Science Intent statement
Why do we teach Science?
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. ― Marie Curie
Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, therefore it is our intent that the children at DCE will engage in a high quality science curriculum. At Didsbury CE School we understand that children are naturally curious, and we encourage this inquisitive nature throughout their time with us and beyond. Science fosters a healthy curiosity in children about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living. We believe science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes. Through the programmes of study in the National Curriculum science document children will acquire and develop these skills throughout their Primary years and develop their natural curiosity about the world in which they live.
At Didsbury CE School we will ensure that the Working Scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout their school career so that they can use equipment, conduct experiments, build arguments and explain concepts confidently and continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings.
Consequently, the children will have the opportunity to become increasingly proficient and confident at:
- Being able to ask why?
- Following their own line of enquire
- Developing scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding
- Implementing a range of investigations
- Understanding the world around them
- Developing questioning, reasoning and investigation skills
A curriculum for life for all
We are proud of the fact that the ambitious science curriculum at Didsbury CE plays a vital role in equipping each child with the skills and knowledge needed to take advantage of opportunities in later life. We build upon the high ‘science capital’ that lots of children start with, building in knowledge about the transferability of science, as we know that science 'open doors' to many future careers. Teachers also use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children, keep up with the challenging science curriculum.
The vocabulary rich, knowledge engaged curriculum provides children with the opportunities to test out their own understand and findings through first hand experiences. The curriculum content and design provide children with the key scientific knowledge, skills and understanding they need to be ready for their next stage of education. The exploration, enquiry and independent testing opportunities that thread through our curriculum equip our children, whatever their social background, the soft skills such as critical thinking and teamwork that are vital to success in 21st century Britain.
Curriculum end points
The science curriculum is designed with clear key knowledge end points at the end of each year, which are then built upon in a spiral curriculum. 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. Key aspects of English such as formal, explanations, detailed descriptions and clear concise writing, as well as a number of aspects of maths, such as graphs, measures and a range of practical skills are contextualised and woven in our science curriculum.
Curriculum planning and sequencing
In Didsbury CE we teach Science within a knowledge-engaged curriculum, as a discreet subject to ensure that both the skills and knowledge of the science curriculum are taught to a high level without being diluted by other subjects. Having said that we do make links both cross-curricular and to the wider yearly calendar, to create a greater coherence and context for the children.
Early Years children are taught science through ‘Understanding the World’. Continuous provision is provided for all and children are given opportunities to explore various types of equipment. Often this is child-initiated but on occasion is also completed through adult-led activities. Science is also taught through the change’s children observe in the world around them, for example Ice (when found outside) and ‘habitats – nocturnal/ survival’ in autumn term as this is the time of the year when children are aware of the change in seasons and animals starting to go into hibernation.
Key stage 1 science is taught in a very practical way, with children being given many opportunities to explore the different concepts that they are learning, whether it’s being given lots of things to taste, touch, smell, look at when exploring senses, or regular trips throughout the year to the local park to compare the changing seasons. They also build upon their ‘understanding of the world’ and continue to develop the understanding that they initially gained in the Early Years. This makes the learning more interactive and concrete for the children.
Key Stage 2 science is again taught through practical hands on experiences wherever possible, with children being challenged to create their own investigations and follow their own line of enquiry. Science is planned in such a way that it fits in with the seasons, the wider curriculum and following the National Curriculum. The science curriculum is also built upon through the wider curriculum, for example once children have learnt about electricity in Y6, they are then challenge to make their own torch in DT. This understanding is also linked to previous learning in Y4, but also in Y5 where in their history lessons, children learnt all about the Victorians and the first uses of electricity. Furthermore, children in Y5 are challenged to make their own boats, using their understanding of buoyancy, streamlines shapes and counter weights, they are then challenged to write a persuasive letter, explaining why their boat was the best. Children in Y3 use their understand from how to look after their bodies, to create their own healthy pizzas in DT.
Reflecting the local context
Teachers use their local area to help support the teaching of science as much as possible. Whether it is in KS1 with regular trips to the park to observe the changing seasons, or in KS2 where the children go to Pooles Cavern to look at natural rock formations. Children also have visits from local STEM ambassadors who help instil in them the understanding that scientist can be any age, culture, and even from their local area! Building upon this, the children in KS2 also had regular trips to both the local high school and universities to explore different scientific professions, such as a forensic scientist or a nutritionist.
A broad and balanced curriculum
At Didsbury CE children study science for the equivalent of 60 minutes a week in KS1 and one and a half hours a week in KS2. In science we ensure all children have access to experiencing different environments and have hands on experimental experience, be allowed to ‘get things wrong’ and develop resilience and investigational skills. We have always been committed to providing a broad and balanced curriculum that is not narrowed in end of key stage years. We passionately believe that the science curriculum builds upon the skills and knowledge of the core subjects. For example, the science curriculum gives opportunity for high level and substantial pieces of writing that contextualise the skills taught in the English curriculum.
High academic ambition
Throughout the science curriculum at Didsbury CE there is an expectation of high academic standards and children at Didsbury CE enjoy the opportunity to be scientists. The design of the curriculum and the opportunities afforded the children mean that high standard of writing in science is the same as it is in the core subjects. We passionately believe that all children regardless of background can reach those high standards. Pupil premium is used to ensure that all children have full access to the science curriculum and any enrichment activities. For children with SEN, our science curriculum and the resources we use are adapted so that they have the opportunity to receive their full educational entitlement. Our science curriculum is designed so that all may be challenged to fulfil their potential.
Implementation – how we teach what we teach
At Didsbury CE science is taught throughout the school, from Nursery to Year 6. In our EYFS curriculum, science is covered in the Understand the World Early Learning Goals. Children in our Nursery and Reception have a range of different opportunities to explore scientific concepts, both inside the classroom and in the outdoor areas. Continuous provision activities are planned to provide independent learning to support and reinforce whole class teaching.
In KS1 and KS2 science is taught weekly as a discrete lesson, following a particular topic, with ‘working scientifically’ being embedded in all areas. These lessons are taught by the class teacher, who plans lessons based on the national curriculum objectives in biology, chemistry, physics and working scientifically. Science is a core subject and at Didsbury CE we devote approximately two hours of curriculum time to the subject each week.
Impact – how we measure what we teach
The impact of the science curriculum is that the children will have the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics; be able to use science to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes; and finally have an inquisitive mind ready to investigate the world around them. Children at Didsbury CE are thoroughly prepared for the next stage of their educational journey and beyond.
The children’s learning journey in science is assessed each half term using the current assessment framework and reported on formally to parents at the end of each academic year. The progress of each child will be tracked throughout their time at Didsbury CE Primary.