Science

Learning

What Science looks like at Meldreth Primary

At the heart of our child-centred curriculum is children’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. Our mission is to provide children with the skills, knowledge and understanding of how Science has contributed to the world and how they can use that knowledge to benefit future generations.

Our high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

Our Curriculum Aims

Our 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 

We encourage pupils’ familiarity with, and use of, technical terminology, to help build up an extended specialist vocabulary. Pupils should also apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including collecting, presenting and analysing data. The curriculum also links to other areas of learning in the school such as mathematics, geography and history.

A theme running throughout the whole curriculum is the notion of ‘working scientifically’ i.e. the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science. This is not taught as a separate strand but is embedded within the content of biology, chemistry and physics, using the key features of scientific enquiry so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions at an age appropriate level. This includes: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. Pupils are encouraged to seek answers to questions through collecting, analysing and presenting data.

By the end of Years 5 and 6, pupils are able to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills:

  • planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  • taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  • recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
  • using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  • reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and a degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations
  • identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments

The curriculum enables learners to use the above scientific skills to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in:

  • Living things and their habitats                  
  • Animals, including humans
  • Properties and changes of materials   
  • Earth and space
  • Forces              
  • Evolution and inheritance
  • Light             
  • Electricity

Curriculum Content

Early Years

Science in  the Foundation Stage is introduced indirectly through activities that encourage your child to explore, problem solve, observe, predict, think, make decisions and talk about the world around them. It’s called ‘knowledge and understanding of the world’.

Children explore creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments. They observe and manipulate objects and materials to identify differences and similarities. For example, they may look at an egg whisk, sand, paper and water to learn about things that are natural and manmade and their different functions. Children also learn to use their senses, feeling dough or listening to sounds in the environment, such as sirens or farm animals.

Your child will be encouraged to ask questions about why things happen and how things work. They might do activities such as increasing the incline of a slope to observe how fast a vehicle travels, or opening a mechanical toy to see how it works. Your child will also be asked questions about what they think will happen to help them communicate, plan, investigate, record and evaluate findings.

Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)

The principal focus of the school’s science teaching in Key Stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly constructed world around them. They are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They are also helped to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information.

The curriculum is designed to help learners to begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. Most of the learning about science is done through the use of first-hand practical experiences, but there are also opportunities to use appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos.

Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4)

The principal focus of the science curriculum in lower Key Stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. Furthermore, we encourage pupils to ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information.

The curriculum encourages them to draw simple conclusions and use scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out, and pupils are encouraged to read and spell scientific vocabulary correctly and with confidence, using their growing word-reading and spelling knowledge.

Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6)

The principal focus of the science curriculum in upper Key Stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically.

Also at upper Key Stage 2, the curriculum ensures that learners encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time.

They are taught to select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information.

Pupils are able to draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings, and pupils are encouraged to read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly.

Key Stage 3 (extension for more able children in Years 5 and 6)

The principal focus of the science curriculum in Key Stage 3 is to develop a deeper understanding of a range of scientific ideas in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Pupils are encouraged to see the connections between these subject areas and become aware of some of the big ideas underpinning scientific knowledge and understanding. Examples of these big ideas used in the curriculum are the links between structure and function in living organisms, the particulate model as the key to understanding the properties and interactions of matter in all its forms, and the resources and means of transfer of energy as key determinants of all of these interactions. They are encouraged to relate scientific explanations to phenomena in the world around them and start to use modelling and abstract ideas to develop and evaluate explanations.

The curriculum enables pupils to understand that science is about working objectively, modifying explanations to take account of new evidence and ideas and subjecting results to peer review. Pupils will increasingly decide on the appropriate type of scientific enquiry to undertake to answer their own questions and develop a deeper understanding of factors to be taken into account when collecting, recording and processing data. They are supported to evaluate their results and identify further questions arising from them and develop their use of scientific vocabulary, including the use of scientific nomenclature and units and mathematical representations.

Encouraging children to work scientifically

There are three aims in the primary science curriculum, 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.

By carefully examining the statutory requirements for Working Scientifically at Key Stage One, Lower Key Stage Two and Upper Key Stage Two, there are generic science enquiry skills common to all children across the primary age phase:

  • Asking questions
  • Using equipment
  • Observing and measuring
  • Planning and setting up different types of enquiries
  • Identifying and classifying
  • Performing tests
  • Gathering and recording data
  • Reporting, presenting and communicating data/findings
 
Working Scientifically
“‘Working scientifically’ specifies the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science…“ (National Curriculum for Science) 
 
To work scientifically we:
 
  1. Test a theory using fair and comparative testing 
  2. Find a pattern 
  3. Identify, classify and group 
  4. Observe over time 
  5. Research using secondary sources 
 
To support the children with their understanding, each class is provided with a working scientifically wheel which the children can use when working scientifically.