At Lowerfields Primary Academy, we teach pupils to be scientists. For this to happen, our science curriculum is underpinned by three core principles;
- Where-ever possible, pupils learn through practical, hands on experiences
- Pupils learn facts and build knowledge over time, using precise scientific vocabulary
- Pupils learn and improve the skills of a scientist
As pupils enter our Foundation Stage, opportunities for investigation, exploration and critical thinking are all around. Provision is carefully planned through key themes such as seasons, physical changes, and growing and planting. These support pupils develop a range of scientific enquiry skills and in becoming scientific explorers. They are guided to ask questions, test their ideas and seek answers. These are the fundamental skills of a scientist.
As pupils move through the academy, the National Curriculum is sequenced in a way which builds knowledge and skills over time. They are given opportunities to ask questions and test their own ideas. For example, ‘How can I prove that water is transported from the roots into the leaves of a plant?’
Practical resources and activities help bring science alive in the classroom. For example, pupils in Y4 learn about digestion by making and simulating the actions of an intestine. Y6 pupils learn about electrical components by making a burglar alarm.
Science is further enhanced because it is carefully threaded into the Reading Enhanced Curriculum (REC). Additional enhancements to the National Curriculum include, for example, learning about Charles Darwin in Y6 through the text On the Origin of Species by Sabina Radeva, or learning more about dinosaurs in Y1 with Gigantosaurus, written by Jonny Duddle.
Science triggers the innate curiosity of our pupils. It allows by allowing them to engage in hands-on, investigative learning. This is done through a question-led, enquiry-based curriculum.
We use over-arching ‘BIG’ questions for each year group. This provides pupils with a foundation to build upon and acquire new knowledge and skills. Pupils are encouraged to ask their own questions within their science topic and follow their own lines of scientific enquiry. Science is seen as much more than a classroom lesson; it is woven into everyday routines within school. Pupils are exposed to and taught about aspirational people within the STEM industry. They are more aware of how science can impact on their local environment.
Our science curriculum meets the needs of our pupils by giving them the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skills. It provides opportunities to apply these to their everyday lives. Pupils’ oracy skills are developed through the use of discussion. The introduction of new scientific vocabulary complements this. Pupils’ Science Capital is developed through breaking down STEM stereotypes. we want to create a culture of ‘Science is for Everyone’.
In Nursery, we encourage pupils to notice and explore the world around them including changes in the natural world. Our outdoor area is used to help with this. We explicitly teach the pupils the names of facial features and body parts. We explore similarities and differences between the physical features of the pupils. Throughout provision, pupils are encouraged to sort and group different items. This is done to help them to begin to explore similarities and differences in other things. The pupils explore early investigation skills by predicting and then testing out simple ideas. E.g. Can we keep a snowman forever?
In Reception, pupils explore the world around them. They identify, discuss and recognise changes and patterns amongst living things and their environment. Through continuous provision, pupils have access to scientific equipment. Equipment such as magnets and magnifying glasses encourage first hand exploration and discussion. Pupils in Reception also receive an explicit weekly science lesson. They are exposed to the foundations of scientific concepts. Pupils take part in simple investigations. This equips them with the introductory skills and knowledge for their science journey ahead.
In Key Stage 1, pupils consolidate and build on prior learning by investigating a range of topics. Pupils work in a range of ways to construct and ask simple questions. They make simple observations and learn to use scientific equipment safely and in different ways. Pupils in Key Stage 1 learn how to gather and record their scientific data and start to interpret that of others.
In Key Stage 2, pupils lead their own investigations by using a range of scientific approaches. They interpret, record and share their data in a variety of ways and use this to draw conclusions. Pupils are challenged to prove their scientific knowledge to others through presentational talk. They then use this knowledge to make further predictions for later investigations.
Pupils have the opportunities to explore other additional scientific experiences. This is done through STEM clubs and eco-schools.