Science at Cowling Primary School

Subject Curriculum Lead: Mrs Kate Dawson

 Intent: The 2014 National Curriculum for Science aims to ensure that by year 6 all children:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
  • develop an understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries (Identifying classifying and grouping, pattern seeking, research using secondary sources, comparative and fair testing and observing over time) that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

 At Cowling Community Primary School we understand that it is important that science has a skills-based focus, and that the knowledge is taught through/alongside this.  We understand that children are naturally curious and we encourage this inquisitive nature throughout their time with us and beyond. Science fosters a healthy curiosity in children about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living. We believe science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes. Through the programmes of study in the National Curriculum science document children will acquire and develop these skills throughout their Primary years.

Working Scientifically is a priority in science lessons at Cowling Community Primary School. We ensure that the Working Scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout their school career, so that by Year 6 they can select the appropriate type of scientific enquiry to use to answer a question or discuss a hypothesis. By Year 6 they will be able to select equipment, conduct experiments, build arguments and explain concepts confidently, continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings.

 Implementation: Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following;

  • Science will be taught in planned and arranged topic blocks by the class teacher, to have a project-based approach. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge and the ability to link knowledge across the curriculum.
  • Through our planning, we involve problem solving opportunities that allow children to find out for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions/ make their own hypothesis and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children have mastered the topic. Science revisits and recalls will be timetabled into the yearly overview to ensure that knowledge is moved from their short-term memory into their long-term memory.
  • We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
  • Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics. Each child will use at least one of the five types of scientific enquiry every topic block.
  • Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding. We use ‘science superheros’ which are displayed in each classroom for the children to refer to. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning through the local environment, workshops with experts and links with South Craven Secondary School.
  • By the time pupils reach Year 6, all children will have had the opportunity to attend at least two scientific educational visits/workshops and will have met scientists in action. This is made possible through partnerships with local scientists, the local secondary schools and The Lancashire Science Festival.

Science in EYFS: In EYFS science is taught through the Area of Learning and Development ‘Understanding of the World: The World.  We aim for our children to meet the Early Learning Goal: To know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

Supporting children with SEND in science:

  • All teachers look for ways to reduce the literacy requirement in science. Avoid copying, whether key learning points or learning objectives/outcomes for the lesson. Children will copy words in chunks of letters and the meaning of the sentences will be lost. Independent writing makes more sense.
  • Texts are fully decodable or matched to the child’s ZPD. Where this is not possible texts are read to the child.
  • Children are encouraged to work things out for themselves – this helps with understanding and retention of information.
  • Key vocabulary is displayed on the wall, or at the start of a topic/lesson. Alternatives to key words are sentence starters, offering a number of possible ways of starting an answer.
  • Writing frames or scaffolds help students to structure longer pieces of writing and are useful for writing up experiments in science.
  • Practical work – practicals are useful because children learn better by doing and this can help them access some difficult concepts.
  • Open ended questions are used and processing time is given.
  • Children are given the opportunity to respond to each other.
  • The type of feedback given is tailored to the child (oral or written).
  • Modelling – children are shown what we want them to do.

Impact: The successful approach at Cowling Community Primary School results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education that provides children with the foundations for understanding the world. Progress and attainment is measured formatively through children’s work, discussion and small quizzes.  At the end of each block children are assessed (as emerging, expected and beyond) and this is recorded on an NYCC assessment grid.  Governors have worked alongside the science co-ordinator, by listening to pupils’ voices, observing science lessons and performing work scrutinies to help monitor the impact of our science curriculum. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them. So much of science lends itself to outdoor learning and so we provide children with opportunities to experience this. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts and local charities, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Children learn the possibilities for careers in science as a result of our community links and connections with agencies and learn from and work with professionals from a range of different scientific backgrounds. Children at Cowling Community Primary School overwhelmingly enjoy science and this results in motivated, inquisitive learners.