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LAT Narrative Over Time
Across our schools, our science curriculum is underpinned by the key foundational knowledge and concepts, both substantive and disciplinary, as set out in the National Curriculum. The curriculum is taught through a range of hands-on engaging opportunities based on child-led inquiry which will develop pupils’ science capital. This learning stimulates pupils’ curiosity to further inquire about the world around them, developing a life-long love of science.
From EYFS to Year 6, science is viewed as the exploration of the biological, chemical and physical aspects of the natural world, and the relationships between them. Our understanding of science is constantly changing and evolving. The progressive and sequential curriculum leads learners to an appreciation and awareness of the world as it is viewed from a scientific perspective. It encourages curiosity and ingenuity and enables the children to develop an understanding of the world. Reflection on scientific knowledge also helps children to develop a sense of responsibility regarding the impact of their actions on themselves, others and their world.
Intent | What and why do we teach what we teach?
Creating a sense of ‘Awe and Wonder’ and ‘Excitement and Curiosity about Natural Phenomena’ has provided the basis for the LAT Science Curriculum Overview. A clear vision that Science, as a core subject, should often be independent from themes and/or topics to ensure that children develop a secure understanding of each ‘key block of knowledge and concepts’. However, high-quality science education subsequently helps drive our curriculum alongside the LAT ‘We Will’s’, ensuring that all of our children have the opportunity to find out about the world around them and explore their place within it.
A sense of rigour and clear structure means that the National Curriculum is set as the minimum expectation for all schools within the LAT, with additional non-statutory guidance used to further develop children’s understanding and capabilities. Underpinning our entire curriculum and each and every lesson is the processes and methods of ‘Working Scientifically’: comparative and fair testing, sorting and grouping, identifying and classifying, pattern seeking, observation over time and research. This is not taught as a separate strand but permeates throughout all science teaching to enable the high-quality delivery of the curriculum content.
Implementation | How and when do we teach what we teach?
Knowledge refers to the theories and concepts making up science, the method of posing questions and carrying out investigations. Although there is no fixed way in which scientists work, all investigations tend to have aspects of common processes such as observation, classification, hypothesising, data collection, interpretation of data and evaluation.
Scientific knowledge should:
- be based on children’s existing concepts in science
- arouse curiosity about natural phenomena which stimulates the posing of questions about such phenomena
- be a systematic means of enabling the children to ask and attempt to answer questions arising from observations
- provide models of scientists who have contributed to the field of science
- expose students to the various strands of specialisation but which are still related
- recognise that different students experience science differently
In science, this is the knowledge produced by the academic subject. This involves concepts which form the underpinning structure of the subject, e.g. digestion, evolution and the idea of a force as well as the scientific vocabulary needed. The list of substantive knowledge for subjects is extensive and must be carefully sequenced over time.
In science, this is the knowledge needed to collect, understand and evaluate scientific evidence. It's the scientific method, i.e. changing one variable whilst keeping everything else the same – and seeing what happens. It is the ability to develop cognitive skills related to science such as acquiring scientific language, making observations, taking measurements, gathering, analysing and interpreting data, making generalisations, creating models, communicating and carrying out investigations. We use this knowledge every day. Each time you change one variable (the independent variable) before measuring its effect (the dependent variable) whilst keeping everything else the same (the control variables).
Science at Foundation Stage is covered indirectly through activities that encourage children to explore, problem solve, predict, think, make decisions and talk about the world around them.
Early Years Science also helps children with other life skills such as Physical Development and Expressive Arts and Design. During the initial year, pupils will be encouraged to explore creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments, introducing those initial scientific words at a very basic level. They will observe and manipulate objects to identify similarities and differences and begin to classify into simple groups. In line with the updated EYFS Framework, oral health has now been added which will be taught in a practical way with the help of oral health visitors. The children will be encouraged to ask questions about how and why things work as well as being asked questions, such as, what they think might happen and with support, plan, investigate, record and evaluate findings.
Year 1 –Year 6
According to Sherrington (2020), the experience of doing is more likely to build schema and make it stick as children are able to make links to what they have seen or done. Using the enquiry-based approach to learning in science, children will be supported in making connections between the ‘smaller ideas’ from prior learning and ‘bigger ideas’ they are currently studying. Throughout their learning journey, children will use a range of retrieval strategies to ensure retention and ensure a depth and breadth of knowledge is built. As such, lessons will usually begin with a recall of previous learning, whether this be from the last lesson, last topic or when the topic was last studied in a previous year group.
Within science lessons, teachers present subject knowledge in small chunks and make explicit links to prior learning. Carefully crafted questions are used to check for understanding in order to gain more awareness of the learning in the classroom, rather than just individual learning. Questioning allows children to make links between their previous and current learning. Oracy in science is promoted to support the children to make their understanding clearer and deeper. Through an element of hands-on science, children are frequently discussing their findings and building their understanding.
This curriculum also outlines the progression in data handling skills from Year 1 to Year 6, allowing children to record, present and analyse their findings in more complex and coherent ways. Furthermore, a progression in the ‘use of scientific equipment’ is outlined to ensure that children can use a range of recording equipment accurately and choose which one they think it best to carry out an investigation or prove a hypothesis.
Impact | How do we assess the impact of what we teach via pupil outcomes?
Our aim is to provide the foundations of understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics as science has changed our lives and will continue to do so in the future. A strong understanding of scientific principles is vital to the world’s future prosperity and will enable children to flourish in a fast-paced and ever-evolving job market.
We assess the impact of Science teaching through formative and summative assessment of children’s knowledge, scientific skills and data handling skills. Retrieval practice is used throughout all units and summative assessments are utilised to assess impact; these are analysed and evaluated enabling modification to planning and sharing of good practice. To ensure the impact of Science is monitored, evaluated and improved, Subject Leaders triangulate its impact through a multi-pronged approach, which can include: book looks, review of planning, lesson walkthroughs, pupil conferencing, learning conversations with staff and data evaluation.