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Science at Woodrow 

What does science look like at Woodrow?


The science curriculum at Woodrow First School provides children with coherent, substantive knowledge of the scientific disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics. Beginning first in the Early Years, leading into the National Curriculum, our curriculum has been designed to be progressive and explorative. Our aim is for children to have firm foundations for exploring bigger science concepts. As they leave our school we aspire for them to be confident scientists because our curriculum has provided a lens through which to study and contextualise science.


It also intends to embed core disciplinary knowledge, and the ability to systematically approach challenging, scientifically valid questions through:

-Scientific Attitudes & Planning asking relevant scientific questions and designing controlled investigations.

-Measuring & Observing learning how to use scientific apparatus like rulers and thermometers, and making systematic observations.

-Recording & Presenting setting up data collection tables and presenting this data in a variety of charts and graphs.

-Analysing & Evaluating interpreting and analysing findings; drawing conclusions and evaluating the reliability of investigations.


Our curriculum is designed in way which creates awe and wonder about science that inspires a curiosity about natural phenomena and our world. 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. It ensures that all pupils can see themselves reflected in the science curriculum, by highlighting present-day role models and the contributions of scientists from a wide range of backgrounds; and considering social and cultural values around scientific ideas.



At Woodrow our careful planning and delivery of all curriculum areas ensures that we see the longer trajectory of all of the learning and can therefore make purposeful curriculum links with other subject areas.


Such forward thinking allows teachers to be creative in their approach to teaching science and can respond to the needs of their cohort by deciding whether to teach something discretely, or within or for our Mantle stories.

The curriculum is designed to be ambitious for all leaners and to ensure children know more and can remember more.


Progression of science knowledge

Early Years is the first opportunity to develop our children’s curiosity for science. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases our children’s knowledge and sense of the world around them. Our Mantle stories, discrete teaching and continuous provision in the Early Years are carefully planned to allow our children to explore their scientific interests and foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world.

See the Foundation Stage science page for further information.


In Key Stages 1 and 2 substantive knowledge ensures pupils master core content through the development of key concepts and timely revisiting of key knowledge. The careful planning and delivery of the curriculum prevents common misconceptions that are often formed at an early age and prove problematic at the later stages of pupils’ science education from occurring. Pupils apply and make connections between the disciplines of science, the wider curriculum, and the wider world.

Long Term Plans Year 1 to 4

When teachers plan a unit, they begin with the end in mind, having clarity about exactly what they want the children to learn. Outcomes are clear and detailed, and each lesson has a concise learning intention. We are determined that children develop the progressive skills of a scientist throughout their time at Woodrow and not just learn a series scientific facts.


For learning to stick in the long-term memory we teach scientific knowledge in meaningful contexts and in a connected way. For each unit of learning, teachers plan for children to experience:

• The disciplinary knowledge needed to be successful scientists

 • Co-operative and child led learning to ensure high levels of accountability and engagement for all children.

• A careers pathway that highlights the range of jobs and careers that learning in science can lead to.

 • Educational visits and artefacts to enhance the learning experience. We enhance our curriculum especially for the most disadvantaged by organising guest speakers, science projects (STEM) and take our learning outside to work in woodlands, attend farm visits and maximise the school grounds (both inside and outside).

 • To bring learning to life, lessons or parts of lessons take place in our immersive classroom to enable children to see first-hand the curriculum they are learning at that time in their own school environment.

• Questioning is used to allow pupils to consolidate knowledge and understanding where necessary or to apply learning in an open manner.

• Opportunities for all pupils to see themselves reflected in the curriculum by exploring present-day role models and the contributions of scientists from a wide range of backgrounds.

• To enable children of all abilities to access the curriculum, additional models and scaffolds are provided.


Progression of working scientifically and enquiry skills

Disciplinary knowledge (working scientifically) is sequenced so that they are explicitly taught and practiced alongside the substantive knowledge, and regularly reviewed and built upon across the years and key stages.


To ensure there is a consistent approach to teaching content, pupils are always first taught content in the most relevant subject. For example, pupils are taught how to construct bar charts in mathematics before they are applied in science. We plan practical tasks that have a clear purpose: to demonstrate or prove substantive concepts, or to allow pupils to deliberately practice working scientifically skills in a relevant context.

Progression of Working Scientifically Skills

Progression of science vocabulary

Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension. As well as building important science knowledge and enquiry skills, as evidenced in our long and medium term plans, our progressive planning extends our children’s familiarity with words that support understanding across each science domain.  

Progression of Vocabulary for Science Knowledge


To ensure our planning meets the needs of all children changes to pedagogy are considered and changes to content are made in consultation with the science Lead and the SENCO.



Our science curriculum is high quality, well sequenced and planned to demonstrate progression. Children will become increasingly analytical in their thinking, and will begin to form their own conclusions and evaluations based around key scientific concepts. They will become increasingly aware of the role science plays in our everyday lives and the world around and the part they play in the preservation of our natural world.


Children will develop a passion for science and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity in the fields of chemistry, physics, and biology. Our curriculum is designed in a way to be suitably challenging; we believe that if children are keeping up with the demands of each lesson, that they are making good or better progress.


In addition to this, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

• A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes. Using the planning tool created, teachers are able to articulate the learning that has come before (in a previous year group or unit) and can use this information to see whether our children have retained science knowledge and/or enquiry skills at the age appropriate standard.

• We use a Venn diagram that balances science knowledge and working scientifically skills for each area of study to support our judgements, clearly identifying specific areas of need for each individual child.

• Pupil’s books and pupil discussions about their learning.

• Writing opportunities are planned to provide children with the opportunity to write at length to demonstrate their knowledge gained at the end of the learning sequence.

 • Teachers constantly interact with children assessing their thinking, knowledge, and understanding. Feedback is actionable, precise, and acted on by the children. This may include verbal comments, questions, written responses and in-context dialogue when in role in a Mantle team.

• Teachers review learning during learning, after the unit has been taught, and after extended periods of time. Recall and retrieval practice is achieved through well thought through yearly plans where science is taught discretely and in combination with Mantle of the Expert imaginative contexts and appropriate cross curriculum links.


Watch the ‘What does science look like at Woodrow’ video to see this impact in action.