Children have an innate curiosity to explore the world around them. At the Nar Valley Federation, we want to inspire our children to be curious, inquisitive, and passionate about science. We seek to promote open-mindedness and critical thinking, and we actively encourage our children to question and discuss science-based issues which affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world. Through our science curriculum, we also want children to experience the joy of exploring and investigating; we strongly believe that it is important for children to have frequent, first-hand, practical experiences so that meaningful links can be made between classroom learning and the real world. What is more, through the regular use of our school grounds and the local area, we want to encourage our children to be responsible and respectful of their immediate and wider environment.
The Nar Valley science curriculum is carefully designed to ensure scientific knowledge, processes, concepts and vocabulary are taught alongside the development of subject-specific enquiry skills which include: asking questions; making predictions; setting up fair tests; observing and measuring; recording data; interpreting and communicating results; and evaluating. We also aim to give our children opportunities to carry out a wide variety of investigations which involve different types of enquiry: comparative and fair testing; research; observation over time; pattern seeking; identifying, grouping and classifying; and problem-solving.
In Years R/1 and 2/3, the children are taught four or five discrete units of science per year; however whenever possible, teachers will take advantage of cross curricular links to deepen children’s understanding of scientific concepts and processes. For example, the Year 3 science unit on rocks is taught at the same time as the history unit on The Stone Age. Having mixed age classes means that the Year 2 and Year 3 science units from the National Curriculum have been divided as evenly as possible between a Year A and a Year B. As a team, we have sequenced the units deliberately over the two years so that no Year 2 child is put at a disadvantage by having to study a Year 3 unit without the prerequisite Year 2 knowledge.
The science curriculum is organised in a similar way in Years 4/5/6; the only difference being that the children study at least five discrete units of science per year, with the extra half-term being used for revision and consolidation of previously taught units. As described previously for Years 2/3, the units of study for Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 have been spilt as evenly as possible over a three-year rolling programme. Once again, the units taught within each year of the rolling programme have been deliberately sequenced so that all children can access, at their own level, the content of the more demanding Year 6 units.
In all classes, we are currently developing the use of over-arching enquiry questions to focus our learning in Science. In addition to this, we have started to implement whole-class retrieval activities at the start of every science lesson. We believe that these retrieval sessions will enable our children to develop deep, long-lasting and connected scientific knowledge which will support their understanding of complex scientific concepts and phenomena.