Our Science Curriculum
Article 29: education should teach children to respect their natural environment. Education must teach children to live responsibly and encourage the child’s respect for the environment.
Essential Characteristic of Scientists. Our goal is for our children to become scientists. Scientists must have:
- The ability to think independently and raise questions about working scientifically and the knowledge and skills that it brings.
- Confidence and competence in the full range of practical skills, taking the initiative in, for example, planning and carrying out scientific investigations.
- Excellent scientific knowledge and understanding which is demonstrated in written and verbal explanations, solving challenging problems and reporting scientific findings.
- High levels of originality, imagination or innovation in the application of¯skills.
- The ability to undertake practical work in a variety of contexts, including fieldwork.
- A passion for science and its application in past, present and future technologies.
Early Years - Nursery & Reception Curriculum
Early Years Foundation Stage - what does Science look like in the Early Years?
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, science forms part of the learning children acquire under the ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World' branch of the Foundation Stage curriculum.
Science at Foundation Stage is introduced indirectly through activities that encourage children to explore, problem solve, observe, predict, think, make decisions and talk about the world around them. It’s called ‘knowledge and understanding of the world’.
Early Years science also helps children with skills in other Foundation Stage areas of the national curriculum, such as physical development and creative development.
Children explore creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments. They observe and manipulate objects and materials to identify differences and similarities. For example, they may look at an egg whisk, sand, paper and water to learn about things that are natural and manufactured and their different functions. Children also learn to use their senses, feeling dough or listening to sounds in the environment, such as sirens or farm animals.
Children are encouraged to ask questions about why things happen and how things work. They do activities such as increasing the incline of a slope to observe how fast a vehicle travels, or opening a mechanical toy to see how it works. Children will also be asked questions about what they think will happen to help them communicate, plan, investigate, record and evaluate findings.
The document below outlines in more detail the specific science objectives within the Early Years curriculum, what it looks like in practice, and demonstrates the links between the Early Years and the KS1 Science curriculum. It also highlights key vocabulary taught within our Early Years and at Key Stage 1.
Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Curriculum
We believe that for children to secure greater depth, it is important that they first have solid fundamental foundations. Fundamental foundations should not be rushed and so the notion of ‘rapid progress’ must be dismissed. Instead the goal of repetition should be seen as both useful and necessary. This is why you will see us returning regularly to science knowledge and concepts.
Cognitive Domains – Degrees of Understanding
We refer to three degrees of understanding and thinking - ‘Basic’, ‘Advancing’ and ‘Deep’.
BASIC – Low level cognitive demand. Involves acquisition of fundamental foundations.
ADVANCING – Higher level cognitive demands beyond recall. Requires application involving some degree of decision making in how to apply fundamental foundations.
DEEP – Cognitive demand involves non-standard, non-routine, inter-connected, multi-step thinking in problems with more than one possible solution. Requires reasoning and justification for the inventive application of fundamental foundations.
Time scales for progression through the cognitive domains -
Milestone 1 – Y1 & Y2
Milestone 2 – Y3 & Y4
Milestone 3 – Y5 & Y6
Each milestone should be seen as containing two phases. In the first phase, pupils should repeat the content a sufficient number of times to secure fundamental foundations; in the second phase, they should apply the foundations in order to reach the ‘expected’ standard. If they reach this before the end of the second phase, they should move on to tasks that will secure greater depth. Thus, progress through the cognitive domains take two years.
It is expected that by the end of Year 1, pupils should be able to complete the BASIC tasks to secure fundamental foundations and by the end of Year 2, the ADVANCING tasks. It is also reasonable that a number of children may move on to the DEEP activities if they secure an early understanding of advancing.
Deep Y2 Deep Y2 Advancing Y6 Advancing Y6
Y1 & Y2
Y3 & Y4
Y5 & Y6
Page 144 of the Primary National Curriculum 2014 states:
‘While it is important that pupils make progress, it is also vitally important that they develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Insecure, superficial understanding will not allow genuine progress: pupils may struggle at key points of transition (such as between primary and secondary school), build up serious misconceptions, and/or have significant difficulties in understanding higher-order content.’
We believe that it is therefore extremely important to secure the fundamental foundations before trying to secure greater depth.
Curriculum Breadth, Depth & Progression Principles
We have carefully planned our curriculum to ensure progression as well as breadth and depth. These are the principles we have adhered to:
- We revisit the same micro-topics in both years of a milestone so that pupils have a chance to connect topics together (intra-curriculum links)
- Threshold concepts are returned to regularly within and through all the milestones
- Planning ensures that we move from basic to advancing, with some children achieving deeper learning over the two years within a milestone
Across all year groups, pupils will gain the knowledge and skills with each area of science through a predominantly ‘working scientifically’ approach.
Key Stage 1 – Milestone 1: These areas of Science are taught in Key Stage 1 in order that there is full coverage of the National Curriculum.
Identify, classify and describe their basic structure.
Observe and describe growth and conditions for growth.
Look at the suitability of environments and at food chains.
Animals and Humans
Identify, classify and observe.
Look at growth, basic needs, exercise, food and hygiene.
Identify, name, describe, classify and compare properties and changes.
Look at the practical uses of everyday materials.
Describe basic movements
Earth and Space
Observe seasonal changes
Key Stage 2 – Milestones 2 & 3: These areas of Science are taught in Key Stage 2 in order that there is full coverage of the National Curriculum.
Building a Science Schema at Bangabandhu
Our pupils will form a a science schema* by:
using concepts as the basis for schema. We call these threshold concepts; these are the big ideas which form the basis for the subject schema. In science the threshold concept is working scientifically.
strengthening the schema with knowledge. The knowledge comes from our topics. Within each topic are knowledge categories, the facets of the threshold concept that helps to strengthen the schema. The science knowledge categories are biology, physics and chemistry. Working scientifically’ specifies the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science for each year group. It should not be taught as a separate strand. ‘Working scientifically’ is embedded within the content of biology, chemistry and physics, focusing on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions. These types of scientific enquiry include: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. Pupils seek answers to questions through collecting, analysing and presenting data.
further deepening connections through tasks. This is what is developed though our planning.
*Schema – A subject schema is a way of organising knowledge in a meaningful way; it is an appreciation of how facts are connected and they ways in which they are connected. A schema is distinct from information, which is just isolated facts that have no organisational basis or links.
The Science Threshold Concept (Working Scientifically) Broken into Milestones - Progression Through Key Stages
The one threshold concept is Working Scientifically
Working Scientifically Progression through the 3 Milestones
|Milestone 1||Milestone 2||Milestone 3|
|This concept involves:||
Asking simple questions.
Observing closely, using simple equipment.
Performing simple tests.
Identifying and classifying.
Using observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
Gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.
Asking relevant questions.
Setting up simple, practical enquiries and comparative and fair tests.
Making accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, e.g. thermometers and data loggers.
Gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions.
Recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, bar charts and tables.
Reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.
Identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple, scientific ideas and processes.
Using straightforward, scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.
Planning enquiries, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary.
Using appropriate techniques, apparatus, and materials during fieldwork and laboratory work.
Taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision.
Recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, bar and line graphs, and models.
Reporting findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations of results, explanations involving causal relationships, and conclusions.
Presenting findings in written form, displays and other presentations.
Using simple models to describe scientific ideas, identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.
Curriculum Breadth Maps (topics) - Intent
Click on the link to see our KS1 & Key Stage 2 Curriculum Progression document which demonstrates how all the areas of Science are regularly revisited.
How we Implement our Curriculum
Science is taught weekly for 60 minutes. We do not block our subjects as we want children to return regularly to the subject knowledge and concepts in order that they are regularly retrieving the tuaght knowledge and concepts, embedding these in their long term memory. This enables them to make progress - know more and remember more.
Subject Specific Vocabulary
We teach children a rich and broad vocabulary in order that they develop a deep understanding of the subjects they study. We carefully select this subject vocabulary, teaching it in context. Here is the science vocabulary we teach in each milestone.
Our Special Educational Needs Science Curriculum
SEND Curriculum Intent
The SEND curriculum at Bangabandhu will be used for children who are working well below the age-related expectations, where differentiation within the overall curriculum isn’t possible. Possible reasons are: the work is too complex or the progression through the lessons stops the child from being able to remember what they have been taught effectively.
The SEND Curriculum aims to support and develop the children’s executive functioning skills so that they are able to store learned information and put it to use (working memory), leading to successful learning. Children will be able to follow instructions, manage tasks and remain focused throughout the lesson. Whereby in the main lessons the children may lose concentration because the demands are too high e.g. pace, language, too many instructions to follow at one time. The SEND curriculum aims to ensure that children with differences are able to learn about a subject, remain focused, manage and complete tasks with a sense of achievement, whilst also being challenged.
This curriculum has been implemented in history, geography, and science – the three most academic subjects of our curriculum.
It is implemented by…
- More repetition of learning focuses to help embed the knowledge (to help the children to remember the knowledge). Repetition to take the form of retrieval tasks and learning the same information in different ways over several lessons. The plenary for each lesson is to return to the year-long mind map to add vocabulary and key ideas, which helps contextualise information into a meaningful schema for the children.
- One knowledge category focus per term on two historical/geographical/science units. This allows depth of understanding of knowledge category.
- A range of knowledge categories over the course of the 6 years to support breadth of understanding over the course of the curriculum.
- A wider range of practical activities in the SEND curriculum. A process of input, reading/writing task, practical activity (e.g. poster, piece of art work), verbal presentation of information. Verbal presentation of the work (for example to a member of staff or other children) is to support the embedding of knowledge, to support SAL skills and to celebrate the development of the child.
- Reading differentiated to support lower-level readers.
Science SEND Curriuclum Breadth Maps (topics) - Intent
Example Lessons from the SEND Science Curriculum
Beyond the National Curriculum - Cultural Capital Experiences
Cultural capital is the essential knowledge that children need to prepare them for their future success. We want to ensure that children at Bangabandhu have a wide and varied range of experiences as they progress through our school. We want them to know about their world; to build a schema of knowledge and to do this through first hand experiences. We intend to provide our children with opportunities to develop not just their knowledge but their interests and talents. Our aim is to prepare them for a successful future.
Our school is in an area of high socio-economic deprivation. We are focused on addressing this disadvantage. Our curriculum is the main provider of cultural capital however there are other aspects of school life which provide essential cultural capital and should not be overlooked. We have planned the cultural provision that goes beyond the curriculum and this plan can be found below. This plan is to capture, illustrate and to strategically plan for the breadth and range of cultural capital experiences we will provide for our children as they move through the school. We are not leaving such an essential element of our school’s provision to chance or individual teacher interest. When a child leaves Bangabandhu in Year 6, we will be certain of what they have learnt and experienced and know that they will be prepared for the next step in their learning and personal development.