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.
Our science curriculum is determined by:
At Drake Primary School, our curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:
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.
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:
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:
‘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.
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.