Science plays a significant role in our curriculum. We strongly believe in developing a "restless curiosity" in children to find out about the world, and this is fostered by our hands-on approach to learning...
The 2014 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 skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future. We understand that it is important for lessons to have a skills-based focus, and that the knowledge can be taught through this
At Rode Heath Primary we aim to give all pupils a strong understanding of the world around them whilst acquiring specific skills and knowledge to help them to think scientifically, to gain an understanding of scientific processes and also an understanding of the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future.
Scientific enquiry skills are embedded in each topic the pupils study and these topics are revisited and developed throughout their time at school. Wherever possible, teachers are encouraged to identify cross curricular opportunities for science to further strengthen pupils' scientific knowlege whilst enriching their learning.
All pupils are encouraged to develop and use a range of skills including observations, planning and investigations, as well as being encouraged to question the world around them and become independent learners in exploring possible answers for their scientific based questions. Specialist vocabulary for topics is taught and built up, and effective questioning to communicate ideas is encouraged. Concepts taught are reinforced by focusing on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions.
All the above is underpinned by our whole school ethos of fostering Engineering Habits of Mind (EHoM) in pupils.
Teachers create 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 and arranged topic blocks by the class teacher, wherever possible culminating in a project based task. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge.
- Existing knowledge is checked at the beginning of each topic, using various strategies such as KWL grids, Odd One Outs and What Ifs. This ensures that teaching is informed by the pupils' starting points and that it takes account of pupil voice, incorporating children’s interests.
- Science planning includes problem solving opportunities to allow children to apply their knowledge, and find out answers for themselves. Pupils are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, using contexts that are relevant and current. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess pupils regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all pupils keep up. Tasks are selected and designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.
- The knowledge and skill development of the previous years is built upon. As the pupils' knowledge and understanding increases, 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.
- Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure that skills are systematically developed throughout the pupils' school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics.
- Pupils are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities, visits, trips and visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class.
- Regular events, such as Science Week or project days, such as the Great Science Share for Schools (GSSfS), allow all pupils to come off-timetable, to provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community.
- The above results in an engaging, fun, relevant and high-quality science education, fostering a curiosity in our pupils whilst providing them with the foundations for understanding the world around them. This is augmented by the embracing of the EHoM, which support pupils in becoming effective problem solvers.
- Through a variety of engineering and science-themed events throughout the year which include various workshops, trips and interactions with experts, pupils develop the understanding that science has changed our lives and it vital to the world’s future.
- From interactions with various scientists and engineers, children begin to understand the true purpose of these disciplines. They feel like they are scientists and this results in more pupils developing STEM-related ideas for their future careers.
- Pupils at Rode Heath Primary thoroughly enjoy science. This results in highly-engaged children, leading in turn to motivated learners with sound scientific understanding.