St James C of E Primary School

St James C of E Primary School

TEACH - NURTURE - CELEBRATE

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Vicarage Road, Hereford, Herefordshire HR1 2QN

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Science

Science

Our Curriculum aims and design have been developed in line with the needs of St James CE Primary School community, promoting the Christian Values we hold dear. Our curriculum is ambitious and well-planned to ensure all pupils gain ample knowledge and skills to succeed in their next stage of education and life after primary school. The aims are also based heavily on our school vision of Teach, Nurture and Celebrate in order that children should experience ‘Life in all its fullness’ (John 10:10).

All stakeholders were involved in creating the vision and aims, including: pupils, parents, PTFA, and staff members at all levels. The St James Curriculum was chosen and adapted to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to meet Key Stage requirements and allow for smooth transition to the next phase of education.

Children are taught the skills and knowledge needed to be confident scientists.

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.
  • develop the essential scientific enquiry skills to deepen their scientific knowledge
  • use a range of methods to communicate their scientific information and present it in a systematic, scientific manner, including I.C.T., diagrams, graphs and charts
  • develop a respect for the materials and equipment they handle regarding their own, and other children's safety
  • develop an enthusiasm and enjoyment of scientific learning and discovery

Within our curriculum, we aim to inspire all pupils through engaging learning experiences whilst nurturing passionate, healthy and successful learners by providing a broad, balanced and enquiry-based curriculum.  We hope to instil children with the values, knowledge and skills to enable them to achieve beyond expectations and experience success, roviding a progressive curriculum where skills and knowledge are developed through quality ongoing assessment.

 

INTENT

We believe that a high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the areas of biology, chemistry and physics. Our Curriculum offers a coherently planned sequence of lessons to help teachers ensure they have progressively covered the requirements of the Science National Curriculum.  Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

Science in our school is about developing children’s ideas and ways of working that enable them to make sense of the world in which they live through investigation, as well as using and applying process skills.  Teachers ensure that all children are exposed to high quality teaching and learning experiences, which allow children to explore their outdoor environment and locality, thus developing their scientific enquiry and investigative skills. They are immersed in scientific vocabulary, which aids children’s knowledge and understanding not only of the topic they are studying, but of the world around them. We intend to provide all children regardless of ethnic origin, gender, class, aptitude or disability, with a broad and balanced science curriculum.

At St James, we use the CUSP curriculum.  CUSP Science pays close attention to guidance provided by the National Curriculum sequence and content. It is infused with evidence-led practice and enriched with retrieval studies to ensure long-term retention of foundational knowledge. The foundations of CUSP science are cemented in the EYFS through learning within the Natural World, and People, Culture and Communities.  Our ambitious interpretation of the National Curriculum places knowledge, vocabulary, working and thinking scientifically at the heart of our principles, structure and practice.

IMPLEMENTATION

Through studying CUSP science, pupils become more expert as they progress through the curriculum, accumulating, connecting and making sense of the rich substantive and disciplinary knowledge.

  1. Substantive knowledge - this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used to learn about the content. Common misconceptions are explicitly revealed as non-examples and positioned against known and accurate content. In CUSP science, an extensive and connected knowledge base is constructed so that pupils can use these foundations and integrate it with what they already know. Misconceptions are challenged carefully and in the context of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge. In CUSP Science, it is recommended that misconceptions are not introduced too early, as pupils need to construct a mental model in which to position that new knowledge.
  2. Disciplinary knowledge – this is knowing how to collect, use, interpret, understand and evaluate the evidence from scientific processes. This is taught. It is not assumed that pupils will acquire these skills by luck or hope. Pupils construct understanding by applying substantive knowledge to questioning and planning, observing, performing a range of tests, accurately measuring, comparing through identifying and classifying, using observations and gathering data to help answer questions, explaining and reporting, predicting, concluding, improving, and seeking patterns. We call it ‘Working Scientifically.’

Scientific analysis is developed through the following criteria. We call it ‘Thinking Scientifically.’

  • identifying and classifying
  • pattern seeking
  • research
  • observing over time
  • fair and comparative testing

In ensuring high standards of teaching and learning in science, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school.  Lessons are planned to ensure the school gives full coverage of, ‘The National Curriculum programmes of study for Science 2014’ and, ‘Understanding of the World’ in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Teachers use CUSP Science  to ensure progression between year groups and complete coverage of the National Curriculum. Lessons are adapted and extended to match all pupil’s needs.

We ensure that all children are provided with rich learning experiences that aim to:

  • Prepare our children for life in an increasingly scientific and technological world today and in the future.
  • Help our children acquire a growing understanding of the nature, processes and methods of scientific ideas.
  • Help develop and extend our children’s scientific concept of their world.
  • Build on our children’s natural curiosity and developing a scientific approach to problems.
  • Encouraging open-mindedness, self-assessment, perseverance and developing their investigative skills including: observing, measuring, predicting, hypothesising, experimenting, communicating, interpreting, explaining and evaluating.
  • Develop the use of scientific language, recording and techniques.
  • Develop the use of computing in investigating and recording.
  • Make links between science and other subjects.

Our Science teaching uses an enquiry-based approach and uses questions to put the learning into context and allows children to respond and show their understanding at the end of each session. Each unit starts with a BIG QUESTION.  Lessons are then planned and taught in sequence to ensure that children are able to respond to this question at the end of the unit.    Vocabulary forms an important part of children’s scientific understanding and each topic begins with a session where relevant language is explored.  Children are provided with a glossary and knowledge organiser which can be referred to throughout the unit.  Knowledge notes are also used in each session, guiding children through the learning and reminding them of key knowledge and ideas.

A guiding principle of CUSP Science is that each study draws upon prior learning. For example, in the EYFS, pupils may learn about The Natural World through daily activities and exploring their locality and immediate environment. This is revisited and positioned so that new and potentially abstract content in Year 1, such as Animals, including humans, is related to what children already know. This makes it easier to cognitively process. This helps to accelerate new learning as children integrate prior understanding.

Our Science teaching is organised into three distinct subject domains: biology, physics and chemistry. Where inter-disciplinary concepts are encountered, such as the particle model, these are taught explicitly and connected across science domains.

The national curriculum has been sequenced into meaningful and connected ‘chunks’ of content to reduce the load on the working memory as well as creating coherent and strong long-term memories. The sequence of substantive and disciplinary knowledge enables pupils to become ‘more expert’ with each study and grow an ever broadening and coherent mental model of the subject. This guards against superficial, disconnected and fragmented scientific knowledge and weak disciplinary knowledge. High frequency, multiple meaning words (Tier 2) are taught explicitly and help make sense of subject specific words (Tier 3). Each learning module in science has a vocabulary module with teacher guidance, tasks and resources to enhance and deepen understanding.

Science is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’. The cumulative nature of the curriculum is made memorable by the implementation of Bjork’s desirable difficulties, including retrieval and spaced retrieval practice, word building and deliberate practice tasks. This powerful interrelationship between structure and research-led practice is designed to increase substantive knowledge and accelerate learning within and between study modules. That means the foundational knowledge of the curriculum is positioned to ease the load on the working memory: new content is connected to prior learning. The effect of this cumulative model supports opportunities for children to associate and connect significant scientific concepts, over time, and with increasing expertise and knowledge.

Our Science teaching deliberately pays attention and values the importance of subject content as well as the context it is taught in. Common scientific misconceptions are identified in all  learning modules. These misconceptions are made explicit to pupils. Children draw upon substantive and disciplinary knowledge to reason and practise acquiring the conception, whilst repelling the misconceptions. Examples and non-examples are powerful ways of saying what something is and what something isn’t.

We value the study of scientists from the past. These studies help us to learn how they used, at that time, their substantive and disciplinary knowledge to develop a conception. This illuminates how misconceptions can permeate substantive knowledge and appear to be a known truth. An example of this is the study of Maria Merion in Year 5, who was born in Germany in 1667. She observed and drew insects going through biochemical metamorphosis. She challenged the misconception that all insects were evil, born from mud and were the work of the devil.

 

IMPACT

The impact and measure of this is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age-related knowledge linked to the science curriculum, but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points, and within their everyday lives.

All children will have:

  • A wider variety of skills linked to both scientific knowledge and understanding, and scientific enquiry/investigative skills.
  • A richer vocabulary which will enable to articulate their understanding of taught concepts.
  • Opportunities to make connections to prior learning and scientific concepts ensuring key scientific knowledge and understanding is retained and built upon.
  • High aspirations, which will see them through to further study, work and a successful adult life.

 

 

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