‘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 for them to hang on to,’ Elon Musk.
At Delves Lane Primary School, we recognise the importance of a high-quality science education to provide 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.
Through our teaching of science, we intend to:
- 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.
- Ensure children are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
Our over-arching aim through our teaching of science is to enthuse children about the subject and develop children who think like scientists.
In order to implement our curriculum intent for science, we use science-focused units of work, using PlanBee units as a basis. We have chosen this approach as it:
- Offers engaging and motivating lessons and resources as well as planning support for teachers.
- Provides a coherent and structured approach to science which is sequential, offering appropriate progression as children move through the school.
- Offers consistency of key knowledge, skills and vocabulary across the school.
- Offers pedagogical consistency.
As a school, we have adopted the science models approach to teaching (Stem Learning Solutions) and, as such, use relevant models to explain scientific concepts. A ‘science model’ is an abstract conceptual idea that is taken to its simplest form, which become the starting point and the basis of pupil understanding as they study a topic. These models support scientific language development, bridging and making links between topics and concept recognition. These models are as follows:
- Particle model- cubes, counters or even pupils are used to represent particles within states of matter.
- Energy transfer model- cubes are used to represent quantities and flow of different types of energy (light, sound, electrical, heat etc.).
- Force arrow model- using a range of practical arrows of different sizes, teachers and children are able to describe, demonstrate and explain the direction of forces as well as relative strength in comparison to one another determined by the length of the arrow.
- The big picture model- mostly used within biological topics, this model is used to display the ‘bigger picture’ to understand why something happens.
When planning lessons, teachers will include ‘dual objectives’, ensuring both coverage of the National Curriculum objectives as well as progressive science skills. Each lesson covers one ‘knowledge objective’ (the context of the lesson as outlined by the National Curriculum) and one ‘skill objective’ (a progressive scientific skill taken from the Stem Learning Solutions assessment boards). The skills outlined on the assessment boards cover five key areas of scientific enquiry: explaining science; classification; data, tables and graphs; making conclusions and designing experiments. These skills ensure progression across year groups, particularly where topics are repeated across Key Stages.
As a school, we assess the impact of our curriculum in a number of ways.
This may be done through:
- Marking and giving feedback on pupils’ work,
- Scrutiny of teachers’ planning and/ or books,
- Lesson observations,
- Learning walks,
- Pupil discussions, and
- Subject leader’s red, amber green (RAG) rating following monitoring.
Children’s progress in science will be assessed using science assessment rockets tracking sheets which are present in the back of every child’s book. This record will ensure the coverage of a wide range of scientific skills as well as children’s ability to use and apply knowledge and skills. Following each lesson, teachers will award 1, 2 or 3 ticks for the child’s work- as outlined in the feedback section of this policy. This will then be recorded in the rockets tracking sheet, as children move through the year, we would expect pupils to be achieving in the middle section of the rocket which denotes working at the expected standard for science.
Following the subject leader’s assessment of the impact of the curriculum, an action plan with specific targets will be developed with a view to enhancing the provision further. The subject leader will then liaise with the Head Teacher, Deputy Head and other staff members in order to ensure that these action plan targets are met.