Skip to content ↓

Watlington Primary School

Watlington
Primary School

Science

Curriculum Intent

We aim to develop and sustain pupils’ curiosity about the world, enjoyment of scientific activity and understanding of how natural phenomena can be explained.

Our main purpose of science education should be to enable every individual to make informed decisions, and to take appropriate actions, that affect their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of society and the environment. 

We have a knowledge-rich science curriculum, with scientific knowledge and skills based on the 2014 National Curriculum for Science.  We aspire for pupils to leave school with knowledge to be successful at secondary school and a desire to participate in science with a genuine interest in the discovery of new scientific knowledge and appreciation of how science impacts the lives of everyone.

During Key Stages One and Two pupils cumulatively build knowledge and skills needed to succeed at secondary school. The curriculum model centres around being able to re-visit topics, offering opportunity to further increase and secure knowledge, skills and understanding, with carefully selected practical opportunities to develop enquiry and problem-solving skills.

We used the Big Ideas about Science from the Association of Education to teach pupils about the disciplinary knowledge in Science, these ideas are:

  1. Science assumes that for every effect there is one or more causes.
  2. Scientific explanations, theories and models are those that best fit the facts known at a particular time.
  3. The knowledge produced by science is used in some technologies to create products to serve human ends.
  4. Applications of science often have ethical, social, economic and political implications.

In Science we aim to build pupils’ science capital, not only in science lessons but beyond the classroom, enabling pupils to see how science affects our lives.  Scientific advances mean that future generations will need to be STEM-literate if they are to be active citizens who can participate in societal changes.  The eight dimensions of science capital will be embedded in the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, family days and trips. The eight dimensions of science capital include:

    1. Scientific literacy
    2. Science related attitude, values and disposition
    3. Knowledge about transferability of skills
    4. Science media consumption
    5. Participation in science in and out of school
    6. Family science skills, knowledge and qualification
    7. Knowing people in science related jobs
    8. Talking to other about science in everyday life

Implementation and Pedagogy

The science curriculum is comprehensive broad and balanced.

The implementation of the curriculum is influenced by the recommendations from the Education Endowment Foundation and Ofsted Science Research review.

The curriculum works on a spiral principle where pupils revisit concepts with increasing levels of complexity and demand, building on prior knowledge, not moving on until this knowledge is secure. Whole school approaches such as retrieval practice on a daily, weekly and monthly basis are integrated into the delivery approach.  Curriculum implementation is based on the work from the learning scientists, opportunities for dual coding, spacing and interleaving are prominent in the schemes of learning and topic planning.

Science lessons are timetabled to allowed for spacing between lessons.  Pupils should study an hour to an hour and half of Science each week.  

The science curriculum is based on a knowledge-rich curriculum covering the National Curriculum.  Outline schemes of learning have been written by a science specialist teacher and explicitly maps out in detail the knowledge required in each of the topics, and map out the progression of knowledge from one year or key stage to the next.  The basis of the curriculum design is influenced by the work of psychologists Daniel Willingham and the learning scientists.

The curriculum map allows for topics to be revisited over the course of study, each time a topic is revisited more depth is added.  Thus further connections are made between prior learning and new knowledge. This long term curriculum map allows for the mixed age classes and ensure coverages without year groups repeating topics.

Based on Rosenshine’s principles of instruction, new learning in each topic is broken down into small steps across a series of planned lessons linked to the core questions associated with each lesson. The size of the step increases as pupils gain more knowledge.  All activities are planned to deepen understanding of scientific ideas.

Demonstrations are used in class for pupils to develop both their observational skills and use their scientific knowledge to explain their observation. A “predict-observe-explain’ model is used for all demonstrations ensuring pupils gain the most from them.  Practical tasks are designed to allow pupils a hands on experience of science and start to develop their investigate skills and critical thinking.

Learning activities and teaching styles are not prescribed but a variety of approaches will be used in lessons and suggested in the outline schemes of learning and are referred to in the school’s teaching and learning strategy.

Opportunities for cross curriculum links

The class teacher is able to see links between science and maths when they deliver lessons and make these link explicit to pupils. This enables pupils to build connections between different subjects and connect schema in their long-term memory, adding new knowledge to existing knowledge and experiences.

Vocabulary

Key vocabulary is identified for each unit and shared with pupils in a word bank.  New vocabulary is specifically taught to pupils with the word meaning and origin, pupils are shown how to use the word the in a sentence and which part of speech the word belongs to.  For example,  photosynthesis derives from “light” and “to make”, it is a noun; the name of the process, photosynthesise is the verb used when plants carry out this process, photosynthetic is the adjective used to describe an organism that can carry out this process.  

 

Impact

Pupils are well prepared to access new learning at secondary school because they have a sound foundation of knowledge secured at KS1and 2.  As cited by cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham “Those with a rich base of factual knowledge find it easier to learn more”.

We measure the impact of our curriculum through:

  • Ongoing formative assessment through retrieval practice, marking books and feedback to pupils, teacher -pupil dialogue and assessment of practical skills
  • Monitoring of pupils’ responses in retrieval practice
  • Performance in end of topic quizzes and completion of end of topic assessment tasks
  • Data tracking in 4 data drops per year
  • Student voice with school council

At the end of KS1 and KS2 teachers will assessment whether a pupil has or has not met the expected standard. This performance measure will be tracked in school.

The use of clear marking schemes and model answers helps to reduce prevalence induced concept change in teachers’ marking of work and ensure standardisation across classes. Work scrutiny and book looks by subject leaders will monitor the impact of the science curriculum.  Writing in science will also be used to inform teacher assessment of pupils writing for end of key stage statutory assessments.

Sources:

http://www.danielwillingham.com/articles.html  
https://www.sec-ed.co.uk/best-practice/four-ideas-for-applying-rosenshines-principles/ 
https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/Rosenshine.pdf 

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Publications/Science/EEF_science_summary_of_recommendations_poster.pdf

https://www.retrievalpractice.org

The learning scientists  https://www.learningscientists.org

ASE  https://www.ase.org.uk/bigideas

Research review series: science - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)