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Science

Intention

At Woodrow we strive to ensure that child led inquiry and an exploratory attitude is at the heart of the science curriculum. Our ‘Mantle of the Expert’ approach provides a rich purpose for working scientifically and a platform to develop scientific knowledge, processes and inquiry. Alongside this, discrete science lessons are taught to ensure pupils have strong transferable skills to understand the world around them. Speaking and listening is highly valued throughout Nursery to Year 4. This not only encourages children to explore scientific vocabulary, but also share and develop their ideas with others.

 

Implementation

Science in Nursery

Child exploration is the springboard from which scientific inquiry emerges. By engaging in science activities children not only learn about the world around them, they also develop key skills in the three prime areas of learning (Personal, Social and Emotional Development/Physical Development/Communication and Language).

 

In Nursery such curiosity is promoted and supported through tactile experiences to introduce observation skills such as:

  • Touching

  • Holding

  • Pressing

  • Climbing

  • Jumping

 

Children in Nursery will specifically be learning about:

  • People and Communities- finding out about the past by talking to parents, grandparents and friends to develop an interest in their own and family story

  • The World- taking notice of the things around them including places and the things within them (trees, roads, traffic)

  • Technology- Find out about the world during visits (buildings/hearings sirens), in books, on TV and through other technology

 

Science in Reception

As children move from Nursery to Reception, curiosity is built upon to help children explore confidently whilst questioning, comparing and testing their idea. Creative and critical thinking are promoted through first hand practical experience, exploratory play and active learning within the school grounds.

 

When working scientifically, teachers model, guide and support children to:

  • Test out their ideas

  • Use tactile experiences to observe cause and effect (e.g. what will happen if I pour more and more water into a container)

  • Use their knowledge of the world to make connections and associations

 

Children in Reception will specifically be learning about:

  • People and Communities- developing an understanding of the past to help understand how other people are different from them yet share some of the same characteristics and ideas

  • The World- observing their own home and things nearby, noticing things nearby/on the journey to school (street signs, sequence of traffic lights).

  • Technology- Find out about the world during visits (buildings/hearings sirens), in books, on TV and through other technology

 

Science in Year 1

As children move from Reception to Year 1, they build upon their knowledge and understanding of the world to further their curiosity. They look more closely at the natural and human constructed world around them to seek patterns and answers to their questions.

 

Collaboration is key in this year group to model, share and guide children to begin working scientifically. Children will be supported to:

  • Ask simple questions when prompted and suggest one way to find out the answer

  • Perform simple tests using appropriate equipment and talk about what they have found out

  • Collect results collaboratively (exploring human graphs, tally charts, pictograms, block diagrams and simple tables) and record observations using pictures, labels and captions

  • Identify and classify using their senses with suggested criteria

 

Children in Year 1 will specifically be learning about:

  • Plants

  • Animals, including humans

  • Everyday Materials

  • Seasonal Change- focusing on the 4 seasons and recognising day and night

 

Science in Year 2

As children move from Year 1 to Year 2, they transition from collaborative thinking to shared and independent inquiry. Practical first hand experiences, as well as using of secondary resources (books, photos, videos), supports the children to construct their own lines of inquiry with the support of the teacher. This allows them to begin to communicate their findings to a variety of audiences.

 

When working scientifically children are supported to:

  • Ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways (e.g. testing, observing over time, researching)

  • Perform simple tests using appropriate equipment, beginning to identify patterns that they have found out

  • Collect results (exploring human graphs, tally charts, pictograms, block diagrams and simple tables) and record observations using pictures, labels and captions

  • Identify and classify using their senses with suggested criteria, beginning to suggest their own

 

Children in Year 2 will specifically be learning about:

  • Living things and their habitats

  • Plants

  • Animals, including humans

  • Everyday Materials

  • Seasonal Change- focusing on associated weather and day length

 

Science in Year 3

In Year 3 children broaden their view of the world around them. Exploration is still at the heart of learning, yet sophisticated skills of testing, decision making and observations are beginning to be chosen carefully by the child.

 

When working scientifically children are supported to:

  • Begin to explore the most efficient and suitable strategies to answer suggested lines of inquiry (e.g. testing, observing overtime, researching)

  • Use their measurements to say whether it helps to answer their questions

  • Perform tests by knowing how to use suitable equipment to begin measuring with standard units, (thermometers, measuring jugs, rulers)

  • Carry out simple fair experiments

  • Record and present observations and data in different ways (photos, labelled diagram, keys, given two column table frames, bar graphs, writing, presentations)

  • Interpret and classify data using scientific language to compare what is different, the same and what has changed in an experiment.

 

Children in Year 3 will specifically be learning about:

  • Plants

  • Animals, including humans

  • Rocks

  • Light

  • Forces and Magnetism

 

Science in Year 4

In Year 4 children extend their view of the world around them. Exploration is still at the heart of learning, yet sophisticated skills of testing, decision making and observations are chosen carefully by the child. This supports children to form deeper connections between functions, relationships and interactions within the science curriculum. Working scientifically deeply underpins inquiry in order for children to discuss, interpret, classify and write about what they have found out.

 

When working scientifically children are supported to:

  • Suggest how to improve their methods (e.g. testing, observing overtime, researching)

  • Predict a trend/pattern within lines of inquiry

  • Perform tests by selecting suitable equipment with accurate standard units (thermometers, measuring jugs, rulers)

  • Isolate variables in a fair test and to explain why it is fair

  • Record and communicate findings in different ways (e.g. simple two column table, bar graphs, line graphs, labelled diagrams, keys, presentation, writing)

  • Interpret and classify patterns using scientific language to support their findings and suggest further lines of inquiry.

 

Children in Year 4 will specifically be learning about:

  • Living things and their habitats

  • Animals, including humans

  • States of Matter

  • Sound

  • Electricity

 

Impact

‘Buddying’ across key stages was extremely beneficial last year in supporting staff assessment of children’s knowledge and skills when working scientifically. Science was taught in and out of the Mantle context and resulted in some positive reflections:

 

‘The way in which the children worked showed their belief in themselves as if they were scientists. They were focussed and engaged; some even obsessed [continuum of engagement].’

 

‘Working scientifically has been encompassed within the story quite successfully but then reflecting and improving has worked better outside of the story.’

 

‘Discussion between the children demonstrated their obsession with keeping it the same and measuring accurately. Isabelle “Ah, ah, ah that’s over 500ml, tip some out”. Harvey “I think there’s too much have a look”.’

 

We continue to repeat this approach across the school this academic year. Observations with teachers and the children show that pupils can explain their ideas and knowledge linked to science. This is evident as The impact of this will be further evidenced during pupil progress meetings, where ‘working scientifically’ will form a discussion with the headteacher and across year groups for moderation purposes.

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