The Russell School

Aim High, Have Courage, Be Kind

Science

At The Russell School, our main aim is to foster a sense of excitement and curiosity about science whilst increasing children's awareness and understanding of the world around them.

We believe that science is central to many aspects of life and that children should be encouraged to look at the world as scientists considering the science behind everyday experiences and phenomena.

The principal focus of science teaching in KS1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. Pupils are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They are helped to develop their own understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. Pupils begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. Most of the learning about science takes place through first-hand practical experiences, supported by some use of appropriate secondary source, such as books, photographs and videos.

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. This takes place through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. Pupils are encourages to ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out. Pupils are expected to read and spell scientific vocabulary correctly and with confidence, using their growing word reading and spelling knowledge.

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. This is done through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. At upper Key Stage 2, pupils encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. Pupils are also expected to begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. Through their learning opportunities they select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information. Pupils draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings. They are expected to read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly.

At The Russell School, we believe that children learn most effectively through ‘doing’ and we take every opportunity to deliver Science learning through practical work. ‘Working scientifically’ is at the core of our science teaching.  This means that children learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions. Through working scientifically, children are encouraged to: make observations over time; seek patterns; identify, classify and group; make predictions, carry out comparative and fair tests (controlled investigations); and research using secondary sources.

Our Science curriculum also reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development.   We aim to help pupils describe their learning in a common language using science specific vocabulary, whilst helping the children to become familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately, helping them to communicate their ideas to others clearly and confidently.

Furthermore, we aim to embed cross-curricular opportunities within our science curriculum. Through writing explanations, reports and instructions etc, children are building on the skills taught as part of our English curriculum. They are also encouraged to apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including collecting, presenting and analysing data.  Making these cross curricular links puts the learning in context for children and gives a real life reason for writing or analysing data.

We take opportunities to invite ‘real world’ scientists into school to inspire the children, put their learning in context and experience a broad range of inspiring role models.

While it is important that pupils make progress in their understanding of scientific concepts, it is also vitally important that they develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge.   With our curriculum we aim to ensure that all children have the building blocks to allow them to continue learning and developing as scientists and maybe inspire them to become the scientists of the future!