Science at Alexander First School
We are determined to stimulate the curiosity of every individual at Alexander First School, developing a thirst for learning in finding out why things happen in the way that they do. We teach methods of enquiry and investigation to stimulate creative thought. Children learn to ask scientific questions and begin to appreciate the way in which science will affect the future on a personal, national and global scale.
Science Subject Lead Team
The Science subject lead team at Alexander First School develop and support Science across the school in relevant and innovative ways, to ensure all teachers have the subject knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver interesting and challenging lessons. This high-quality teaching enables children to experience high quality science opportunities and experiences. The Science subject team also takes responsibility for providing training and support to staff and ensuring wider opportunities are provided for all children outside of the classroom.
We believe it is essential that children understand the relevance of science to the wider world and their own experiences. Through our carefully constructed curriculum design, Science is linked to other curriculum areas to demonstrate links across the subject areas whilst still retaining its importance as a core subject.
Science at Alexander First School is taught through practical lessons wherever possible, developing the skills of working scientifically and enquiry based learning, supported by subject specific knowledge and vocabulary, all of which become increasingly challenging as pupil progress through the school (mapped out on the progression grids).
Our personal love of the subject leads us to believe that with scientific thinking and an enquiring mind, our children can enter the world looking for answers and making a difference to their futures and the futures of the next generations.
The objectives for Science in KS1 and KS2 are clearly set out for each year group in the National Curriculum.
The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:
Early Years Foundation Stage
We teach Science in EYFS as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. Ongoing scientific experiences and opportunities are planned from the objectives set out in the Early Year Framework, which underpin the curriculum planning for children age 3 - 5. Knowledge and Understanding of the World ensures children develop early scientific ideas and processes through hands on activities, practical exploration and outdoor experiences.
Curricular links with Science
There are many opportunities across all year groups for children to further develop their English skills through their science learning. Speaking and listening is an integral part of the way that science is taught at Alexander First School and children are encouraged to ask and answer questions and discuss observations made. Writing opportunities are planned to enable children to apply their skills for a range of purposes.
Writing non-chronological reports about the topic studied, writing explanations of phenomena observed, recording findings using scientific vocabulary with accuracy, designing menus for animals, writing in response to a letter received asking for advise, writing a diary to record the growth of a plant.
Maths naturally has clear scientific links, and through their learning, children are using and applying mathematical knowledge in examples such as:
Creating tally charts to collect data, presenting data through block graphs and bar charts, using Venn diagrams to sort and classify objects/animals/materials, using measures to carry out investigations, reading scales when using scientific equipment, understanding temperatures and negative numbers, producing line graphs from the collection of continuous data
Computing enhances our teaching of Science wherever appropriate in all key stages. The children use computing in a variety of ways such as researching using secondary sources, word processing, and presenting information via PowerPoint. Opportunities to support science learning and recording through Purple Mash are utilised wherever appropriate.
Design and Technology
As part of our curriculum planning, science and DT links are increasingly evident, especially in our STEM projects across the school. Many science objectives are now being developed and applied through both DT and STEM projects within in each year group. Examples of these links include: applying knowledge of a healthy eating through the food technology projects, considering properties of materials when working with structures mechanisms and textiles in KS1. KS2 links include: applying their understanding of the nutritional value of foods, observing reversible and irreversible changes and considering balanced diets during food projects, applying their understanding of circuits during the electrical systems projects and understanding the properties of materials when designing and making structures.
Children reinforce their geographical knowledge and understanding when learning about topics in Science including:
Habitats and climates, states of matter and the water cycle, Earth, sun and moon and time zones and seasons, including the northern and southern hemisphere
As part of each unit of science, children are introduced to significant scientists from the past who have contributed and worked in that particular area of science. They learn about the impact individuals from the past have had on developments in science and that scientific ideas are constantly changing as time passes.
SMSC experiences occur naturally within science across all Key Stages, by providing many opportunities for children to think and spend time reflecting on the amazing wonders which occur in our natural world. Children are taught that different opinions need to be respected and valued, including discussions about environmental and human issues. Through scientific enquiry, science introduces children to the power of collaborative working in the science community, which has led to some amazing and life changing breakthroughs in medicine. Additionally, SMSC is evident when looking at how scientists from a range of cultures have had a significant impact globally. It also helps children to understand how important science is to the economy and culture of the UK.
We place great importance on educational visits and visitors to enhance the Science curriculum. These visits allow our children to make connections to what they have learned in class and secure their understanding of the topics through first hand experiences. Children in each year group take part in a Science based experience including a planetarium visit during STEM Space Week.
Assessment for learning
Assessment in Science is carried out both formally and summatively in order to gain an understanding of the children’s achievements and the next steps for their progress. Children are assessed during topics on both their subject knowledge and also their ability in working scientifically.
At Alexander First School assessments are carried out in various forms as appropriate to the age of the pupils and the nature of the topic studied. These include questioning and discussions during the input, teacher observations during lessons and 'fix-it' opportunities throughout the unit of study to support addressing misconceptions and extend children's learning. End of unit quizzes, conferencing and end of unit reflections are used at the end of a unit of study. Additionally, pupils also have a unit overview tracker comprising of key vocabulary and success criteria which is checked by pupils and their teacher after every lesson to indicate understanding and monitor progress. We find this is a very valueable assessment tool for our Service pupils who often join mid-unit. We are able to quickly identified aspects of learning and knowledge missed by our newly arrived Service pupils and therefore put support in place to ensure they do not fall further behind.
Teachers use a traffic light system on our schools electronic assessment system to assess children's learning throughout and a summatively at the end of a unit of study. In the EYFS teacher judgements, Tapestry and observations are used to pupils against the Early Learning Goals.
Our assessment practices provide concise information about each pupil within school in a way that is effective, relevant and manageable to all staff and allows tracking of each individual child’s progress as they move on their journey through Alexander First School.
In addition to the EYFS and NC objectives being delivered to the children, there are many other enrichment and wider opportunities provided to enable children to engage with science and to promote and enthuse the passion for science across the school. Annual events include: science themed trips, science enrichment visitors (engineers, designers, and experts) in addition to other enrichment activities during science week. Other events have included an after school forest schooling science club and a science fair for all pupils Events vary on a yearly basis.
Science ambassadors are employed from Year 4 to plan and carry out their own demonstrations and investigations for the KS1 children to be involved in, in order to enthuse and excite them and encourage a love of Science from a young age.