Intent for Science
At Oakfield Primary School, we encourage pupils to be inquisitive throughout their time at the school and beyond. The Science curriculum fosters a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena within our universe along with promoting respect for the living and non-living. It is designed to ensure that pupils are able to acquire key scientific knowledge through practical experiences; using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently.
Oakfield Primary School one of key curriculum drivers is for pupils to ‘use creativity’. We want to encourage divergent thinking, allowing pupils time to be creative, explore their ideas and plan their own experiments and investigations. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings. Pupils learn about scientists who have shaped our world and we encourage them to aspire to one day take up careers in S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
High quality Science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. We also encourage pupils to understand how Science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes.
Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science includes the following:
Science will be taught in planned and arranged topic blocks each half term. This enables achievement of a greater depth of knowledge. We have Curriculum Maps for years one to six which ensures that all aspects of the National Curriculum 2014, Key Stages 1 and 2, are covered.
Pupil’s existing knowledge is checked at the beginning of each unit, as part of the KWL strategy (What I know, What I would like to Know and What I have Learned). This ensures that teaching is informed by the pupils’ starting points and that it takes account of pupil voice, incorporating pupils’ interests.
Throughout our Science curriculum, pupils will acquire and develop the key knowledge that has been identified within each unit which builds towards identified ‘end points’ outlined in the National Curriculum expectations. Key skills are also mapped for each year group and are progressive throughout the school. These too ensure systematic progression to identified skill end points which are in accordance with the Working Scientifically skills expectations.
Through our planning, we include problem solving opportunities that allow pupils to apply their knowledge during lessons, and find out answers for themselves.
Lessons begin with a question, scenario or a ‘hook’ to encourage children to think inquisitively. Assessment questions are included at the beginning or end of a lesson for gauging prior learning or consolidating concepts. In lessons, pupils are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess pupils regularly to identify those pupils with gaps in learning, so that all pupils keep up. Activities are selected and designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.
We build upon the knowledge and skill development of the previous years. As the pupils’ knowledge and understanding increases, 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.
In lessons, pupils’ Working Scientifically skills are embedded to ensure that their skills are systematically developed, new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding. It is the expectation that Science will be taught in a practical context, wherever possible. Recording may be in the form of diagrams, concept maps, cartoons, charts and graphs or written accounts, making links to mathematical skills where possible. Whilst it is necessary for pupils to discuss every aspect of an investigation they are not required to record every stage of an investigation. At the end of each unit, pupils’ key knowledge and scientific vocabulary is assessed using end of unit assessments, where appropriate.
Teachers model relevant key vocabulary within lessons and encourage pupils to use it. Pupils have access to knowledge mats which include subject specific vocabulary and meanings and key facts related to each unit of work.
Through our ‘Mighty Oaks’ project we promote outdoor learning opportunities. A wide range of activities are planned within our school grounds and local area linked to topic themes.
Some useful links:
Local places of interest: