Our science curriculum is underpinned by the National Curriculum Program of Study.
Purpose of study
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.
Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding
The programmes of study describe a sequence of knowledge and concepts. While it is important that pupils make progress, it is also vitally important that they develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Insecure, superficial understanding will not allow genuine progression: pupils may struggle at key points of transition (such as between primary and secondary school), build up serious misconceptions, and/or have significant difficulties in understanding higher-order content.
(National Curriculum 2013)
Science at Sycamore Academy
We want children at Sycamore Academy to gain scientific skills that allow them to investigate things they don’t know in science. We aim for children to have the confidence to make predictions, explain methods, complete fair tests, collect accurate results and draw conclusions on data. We also aim to foster children’s curiosity, creativity, enthusiasm and resilience in science, as well as ensuring children gain a love for science through a range of practical investigations.
We achieve our aims by developing children’s understanding of what science is and what it involves, giving children opportunities to ask questions, to predict and to hypothesise. We enable our children to become confident in their own ideas and to talk about what they have done, using appropriate scientific language. In addition to this we support our implementation using Developing Experts which is fully aligned with the National Curriculum and has a sustained focus upon scientific skills and progression.
In the foundation stage, children develop the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. This forms the foundation for later work in science. In Key Stage 1, the children are provided with opportunities to carry out their own investigations. They are encouraged to make their tests fair and to estimate and measure, using non-standard and standard measures. In Key Stage 2, children are encouraged to take a more leading role in investigations and are also encouraged to complete follow-on investigations, based on their findings.
Adults will facilitate and direct investigations. Clear links will also be made between the investigation outcomes and key scientific concepts using scientific vocabulary that is recorded in their knowledge organisers. Using their prior knowledge, children will also be able to create their own investigations.
A Science learning journey will be visible in every classroom This is a working wall that ensures children are able to make links and see the journey of their learning. The learning journey display includes prior learning, new learning, future learning, key vocabulary, and a key line of enquiry. All children should be able to see and refer to the working wall and this is refreshed to match the current unit with the children.
Other concrete and visual resources are accessible and organised so children can access them easily. Other helpful resources for regular practice of that unit’s key objectives are for example, scientific vocabulary around the current topic and line of enquiry.
With Science in the Foundation Stage, most of the children’s learning occurs through play and first-hand experiences within an environment designed to stimulate their interest and curiosity. In Key Stage 1, Scientific learning is encouraged through practical activities and discussion, with an emphasis on first hand experiences. These experiences are taken from domestic and environmental contexts and consist of concrete, observable features where appropriate.
Within school there is a range of scientific equipment available to support and extend the children’s learning in classrooms and in a central resource. Opportunities are provided for the children to observe closely and from different perspectives using all senses. Through Key Stage 2, children are also encouraged to make their tests fair and to estimate and measure, using non-standard and standard measures.
As scientists, we want our children to be confident to discuss the progression of their learning and to be able to identify how they are using their prior knowledge from previous lessons and years. We also want our children to be able to identify aspects of lessons which help them with their learning.
The impact and measure of this is to ensure that the children gain the appropriate age-related knowledge linked to the science curriculum. We also want our children to see the possibilities within science and to consider this for future study or as a possible career.