The aim of Science teaching at Grayswood is to provide a high-quality education for all pupils to understand the world in which they live. The spine of teaching the three disciplines of science is via practical avenues, where children embed and develop their substantive knowledge through disciplinary knowledge, learning to engage as scientists. This ensures that an inspiring practical curriculum is provided, encouraging children to succeed and excel in science.
The National Curriculum identifies five types of scientific enquiry that the children should engage in through the year; these are included in detailed medium term unit plans created by Plymouth Science for each topic in each year group. This documentation also describes focused substantive knowledge statements derived from the NC in conjunction with practical work that should be carried out to build this knowledge and develop disciplinary skills.
Key objectives are explicitly embedded in each topic studied and revisited and stretched throughout the children’s time at Grayswood. Topics, such as Plants, are taught in Key Stage One and studied again in further detail throughout Key Stage Two. This model allows children to build upon their prior knowledge and increases their enthusiasm for the topics.
Children at Grayswood develop and use a range of working scientifically skills including asking questions, planning fair investigations, gathering and recording results, drawing conclusions through five lines of scientific enquiry. Plymouth Scheme documentation supports teachers to ensure that both substantive and disciplinary knowledge dovetail and build progressively.
To maximise learning, teachers at Grayswood review prior learning and build upon existing knowledge. By following Plymouth Science, teachers are able to deliver a progressive and practical curriculum. Key vocabulary is built in, ensuring that pupils are able to describe associated processes and key characteristics. Cross-curricular links are made with maths when collecting, presenting and analysing data.
We use the Plymouth Science documentation that carefully maps both substantive and disciplinary knowledge over KS1 and KS2. Medium term plans identify the key objectives in each topic in conjunction with detailed practical lessons which focus on one of the five enquiry approaches. Working scientifically skills are taught explicitly by the teachers, supporting the children to become more independent and accurate scientists as they develop their understanding and independence of how to work scientifically. These principles are carefully interwoven in lessons and by the end of their KS2 journey, children should be confident to approach a line of enquiry independently and scientifically.
Science is taught in topic blocks and revisited during the child’s journey at Grayswood, deepening understanding. Teachers elicit prior understanding to enable them to cater for the needs of the cohort and adapt where necessary. Formal assessment is carried out at the end of units in KS2.
Scientific writing is meaningful and enables the children to document their investigative process, culminating in conclusions which reflect on hypothesis made, making links to theory to deepen understanding and the ‘sticky knowledge.’
Some common misconceptions are highlighted in the Plymouth documentation to alert teachers to ensure these are planned for. Teachers in the latter years, who are revisiting topics and building upon prior knowledge, have access to previous scores in order to aid planning and organise interventions, where necessary.
Children mark special days such as World Science Week, Earth Day, British Science Week. Science-rich trips and outings enrich the children’s experience.
Teachers are supported and pursue professional development through internal meetings with the Science lead.
Science progress at Grayswood is measured through a combination of formal assessment, via Plymouth Science, and teacher assessment. Informally, teachers are able to rag rate their pupils’ understanding of explicit learning objectives encompassing both substantive and disciplinary knowledge at the end of each lesson to build up an accurate picture of summative progress.
The science lead conducts learning walks and observations, as well as half-termly booklooks. Pupil engagement is key, and pupil voice is used to elicit understanding as well as engagement. Again, this is carried out half-termly.
Enrichment in Science
In addition to the curriculum, we offer the following enrichment opportunities in Science for children at Grayswood CE Primary School:
- Science week
- Links to secondary schools, inviting more expert demonstrations to inspire and teach our children at Grayswood
- Trips to Kew Gardens, Winchester Science Museum, Gilbert White Museum