Mrs Johns, Science Subject Lead
We wish to develop creative, independently-thinking scientists with the motivation, knowledge and skills to succeed in a fast-changing world. All children, irrelevant of needs, are fascinated by the world around them and we aim to inspire them to open their minds and develop a passion and curiosity to pursue scientific enquiry. We wish to ensure that every child is excited by scientific ideas and wants to learn to explain and analyse phenomena, make predictions and solve problems.
Through science, we aim to support this ethos by:
- asking questions and investigating problems
- building up a body of key knowledge and an understanding of key scientific concepts
- applying scientific understanding to rationalise and explain new phenomena
- developing a sense of excitement and curiosity about science and natural phenomena
- developing an understanding and appreciation of the place of science in society and the way in which it will affect their future on a personal, national and global level
We know that children learn best when the curriculum is well sequenced to enable revisiting of core knowledge, skills and understanding to deepen conceptual awareness before demanding application across the whole curriculum. Please see the Science Progression of Skills documents, which outline how the key skills are developed, revisited, assessed and built upon during Year 1 to Year 6.
All classes in Key Stage 1 participate in 1.5 hours per week and in Key Stage Two have dedicated Science sessions of 2 hours per week. The units of work in science are planned so that they build upon prior learning. We ensure that there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each curriculum area and we also build progression into the science scheme of work, so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.
At Holbrook, lessons are fully planned and researched, giving confidence in delivery. Our children are inquisitive and encouraged to ask questions (even if teachers don’t know the answers). Effective
science teaching occurs when a learner can connect their existing knowledge with what they are learning and real life contexts. This assessment of prior understanding and learning is a key component of our teaching philosophy. Through constructive questioning, scientific misconceptions that the children may have can be addressed and discussed. Furthermore, we encourage children to apply their scientific knowledge across the curriculum. Pupils are taught to use a variety of scientific enquiry types to plan and carry out investigations making full use of all our resources, indoors and outdoors. We use technology to enhance science.
In order for the children to operate as successful scientists, we teach a wide range of essential enquiry skills. These skills build upon earlier opportunities they have had to play, explore, create, engage in active learning, and think critically in the Early Years Foundation Stage. To develop their enquiry skills, we encourage the children to ask, as well as answer, scientific questions. In key stage 2 they progress to being able to set up their own fair tests, selecting the variables needed to prove or disprove a hypothesis. They have the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as statistics, graphs, pictures and photographs.
At Holbrook, we place a great emphasis on the value of discussion both as a means of eliciting children’s prior knowledge but also as a means of collectively constructing new information and knowledge. They take part in role-play and discussions, and they present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the pupils in real scientific activities, such as investigating a local environmental problem, such as the erosion of the river banks in Lower Holbrook or classifying the flora and fauna found in our school wood (the Hollow) and investigating how we can protect it from human impact. In class pupils carry out practical experiments and analyse the results.
We recognise that in all classes, children have a wide range of scientific abilities. We ensure that we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways:
- setting tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses
- setting tasks of increasing difficulty (we do not expect all children to complete all tasks)
- sometimes grouping children by ability and setting different tasks for each ability group
- using mixed-ability groupings to offer support for less able students and more responsibility to higher ability children
- where possible, using teaching assistants to support the work of individual children or groups of children
There are many ways we can showcase the excellent impact our curriculum design has on our pupils. Here are some examples:
- We fully utilise our local resources to bring the national curriculum (appendix 1) requirements to life:-
- Our school pond, rich in water creatures from newts to pond skaters and the wildflower meadow that surrounds it is perfect for learning about animals, their habitats and plants.
- Our forest school area, known as the Hollow is a wonderful place for our young scientists to explore, investigate and learn about the plants that grow there and creatures that depend on them.
- Holbrook beach offers plenty of opportunities for science, to investigate Rocks and Soils in year 3 and 4, pupils walk to the estuary to investigate our local bedrock. We benefit from the expertise of a geology teacher at the Royal Hospital School, in helping our pupils to classify the rocks they find, crack them open with chisels to look for fossils and to observe the different layers that can be seen in sedimentary rocks.
- Just a short walk away is Alton Water, a reservoir stretching across 400 acres, it has a 3-mile nature trail for us to use.
2.We are surrounded by agricultural land and an education in farming is part of our bespoke curriculum:-
- local farmers are invited in annually to share their knowledge of the journey food takes from field to fork.
- In foundation and key stage 1, our pupils get involved in the incubation of chicken eggs in the classroom. They watch as the chicks hatch and look after them until they are ready to go to a good home.
- Annual visits by years 3 and 4 are made to the Schools’ Farm and Country Fayre at Trinity Park, where pupils gain hands-on experience of animals and farming.
- Pupils across the school collaborate to design and grow a vegetable and flower garden to be shown at the Suffolk Show in May.
- Holbrook are proud of their collaborative work with their partner school, Birchwood. One example of the strength of this partnership is the joint work on Suffolk's Farming Heritage. Y5 classes from both schools research the very special heritage and genetics of Mr Crisp's Horse of Ufford. The very first registered Suffolk Punch stallion. All Suffolk horses can be traced back to this stallion's gene pool. We study the Suffolk Red Poll Cattle, and the Suffolk Sheep. These three animals make up the Suffolk Trinity. Pupils across the collaboration learn about these very important Suffolk breeds and meet breeders who display these animals on Suffolk Day at the Suffolk Food Hall. On the morning of Suffolk Day, with a budget of 49p per pupil, they work with businesses inside the Food Hall learning about profit margins and costing out their ingredients for the Suffolk day Dish. Pupils then market and sell their product idea in a Dragon's Den style activity. The winning team cooks their winning meal for the whole class, back at school. This is a strong example of how scientific enquiry is contextualised within real life activities and for real purposes.
3. To celebrate British Science Week in March, we invite parents with careers in STEM to come throughout the week to tell our pupils about their exciting jobs and hopefully to inspire future scientists. During this week, we hold a whole school Science Day where pupils move from investigation to investigation throughout the day. Previous examples have been, using bubbles to explore with KS1 pupils which forces are needed to make bubbles round and for KS2 to investigate why bubbles float. Last year, fun workshops were held into how we can be conductors of electricity with fluorescent bulbs, to solving a police investigation with the use of fingerprint analysis.
4. This year some of our year 5 and 6 pupils visited the Science Museum for a Q&A with astronaut Tim Peake and had the opportunity to meet him along with creating a computer code to be used in space in the future.