"Science is about the miracle of the mundane and children can appreciate this best. Every child is a scientist." Susan Bosak.
At Ashton Vale Primary School, we follow the National Curriculum for Science which provides opportunities for children to work scientifically and revisit and reinforce skills and concepts taught throughout their primary education. Science is considered as part of the school’s ‘Enquiry’ lessons (as are Geography and History) and although they may be taught as standalone lessons in an afternoon session, they should also be part of cross curricular learning such as statistics and data, Art and D.T, reading for information and non-fiction writing.
Children are taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science to equip them in understanding the world around us. In building a foundation of knowledge and concepts, children are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
The teachers in a Science Enquiry lesson will:
- Ensure children have an opportunity to show progression (as detailed below); and all children are challenged through questioning and discovery.
- Provide a challenge, while clearly expressing learning expectations.
- When necessary, improve key skills, knowledge and understanding, to allow for extended discussion.
- Encourage cross-curricular links whenever and wherever possible e.g. mummification in the study of Ancient Egypt (conduct an investigation using tomatoes and a mixture of salts)
- Connect and relate learning to current / local events to improve engagement e.g. Festival of Nature, Bristol BioBlitz, solar eclipse, STEM week, etc.
- Connect with outside professionals to support further scientific thinking and learning such as Ashton Park Science Dept., Babcock, UWE, We The Curious, Bristol Zoo and the Aquarium.
The children in the class will:
- In Years 1 and 2, be taught how to:
- ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways
- perform simple tests
- identify and classify
- observe closely, using simple equipment
- use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
- gather and record data to help in answering questions
- In Years 3 and 4, be taught to how to:
- ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
- set up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
- make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers
- gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions
- record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
- report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
- use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
- identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
- use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.
- In Years 5 and 6, be taught how to:
- plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
- take measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision
- record data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, and bar and line graphs
- use test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
- use simple models to describe scientific ideas
- report and present findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations
- identify scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.
The Science Enquiry learning environment reflects:
- Materials appropriate and relevant to the scientific area/unit being studied should be clearly displayed and indicated from the beginning of the Science unit.
- When possible, physical items should be available for children to practically experience.
The children’s Science Enquiry books / files / folders:
- Will include scientific diagrams- drawn and labelled in pencil (not pen).
- Will show consistency of methods used across the school; vital in developing scientific understanding e.g. in use of fair testing.
- Will include non-fiction writing in the form of science experiments and conclusions.
- Will show cross-curricular learning such as maths and Art and D.T.
ImpactThe successful approach at Ashton Vale results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. All ideas are valued and no one is afraid to use skills such as predicting and reasoning to help deepen their scientific understanding. Scientific vocabulary is confidently used by all. They make links to topics and real-life encounters with hands-on experiments, including taking informed risks. We aspire for all children to achieve well, produce good quality work and are ready for the next stage in their education.