“Everybody starts out as a scientist. Every child has the scientist’s sense of wonder and awe.”
Carl Sagan, astronomer
Subject Leader: Mrs Katey Dale
Science at Abbeyfields is about developing children’s independence, ideas and ways of working, to enable them to make sense of the world in which they live, through investigation, as well as using and applying their scientific skills.
Through the science curriculum at Abbeyfields we aim to develop children’s curiosity and introduce them to the fascinating world around them.
In Science pupils will have the opportunity to:
- Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways
- Observe closely, using their five senses
- Use a range of scientific equipment and resources
- Make predictions about what they think might happen
- Plan and investigate
- Say why and how things happen
- Perform simple tests
- Identify and classify
- Use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
- Gather and record data to help answer questions
- Evaluate their own work and say how this can be improved
How is the content / theme chosen?
The content is chosen to make effective links with key themes and ensure coverage of the expectations as set out in the National Curriculum programmes of study, as well as the EYFS framework. At Abbeyfields we ensure a clear, sequenced progression, which is taught systematically for all pupils to acquire the intended knowledge and skills . The content may be adapted or changed, based upon the needs or interests of specific cohorts.
How do we ensure progression of knowledge and skills?
At Abbeyfields we plan each subject area, to ensure sequenced and appropriate content for specific year groups. Teachers are clear on the learning and expectations for each year group, as this has been carefully selected and mapped out so that children are building on prior knowledge and skills each term and each year.
Within our planning documents there are opportunities for differentiation, in order to meet the needs of all learners.
How is the subject taught?
A long term plan for Science maps out the coverage of the discrete teaching and learning opportunities for children to develop and embed specific skills and key knowledge in Science. All aspects of the National Curriculum for Science are covered to ensure progression from EYFS to Year 4 and each class teacher carefully plans the specific outcomes for their year group, based upon age appropriate knowledge and skills, as well as the needs of the cohort or individuals within it.
There is a strong focus on developing the scientific vocabulary of our children and retention of this through practical learning opportunities. New vocabulary is taught, with the emphasis on key scientific words and phrases . Although we actively introduce and are ambitious with the language we use, we understand the importance not to over complicate this language with very young children, but ensure underlying principles and meanings of the words are taught and understood. Children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. Questioning is used to check their understanding and prior knowledge, before new concepts, skills or knowledge are introduced.
Modelling is used by class teachers to clarify expectations, children are then given plentiful opportunities to consolidate, build upon and apply basic skills and knowledge, across a series of lessons, as well as across the year.
When children are learning about a subject through discrete teaching sessions they are explicitly told that today they are going to be ‘scientists.’ They are then reminded of the key skills that they will learn, use and develop within this subject.
In Science we are learning to:
- ask and answer questions
- make predictions
- plan and investigate
- say why and how things happen
- record our ideas and findings
As well as the discrete teaching of knowledge in science lessons, science investigation days are planned to ensure that children have regular opportunities to embed their knowledge and practise their skills throughout the year. Children regularly engage in practical, ‘hands on’ learning, visits out, as well as visitors to school, to enhance their science experiences further.
Through studying a range of people from the past and present, who have had an impact on the world of Science, as well as a range of countries and cultures, children learn about and are taught to challenge stereotypes connected to gender, wealth, disability and cultural background. They are educated that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement.
Pupils also have additional opportunities to extend their scientific knowledge and skills through cross-curricular work. Strong links with other subject areas, particularly Maths and English, ensure that children have numerous opportunities to apply skills across the curriculum. Opportunities to learn about significant people, including inventors and explorers are carefully chosen, so that children are continually developing the sense of the importance of science in the wider world. This learning also strengthens the links between science, history and geography.
Through studying a range of people and places linked to science, children are taught to challenge stereotypes connected to gender, wealth, disability and cultural background and are educated that differences, including where you are born or live in the world, should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement.
Texts relating to science knowledge and concepts used to further underpin this understanding and encourage questions from children. This ensures that elements of the science curriculum are accessed by children throughout the year.
Teaching Science in EYFS
Planning and teaching in EYFS is similar to that in Key Stage 1. The children are expected to develop a specific set of skills and knowledge appropriate to their age. This is often beyond the expectations that are set out in the end of year Early Learning Goals, as we prepare our children with the knowledge and skills they will need in science, ready for year 1.
As well as topic work and the discrete teaching of skills and knowledge, children in EYFS are given the opportunity to explore, investigate, question and continually practise and embed their language and learning through the areas of provision set up in the indoor and outdoor learning environments.
How do we know that our children are making progress?
Ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills is observed by the class teacher. Misconceptions are addressed and next steps carefully planned. Children’s outcomes are compared to the subject specific skills and knowledge documents. At the end of a block of discrete teaching (or term) subject leaders gather an overview of children’s outcomes in each subject area. This is used to plan appropriate next steps for their future learning, as well as provide an overview of learning within a subject area across the whole school.
End of year assessments are collated for children at the end of EYFS and Key Stage 1.
Our curriculum drivers are central to our curriculum. How do we promote reading, vocabulary acquisition, holistic education and diversity?
Relationships are promoted as children work collaboratively, listen to and question the ideas of others. Health and well-being is incorporated through their learning about plants, animals and humans. Children are expected to develop their independence in carrying out investigations, developing and sharing their own ideas and questions as well as listening to and valuing the thoughts and ideas of their peers.
Children are introduced and use a range of new vocabulary, which they become confident in using. It allows them to practise asking questions and encourages them to articulate answers using evidence from their investigations. Children are encouraged to use full sentences when discussing science either as a class or with their partner to help develop the confidence needed to offer their opinions and thoughts, as well as consistently using specific science vocabulary. A variety of scientists will be discussed over the course of the children’s time at Abbeyfields to show the children that anyone can be a scientist.
What wider opportunities are provided for our children?
During the year we have a science week and science investigation days to develop their skills and knowledge through practical experiences and introduce the children to the famous scientists of today and from the past, whose work continues to affect our lives.
Children have the opportunity to participate in regular visits out to places, such as Clark’s Bog and Wallington Hall and Gardens where they can reinforce their scientific knowledge, particularly when learning about animals and habitats. Parental expertise is called upon to support and enhance the teaching of the science curriculum for example a dentist, an archaeologist, a STEM advisor and a structural engineer.
From their initial days in nursery children are provided with first hand opportunities through science, for example, caring for creatures, growing plants from seeds and learning how to care for them, as well as going out in the locality at different times of the year to compare seasonal changes.
Scientific enquiry is a vital part of being an Abbeyfields Scientist and much of this is carried out in the Outdoor Education Classroom. This supports and enhances the teaching of the Science curriculum in a practical and engaging way.