Science at Mab Lane Primary
Science Curriculum Rationale 2019/20
At Mab Lane we are scientists! We want our children to love science. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be astronauts, forensic scientists, toxicologists or microbiologists. We want them to embody our core values and believe that we are: “Only The Best”. The science curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their scientific capital. We want our children to remember their science lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the scientific opportunities they are presented with! Recently, children in Year 4 have been finding out about habitats and how to give nature a home within our local environment. Bringing science alive is important at Mab Lane Primary School.
The science curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas.
We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the science National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong PSHE curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the science curriculum. For example, in the summer term the whole-school celebrated ‘Perseverance’ as a theme and as part of this, our pupils took part in a Science Day, allowing the children to create their own investigations and experiments, developing their scientific enquiry skills.
We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. For example, earlier this year we established both KS1 and KS2 Science Clubs in which our children led activities that they could showcase to the rest of the school for British Science Week. This was just one of the many activities arranged for British Science Week. The children focused on a different strand of Science each week; for Biology, they looked at living things and their habitats, creating the perfect environment for sunflowers to grow. In Physics they conducted experiments about different forces and tested the best materials to make helicopter blades. In Chemistry, they created a solution to successfully clean pennies. They also spent time thinking about questions that they wanted to answer and created investigations to try to find those answers. The children then explained each of these experiments and the Science behind them to the rest of the school in a workshop held during British Science Week. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.
In July 2018, a complete audit of the science curriculum was conducted. On the back of the findings from this audit, the science curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. For example, the way materials is taught in our school has been adapted so that it is revisited in each phase. In KS1, the children tackle ‘Everyday Materials’ where they look at the practical uses of everyday materials. In lower KS2, Year 4 explore ‘States of Matter’ and look at solids, liquids and gases, changes of state, evaporation, condensation and the water cycle. In upper KS2, Year 5 the children face ‘Materials – Properties and Changes’ where they examine changes to materials that create new materials that are usually not reversible.
Science subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in science and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics are:
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.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculums under the guidance of our subject leaders. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements. Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning. For example, in Year 5 when the children explore ‘Earth and Space’ they also use the text ‘Cosmic’ by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, a local author, in English and use Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh as inspiration for their topic in art and design. Our children are taught the right, connected knowledge.
Our short-term plans are produced on a weekly and daily basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them.
We encourage staff to teach a weekly science lesson. This was a notable change after the science audit. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to science and that scientific subject matter can be revisited frequently. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every science lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in science are progressive and build year on year.
Our staff use science formative assessment grids to systematically assess what the children know as the topic progresses and inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform summative assessment judgements for each topic.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in science. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. The last science monitoring took place Summer 2019. Monitoring in science includes: book scrutinies, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.
Science Subject Overview
Science Progression of Skills
Characteristics of a Scientist
Science Week 2019
The children who came to Science after school club helped the rest of school during Science Week. They help workshops in the hall which each class visited. There were a range of practical activities and investigations for the children to take part in.
One parent said: 'Fabulous day, children were brilliant at teaching at the different Science stations.'