'Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science' – Edwin Powell Hubble
'All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them' - Galileo Galilei
At St John’s School, our science curriculum encourages a sense of awe and wonder throughout all year groups. Children will recognise that science is a huge subject encompassing everything from light, sound and gravity in physics to the wonder of life in the tiniest microbe, to the biggest whale in biology, plus the chemistry that makes plastic toys and their favourite cakes possible. They will develop the realisation that the things they take for granted will not be possible without science. Many Science lessons at St John’s encourage problem solving as a group, creating a learner who can use the necessary social and communication skills to share, develop and record findings. They will understand that Scientific understanding happens when things do not work, as well as when they do, encouraging children to accept mistakes not as a failure but as opportunity. St Johns creates a safe, secure environment where children can develop their understanding of the world in a practical, hands-on way, without worries about making mistakes. They will understand the importance of fair testing, why it is important to be systematic when conducting an investigation and be explicit in the vocabulary to avoid misunderstanding, and the importance of clear recording of method and findings. We want our pupils to question, be curious and inquisitive about the world and think about the possibilites and opportunites that Science can offer them.
Science is planned by class teachers and taught in topic blocks according to our science curriculum overview. In Key Stage 2, a rolling programme is presently in place. Our curriculum overview ensures that key concepts are built upon each year to ensure a deep understanding. Within Science lessons, previous learning is reviewed and new learning is introduced in small, memorable blocks. These are displayed as ‘sticky knowledge’ within the classroom and within their science books so they can be referred to at any time.
When relevant, an interdisciplinary approach means science content is also explored in other areas of the curriculum, for example:
In a KS1 DT topic on Structures, children explored materials and their properties investigating their strength and water resistance.
In a KS2 Geography topic on Rainforests, children explored animals’ lifecycles, habitats and the water cycle.
This encourages the learning to go beyond the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum.
Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers collaboratively. Curiosity is celebrated within the classroom and discussion is encouraged, developing reasoning, social and listening skills whilst giving children a safe place to practice scientific vocabulary.
Through learning about earlier scientific ideas and how these have either been dismissed or built upon, they will understand that science is a fluid subject that is constantly building upon earlier understanding and scientists do not yet have all the answers. For example, Galileo Galilei’s model of the solar system and Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection were once ridiculed but is now accepted as scientific fact. As well as scientists of the past, attention will also be given to scientists from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, as well as understanding women’s contributions, past and present, plus the barriers they faced to succeed.
Teachers regularly use questioning effectively in classrooms to test children’s knowledge and conceptual understanding and quickly identify any misconceptions. Regular practical investigations and experiments in classrooms provide opportunities for teachers to formatively assess children’s skills and understanding of scientific working.
At St John's, teachers recognise that many pupils with SEND often show strengths in their scientific knowledge and levels of interest. Pupils may require additional support to record their ideas, their findings and further questions or conclusions. They may benefit from sharing their ideas in a small group outside class, they may need to draw their findings and an adult may scribe some ideas. Teachers ensure that pupils can demonstrate their scientific understanding regardless of their SEND. Depending on the pupils’ individual needs, a range of strategies may be employed to ensure every child can engage in the lesson. These may include movement breaks, pre teaching of scientific vocabulary, opportunities to share ideas through discussion, working in a small group and support to record ideas.
Bromcom is used to monitor progress and attainment in Science. We want our children to leave St Johns with a solid foundation of scientific understanding on which they can build upon. The scientific knowledge and skills they will have developed within the school, and a positive attitude to science that will have been fostered, they will be ready to meet the challenges of the KS3 and 4 science curriculum and their adult life. They will also have developed a questioning, curious and inquisitive mind which they will carry on into their adulthood.