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The Mount Stewart Schools

Science

Science Curriculum Statement

 

Our Science curriculum is knowledge and vocabulary-rich, ensuring children understand fundamental scientific knowledge and concepts and embedding key science-specific vocabulary and terminology (Tier 3 vocabulary). In addition, children are encouraged to develop their scientific curiosity and understanding by working scientifically in weekly lessons.

This ensures that key skills are taught, and that progression in skills is evident from Reception through to Year 6. We use the CUSP (Curriculum with Unity Schools Partnership) curriculum scheme of work to support our planning.

Our learning sequences for Science have been carefully planned, ensuring children are building on prior learning and that Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary appropriate to the study is taught explicitly. Planning starts with the knowledge, the ‘what’, the concepts, and how we learn about a subject, incorporates vocabulary including the etymology of words, and then worked examples leading to independent tasks.

Planning is delivered through a various strategies, these include:

  • Retrieval practice
  • Interleaving
  • Elaboration

Throughout each planning sequence, quiz questions are explored with the children cumulatively across each lesson. These are used as a learning tool that activates memory rather than an assessment tool.

Within each lesson, children are also given the opportunity to ‘Show what you know; this allows them to retrieve key knowledge they can recall from the lesson, which they then reflect on at the start of each new session.

Knowledge notes are used to clarify all children, which incorporate key vocabulary, information, and images to support learning. Regular practice ensures that the knowledge becomes ‘sticky’ and encourages productivity.

To end each topic study, children can show what they have learned through our double-page spreads. These are completed independently, and children can choose how to present their findings and knowledge recall.

 

Intent:

Mount Stewart Primary School children are SCIENTISTS! Where we recognise and value the importance of science and scientific enquiry. Science at Mount Stewart Primary School aims to develop a fun, practical, and engaging high-quality curriculum that inspires the next generation to succeed and excel in science. We do this by fully adhering to the aims of the national curriculum and fostering a healthy curiosity and interest in the sciences.

Staff lead design science lessons with a no ceiling approach and adaptive teaching, considering the needs of children with SEND and the most able, enabling all children to access our challenging curriculum and feel confident in their science learning.

We ensure that the Working Scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout children’s time at the school so that they can apply their knowledge of science when using equipment, conducting experiments and investigation, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently, being familiar with scientific terminology and, most importantly, to continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings.

Implementation:

The acquisition of key scientific knowledge is an integral part of our science lessons. Linked knowledge organisers enable children to learn and retain the important, useful, and powerful vocabulary and knowledge contained within each unit. The progression of skills for working scientifically are developed through the year groups and scientific enquiry skills are of key importance within lessons. At Mount Stewart School, teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following;

  • Science will be taught in planned, and arranged, topic blocks by the class teacher. Our strategy is to enable all children to be catered for through adapted planning suited to their abilities
  • We plan for problem solving and real-life opportunities that enable children to find out for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating practical, engaging lessons with opportunities for precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assessing children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning.
  • Our curriculum is progressive. We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years, which is tested through our ‘Starter questions and exit activities where teachers can identify misconceptions that need addressing.
  • Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career, and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in keeping with the topics.
  • Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills to embed scientific understanding. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.
  • Through enrichment days, such as ‘science week’, we promote the profile of Science and allow time for the children to freely explore scientific topics.

Impact

The successful approach to the teaching of science at Mount Stewart results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations for understanding the world that they can take with them once they complete their primary education. So much of science lends itself to outdoor learning, and so we provide children with opportunities to experience this. Children learn the possibilities for careers in science as a result of our community links and enrichment activities such as ‘Careers Week’.

 

Children in the Juniors are given the opportunity to learn Science within a laboratory setting, elevating their educational experience while building links with neighbouring secondary schools.

 

Pupil voice is used to further develop the Science curriculum, through questioning of pupils’ views and attitudes towards Science, to assess the children’s enjoyment of science, and to motivate learners.

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