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St Mary's

Catholic Primary School

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Science

Science at St Mary's

"Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious." Stephen Hawking


Intent:
At St Mary’s, we provide our children with a high-quality science education that encourages curiosity, interest and enquiry into our world and the universe around us through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Children will be immersed into the science curriculum through being exposed to a varying type of lesson structures to develop their understanding of scientific: processes, knowledge, methods and uses. To develop greater independence, children are encouraged to ask scientific questions, plan and perform experiments to practice their scientific knowledge practically. As children progress through our school, they will build upon their prior knowledge, ensuring the knowledge and ability to work scientifically is embedded in their long-term memory. Children are provided with a rich and broad science curriculum which includes: relevant science vocabulary; a conceptual understanding; scientific knowledge; the ability to ask deep questions with the appropriate investigative skills to answer them where possible.

 

Implementation:

We ensure a positive learning experience for our children through high standards of teaching and learning. In order to do this, we implement a curriculum that is progressive and builds upon a child’s prior knowledge. Teachers plan for science using ‘The National Curriculum programmes of study for Science 2014’ and ‘Understanding the World’ for the Early Years Foundation Stage; adapting it to the individual needs and aspirations of our children. At St Mary’s, our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science includes:

  • Science will be taught in a planned cycle of lessons and arranged topic blocks by the class teacher. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, involving resources and other forms of stimulus to develop children’s conceptual understanding.

We ensure that lessons have problem solving opportunities that allow children to find out for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions (sometimes at the beginning of topics) within lessons and are given opportunities to use their scientific skills to discover the answers.

Teacher assessment is used regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so extra support and intervention can be given where needed.

  • Whilst building upon previous knowledge, we discuss the importance of prior learning with the children, so they understand how different lessons and learning are linked. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
  • Skills that are developed through working scientifically, are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school journey. Key vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching.
  • To achieve a fully embedded science curriculum, we need to encourage our children to use their scientific knowledge and skills, throughout our broad and balanced curriculum, for example curiosity is encouraged and the ability to ask scientific questions and plan ways of discovering the answers, will be seen during other learning experiences.
  • St Mary’s access outside agencies to support the teaching and learning that takes place within school, where possible. We believe it is important to meet the needs of our individual children, therefore invite in support that will be inspiring to them.

 

Science is taught once a week, but is also taught in many different contexts throughout all areas of the curriculum. For example, through English, i.e. writing a biography of a famous scientist’s life. Teachers are encouraged to focus at least one writing genre, a school year, on a piece of scientific writing whether it be a write-up from an experiment, or a set of instructions on how to plant a seed, for example.

Children are provided with pre and post learning activities that provide the teacher with the necessary assessment information; this informs the planning and intervention processes.  Conversations are also encouraged between the children and staff, about what they are learning/have learnt and vitally, why they have learnt it.


Impact:
The science learning journey, that our children will engage in during their time at St Mary’s, will provide them with not only the necessary age-related scientific knowledge and skills they need, but also with experiences, life skills, confidence and abilities that will equip them for taking their next steps in life.

All our children at St Mary’s will:

  • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding of the world we live in and the universe surrounding us.
  • A rich scientific vocabulary which they understand and can use.
  • Have scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
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