Onslow Infant School delivers the National Curriculum objectives through hands on, practical lessons with ‘Working Scientifically’ at its core. This is because all science operates from the skills of ‘Working Scientifically’. These are the skills of asking questions, observation, carrying out tests, identifying and classifying, using knowledge to answer questions and recording data to reach a conclusion. Under the ’Working Scientifically’ umbrella, children learn about specific areas of science covering plants, animals, habitats, changing seasons and they start to learn about human needs. We encourage all of our children to be able to use the correct vocabulary for each science topic and to remember it, enabling them to explain ideas in scientific terms. We plan for high level vocabulary that is suitable yet challenging for our children. Children are given many opportunities to carry out practical observations within our school grounds as well as in class. Children will plan, carry out and evaluate experiments and observations throughout their time here and by the end of Year 2 they start to do this independently with confidence. Children can choose resources and discuss with their friends their reasoning for doing so. Onslow Infant School wants to encourage a love of science for all children at the school and for this enthusiasm to go forward with them into the next part of their lives.
Starting with the subject content outlined in the National Curriculum Programme of Study, we have developed our science curriculum to ensure coverage and progression across the key stages. Science is taught weekly allowing children to develop their knowledge and skills effectively whilst also revisiting knowledge from previous science topics. At the beginning of each science lesson, previous knowledge and vocabulary is reviewed. Science topic vocabulary is displayed on working walls for the children to access at all times. A significant element of science is taught through continuous provision where children are able to explore science ideas and these are often based outside. Our ‘Woodland’ provision supports understanding of the science curriculum.
All Year groups also use the website ‘Explorify’ which is funded by the Welcome Foundation. This is an excellent resource for capturing children’s ideas and getting them to explain themselves as scientists. It really encourages science talk. Children can record their learning in personal science books. Supporting this recording they can use ‘Working Scientifically’ floor books which show aspects of science lessons that are not required to be recorded individually such as, pictures of investigations, thought showers and post it notes. The school uses ‘Tapestry’, an online journal through which aspects of learning are captured, such as children’s comments and photographs to record their science journey through the school.
In our medium-term plans, we set out key concepts that are developed during each topic. Teachers plan activities and resources with scientific enquiry at its core, enabling children to develop their skills and knowledge simultaneously. Teachers use many forms of formative assessment to monitor understanding and plan next steps for children.
We have a range of ways to find out what the children know. At the beginning and end of each concept taught, we use various methods to address any misconceptions. We observe children during set independent activities to see how they are using the new vocabulary they have been introduced to, and to see their understanding of what has been taught. We encourage the children to talk during class discussions, group and paired work. Pupil voice is collected frequently and comments are added to ‘Working Scientifically ‘books, our working walls and on ‘Tapestry’. We also collect photographic evidence that is recorded in our ‘Working Scientifically’ Floor books and ‘Tapestry’. We revisit previous topics through ‘Tapestry’ to assess if the children have remembered previous learning and then reflect this is our teaching.
Teachers have curriculum statements for each topic to assess children’s understanding against. As each unit of work is covered, we consider the related intended learning and recognise children who are working at the expected standard. This informs our future teaching and support for any children who need further assistance.
Monitoring in science includes work book scrutiny, lesson observations and/or learning walks. Pupil voice is important and we interview children to ascertain correct curriculum coverage. This informs us about the quality of teaching and learning as well as the children’s attitudes to learning science. This information is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.