At St. Mary’s Primary School, we aim for our science to help children to: understand the world around them, acquire skills and knowledge to think scientifically, understand scientific processes and think about the applications of science in the future. All children are encouraged to develop and use a range of skills including observations, planning, investigating and questioning the world around them. Children are encouraged to work collaboratively to develop their scientific thinking and social skills. We believe that science develops children’s ideas and ways of working that enable them to make sense of the world in which they live in. We aim to prepare our children for life in an increasingly scientific and technological world today and in the future so they are able to confidently contribute to an ever changing world.
At St Marys, teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following;
- Science is taught in planned and arranged topic blocks by the class teachers which is discussed in medium term planning meetings. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge.
- Science is also discretely taught in many different contexts throughout all areas of the curriculum.
- We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years and create engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge.
- Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s time at St Mary’s and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching.
- Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding.
We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in science lessons across St Mary’s. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding. We do this through whole-class teaching, while at other times we engage the children in an enquiry-based research activity in smaller groups. Children experience a range of different groupings and working methods. They may be grouped according to ability, work in mixed ability pairs or groups depending on the task in hand. Children at St Marys on occasions are exposed to ability driven tasks to support children with the process of acquiring or enhancing their scientific knowledge such as differentiated questions about topics or differentiated science tasks through English.
We encourage the children to ask, as well as answer, scientific questions and make predictions based on what they already know. They have the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as statistics, graphs, pictures, and photographs. They take part in role-play and discussions, and present reports and findings to the rest of the class. Wherever possible, we involve the pupils in practical/real scientific activities and experiments, for example, investigating a local environmental problem, or carrying out a practical experiment and analysing the results.
To ensure progression and challenge at St Mary’s, teaching staff base their planning on the science overviews and the skills ladders specifically tailored to their year group. The content of the lessons builds upon prior learning and knowledge from previous years. It is essential that children are exposed to the correct vocabulary for their unit of work which can be found on the unit overviews. The year group overviews enable teachers to see exactly what should be taught in their year group and possible extension tasks or investigations which encourage deeper thinking. During science lessons, children will have the opportunity to work independently, with a partner or in mixed ability groups to enable everyone to engage with our science curriculum.