Intent

Science at Gastrells will enable children to understand the world, see how science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.

Implementation

This guide is divided into 2 sections:

Curriculum Content

We teach according to the national curriculum programmes of study and aim specifically to develop pupils’ skills in 2 key areas:

Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding: (WHAT do we learn)

We structure our content into yearly programmes as suggested by the National Curriculum. A copy of what to expect can be found here (CURRICULUM MAP): you will see that in the majority of cases subjects are re-visited to be studied in greater depth later in the school.

Teaching is also vocabulary rich so that pupils can articulate ideas and form a more complete understanding of their topic of study. A list of probable terms your child will be introduced to, by age and topic, is available here (VOCAB LIST). These words will be explicitly used in lessons and are likely to feature in spellings, appropriate to reading level, for home learning.

Scientific Thinking: (HOW do we learn)

This focusses on the nature, processes and methods of science to enable pupils to ask questions and investigate them with increasing independence.

As they learn content through investigation, pupils will develop cognitive and practical skills which are built upon throughout their school life. They are outlined here SALTER INSTITUTE). All pupils have a copy of this in their book.

We also consistently refer to the 5 enquiry types from year 1 onwards: these are classifying, secondary research, fair testing, observing over time and pattern seeking.

To help our pupils understand what it is to be scientist, our curriculum will contain a balance of these enquiry types. Pupils consider the most appropriate method for what they want to find out with increasing independence as they move through the school.

Identifying parts of the body, Y3
Y2 Minibeast survey
EYFS exploring leaves in Autumn
Observing the water cycle, Y5
Sole friction experiment, Y5
Y1 – Does a bigger boat hold more weight?
Mass of an object vs force needed to move it, Y4
Y6 apply research into evolution and inheritance

Delivery

We would like Gastrells pupils to leave us with a positive view of science and a curiosity to learn more. We have 3 broad aims – that science should be:

Stimulating Relevant Visible

  1. Science is stimulating

“Emotional involvement when learning significantly increases the chances of that learning being successful”

(Dr Andrew Curran – The Little Book of Big Stuff about the Brain)

Cognitive research into has shown that we remember better when emotional connections are made during the learning process. We ensure that:

  • We try to link new scientific knowledge to STEM outcomes so that it is applied and becomes ‘just in time’ knowledge rather than ‘just in case’. This also reflects to a degree how science can help us in the real world, with practical, commercial and engineering hurdles to be overcome! (see also relevance below) Jobs like this exist in the real world and children are inspired by learning about them.
  • Termly science assemblies celebrate individuals, newsworthy events and inspire interest.
History and STEM to create longest firing catapult, Y6
From friction research . . . . .
to a brand new pair of trainers, Y5

2. Science is Relevant

It’s easy to take for granted how much science impacts our lives; at Gastrells we like to share the scientific stories behind everything from everyday objects to extraordinary discoveries. We hope this will help our pupils see that science is all around them, relevant to their many interests, and a gateway to a variety of career paths.

It is also imperative that pupils leave Gastrells with a positive and informed understanding of science; challenging stereotypes and misrepresentations of what science looks like and who can do it.

We do this by:

  • Undertaking an annual ‘pupil voice’ survey of pupil’s perceptions.
  • Participate in outreach programmes with businesses and local secondary schools.
  • Ensuring learning extends beyond science lessons and links to topic, literature, maths and outdoor learning.
  • Providing opportunities to experience science outside the classroom; through visits, workshops and guests to the school.
  • Whole school projects make science accessible for all regardless of age

Y6 participate annually in the KNEX Challenge in collaboration with Renishaw and STEMworks

3. Science is Visible

To demonstrate we value science, it is on display throughout the school and referenced outside science lessons.

We do this by:

  • Having a dedicated Science Library and equipment store in the corridor.
  • Informally linking our curriculum aims to our Forest School provision.
  • Having a dedicated wildlife area which has been co-designed with the pupils.
  • Science themed book sets available for guided reading.