Science at Prince Rock
Creating a sense of ‘Awe and Wonder’ and ‘Excitement and Curiosity about Natural Phenomena’ has provided the basis for the LAT Science Curriculum Overview. A clear vision that Science, as a core subject, should often be independent from themes and/or topics to ensure that children develop a secure understanding of each ‘key block of knowledge and concepts’. However, high-quality science education subsequently helps drive our curriculum alongside the LAT ‘We Will’s’, ensuring that all of our children have the opportunity to find out about the world around them and explore their place within it.
A sense of rigour and clear structure means that the National Curriculum is set as the minimum expectation for our science teaching, with additional non-statutory guidance used to further develop children’s understanding and capabilities. Underpinning our entire curriculum and each and every lesson are the processes and methods of ‘Working Scientifically’: comparative and fair testing, sorting and grouping, identifying and classifying, pattern seeking, observation over time and research. This is not taught as a separate strand but permeates throughout all science teaching to enable the high-quality delivery of the curriculum content.
We want our children to develop a love of science that will stay with them as they move through our school, into Secondary school and beyond. We want to inspire our children so that they can aim high with science. STEM opportunities are abundant in the South West and we want our children to aspire to be a part of that community. We want our children to be lifelong scientists, to be curious and critical thinkers that pose their own questions and know how to find the answers.
The EYFS curriculum at Prince Rock provides the children with a firm foundation to develop scientific enquiry and critical thinking. They begin to work scientifically by asking questions to find out more and to check what has been said to them. The children also use talk to help work out problems and organise thinking and activities, and to explain how things work and why they might happen. Children are able to explore the world around them and describe what they see, hear and feel while they are outside. Carefully planned provision and teaching encourages them to know and talk about the different factors that support their overall health and wellbeing, including the importance of regular physical activity and toothbrushing. Adult interactions are designed to extend children's ideas, scaffold their inquiries and develop their language through play.
Key Stage One
Children at KS1 develop an understanding of the variance in plants and animals and what they need to survive and flourish. As Prince Rock is an inner-city school, with little green space, children are given opportunities to visit different environments within their locality. They study the materials in the natural world around them and begin to make conscious choices about which materials to used, based on their scientific properties (e.g. durability or strength) and whether or not they would be fit for purpose. Additionally, they observe and explain the changes in seasons and their effect on the environment and the various food chains within them.
Key Stage Two
As they move into KS2, the key knowledge and understanding children require widens with the breadth of topics now covered. Each child explores how different rock types are formed and their uses, how and why animals have evolved over time, the differing states of matter and develop an understanding of space and the solar system. Throughout KS2, in every year group, the children gain a deeper understanding of the human body, focusing on a particular area of human anatomy via teeth, skeletal structure, the digestive system and reproduction and puberty. They also visit and then re-visit topics like ‘Electricity’ and ‘Light’ to ensure they build upon previous learning and how an in-depth knowledge in fundamental areas of the curriculum to then make a smooth transition into secondary schooling.
This curriculum also outlines the progression in data handling skills from Year 1 to Year 6, allowing children to record, present and analyse their findings in more complex and coherent ways. Furthermore, a progression in the ‘use of scientific equipment’ is outlined to ensure that children can use a range of recording equipment accurately and choose which one they think it best to carry out an investigation or prove a hypothesis.
A whole school focus on improving oracy skills and frequent vocabulary development is very important in the teaching of Science. This approach provides the opportunity for language development and ensures that disadvantaged groups, as well as SEND and Pupil Premium children, can fully engage with and attain their potential within the Science curriculum at Prince Rock.
Children at Prince Rock enjoy their science lessons! They are able to articulate their knowledge and ideas about how they are learning to be scientists. Our science curriculum provides the children with the knowledge and skills they require to move into the next phase of learning at KS3. Our aim is to enhance our children’s science capital, whereby they make connections with local experts, such as STEM ambassadors at Babcock and The Devon Wildlife Trust. We provide rich opportunities for our children to engage with science in authentic contexts, extending their conceptual knowledge and learning about the nature of science and how it works. This includes asking questions, conducting investigations and interpreting the results in a real-life context. By broadening the profile of STEM at Prince Rock, we know that building upon our children’s science capital is a tool for social justice, which helps improve their lives and life chances. We provide the foundations of understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics as science has changed our lives and will continue to do so in the future. A strong understanding of scientific principles is vital to the world’s future prosperity and will enable children to flourish in a fast-paced and ever-evolving job market.
Children record their learning in their science books. This is building a resource to demonstrate progress through the school. Progression in Science is supported through the use of techniques like retrieval quizzes. These techniques, combined with responsive teaching which adapts learning considering children’s knowledge, understanding and misconceptions, ensure that the children understand and remember key knowledge. Assessment takes place through listening to children’s responses and contributions to discussions and evaluating their written work. Working scientifically skills are assessed and responded to throughout each unit. An age-related assessment will be given to parents / carers on reports. Assessment is formative and responsive. Teachers assess children's learning in class against the key objectives in the National Curriculum throughout a unit. This is then used to inform any interventions and responses in following lessons.
Curriculum Progression Documents
On Mondays, some children from across Year 2 - 6 take part in Eco-club. Some weeks, we have helped to tidy the school ground with some litter picking; we've also been developing our 'Prince Rock Farm'. We have also developed an initiative to recycle soft plastics. The children created posters and thought of ways to share this message with the school community. We have received the Eco-schools Green Flag Award for our efforts- see our eco-club page on the website for more details!
Nature Friendly Schools
Since Summer 2021, Prince Rock Primary School have been working alongside The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, who have funded a project to help develop teachers’ confidence and ability to drive forward outdoor learning at our school. We have kindly been gifted a range of outdoor resources to enable our pupils to get closer to nature and benefit their learning, health and wellbeing and care and concern for the environment. The children been planting vegetables in 'Prince Rock's Farm'.
Making links with the wider community
Year 6 were joined by Mr Chick from Lipson Co-operative Academy. He taught them about the circulatory system. They had a brilliant time using a model to explain their understanding of how the heart works.