"It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree - make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/ details or there is nothing to hang on to"
- Elon Musk
A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
The 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 knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future
At St Michael’s Primary School, we believe that outstanding teaching of Science makes learning memorable through a dynamic and cross-curricular approach, offering pupils the opportunity to access, revisit, build-upon and retain a wealth of knowledge, skills and information.
Science explains the mechanics and reasoning behind the daily function of complex systems, including the human body. Through excellent teaching, pupils shine brightly by using this knowledge to aid their understanding of new concepts, make well-informed decisions and pursue new interests. Science provides visible proof of many facts pupils read about in books or see on the television; this helps to increase their understanding and helps pupils retain that information.
At St Michael’s Primary School, we believe these principles underpin outstanding teaching and learning in the Science curriculum:
Teachers have secure subject knowledge, which enables children to build upon their own previously acquired skills and knowledge.
Children are encouraged to follow their own line of enquiry, by participating in child-initiated experiments. They ask their own questions and select tools and equipment to conduct their experiments.
Children are involved in practical activities to help consolidate or introduce their learning to a topic or unit of work.
Teachers and children enjoy and are enthusiastic about Science lessons. Taking science outside the classroom further enhances their academic achievement through raising both teacher’s and children’s enjoyment and engagement with their learning.
Pupils are encouraged to be inquisitive and independent learners.
Teachers plan experiments and practical activities well, which enhances and extends children’s learning.
Trips and visits are planned into the Science curriculum.
Children are encouraged to research ideas and theories in order to explain results of their experiments or to extend their learning.
Teachers and children are confident in using scientific vocabulary.
Teachers use open-ended questions to engage children and extend their thinking.
Assessment of Science
Assessment of Science at St Michael’s includes a number of carefully chosen approaches. These may therefore vary from term to term to best fit the unit taught and the scientific skills required. They will include:
Observations and questioning during practical investigations
Written outcomes from the pupils’ work
Video / presentations / drama to demonstrate understanding
Made up of a variety of questioning types e.g. multiple-choice, labelling diagrams to test scientific vocabulary and acquiring explanations.
Double Page Spread Assessment
Children distil and reconstitute learning by creating a double page spread at the end of a unit. These can take a number of different forms:
Explanation and information texts
The creation of quizzes or board games
A record of interview questions and responses
The process of planning and summarising whole units of work and then synthesizing into a small space, develops a deeper understanding of the content.
Through conducting moderation staff meetings, all pupil assessments are evaluated against the knowledge and skills taught. We monitor the progression of skills across year groups and between scientific units to ensure all children have had the opportunity to embed these vital skills and knowledge.
The Science Lead tracks the coverage of Science learning through monitoring planning, completing lesson observations and book-looks. Staff are supported, where necessary, through coaching and feedback, to implement improvements and ensure an enriched and inspiring Science curriculum across the whole school.