Our science curriculum is determined by:
At Drake Primary School, our curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:
Science is taught once a week, for up to 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. Science lessons are often linked to cross-curricular topics to provide a creative scheme of work and a balanced programme of studies.
We use the following 6 types of Scientific enquiry:
Experiments allow pupils to test hypotheses and challenge their perceptions of the world around them. 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 local scientists 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 so that they can apply their knowledge of science when using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently. Each class undertakes a longitudinal study over the academic year, which relates to one of their Science topics.
Our school Eco-Council meet 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. Eco-Council works closely with Forest School to look after our school environment.
The school celebrates British Science Week, where children undertake a day of Science focused activities, linking to Art and Writing.
‘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 topic. 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 lesson, 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 topic, 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.
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) ‘Chapter 8: 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.