Hawthorn Primary School Science Curriculum Statement
At Hawthorn, we provide an inclusive and creative learning environment enriched with experiences to nurture individuals socially, emotionally and academically enabling them to develop positive relationships. We support children to work together to achieve, succeed and become the best version of themselves. As a school we incorporate the Skills Builder Framework to underpin our four curriculum drivers. This framework identifies eight universal skills which provides experiences and opportunities that allow children to become:
• Effective Communicators who develop effective listening, speaking and presenting skills which allow them to process and share information and ideas.
• Reflective Thinkers who have the ability to work creatively to find solutions to a challenge and solve problems.
• Aspirational Individuals who develop resilience and have the ability to achieve, setting goals for themselves.
• Active Citizens who can work as part of the community, in school and beyond; working cooperatively, supporting and encouraging others.
At Hawthorn Primary School, we believe that teaching and learning in science should excite and stimulate children’s natural curiosity to enable them to make sense of the world in which they live. We aim to provide children with opportunities to ask questions, make observations, investigate their ideas and ultimately improve their understanding. By providing a range of practical experiences, we develop children’s investigative skills and allow children to take risks and learn from their mistakes; enabling them to become more confident, independent learners.
The National Curriculum for science aims to ensure that all children:
• develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics,
• develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them,
• are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
Through the teaching of science, we aim to:
• develop lively, enquiring minds and the ability to question;
• develop scientific skills and knowledge with progression throughout the key stages;
• build on natural curiosity; enabling children to understand and care for the world in which they live;
• develop a stimulating environment, where they can work in an investigative way and can communicate their findings in a variety of ways;
• develop children’s ability to use equipment safely and sensibly;
• develop scientific links with all other areas of the curriculum, where appropriate.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in science, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the school. Planning for science ensures that the school gives full coverage of the 2014 National Curriculum programmes of study for Science and Understanding of the World in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Wherever possible, science is linked to class topics. Teachers use their knowledge of classes to adapt and extend the curriculum to match children’s interests and needs.
We approach science investigations through a ‘Big Question’, this ensures that children are carrying out investigations using the 5 types of enquiry: comparative and fair testing; identifying, classifying and grouping; observing over time; pattern seeking and researching using secondary sources. Through teacher modelling and questioning, we encourage our children to explore and develop their curiosity about the world around them.
We recognise that our children sometimes lack lived experiences and try to ensure that our curriculum enhancement opportunities address this. Time is spent introducing and reinforcing age-appropriate scientific vocabulary. Children are given opportunities to consolidate their use of scientific vocabulary as they move through school. Children are encouraged to use scientific vocabulary, both written and verbal, to explain their ideas and make sense of their observations and findings.
Teachers plan opportunities for children to recall their prior learning in science and plan, where appropriate, pre-teaching sessions. This enables children to consolidate their previous learning, while also preparing them for future learning, in line with the sequence of lessons. This is particularly important for our EAL and SEND children, who may need more opportunities to retain and embed scientific vocabulary and concepts.
Our Edible Playground gives the children hands on experiences of planting, caring for and harvesting fruits, vegetables and plants. The children are able to see the full life cycle of plants and actively care for them and plan and prepare healthy dishes.
We recognise the importance of working scientifically in the EYFS as a key area of learning. Our children begin their science learning journey by working towards the Early Learning Goals. There are three strands under Physical Development (Health and Self-Care), Understanding the World (The World) and Expressive Arts and Design (Exploring and Using Media and Materials).
In the EYFS, our children investigate similarities and differences in relation to objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. In both the outdoor and indoor learning areas there are opportunities for both child-led and teacher directed exploratory play. The children are encouraged to follow their curiosity, explore using their senses, observe, predict, investigate and be creative when following their natural inquisitiveness.
At Key Stage 1 children observe, explore and ask questions about living things, materials and physical phenomena. They begin to work together to collect evidence to help them answer questions and to link this to simple scientific ideas. They begin to evaluate evidence and consider whether tests or comparisons are fair. They use reference materials to find out more about scientific ideas. They share ideas and communicate them using scientific language, drawings, charts and tables with the help of ICT, if it is appropriate.
At Key Stage 2 children learn about a wider range of living things, materials and physical phenomena. They make links between ideas and explain concepts using simple models and theories. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar phenomena, everyday things and their personal health. They think about the effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and in other contexts. They carry out more systematic investigations, working on their own and with others. They use a range of reference sources in their work. They talk about their work and its significance, using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts, graphs and ICT to communicate their ideas. We know that a good working knowledge of scientific facts is not only important to be successful in this subject but to ensure our children have a better understanding of the world around them. With this in mind, we have created knowledge organisers for each topic within a year group to support children identify the key learning and vocabulary within each unit being taught.
The science curriculum at Hawthorn is enriched in a variety of ways. We have links with The Life Centre in Newcastle and children from Year 1 – 6 are offered the opportunity to attend a science club lead by staff from the centre. We are part of the West End Schools Trust (WEST) and together with our partner schools, we plan and run STEM weeks where children have the opportunities to be immersed in science at a range of local venues, such as the Discovery Museum. We use outside agencies such as The RAF, who come into school and work with the children and also provide online virtual sessions. Teachers are also encouraged to plan in trips and visitors to enhance our children’s learning experience.