Relevant and meaningful Science ensures that our pupils relate the science they are learning to their own lives as well as working with contexts in the wider world.
At St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, we aim to equip children with the knowledge and understanding required to use and implement Science in their everyday lives today and in their futures. We nurture and empower our students scientifically through a high quality curriculum that evokes their curiosity, excitement and understanding about the world around them. Pupils at St Mary’s always strive to let their light shine in all that they do. Our aim in Science is to help children see how Science can shape their own worlds, mentally and physically, so that they can continue to reflect critically and think like scientists to understand the world around them using rich, cultural opportunities and the power of investigations.
We purposefully ensure that scientific enquiry skills are embedded in each topic that the children study. This allows us to nurture pupils’ scientific understanding and encourage them to flourish in a successful way. Science teaching at St Mary’s involves equipping children with the oracy and literacy skills to be able to reason, justify and explain their answers. We intend to help cultivate future worldly citizens that have a wealth of cultural and hands on experiences to help them rationalise and make links between Science and their own lives and health and of those around them.
Everything a pupil does and thinks in science is important, so it is crucial that activities provide regular opportunities for pupils to engage in hands on practical activity as well as think about or research scientific ideas and skills.
Throughout the scheme pupils are engaged in asking questions and using one of the five science enquiry activities:
observation over time
fair or comparative tests
identification and classification
All activities are planned so that they are relevant to the learning outcomes and pupil’s experiences, ensuring that they are timely and meaningful. Where appropriate they are hands-on, ensuring that pupils engage in regular first-hand experience using a range of equipment, including ICT where suitable, to enhance and deepen learning. Pupils are asked to communicate their science using different approaches, e.g. writing, drama, poetry, discussion, modelling and using ICT (to create video clips, etc.). Engaging pupils in a range of approaches to communicating science ensures that all pupils can share ideas and by listening to themselves articulate ideas, pupils engage in self assessment, either reinforcing their learning or changing ideas and therefore moving learning on.
By using different approaches to recording and communicating, all pupils can share their science, which means that teachers can access learning through assessment and use outcomes to plan next steps.
Key scientific vocabulary is shared with pupils the expectation that these words should be learned. A pupil’s ability to use scientific words appropriately is an indicator of understanding of knowledge and skills. Teachers use a pupil’s ability to use key words as part of assessment for learning, listening for how the words are used and, if necessary, asking follow-up questions to check depth of understanding.
Pupils develop their knowledge and skills through a series of planned activities linked to the curriculum which build on previous and personal knowledge. To assess the impact, teachers evaluate the knowledge and skills that pupils have gained against the original expectations of activities (the intent). This is indicated by the outcomes assigned to each activity. What and how well pupils have achieved will be accessed through using a range of approaches to assessment for learning. It is important that assessment supports a pupil’s journey through the science curriculum to ensure appropriate outcomes for each individual.
Assessment is an integral part of activities. The learning objectives at the beginning of each activity show the intention for learning and these are then used as the basis for assessment, the criteria for which are outlined in the assessment section, split into subject knowledge and working scientifically.
Assessment statements are differentiated so that our teachers can assess the progress of different groups in their classroom, suggesting how the teacher could assess pupils. Teachers consider what to look for when carrying out a formative assessment and consider next steps for pupils.
Teachers observe children working, listen to their discussions and use questions to probe understanding and reasoning, alongside their writing and other products such as video clips, models and role play activities.
As pupils progress through the primary years, self and peer assessment is another approach to complement our teacher assessment. Not only does this develop a pupil’s ability to reflect on their own learning, it also provides teachers access to how well pupils perceive their learning to be progressing and why. A feature of our planning is the application of ‘Working Scientifically Skills’ and ‘Knowledge and Understanding’ through regular problem solving activities. Challenging pupils to apply their learning in new contexts provides opportunities for them to further embed ideas and skills. Assessing how pupils respond to applying their knowledge and skills is an indicator of how successful their leaning has been.