Through Science at St Peter’s Primary School, we aim to give all our children an understanding of the world around them from the moment they join us as both an entitlement and a pleasure. When children are studying Science at the primary level, they should be acquiring specific skills and knowledge to help them to think scientifically, to gain an understanding of scientific processes, develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena and also an understanding of the uses and implications of Science, in the past, present and future. This learning is built upon and developed each year.
Our children build their expertise of Science in 2 main forms of knowledge. The first is ‘substantive knowledge’, which is knowledge of the products of science, such as models, laws and theories. The second category is ‘disciplinary knowledge’, which is knowledge of the practices of science. This teaches pupils how scientific knowledge becomes established and gets revised. Importantly, this involves pupils learning about the many different types of scientific enquiry. It should not be reduced to learning a single scientific method. The knowledge is carefully sequenced to reveal the interplay between substantive and disciplinary knowledge. This ensures that pupils not only know ‘the science’; they also know the evidence for it and can use this knowledge to work scientifically.
Children begin their formal science education in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This involves learning foundational knowledge primarily through the ‘Understanding the World' area of learning which involves a range of observational, practical explorations. This provides a number of rich contexts for pupils to learn a wide range of vocabulary.
In Year 1 children will begin to ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in a variety of ways. To develop our Working Scientifically skills we will observe the world around us closely, using simple equipment where appropriate and will start to think about how we could identify and classify the objects that we come across.
In Year 2 children will develop their Working Scientifically skills through using their observation and ideas to suggest answers to questions and gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.
In Years 3 and 4, pupils will be Working Scientifically through asking relevant questions, setting up simple practical enquiries, making systematic and careful observations, recording findings and using results to draw simple conclusions. Children will look at Working Scientifically through comparative and fair testing, using simple scientific language, drawings and charts, report findings from enquiries, using results to make predictions whilst suggesting improvements and raise further questions and use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions to support their findings.
In Years 5 and 6, children will engage in Work Scientifically through planning different types of scientific enquiries, taking measurements, recording data and results, using test results to make predictions and identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments. Children will also recognise and control variables, increase the accuracy and precision of taking measurements, record results with increasing complexity, make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests and report and present findings.
All children are encouraged to develop and use a range of skills including observations, planning and investigations. Specialist vocabulary for topics is taught and built up, and effective questioning to communicate ideas is encouraged. Concepts taught should be reinforced by focusing on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions.