At St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, we aim for all our pupils to acquire an appreciation of the fact that Science is an integral part of our everyday lives. We recognise that Science is a core subject and that it has a very important role to play in enabling our children to gain a deeper understanding of the world around us. The great power of the subject lies in its ability to inspire awe and wonder in young people as they make new discoveries and connections and enjoy new experiences. Our intention when planning and delivering the Science curriculum at St. Joseph’s is to foster our pupils’ enthusiasm for the subject, whilst also helping them to fulfil their potential and equipping them with the skills that they will need in order to go on to become life-long learners.
We recognise that children are naturally curious and that Science is a subject area which provides invaluable opportunities for this curiosity and inquisitiveness to come to the fore. By making Science practical whenever possible, we aim to develop our children’s scientific knowledge, skills and vocabulary while linking this learning to real-life contexts and thereby making it more meaningful.
Hands-on and inquiry-based activities are essential not only because they are designed to let pupils discover scientific concepts for themselves and develop an understanding of scientific thought but also because children find them so stimulating and memorable. These kinds of tasks promote pupils’ enthusiasm and passion for the subject, develop their respect for living and non-living things and engage their interest in finding things out for themselves. The skills that we want to our children to develop from this approach include the ability to pose their own questions and investigate their own ideas, solve problems, communicate and collaborate, use a range of equipment and resources, accurately record and describe their findings using scientific vocabulary and evaluate the effectiveness of their investigations. Working Scientifically skills are embedded in each topic our children study and these topics are revisited and developed throughout their time at school, allowing them to build on their prior knowledge.
- To foster children’s interest in Science and help them to develop an appreciation of its involvement in all aspects of everyday life.
- To develop children’s scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
- To follow a clear and comprehensive scheme of work in line with the National Curriculum, where teaching and learning should show progression across all Key Stages within the strands of Science.
- To use a range of enquiries and practical activities to give pupils a greater understanding of scientific concepts.
- To introduce children to the vocabulary of Science and support effective interactions relating to the subject.
- To develop children’s ability to take accurate and precise measurements, control variables and record their observations and findings effectively.
- To provide opportunities for children to use a range of methods to convey and present scientific information including diagrams, graphs and tables etc.
- To encourage children to demonstrate a respect for the materials and equipment they handle and show regard for their own and other children’s safety.
- To make cross-curricular links with other subject areas wherever possible.
We follow the National Curriculum for Science using an investigative approach, which includes aspects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics in each year group. We aim to deliver a curriculum that allows our children to develop knowledge and understanding in these areas throughout their Primary years. At St. Joseph’s, our Science planning is based on the Rising Stars Switched On Science scheme. In following this scheme and the framework of half-termly topics it outlines for each year group, we are able to ensure that we are delivering a coherent and complete science curriculum that helps pupils to progress their knowledge, understanding and skills as they move up through the school. The Rising Stars scheme gives children access to ideas and ways of working scientifically in a range of contexts and provides appropriate repetition and reinforcement to facilitate the retention of subject knowledge. As well as lesson plans, the scheme also includes a range of resources that teachers are able to access and use in their teaching of Science. These activity resources include worksheets, flash cards, diagrams and tables for recording data, and resources to help to teach new concepts, such as PowerPoint teaching slides, interactive computer activities, videos and a list of recommended websites.
Teachers plan their Science lessons with reference to the school’s Progression of Knowledge and Skills document. Along with the structure provided by the Rising Stars scheme, this document ensures the curriculum is covered in a comprehensive way and that the skills and knowledge that are taught are progressive from one year group to the next. The Science lessons that teachers at St. Joseph’s deliver are carefully crafted with the intention of inspiring, engaging and providing an appropriate level of challenge for all children. Teachers have access to a wide variety of different types of scientific equipment which can be used to model scientific concepts and to provide their pupils with hands-on learning opportunities. Key vocabulary is modelled by teachers in lessons to aid children’s understanding and encourage the use of scientific vocabulary in children’s written work.
At St Joseph’s, we strive to promote Science in any way that we can. One of the most prominent examples of this is our annual participation in British Science Week. This much-anticipated week of programmed events coordinated by the British Science Association is an exciting part of the school’s year, during which we celebrate science, engineering and technology. During Science Week, each year group takes part in a number of different activities that relate to the special theme for that particular year’s event.
Science fits into the Area of Learning called ‘Understanding the World’ within the Early Years Foundation Stage. EYFS children are taught to:
- Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
- Talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
- Make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
- Recognise that a range of forms of technology are used in places such as homes and schools.
- Select and use technology for particular purposes.
- Know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
Key Stage 1
Pupils are taught to:
- Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.
- Observe closely, using simple equipment.
- Perform simple tests.
- Identify and classify.
- Use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
- Gather and record data to help in answering questions.
Lower Key Stage 2
Pupils are taught to:
- Ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.
- Set up simple practical enquiries and comparative and fair tests.
- Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units and a range of equipment.
- Gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help answer questions.
- Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables.
- Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.
- Use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.
- Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
- Use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.
Upper Key Stage 2
Pupils are taught to:
- Plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary.
- Take measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate.
- Record data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs.
- Use test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests.
- Report and present findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations.
- Identify scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.
Assessment of children’s learning in Science is an ongoing process of monitoring of children’s understanding, knowledge and skills by the class teacher. This assessment is used to inform differentiation, support and the level of challenge required by the children. Summative assessments take place throughout the year and teachers record the progress and attainment against the National Curriculum expectations. This data is analysed on a termly basis to inform and address any trends or gaps in attainment.
End of year assessments are made in order to identify the level at which the child is working using assessment criteria that has been developed in line with the National Curriculum.
Science is monitored by the subject leader throughout the year in the form of book monitoring, looking at outcomes and conducting pupil interviews to discuss their learning and understanding and establish the impact of the teaching taking place.
Children in Foundation Stage are assessed within Understanding the World and their progress is tracked termly. Age-related expectation levels are reported to parents at the end of the reception year.
At St. Joseph’s we aim for all our pupils to develop their scientific knowledge and understanding through scientific enquiry and to foster an appreciation of the fact that Science is an integral part of our everyday lives. We aim to make Science as practical as possible, linking it to real life contexts and giving meaning to our learning. We believe this encourages children to ask questions about the world around them and develops their problem solving abilities alongside science specific knowledge and skills.
We aim to ensure that teaching and learning in Science results in children deepening their understanding of scientific concepts, developing the ability to use a range of equipment and resources to carry out their own enquiries and being able to use appropriate scientific vocabulary to talk about their learning.
For a number of years, St. Joseph’s has taken part in ‘Science Week’ in the Spring Term which promotes scientific thinking and allows pupils to develop their curiosity for the subject.
Below you will find the whole school subject overview and progression framework for this area of the curriculum: