What Science Looks like at Rosa Street Primary School
At Rosa Street Primary school, want to develop a lifelong enthusiasm for science and show our pupils how science is important in their everyday life. We believe that all of our pupils have the right to rich, deep learning experiences that cover all aspects of science. To do this, scientific inquiry and skills are not limited to science lessons but are used across the curriculum. Our science curriculum is planned to be sequential with the key knowledge building on prior learning to allow our pupils to make links across their years at school. We have carefully planned out the development of science across school in line with the expectations set out in the National Curriculum. Scientific inquiry skills build gradually from beginning to form their own questions in EYFS up to planning and running their own experiments to test hypotheses in Year 6. We have also carefully thought out the scientific vocabulary that children should use and understand in different year groups; this too is progressive across the school.
We have used an enquiry-based model, so each year group has a question as the starting point of every sequence of learning. This also ensures we have high-quality endpoints for our pupils, as they will be working towards answering the enquiry question and demonstrating their scientific knowledge. The three main branches of science (biology, chemistry and physics) form our key ‘golden threads’ across year groups which ensures the scientific coverage is robust. These overarching threads are then split into the scientific units outlined on the National Curriculum, which are progressive and are designed to deepen the children’s understanding of these key skills and concepts over time. We use second order concepts to develop our children’s Working Scientifically skills across all units. These are: questioning, observing, experimenting, classifying, applying and recording. We also cross-reference our planning documents with Ofsted subject reviews, to make sure that our curriculum is in line with the latest guidance. We have developed knowledge organisers for each enquiry question; containing an overview of the sequence of learning, the ‘golden threads,’ relating to the skills and concepts, and key vocabulary. The organisers are available in each lesson, to help children throughout their learning, and give them independence to define and consolidate key vocabulary and information.
There are opportunities for the pupils to practically access science through outdoor learning that help to deepen the children’s knowledge of science. As the children progress through school they will grow in confidence and capability allowing them to become more skilful in selecting and using scientific equipment, in collating and interpreting results through use of charts and graphs, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to problem solve and come to evidence based conclusions. Regular tasks that require the pupils to work as a team also allow the children to practice their skills at communicating their questions, predictions, ideas and conclusions.
We have woven our awards through our curriculum, and we have made clear links on our cohesion plan to Rights Respecting Schools. We aim to empower our children by teaching them to learn how to learn, so they can make their own informed choices. Within lessons staff make reference to Educate and Celebrate links such as the gender imbalance within STEM based careers and how science is often viewed as a male profession. We have also created links to our Eco School status too, for example, discussing the effect of climate change both locally and globally for animals as well as ourselves.
At Rosa Street, we have a high percentage of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, so raising aspirations is a key focus when making curriculum links. We encourage our students to go against stereotypes and as such we explore the work of both significant male and female scientists; for example, the biologist Jane Goodall, the chemist Stephanie Kwolek who invented Kevlar as well as Sir Isaac Newton and Thomas Eddison. We want our children to understand the importance of the impact of these people, and to feel they too could make a difference if they wanted. This is also an opportunity to highlight jobs and careers that our children could aspire to in the future.
Children’s understanding will be evidenced in a range of ways. Written work will be showcased in books, and photographs and spoken evidence will be put into class floor books. Videos and photographs will also be captured and saved as evidence of scientific experiments, practical lessons, trips and spoken evidence. We have oracy links across our curriculum. We feel that spoken evidence is as important as written, as it gives equal opportunities, for children of all abilities, to demonstrate their scientific understanding. Because we have started each sequence of learning with an enquiry question, the lessons will be spent investigating and finding information that will help to form the answer. The endpoints for each sequence of learning are clear; children will be expected to demonstrate their scientific understanding, by answering the enquiry question. This could be in a range of forms, depending upon the task and the year group, which has been designed to be progressive across school. There will be an expectation of the accurate use of the scientific vocabulary that has been taught.
As children reach the end of their time with us at Rosa Street, they will have a deep understanding of scientific skills and concepts and will have developed a sound scientific vocabulary. They will be able to talk about the different branches of science that they have studied, and take part in setting up and running their own experiments. We have developed a curriculum that will help children to become scientists, and to develop ‘sticky’ knowledge that can be taken on into their next steps of learning. Our children will know more, do more, so they will remember more.