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.
Science at Broadwindsor is rooted in discovery, experience, investigation and harnessing children’s natural curiosity about the world. Questions lie at the heart of our approach to science learning. As well as asking questions to challenge children’s understanding, the children are encouraged to ask their own thinking questions and pursue their own lines of enquiry. Children have opportunities to explore and challenge key concepts and misconceptions in science and through the use of drama, word games, concept cartoons, meaningful links with literacy, numeracy and subjects across the curriculum, the children develop a secure scientific vocabulary to describe ideas, objects and phenomena.
We understand that it is important for lessons to have a skills-based focus, and that the knowledge can be taught through this. As children progress through school, we aim to foster key learning attitudes in our science curriculum alongside developing essential scientific enquiry skills. Children at Broadwindsor will become increasingly autonomous in their decision-making when carrying out investigations and they are motivated to think creatively when seeking solutions to science problems. They will become progressively more systematic and accurate in collecting and analysing data and be able to evaluate their results. Working collaboratively to seek out all the possibilities and to communicate their findings in a range of ways to different audiences, including at times with the wider community, is encouraged throughout the school.
Above all, our approach aims to create moments of awe, wonder and excitement and to nurture thinking, questioning, creative, young scientific minds.
Teachers at Broadwindsor create a positive attitude towards science within their classrooms and establish the expectation that high standards in science are achievable by all pupils. Our whole school approach to teaching science involves:
- The long term plan for science is informed by the National Curriculum and the content of each topic for science has been mapped out to ensure clear concept progression from year to year.
- Key skills are also mapped for each year group and are progressive throughout the school. These too ensure systematic progression to identified skills end points which are in accordance with the Working Scientifically skills expectations of the national curriculum.
- Science will be taught in planned and arranged topic blocks by the class teacher, to have an enquiry-based approach. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge.
- Existing knowledge is checked at the beginning of each topic, through formative assessment strategies including the KWL strategy (What I know, What I would like to Know and What I have Learned). This ensures that teaching is informed by the children’s starting points and that it takes account of pupil voice, incorporating children’s interests.
- Through our planning, we involve problem solving opportunities that allow children to apply their knowledge, and find out answers for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. Class ‘Question Boxes’, encourage children to explore their interests beyond the curriculum, support teachers in being responsive to children’s curiosity and give clear value to children’s thinking. Curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills. An active assessment approach, where children are encouraged to find consensus, make analogies, spot misconceptions and see correlations fosters children’s openness to changing ideas and cements learning. Tasks are selected and designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.
- Development of children’s scientific vocabulary is central to our approach. Opportunities to promote communication, dialogue and reflection are highlighted in planning. Teachers model scientific language in lessons – they talk like scientists. Scientific words are routinely explained using examples and links to everyday uses. Science word mats are accessible in lessons and science vocabulary walls are in each classroom, with definitions. Drama, concept cartoons, science quizzes, science dictionaries and games ensure that learning scientific vocabulary is accessible to all and engaging.
- We build upon the knowledge and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s 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 children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics.
- Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding.
- Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts. Collaboration with the local high school supports our use of quality equipment and provides access to science laboratories.
- Children are offered a range of extra-curricular activities including Forest School and the Eco Council, visits, trips and visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class.
- Events, such as Science Week or project days, 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.
- At the end of each topic, key knowledge is reviewed by the children, checked by the teacher and consolidated as necessary.