Science Curriculum Offer
HTPS Science Curriculum offer provides full coverage of the primary science programmes of study. We use the scheme ‘Switched on Science’ to provide access to all subject knowledge and working scientifically objectives in a range of contexts to support the embedding of these concepts and skills.
Get started and let’s think like scientists
Each Unit has a ‘Get started’ opener which provides ideas for eliciting prior learning from previous activities as well as personal experiences at home and in the locality. ‘Let’s think like scientists’ provides questions to the teacher or supporting adult to ask to encourage critical thinking and research, thus extending and challenging the pupils.
The intention for each activity is clearly identified in the learning objective. This ensures that it is clear which skills and concepts are the focus for the activities. Our curriculum ensures progression through a coherent and carefully sequenced programme across the primary years. Our teachers have high and equal expectations for all pupils and our curriculum is ambitious for all pupils.
Relevant and meaningful
Our curriculum science contexts are meaningful because of the fact content is set in a range of interesting contexts that are relevant to the pupils. It ensures that pupils relate the science they are learning to their own lives as well as working with contexts in the wider world.
First-hand and practical
Practical activity is at the core of our curriculum. We encourage the development of pupils as independent learners who are curious and willing to ask and answer their own questions. Throughout the various units, we aim to develop approaches which scaffold pupils in asking a range of questions and making their own decisions about how to answer them using the five scientific enquiry activities.
Linked to developing pupil’s independence, we embed opportunities where pupils are challenged to reflect on their learning through discussing ideas with adults and their peers, thereby articulating their learning. Progressing pupil’s ability to communicate their understanding and explain their reasoning is central to primary science and so is a feature of our curriculum. We have an expectation that pupils should not only be able to talk about what they have been doing, but also why and what they have learned.
Everything a pupil does and thinks in science is important, so it is crucial that activities provide regular opportunities for pupils to engage in hands on practical activity as well as think about or research scientific ideas and skills.
Practical hands-on activities
Throughout our science learning pupils are engaged in asking questions and using one of the five science enquiry activities:
- observation over time
- fair or comparative tests
- identification and classification
- pattern seeking.
All activities have been planned so that they are relevant to the learning outcomes and pupil’s experiences, ensuring that they are timely and meaningful. Where appropriate they are hands-on, ensuring that pupils engage in regular first-hand experience using a range of equipment, including ICT where suitable, to enhance and deepen learning.
Communicating science and scientific vocabulary
Throughout our curriculum, pupils are asked to communicate their science using different approaches, e.g. writing, drama, poetry, discussion, modelling and using ICT (to create video clips, etc.).
Engaging pupils in a range of approaches to communicating science ensures that all pupils can share ideas and by listening to themselves articulate ideas, pupils engage in self-assessment, either reinforcing their learning or changing ideas and therefore moving learning on. By using different approaches to recording and communicating, all pupils can share their science, which means that teachers can access learning through assessment and use outcomes to plan next steps.
Teachers share key scientific vocabulary for each unit with pupils with the expectation that these words should be learned. A pupil’s ability to use scientific words appropriately is an indicator of understanding of knowledge and skills. Teachers can use a pupil’s ability to use key words as part of assessment for learning, listening for how the words are used and, if necessary, asking follow-up questions to check depth of understanding. However, this requires teachers to use a range of approaches to support learning and applying scientific vocabulary in different contexts. Linking literacy approaches for teaching vocabulary in science lessons helps to embed scientific vocabulary alongside teacher expectations that pupils should use correct words when speaking and writing.
Application of literacy and numeracy skills in science
Our curriculum activities are designed to ensure that the expectations of literacy and mathematics are appropriate to each year group in science and therefore application of literacy and numeracy skills are embedded throughout.
Enriching the science experience
We aim to provide the children with the richest experience in all areas of our curriculum. To enable this to happen, we give the children opportunities that enrich the science curriculum. These include:
Science themed assembly
Whole School Science Competitions
ImpactPupils develop their knowledge and skills through a series of planned activities linked to the curriculum which build on previous and personal knowledge. To assess the impact, teachers evaluate the knowledge and skills that pupils have gained against the original expectations of activities (the intent). This is indicated by the outcomes assigned to each activity. What and how well pupils have achieved will be accessed through using a range of approaches to assessment for learning.
ASSESSMENT IN SCIENCE
Our Science curriculum is assessed at the end of each unit, using our ‘Key Takeaways’, with children’s learning contributing to an overall termly assessment. Children are judged as ‘working at the expected standard’ of the year group (expected) or working below the expected standard (has not met).
It is important that assessment supports a pupil’s journey through the science curriculum to ensure appropriate outcomes for each individual. The focus of our science curriculum is to support this journey so that teachers know how well pupils are doing at each point in a topic. Sessions are planned in such a way that assessment is an integral part of activities. The learning objectives at the beginning of each activity show the intention for learning and these are then used as the basis for assessment.
Teachers use a range of evidence to assess pupil’s progress. Evidence of outcomes can be found through:
- Observing them working
- Using questions to probe understanding and reasoning
- Written work about topic
- End of unit quizzes
- Pupil discussion about their learning
As pupils progress through the primary years, self and peer assessment is another approach to complement teacher assessment. Not only does this develop a pupil’s ability to reflect on their own learning, it also provides teachers access to how well pupils perceive their learning to be progressing and why.
A feature of our curriculum is the application of ‘Working Scientifically Skills’ and ‘Knowledge and Understanding’ through regular problem solving activities. Challenging pupils to apply their learning in new contexts provides opportunities for them to further embed ideas and skills. Assessing how pupils respond to applying their knowledge and skills is an indicator of how successful their learning has been.