It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree - make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
- Elon Musk
At Blacko we want our children to think like scientists by developing enquiring minds and analytical thinking skills. Science continues to evolve and new findings about the world in which we live are constantly being discovered. We want our children to be able to engage with our ever-changing world by providing a curriculum that covers the three scientific disciplines of biology, physics and chemistry.
The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that: ‘all pupils develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics; develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them; are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future’.
The teaching of science at Blacko aims to foster the children’s natural curiosity and support their understanding of the subject as a process of enquiry, as well as build the acquisition of relevant scientific knowledge.
Scientific concepts and skills, such as making predictions and using their personal experiences to inform their observations, are introduced to children in the Early Years through the EYFS Statutory Framework areas of learning, ‘Physical Development’ and ‘Understanding the World’. This early learning feeds directly into the knowledge curriculum for years 1-6. Using the National Curriculum Science Programmes of Study as the starting point, our year-by-year curriculum has been carefully designed to build on prior learning through a spiral approach, linking units of work across year groups but also across Key Stages. A carefully planned science curriculum builds knowledge and skills across biology, chemistry and physics through weekly lessons year upon year. Lessons will be delivered through direct instruction or enquiry learning as appropriate to the learning.
Throughout the curriculum, the children are encouraged to ask, predict and answer questions using close observations, reasoning and explanation, as well as present their findings in increasingly sophisticated ways developing a rich schema of scientific knowledge and ability to act scientifically.
Throughout all of their learning children are encouraged to think of how they are working scientifically. The 5 ways of working scientifically are planned for in each year group with key questions to answer being mapped out across school. In addition, at the start of each lesson teachers share “How we are working as scientists” again highlighting the 5 ways of working scientifically:
- Observation over time –e.g. season, chocolate melting, animals growing
- Pattern seeking –e.g. do plants grow well? Does the size of Planet affect its orbit?
- Identifying, classifying and grouping –e.g. grouping materials, animals
- Comparative and fair testing
- Research using secondary sources
Scientific skills are developed across school. A skills progression document shows clearly what is expected in each year group and how these skills build across school.
At Blacko children have the opportunity to record their learning in a variety of ways, which is recorded within Science books. Evidence of the learning is dependent on the lesson outcome; year group and the knowledge and skills being developed. This can be in the form of: shared learning folder, extended writing, photographs of practical activities, speech bubble comments relating the learning.
The use of retrieval practices strategies built into the learning help teachers identify how much knowledge has been learnt in a unit. At the start of every lesson children complete a retrieval practice comprising questions based on their previous learning, which are multiple choice, true or false, and explanations. This helps teachers to assess the children's learning across the unit and address any gaps in knowledge and misconceptions. Teachers assess children’s learning throughout each lesson to ensure understanding of skills and knowledge before building onto future learning. Teachers use a range of questioning and retrieval practise to assess children against the aims of the lesson. In addition, children will also complete end point assessments at the end of each unit to assess their substantive and disciplinary knowledge.
Subject leaders will conduct deep dives, which include lesson drop ins, pupil interviews and book looks to measure the impact of our teaching, based on how much children can remember.