How We Teach Science
At East Dene Primary we strive to stimulate and excite pupil’s curiosity about natural phenomena and events in the world around them
We do this by making links with direct practical experiences to scientific knowledge and understanding where we engage learners at many levels giving our pupils opportunities to be effective, creative and independent learners.
Science lessons develop the knowledge, skills and understanding for our children. We aim to ensure every child moves towards understanding how major scientific ideas contribute toward technological change – impacting on industry, medicine, business and improving quality of life. They learn to question and discuss science based issues that may affect their own lives, the directions of society and the future of the world.
Before any unit of Science is planned each member of staff is required to complete a CPD unit to ensure that subject knowledge is accurate and that misconceptions can be planned for. Planning takes place in two phases: long-term and medium-term. The long term plan maps out the knowledge and skills required for each term and ensures breadth of coverage across the year and key stage. We encourage children to make links across the curriculum and aim to plan units that fit in with our Themes where appropriate. This is formulated by individual teachers with support from subject leaders to ensure progression across the school. Medium term planning sets out the learning objectives and key knowledge to be covered in the unit that half term. These plans are based on the NC and follows a set of non-negotiables to ensure consistency throughout the school. Objectives are taught with progression of subject knowledge and scientific skills in mind whilst also ensuring a wide range of experiences are offered.
Teaching and Learning
We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our Science lessons. Our principle aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills and independence to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught. We do this through whole-class teaching and engaging the children in a practical enquiry-based activity. We encourage children to generate, as well as answer, scientific questions in a variety of ways. This is done through exploration activities, discussion, role-play or written outcomes. In order to extend and deepen children’s scientific thinking and explanations we start each lesson with an explorify activity linked to the area being covered. This encourages children to discuss a range of questions, concepts and images. Each activity is recorded in a class floor book which is used to gather evidence and show progression of each child’s scientific thinking and understanding at all levels.
Explorify and floor books
Each area of study requires children to read, write, spell and define a set of given vocabulary linked to the key ideas within the Science concepts being covered. This vocabulary is displayed on the Science working wall as well as in children’s science books where it can be referred to throughout a unit of work.
Throughout the year important scientific dates are celebrated either through year groups or whole school engagement. As well as these events children are exposed to the many famous and inspiring scientists and possible careers in the world of STEAM. Within each area of science taught a linked scientist is studied and used to give learning a sense of purpose. We aim to raise aspirations through the experiences we offer our children. These include taking part in a variety of competitions, introducing children to people who work in jobs related to Science and STEAM and encouraging children’s curiosity through a range of activities.
Primary engineering – During this competition a team of children designed built and tested a motorised car. Children are to design an electrically powered vehicle that will be able to perform a range of functions to include climbing an incline with its canopy/lid included, move in a straight line (3m) forwards and in reverse.
Each year we celebrate Science Week where children take part in a range of activities. Some of these are linked to the year group objectives and others are whole school where progression is shown through working scientifically. We also run a Science club every Friday where children can sign up for the half term and take part in a range of scientific activities which cover a range of skills.
Assessment in Science is ongoing throughout a unit of work. Staff make judgements related to the National Curriculum objectives and use examples of work at expected standards to support these judgements. Every year group builds on the previous year and staff ensure they know what has come before and what comes next so that knowledge and skills are consolidated and accurate. At the beginning of each unit an activity is used to assess what children already know. This not only gives staff a starting point but also makes sure that lessons are pitched at an appropriate level. During each session previous learning is recapped and built on in order to ensure deeper learning can take place. At the end of a unit an activity or enquiry is planned to evidence and assess learning covered.