AIMS & OBJECTIVES
Science is seen as an extremely important element of the curriculum at SJS. Our teaching staff and governors are passionate about children gaining both scientific knowledge and understanding, through a rich variety of scientific opportunities. We take pride in the fact that the children talk enthusiastically about their experience of science in the school, and the tremendous enrichment activities afforded to us through being a Pfizer adopted school.
At the heart of science is the child's curiosity and we encourage children to share their background knowledge, generate questions about the world around them and debate their ideas with others.
STRANDS OF ENQUIRY
The main scientific strands of enquiry (observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources) are introduced to the children from their inception. As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to independently identify the enquiry strand needed to answer their own questions, collect, analyse and present their own data.
Children are taught how to use a wide range of equipment and resources through hands-on practical activities, which inspire and engage. Scientific vocabulary is explicitly taught, referred to and modelled in lessons so that children can communicate their learning both verbally and within their written work with increasing depth and accuracy as they progress through the school. Across the school, science is both taught and recorded in a plethora of ways, with a strong emphasis on drama and role play to aid understanding of often abstract concepts. In Year 3, you might see the children role playing porous and impermeable rocks through drama or using PE games to show attraction and repulsion of magnets. In Year 4, the children act out sound waves in a conga line and demonstrate how electricity travels by making a circle and passing tennis balls to represent the flow of electrons. In Year 5, drama enables the children to represent the orbits of the planets in the solar system and look at the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis using a large parachute. Year 6 enjoy creating their own giant model of the heart with cones, beanbags and acting out the red blood cells on their journey.
The Core Values permeate through every aspect of our school life and science is no exception. Children use the perseverance of the Salmon to develop the resilience of a scientist; the Dolphin for science awe and wonder and fun in undertaking scientific activities, as well as understanding how things work; the Eagle to soar high, ask questions, suggest further lines of investigation and look to key scientific figures as role models; and finally, the Wolf to work well with others, communicate effectively, and to discuss and share ideas.
CROSS CURRICULAR LINKS
Science enjoys many cross curricular links with other subjects to enrich and deepen their learning experience. Examples of this can be found throughout the children's learning. Specific links to place value, measures and statistics can be seen in Maths; links to the environment, pollution, resources, weather the water cycle, different countries, temperature, and natural phenomena are exploited through Geography; ICT, DT, Art and History are also utilised.
Measuring time by making their own pendulum.
SCIENCE CAPITAL & OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
Throughout the year, many enrichment opportunities take place to promote an awareness of STEM, STEM-based careers and to increase the 'science capital' (science capital relates to children's background knowledge of science and exposure to science in out of school contexts; it is seen as a key element in children choosing to enter a STEM based career) for all our pupils.
Whilst Science is taught on a weekly basis, our much-loved Science Week takes place during British Science Week (March) and allows a sustained focus on a particular area of science in each year group, culminating in our Fantastic Science Investigation Day.
Science Investigation Day is a day which celebrates practical science and may follow one theme or stretch across all three main strands of science. The emphasis is on enthusing the children, adding awe and wonder but also both consolidating and extending their knowledge too. In past years, our wonderful Pfizer friends have run a plethora of experiments, which the children rotate through. This year (2021) due to the current circumstances, we stayed within our year groups but rotated through four main activities linked to the Science Week Theme of 'Innovating for the Future'.
Investigating how UV beads change in different locations.
Using observation and classification skills to design their own minibeasts.
In 2020, we were just able to complete our Parent-Child Science Workshop in Science Week, funded by a grant from the British Science Association, which allowed the children and their parents to design, build and test their own battery powered fan boat. These workshops are always a delight to watch, as children share some wonderful 1:1 problem solving with their parent.
In a typical year, our very popular and regularly over-subscribed after school science club runs on a termly basis, alternating between Years 3 & 4 and Years 5 & 6. During these sessions children undertake a range of hands-on practical activities across all three sciences (biology, chemistry and physics).
In previous years, our Year 6 children have had the amazing opportunity to undertake practical science co-taught by the STEM Ambassadors at the Pfizer Community lab, a privilege normally only afforded to secondary schools. In 2019 we won the local RSC Periodic Table Competition with our own version of the Periodic Table, which is still on display at Discovery Park and a poster of the display was given to us for display in the school. In addition, we are often set competitions by our incredibly supportive Pfizer friends and our children visit the Pfizer site for the annual Science Jamboree, as well as other locally funded science competitions.
Within school, we have run several successful Christmas Science and DT competitions, where children have been asked to research and devise an experiment to present to their peers in a short and informative video. The resulting videos have not only presented fascinating science to the whole school, but also helped to develop the confidence of children who have taken part.
GOVERNORS & SCIENCE CPD
We are extremely lucky to have extremely talented and supportive governors, who work both in STEM careers and who are also STEM Ambassadors. As a consequence, both our science governor and head governor have an excellent understanding of the subject and have mentored both teachers and the pupils in STEM events, as well as being passionate about increasing children's science capital and enthusiasm for science.
Regular CPD is accessed by staff throughout the year, both in terms of in-house CPD, and also CPD offered by STEM, the PSTT and other science based organisations such as - The Ogden Trust. We are always looking to extend, consolidate and innovate our teaching.
SCIENCE CURRICULUM OVERVIEW