Science at Darrington teaches an understanding of natural phenomena. Children are naturally fascinated by everything in the world around them and Science makes a valuable contribution to their understanding. It aims to stimulate a child’s curiosity in finding out why things happen in the way they do. Children learn by playing and exploring things in their world. They pick up clues about what they see, touch, smell, taste and hear in order to makes sense of it all. Eventually they come to conclusions which they match up with all the experiences they have had. Science 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. Children should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
The intent of science is to enable children to:
- ask and answer scientific questions;
- develop skills which may not be developed to the same degree in other areas of the curriculum.
- develop lively, enquiring minds and the ability to question
- 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.
- explore an environment where they can work in an investigative way and can communicate their findings in a variety of ways.
- evaluate evidence and present their conclusions clearly and accurately.
At Darrington school we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in science lessons. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding, as well as a sense of enjoyment in science. Sometimes we do this through whole-class and small group teaching. 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 engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the pupils in practical activities as these increase enthusiasm and motivation and provide first-hand experience.
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
- providing a wide range of inclusive resources.
- using classroom assistants to support the work of individual children or groups of children
- teaching children in mixed ability groups
- making links across subjects.
The school plans for science in three phases: long-term, medium term and short term. The long term plan maps the scientific topics each year. In some cases we combine the scientific study with work in other subject areas; at other times the children study science as a discrete subject.
Our medium term plans are done on a two year cycle, as we have mixed age classes. This way we ensure complete coverage of the National Curriculum without repeating topics. 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 each unit and are challenged as they move up through school.
How does Science promote links to the rest of the curriculum?
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 Literacy are of a scientific nature. The children develop oral skills in science lessons through discussions and through recounting their observations of scientific experiments. They develop their writing skills through writing reports and projects and by recording information. Where possible, a creative curriculum is delivered and links are made between Science and Literacy.
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. They also produce diagrams, charts and graphs using the data from real investigations.
Information and communication technology (ICT):
Children use ICT 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 computing (computer, I pads and camera) to record, present and interpret data and to review, modify and evaluate their work and improve its presentation.
Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship:
Science makes a significant contribution to the teaching of personal, social and health education. This is mainly in two areas. Firstly, the subject matter lends itself to raising matters of citizenship and social welfare. For example, children study the way people recycle material and how environments are changed for better or worse. Secondly, children benefit from the nature of the subject in that it gives them opportunities to take part in debates and discussions.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development:
Science teaching offers children many opportunities to examine some of the fundamental questions in life, for example, the evolution of living things and how the world was created. Through many of the amazing processes that affect living things, children develop a sense of awe and wonder regarding the nature of our world. Science raises many social and moral questions. Through the teaching of science, children have the opportunity to discuss, for example, the effects of smoking and the moral questions involved in this issue. We give them the chance to reflect on the way people care for the planet and how science can contribute to the way we manage the earth’s resources. Science teaches children about the reasons why people are different and, by developing the children’s knowledge and understanding of physical and environmental factors, it promotes respect for other people.
We assess children’s work in science by making informal judgments as we observe them during lessons. In the Foundation Stage we assess children’s knowledge and understanding according to the EYFS Learning and Development Stages. In KS1 and KS2 observations and also the recording of work allows the teacher to make a rounded judgement on the child’s progress. Upon completion of a piece of work, the teacher marks the work in line with the school marking policy and where applicable, the teacher gives advice on the next steps for learning. At the end of the unit of work they make a judgement about the work in relation to the expectations of the unit. Pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study. Progress and attainment in science is reported to parents at the end of the year.