Science at Monks Risborough CE Primary
At Monks Risborough CE Primary School our intent is to deliver a high-quality scientific curriculum which will provide the children with the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. We recognise that 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 enquiry to help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them. 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 should be accessible for all, and at Monks we undertake a yearly STEM week where the children embark on exciting and learning-rich experiences through visitors and appropriate resources. This ensures they are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
The implementation and teaching of science is structured around our Values, the National Curriculum and the Early Learning Goals (EYFS). Our aims are embedded across our science lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised science curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for science enquiry skills to be taught through investigation. Science is planned and taught for 2 hours each week, taking up 9% of the overall teaching time.
Teachers plan them in throughout the year to suit the topics that they deliver the rest of the curriculum through. Teachers also carefully plan for scientific enquiry including: observing over time, pattern seeking, identifying, classifying and grouping, comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching secondary sources. Pupils should seek answers to questions through collecting, analysing and presenting data. Teachers plan for scientific vocabulary to share with their classes in order to develop their spoken with all teachers, showing how it develops from Year 1 up to Year 6. Teachers plan for misconceptions that the children may experience and how to combat these. Teachers use KWL grids at the start of every topic to identify any initial misconceptions so planning can be adapted to correct these. In EYFS science is planned on a weekly basis through the ‘Understanding the World’ strand. They cover topic such as Animals and People, focusing on classification and the human body. In Years 1-6 science is planned each half term using the Long Term Planning grids. These detail the programme of study to be taught, highlighting scientific knowledge and scientific enquiry objectives. These link to the topic that is being taught during the half term which are based on our school values.
Teaching/ Schemes of Work
The schemes of work for each area of Science are developed by individual class teachers, enabling them to link the learning in Science to other curriculum areas, to make learning relevant to their current topic. They may use Pearson’s Science Bug to inform them of lesson ideas with clear objectives laid out for ‘Scientific knowledge’ and ‘Working Scientifically’, which focus on the key features of scientific enquiry: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. These are adapted by the class teacher to suit their cohort, the specific themes taught across their year group as well as to meet the expectations of the Primary Curriculum 2014. Teachers also have the opportunity to use ‘Developing Experts’ to support their planning and use professional scientific research to enhance the learning of the children. In EYFS, Teachers follow Development Matters (2013) and Science is taught through the Understanding the World strand, which focuses on People and Communities, The World and Technology.
Recording and Resources
Each child record their work during weekly science lessons in an individual science book. It is not expected that children will have physical evidence (hard copies) of learning for every lesson due to the practical scientific enquiry lessons that are taught. Where possible this will be recorded as photographs and potentially a whole class blurb. When embarking on trips/residential of a scientific nature, it is note that this knowledge will not be included in their science books. However, it may be reviewed in Science books at a later date. Teachers also have a class ‘Explorify’ book, where pupils ‘scientific talk’ is recorded. A science display is present in every classroom which will display key scientific vocabulary needed for the topic. This also contains a risk assessment where children can think about the risks they might encounter in their practical science and what they can do to keep safe. There is a science cupboard, filled with an array of resources aiding all of the programmes of study for each year group and to support scientific enquiry. This is presented in an itinerary with photographs of which each class has a copy. Resources can also be rented from the Scientific Department at Princes Risborough Top School. STEM ambassadors, alongside other science experts are invited into school to support teachers to deliver exciting and practical science.
Formal homework is not set in science however science may be used to complete homework in other areas such as learning logs. Children are regularly encouraged to trial scientific challenges and experiments at home, which follow on from school learning but this is not expected or checked.
As a result we have a community of enthusiastic scientists who enjoy showcasing their enquiry skills and knowledge of the world around them. They are confident to challenge the, and love to discuss and share their ideas.
Pupils are assessed formally throughout the year, through teacher marking and feedback. Most often, this is verbal to enable pupils to move forward during a lesson. Summative assessments are made approximately half way through each scheme of work and recorded formally, highlighting the objectives that the children have achieved in books and on the school tracking system. The subject leader monitors these at three points in the year to ensure that they are accurate and monitor the subject. These assessments are completed practically, using the TAPS from the Primary Science Teaching Trust, to identify both their enquiry skills and knowledge. At the beginning of every new unit children complete a KWL grid where they share their knowledge of the topic before it is taught. This is then completed again at the end of the unit to show a progression in knowledge and skills. Children in Year 6 undergo national statutory assessments towards the end of the academic year and Year 2 children are assessed against the Interim Assessment Framework by teachers. At the end of each academic year, summative assessments throughout the year will be reviewed to record a judgement against the expectation for the child’s age. This will be informed by the objectives that the child is ‘working toward; or has ‘achieved’ throughout the year. Children in EYFS are assessed through objectives linked to ‘Understanding the World’ strand (People and Communities, The World and Technology). At the end of the academic year, children will be assessed as emerging, expected or exceeding the strand.