The vision for the school is for children to leave primary school enthused about science and the world around them. In order for children to gain this, as a school we have focused on questioning being the main tool for encouragement and the key to working scientifically. Our school ethos works towards developing children’s P4C skills and this encourages lines of enquiry. In order to encourage and extend our children’s understanding we took on the blooms taxonomy for higher order thinking to allow the children to develop and apply their scientific understanding. Therefore, extension within the classroom becomes about questioning and applying content.
Another key concept to our science teaching is that we aim to encourage working scientifically to answer questions. After carrying out pupil conferencing, children expressed how much they enjoyed doing experiments. In order to develop the key skills for working scientifically, we use the SC1Cons sheets from years 1 – 6. The sheets develop and build on the children’s skills to consider different elements of experimenting. The aim is that by the time children reach year 6 they are able to plan their own investigations and carry these out in order to answer a question.
Children should have a secure cross-section of biology, chemistry and physics understanding that build throughout the years. The curriculum delivers ‘big ideas’ that build on and extend children’s understanding of key concepts. This should then be secured with working scientific knowledge. As the children progress through the years, they develop their experimenting skills from basic to more complex ready to take these skills into secondary school. These same ideas are developed upon in secondary school as the working scientifically skills continue to develop.
Initial ideas of children’s understanding are elicited either through concept cartoons or mind maps. During this time, misconceptions may be identified and highlighted in order to ensure these are covered throughout the following sessions. Teaching sequences often start with a series of content lessons either including or followed by working scientifically.
Active science is the best way of ensuring that children retain the knowledge as they are able to put it into context and hook the core information to it. Each scientific concept should have an element of experimenting in order to secure the knowledge and understanding.
Formative assessment forms the foundation of assessment in science. Teacher’s gauge children’s understanding during lessons through questioning and work evidence. Summative assessment takes place at the end of each unit. This gives the following year group an opportunity to review previous knowledge and understanding before building on it. Working scientifically continues to be reviewed throughout the year, building on as the year progresses.