekly to discuss our school and local environment. The Eco-Council are currently experimenting with ways to increase biodiversity in the school and local area. We are working towards our Eco-Schools Silver Award.

 

Impact

‘Teachers need to know about their pupils' progress and difficulties with learning so that they can adapt their own work to meet pupils' needs’ (Black, 1998).

 

In science, teachers assess at the beginning of a unit. This allows the teacher to uncover any misconceptions, see the strengths in their class and spot any gaps in knowledge. Once the teacher has analysed the successes, gaps and misconceptions, the teacher adapts their teaching to suit the needs of their class. The teacher assesses children’s current understanding and puts in place what is needed for further learning (Cox, 2011).

 

During science lessons, ideas are discussed, misconceptions corrected and ideas tested. Talk is valued in science lessons, whereby the teacher guides children’s understanding and children are encouraged to use talk effectively to guide peer understanding (Mercer et al., 2009).

 

At the end of the unit, the children are assessed with a low stakes science quiz. This quiz score, alongside the content of exercise books and contributions to class science discussions, informs teacher assessment. Teachers input half termly assessment data for their class onto our tracking software, Pupil Asset. Data analysis is undertaken by the science lead to spot patterns, trends, and to check we are meeting the needs of our pupils.

 

The work in children’s exercise books is scrutinised termly by the science lead. We are looking for regular science work (once a week or a big project once a fortnight). We are ensuring working scientifically is interwoven with the teaching of subject knowledge. Pupil and parent voice is surveyed in the summer term, so changes can be implemented in the following academic year.

 

References

 

Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998) ‘Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment.’ The Phi Delta Kappan, 80 (2), pp. 139-148.

 

Cox, S. (2011) ‘Making sense of learning: assessment in context’, in Cox, S. New Perspectives in Primary Education: Meaning and Purpose in learning and teaching. Maidenhead: Open University Press, pp. 162-172.

 

Department for Education (2013) Science programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2, National curriculum in England. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-science-programmes-of-study (Accessed: Jan 2021).

 

Mercer, N., Dawes, l., and Staarman, J. K. (2009) ‘Dialogic teaching in the primary science classroom.’ Language and Education, 23 (4), pp. 353-369.

 

Trew, A. J., Bird, L., Early, C., Ellis, R., Harrison, T. G., Nash, J., Pemberton, K., Tyler, P., and Shallcross, D. E. (2019) ‘Cutting-edge science research and its impact on primary school children’s scientific inquiry.’ Journal of Emergent Science, 17, pp. 40- 44.

 

 

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