Science teaching at The Palmer Academy aims to give all children a strong understanding of the world around them whilst acquiring specific skills and knowledge to help them to think scientifically, to gain an understanding of scientific processes and also an understanding of the uses and application of science, today and for the future.
All children are encouraged to develop and use a range of skills including observations, planning and investigations, as well as being encouraged to question the world around them and become independent learners in exploring possible answers for their scientific based questions. Specialist vocabulary for topics is taught and built up, and effective questioning to communicate ideas is encouraged. Concepts taught are reinforced by focusing on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions and through the narrative of “Understanding the world around us”.
Knowledge of a variety of influential scientists linked to key knowledge is gained throughout a child’s journey through school. Learning in Key Stage Two builds on prior learning in Key Stage One which, in turn, builds on solid foundations gained in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our science curriculum uses the National Curriculum to ensure that children gain the knowledge they need to become successful scientists at primary school and beyond, fostering an interest in the subjects – much needed by today’s society.
- The beginning of every unit begins with a diagnostic task for teachers to assess prior knowledge and ensure children have the opportunity to guide the learning to answer question they have about the world around them.
- Teachers will then follow the medium-term plans which are all centred around a big question, learning objective and success criteria.
- Working scientifically is a developed throughout each topic and the skills needed are progression throughout the year.
- At least one full lesson will focus on the powerful person identified for that topic (these scientists are revisited for each repeated science topic to enable this person to be an aid to memory of that area of science). Powerful people should be seen on displays, discussed each lesson and used to hang topic knowledge on.
- We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years by beginning each lesson with a “Just Checking” page which draws on prior topics and helps to embed knowledge over time.
- Vocabulary for each science unit is evidenced in the book at the beginning of the topic and is specifically taught and referred to through each lesson. This language will also be available in the children’s environment.
- There is evidence of support and challenge for children through questioning, scaffolding and independent activities. Children are not pushed to future curriculum knowledge but instead their knowledge is stretched through the depth and application of activities planned.
- Learning can be evidenced in a variety of different ways including pictures, posters, written work and diagrams and a particular focus on practical learning and enquiry.
- Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children keep up.
- Each unit will finish with an assessment of knowledge and skills and teachers will complete an Otrack assessment at the end of each unit.
Summative assessment is ongoing throughout the lessons planned. This comes in the form of AfL during lessons to ensure children have understood the learning objective before completing activities. There will also be a plenary question that allows teachers to assessment the successfulness of the lesson for children. A form on final assessment will also take place to finish the topic off (may be in the form of a test/quiz, poster, presentation or diagram. These individual assessments will be tracked against Key Performance Indicators on OTrack and will inform future starters and lessons to ensure that gaps in knowledge and skills are filled through the year. The progress made against these assessments will also be tracked on OTrack by moving the RAG rating up when KPIs have been achieved.