Subject Rationale for Science
Science learning promotes knowledge and understanding of both the natural and physical world that we live in. At St Anne’s Primary, Science teaching and learning aims to stimulate a child’s curiosity in finding out why things happen in the way they do – developing enquiring minds about natural phenomena and a respect for the environment. Science teaches methods of scientific enquiry which stimulate creative thought, as well as essential aspects of knowledge, processes and uses of Science. When children learn to ask scientific questions, they can begin to appreciate the way Science will affect their future on a personal, national, and global level.
How we teach and learn Science at St Anne’s.
We plan for and use a variety of teaching and learning styles in Science lessons, this begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Whether children are being helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food or to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about the environment, they are always encouraged to speak and listen in a range of situations including those with a scientific focus. No matter the age, our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding. Sometimes we do this through whole-class teaching, while at other times we engage the children in enquiry-based research activities. We encourage the children to ask, as well as answer, scientific questions. They have the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as statistics, graphs, pictures, and photographs. They may use computing in Science lessons where it enhances their learning. They take part in role-play, drama and discussions and they may present reports to the rest of the class. They also have use of the outdoor environment to enhance their Science learning, as well as Forest Schools. When possible, we engage the children in ‘real’ scientific activities and encourage the application of Science to solve problems. The whole school enjoys regular visits from Fizz Pop Science and all our children have the opportunity to join the Fizz Pop Science club.
Each child has a Science book in which they record their Science learning. This is a record of discrete Science work, but can also exemplify cross-curricular opportunities that have been made. We recognise that there are children of widely different scientific abilities in all classes and we ensure that we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways by: setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses; setting tasks of increasing difficulty; grouping children by ability in class and setting different tasks for each ability group; mixed ability pairing and grouping and providing resources of different complexity, matched to the ability of the child; The children’s activities reflect practical skills such as making observations, taking measurements, making predictions and solving problems. Weekly Science lessons, are planned using the National Curriculum objectives and the schools own scheme. Cross Curricular learning is encouraged, but only when meaningful links with other subjects are made. Each term, every child creates a piece of Science based writing in their English writing books, this demonstrates application of knowledge in a range of genres.
The teaching and learning of the Sciences, is an excellent vehicle for developing our pupil’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding. For example, it is wonderful to see children with a sense of being moved by beauty in nature, triggering a trail of ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘where’ as well as ‘what’ questions and concerns. Pupils are encouraged to take responsibility and care for the environment and to express their views on ethical & moral issues such as pollution. Our Science activities promote social development as pupils work as a member of a group, showing a combined respect for people, living things, property and the environment. As we encourage the scientists of the future, it is always good for pupils to be inspired by human achievement from all cultures and societies.
How we celebrate our Science learning.
Science is assessed and celebrated in a range of ways. Twice a year, the whole school completes a Science assessment task that provides evidence of progression and attainment across the school. In Years 2 and 6, Science is assessed against the National Curriculum Teachers’ Assessment Framework in Term 6 and reported externally. Each term, all classes complete an entry and exit card to show knowledge and understanding at the beginning and end of a unit of work. Teachers are always making informal judgements as they observe children during lessons. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher marks the work and highlights the WALT in green if the child has achieved it. Wishes are sometimes given in order to extend the child’s thinking and explanation or to correct misconceptions.
Learning to Learn certificates may be awarded to children who exemplify skills; Curious Cats (asking questions), Web Weaving Spiders (making links with prior knowledge), Busy Bees (having good learning relationships) or for demonstrating any of the other characters within their Science learning.
Classes enjoy sharing their Science learning during class assemblies and this is a lovely opportunity to show others what they have discovered. Homework tasks may have a Science link and children are encouraged to communicate their independent learning in class. Big Bang days and end of Topic celebrations are also ways in which the children can show case and be proud of their growing scientific minds.