Our Science Curriculum
“We live in an in-between universe, where things change, but according to patterns, rules, or as we call them, laws of nature. If I throw a stick up in the air, it always falls down. If the sun sets in the west, it always rises again the next morning in the east. And so it becomes possible to figure things out. We can do science, and with it we can improve our lives.”
While we live in what we think of as the modern world, it is more important than ever to determine the line between science and pseudoscience. World events continue to impress on us the importance of science in solving the problems our species faces; disinformation sows dissension and wreaks havoc that crosses borders. In the face of these challenges, we turn to experts in science for solutions to problems that have global impact.
It is our intention to provide our pupils with a broad understanding of the natural world and its phenomena. We want children to see the connections between areas of science, ‘big ideas’ (Principles and Big Ideas of Science Education, Harlen 2010) translated to themes appropriate for their age, progressing in sophistication as they develop. We intend that they understand how science relates to their own lives and the lives of those in the wider community.
We promote the idea of science capital: that it is an interesting and exciting subject to learn about, and that it can lead to increased engagement and participation in the field.
We follow the national curriculum for science. We explicitly tell the children that they are learning biology (living things), chemistry (materials) or physics (forces). We prize the practical side of scientific enquiry, but the emphasis always returns to the specific knowledge that children will add to their mental schema of a scientific concept.
By revisiting learning from previous year groups, our pupils strengthen their memories and reduce the chances of forgetting previously learned knowledge. We employ metacognitive strategies to allow children to monitor their own understanding in science, and plan how they will improve.
Teachers use 'sticky knowledge' and progression maps to build on previous learning, planning vertical links and further development of scientific processes. Children carry their science exercise books with them to the following year group to retain continuity. Assessment of science concepts learnt are tracked for groups across the school, and revisited up by teachers for regular recall and revision.
The more success pupils experience in science, the more confidence they have when speaking about their knowledge and understanding, linking it to new learning and tackling problem-solving exercises. Pupils read and write about their science learning, use strategies to help them think about the relationships between their findings and apply these concepts to real-life issues.