Bishop’s Primary Science is designed to enthuse and challenge learning with an emphasis on practical work and problem-solving. Our children learn that the modern world would not be modern at all without science. Science is deeply woven into our daily lives. For example, without scientific understanding, we would not have electricity, modern medicine, communication, exploration and so on. The ability to think with an inquisitive mind helps our children to appreciate the science in their lives.
The primary curriculum is underpinned by the expert guidance of a specialist science teacher. As our children live in an increasingly scientific and technological society, many personal decisions involve scientific understanding and reasoning. They are challenged to ask questions: Should I take vitamin supplements? Are sunbeds safe? Will eating organic vegetables make me live longer? Does the lower environmental impact of a hybrid car justify its price?
Our students are helped to think for themselves and reach their own explanations and conclusions in scientific ways.
The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. They are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they observe. Specific attention is directed towards curriculum areas which families can explore together.
Students experience science by formulating questions to: why is a spoon is made of metal rather than glass? Why is a teapot made from ceramic rather than chocolate? In order to answer these questions, a fair testing approach is used to deliver the scientific skills of comparison and close observation as well as the importance of the collection of evidence, taking of measurements, reading of scales and recording of results are a major focus. Using appropriate vocabulary, children devise conclusions to justify their findings in order to answer their initial question.
The principal focus of science teaching in lower key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. Greater emphasis is placed on asking ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions encouraging scientific dialogue. Pupils adopt a practical approach to exploring the world undertaking investigations to answer self-developed questions such as ‘Do the biggest fruits produce the biggest seeds?’ The introduction to a range of specialist scientific equipment enhances their understanding of the curriculum. A hands-on approach is used to encourage confidence and independence.
The principal focus of science teaching in upper key stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions systematically. Emphasis on the overall processes involved in scientific enquiry enables our pupils to understand how scientists discover new phenomenon in the real world and the importance of using scientific enquiry to prove a theory. All our pupils in upper KS2 receive at least 1 term of specialist science teaching.
By the end of year 6 children are confident in the use of a range of equipment and have extensive knowledge of scientific enquiry skills. They begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They understand the importance of research and are confident using a wide range of secondary sources of information.
With the introduction of ‘Ted’, a cartoon science mascot, pupils progress through KS2, exploring and enhancing their skills of scientific enquiry. Enquiry based learning is centred on 4 main areas: planning, observing, analysing and evaluating.
Pupils are challenged to plan their own investigations for example: ‘How can we prevent Olaf (ice) melting?’ They devise their own independent and dependent variables and begin to understand the need for controlling variables to ensure fair testing thus producing viable results. Pupils develop skills so they can confidently select and use equipment such as thermometers, measuring cylinders, magnets, force meters and stopwatches and devise detailed methods which ensure valid data is collected whilst maintaining a safe environment in which the children work.
Pupils are expected to devise their own method of recording data and independently create tables of results. Emphasis is placed on mathematical skills; the importance of testing and systematic measurements; multiple repeats; reading complex scales and recording viable results.
Pupils further develop their scientific enquiry skills through honing their analysis skills. Much time is spent concentrating on noticing patterns, grouping and classifying results and on the management of anomalies. Graphical skills are also developed during this section of scientific enquiry with specific emphasis on which type of graph is most the suitable for the various types of data collected. Ultimately during the conclusion, students use their collected results and previously researched scientific reasoning to formulate and justify answers to the questions originally asked.
Evaluation skills are a major focus of the KS2 curriculum. Pupils learn how to identify strengths and weaknesses in their investigations, suggest improvements and create new ways to investigate therefore giving more reliable results.