Science teaches an understanding of natural phenomena. It aims to stimulate a child’s curiosity in finding out why things happen in the way they do. It teaches methods of enquiry and investigation to stimulate creative thought. Children learn to ask scientific questions and begin to appreciate the way science will affect their future on a personal, national, and global level.
The aims of science are to enable children to:
- ask and answer scientific questions;
- plan and carry out scientific investigations, using equipment, including computers, correctly;
- know and understand the life processes of living things;
- know and understand the physical processes of materials, electricity, light, sound and natural forces;
- know about the nature of the solar system, including the earth;
- evaluate evidence and present their conclusions clearly and accurately.
Teaching and learning style
We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in science lessons. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding. Sometimes we do this through whole-class teaching, while at other times we engage the children in an enquiry-based research activity. We encourage the children to ask, as well as answer, scientific questions. They have the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as statistics, graphs, pictures, and photographs. They use ICT in science lessons where it enhances their learning. They take part in role-play and discussions and they present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the pupils in ‘real’ scientific activities, for example, researching a local environmental problem or carrying out a practical experiment and analysing the results.
We recognise that there are children of widely different scientific abilities in all classes and we ensure that we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways by:
- setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- setting tasks of increasing difficulty (we do not expect all children to complete all tasks);
- grouping children by ability in the room and setting different tasks for each ability group;
- providing resources of different complexity, matched to the ability of the child;
- using classroom assistants to support the work of individual children or groups of children.
Science curriculum planning
The school uses the national scheme of work for science as the basis of its curriculum planning. The national scheme has been adapted to the local circumstances of the school in that we make use of the local environment in our fieldwork and we choose a locality where the physical environment differs from that which predominates in our immediate surroundings.
We carry out our curriculum planning in science in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term). The long-term plan maps the scientific topics studied in each term during the key stage. The science subject leader works this out in conjunction with teaching colleagues in each year group. In some cases we combine the scientific study with work in other subject areas, especially at Key Stage 1; at other times the children study science as a discrete subject.
We have planned the topics in science so that they build upon prior learning. We ensure that there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and we also build progression into the science scheme of work, so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.
The contribution of science to teaching in other curriculum areas
Science contributes significantly to the teaching of English in our school by actively promoting the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Some of the texts that the children study in the Literacy Hour are of a scientific nature. The children develop oral skills in science lessons through discussions (for example of the environment) and through recounting their observations of scientific experiments. They develop their writing skills through writing reports and projects and by recording information.
Science contributes to the teaching of mathematics in a number of ways. The children use weights and measures and learn to use and apply number. Through working on investigations they learn to estimate and predict. They develop the skills of accurate observation and recording of events. They use numbers in many of their answers and conclusions.
Children use Technology in science lessons where appropriate. They use it to support their work in science by learning how to find, select, and analyse information on the Internet. Children use Technology to record, present and interpret data and to review, modify and evaluate their work and improve its presentation.