At Leamington Community Primary School, we aim to teach Science in a fun, engaging and motivating way. From a very early age, children are curious about the world they live in, we aim to foster this curiosity and encourage children to ask questions, seek answers and to be ambitious about their own future. They instinctively explore and interact in their physical environment. We want to inspire our future biologists, doctors, vets, astronauts and zoologists.
Children from Nursery to Year 6 love to visit our Leamington garden. They observe planting, growing, harvesting, and different lifecycles.
Children are constantly developing new ideas, observing their effects and naturally testing them. Children’s concepts are therefore initially based upon first hand exploration. Our immersive curriculum creates real-life opportunities for children to explore and engage in purposeful activities, demonstrating how Science is used in the real world.
For example, children in Year 1 and Year 3 visit the recycling plant where they explore and discover way in which they can help the environment and also how materials can be changed and used in different ways.
Primary Science is concerned with the development of process skills and concepts that draw upon these natural interests and abilities. At Leamington, our pupils are given opportunities to observe, investigate, experiment, discover and communicate their ideas in a variety of ways enabling them to learn about the way things are and why they behave as they do. We have designed an ambitious curriculum to provide children with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in the world. We strive to deliver the foundations of skills, attitudes, knowledge and understanding that will enable all of our children to understand the world around them. Our curriculum is planned and sequenced to combine sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment. We aim to inspire our future thinkers, innovators and problems solvers. Every child is a scientist and promote a love of science. We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum across key stages. We explore and research a diverse group of scientists relevant to each topic. Science plays an important role in so many careers – we have invited a variety of professionals into our classrooms to share their job roles and enlighten children in how Science can be useful in the real world. We have had visits from physiotherapists, electricians, student surgeons and an eye doctor.
For example when Year 4 were learning all about Electricity, Mr Wilson, an Electrical Engineer, visited the children and talked about how circuits in devices control things in different ways.
Also, Entian Carrol, a Professor of Paediatric Profession, visited our Year 6 children and talked about micro-organisms and bacteria.
Our curriculum is designed and planned to meet the needs of all our learners with a range of enriching opportunities incorporated into each topic, whilst challenging each mind-set and encouraging children to solve problems. Our school promotes a love of ‘togetherness’. We encourage children to work together. Our Science Jotters are a fun and engaging way in which our children enjoy working collaboratively. Building on their speaking and listening skills, developing their leadership and teamwork skills whilst learning solving problems in a creative and engaging way. We want our children to be ambitious and resilient.
At Leamington we are firm believers that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value and experiences we offer to really inspire our children; a combination of real-life experiences united with engaging classroom lessons motivates children and encourages our future scientists to explore the way the world works around us. We believe that science should be taken outside of the classroom to enhance lessons. Enriching our children’s time at our school with memorable and unforgettable experiences, whilst supporting and developing their scientific skills, knowledge and understanding of the world, is a quality that we value.
For example, whilst learning about Space, Year 5 visited the Space Port and explored gravity, planets and the solar system.
Lessons are sequenced to ensure logical and natural progression across units. Children are taught the national curriculum objectives for each year group, whilst working scientifically skills progress across key phases.
Knowledge, Understanding and Skills
At our school, staff use a range of both summative and formative assessment throughout each science topic. Teachers use this data to prepare short-term planning and adapt lessons to ensure all learners’ needs are met, from supporting children with SEN to challenging more able children.
Staff use ‘Knowledge, Understanding and Skills’ assessment sheets to identify children in each year group as either ‘Working towards’, ‘Expected’ or ‘Greater Depth’. For each topic, staff will complete this assessment sheet for curriculum objectives for each year group. The ‘Working Scientifically’ assessment sheet will be used throughout the year to with each different topic.
At the end of each topic, children are given the chance to reflect on their learning and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Science in a variety of ways. Our reflection tasks are an excellent way of assessing children’s understanding of the topic. Tasks include a range of investigations, reports, practical activities and provide children with a chance to demonstrate their working scientifically skills.
Science Reflection Tasks
Science Reflection Tasks
Supporting SEND in Science
At Leamington, all our Science lessons are planned to be inclusive for all, our teachers anticipate what barriers are present for the children when taking part and learning in Science. We foster children’s natural wonders about the world and plan lessons to reduce barriers to learning for children with SEND, allowing all children to achieve their full potential.
In some activities, children with SEND will access lessons in the same way as their peers. In others, some modifications or adjustments are made to include everyone. Ways in which we adapt certain lessons for our children are by providing visuals for instructions to experiments, rather than written instructions or using a video simulation of a process rather than manipulating equipment. Questions are prepared in different styles and levels for different children; considerate planning and preparation ensures all of the children at Leamington have the opportunity to answer open-ended questions and take part in all scientific enquiries. Providing alternative methods of recording for science also ensures that writing does not become a barrier to learning and achieving desired outcomes. Occasionally, children with SEND will have to work on different activities tailored to meet their needs, however they are always given opportunities to initiate and direct projects and are valued as equal contributors in their class.
Supporting Mental Health in Science
At Leamington we understand the importance of maintaining positive Mental Health in all of our children. During our Science lessons, we ensure that we establish a safe and secure environment so they are ready to learn.
Within our Science lessons we encourage the children to talk about what they want to learn and find out about the subject of Science, for example it could be something that helps encourage their independence like completing an experiment correctly or setting up a research project about a famous Scientist or Inventor. We believe that when children feel they are contributing to a Science lesson and their own learning, it can enhance their sense of belonging and positive thoughts.
Whatever the learning intention, it is important that children understand they can always improve their skills and abilities, particularly in Science. Science can often be about trial and error, or involve repeating investigations and comparing results. We all make mistakes – this is how we learn. This is often referred to as a ‘growth mind set’; we discuss how we all have the ability to change the way we think and do things. So, whether a child is learning how friction works or is setting up their own electrical circuit, our teachers talk to children about their learning in a positive manner which influences the children’s work and their own beliefs and attitudes towards Science.
In Science trying new things can be scary for children and can sometimes result in anxiety levels rising. At Leamington, we understand that things can be less daunting when you do it with others; this is why we introduced our Science Jotters. We use our Science Jotters as a tool for collaborative learning. As a group, the children might decide to try something new and celebrate their learning and their failures as a group, when something doesn’t work the first time.
How has COVID affected the Science Curriculum at Leamington Primary?
What was it like before lockdown?
Prior to lockdown in March 2020, Science (Understanding the World) was covered within the continuous provision of our Early Years Foundation Stage. In Key Stage 1 and 2, teachers were delivering a broad and balanced curriculum, linked with our Narrative Immersion. Science was planned in units according to the National Curriculum for each year group and all children had the opportunity to explore the different scientific enquiries within their lessons, whilst learning scientific skills alongside knowledge objectives. Teachers were recording the children’s work through science books, science jotters and Seesaw.
What was it like during lockdown?
During lockdown from March 2020 – July 2020, Science played an integral part engaging children in learning from home. Children are naturally curious about the world around them and were encouraging to explore the outdoors. Science units were not specifically taught, however, we provided opportunities for children to work scientifically at home.
During lockdown from January 2021, each Key Stage followed their science curriculum as best they could from home. Teachers adapted lessons to ensure they were suitable for remote learning, whilst still providing opportunities for all children to follow the national curriculum and achieve their full potential.
Science at Foundation Stage is covered in the ‘Understanding the World’ area of the EYFS Curriculum. During Remote Learning, it was introduced indirectly through activities that encouraged the children to explore, problem solve, observe, predict, make decisions and talk about the world around them whilst spending time in their home environment.
Early Years teachers encouraged children to explore creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environment. They encouraged the children to observe and manipulate objects and materials to identify differences and similarities. Other tasks involved the children making observations of animals and plants in their garden and explaining why some things occur and talk about changes. Children were tasked with asking questions about why things happen and how things work, through exploring scientific experiments using objects and ingredients that may be found around the home. Some activities involved floating and sinking, creating chemical reactions or completing research on a particular topic, which related to their interests.
Teachers asked children questions about what they thought would happen when modelling tasks. This helped children to communicate, plan, investigate, record and evaluate their findings at an Early Years level.
Remote Learning in Science for the rest of the school looked a little bit different, Science tasks primarily consisted of videos recorded by the class teacher and delivered through Class Dojo. Children were encouraged to use their scientific enquiry skills to complete the weekly Science tasks and send evidence back. During lockdown, some aspects of the Science Curriculum were adapted to accommodate remote learning ensuring tasks could be accessible at home. Children were encouraged to carry out scientific investigations using resources they had at home. Each year group followed their curriculum overview and adapted lessons to make them more suitable to complete at home. All children learning from home and in school had access to the same lesson. Lessons were still differentiated to meet the needs of individuals and activities remained purposeful and engaging.
What was it like after lockdown?
When school reopened in September 2020, staff taught the units from the previous year group that had been missed in the first lockdown. For example, Year 2 children completed tasks from the Year 1 Summer curriculum. As these units were taught in a shorter time as a catch-up curriculum, some of the key skills and knowledge may have been missed and lessons were condensed to fit in fundamental aspects. When we returned to school in March 2021, after the second lockdown, we continued to teach the curriculum from where we had left the last remote lesson. Teachers have been provided with different science games for the start of each lesson such as splat games to encourage the understanding of science vocabulary and definitions from different units. They have also been provided with discussion powerpoints to encourage the children to share their knowledge of a particular unit or to pinpoint any misconceptions they may have. This provides opportunities for children to recap prior knowledge and for teachers to assess and address any misconceptions.
What does the future look like?
We will continue to deliver Science lessons across our school. Teachers have completed a gaps analysis and identified areas and objectives that have been missed or may need to be recovered in the future. In the summer term, a Science week will be planned to ensure that teachers and children have the opportunity to revisit any of the skills that the children have missed and also provide opportunities for different experiments to be visited. This will also provide teachers with a chance to expose children to a range of scientific enquiries, catching up on any missed content and boost science capital in school.
Subject Leaders: Sophie Doyle and Lisa Curran