The skills of scientific enquiry and investigation have practical applications across the curriculum, and provide children with essential tools for learning. Through their work in this area of the curriculum children are encouraged to question and hypothesize and, in using their initiative, to develop skills of seeking and exploring.
At Henleaze Junior School, we aim to provide activities which will develop scientific knowledge and understanding of the world around us through practical exploration, investigation and research. Science will allow children to develop the processes and manipulative skills that allow them to discover and prove scientific concepts themselves. We also aim to encourage and develop positive attitudes to scientific learning by providing a broad and engaging curriculum which excites children’s curiosity so they can think critically about their world.
The National Curriculum states that at KS2 children should:
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future
At Henleaze we strive to provide opportunity to:
- develop the knowledge, skills and concept outlines in the National Curriculum document for Science.
- provide activities which will develop knowledge and understanding of science by investigation and exploration allowing them to make sense of the patterns of science.
- enable each child to develop, with his/her capabilities, scientific skills and understanding.
- familiarize children with a variety of scientific equipment and its correct safe use.
- encourage children to record their work accurately and to enable them to choose from a variety of methods of doing so.
- enable children to plan and work both individually and collaboratively through exploring, talking, observing and developing ideas. This gives individuals the opportunity to ask questions, make and test their own ideas and also to share them and their conclusions, thus developing social interaction and cooperation.
- enable children to observe changes over time, notice patterns, group and classify things and carry out comparative and fair tests as well as find things out using secondary sources of information.
- encourage exploratory or constructive activities (‘working scientifically’) which allow children to be actively involved, whilst allowing the teacher the opportunity to watch and assess.
The following outlines how Henleaze aims to provide the National Curriculum for Science at a level and standard which ensures the highest achievements from each pupil.
- The new national curriculum programmes of study for science is used to inform planning. We have made sure that the whole science curriculum is covered across the school.
- Colleagues may adapt units providing the materials, knowledge, skills and learning objectives are similar to ensure progression throughout the school.
Science is structured in a variety of ways depending on the unit covered. The aim is for weekly lessons and to encourage practical activities wherever possible.
Targets are identified within lower key stage 2 and upper key stage 2 and focused on throughout the year. These targets appear in the front of each child’s science book and are discussed regularly. Children are encouraged to express how they feel they have done in achieving each target.
Each science topic is to be assessed in two ways – knowledge and understanding and working scientifically (TAPS practical assessment).
TAPS = Teacher Assessment in Primary Science
The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project is based at Bath Spa University and this model has inspired practical science assessing at Henleaze Junior School.
The aim of TAPS is to provide a reliable and manageable way to assess the practical scientific skills of the whole class through investigations within the classroom. While practical science investigations are happening within the classroom, the teacher can circulate, support and make notes on children’s conversations and achievements by simple note taking or just noting ‘not met yet’. Areas for development can then be identified and further teaching taken into account if necessary.
This focused, practical assessment at the end of each science topic increases the validity of teacher’s judgements rather than just relying on written evidence in children’s books at the end of the lesson and also builds up an ongoing record of children’s attainment in scientific enquiry instead of relying on a test at the end of the year. It also means that a full range of scientific skills are considered over the year.
Cross curricular links
Science provides an opportunity for children to practice and improve their literacy skills, especially within speaking and listening, writing findings and writing explanations. Within numeracy children are given the chance to measure accurately, use scales and present data using tables, bar and line graphs. Some units allow specific links to design and technology e.g. electrical circuitry and using investigative skills.
Wherever possible, children should have opportunities to visit museums and use the outside spaces around the school grounds to gain a wider understanding of the world through first-hand experience.
Equal opportunities and inclusion
All pupils share the same statutory entitlement to a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum regardless of the ability, gender and cultural background. We plan our science lessons to facilitate the learning of all pupils as individuals with differing needs, backgrounds, experiences and expectations.
As well as the scientific, mathematical and language skills that investigative work helps to develop, science also fosters important attitudes such as independence, perseverance, responsibility and positive self-criticism. These are all valuable life skills for children of all abilities.
Children iwth SEND will be provided with adult support, an expectation of differentiated outcomes and, where needed, differentiated worksheets and varied appropriate equipment.
We aim to stretch all children within the school, but in particular provide children who are more able with further questioning and extension questions=, encouraging valuable evaluation skills and challenge their ideas by asking for ‘proof’.