Science Curriculum Rationale

At Florence Melly 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. We all believe that: “if you can DREAM it, you can do it”. 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, we celebrated the Royal Horticultural Society’s School Gardening ‘Big Soup Share’. Pupils in Year 3 and Year 4 harvested their homegrown vegetables from our school allotment and turned them into delicious soup which they enjoyed with their parents. The event was a real success and will help us on our quest to achieve the RHS Level 5 School Gardening Award where we have to share our garden with others in our local community through open days, sales and events. What a memorable learning experience it was!

Curriculum Intent

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. For example, we have a wonderful school allotment where the children frequently visit. The children cultivate and harvest what they grow every year. The crops are often used to create jams in design technology and are sold as part of enterprise initiatives. The children have also prepared their harvest and invited parents into school to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea. 

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 SMSC 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 autumn term the whole-school celebrated ‘Marvellous Men and Women’ as a theme and some classes used this as an opportunity to explore inspirational scientists like Marie Curie and Michael Faraday. 

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 our Science Club visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. This was just one of the many activities arranged for British Science Week. On entering the museum, the children came across ‘The Rocket’ – the first inter-city passenger train, built in the 1820’s. They also spent time in the textiles department, looking at looms from cotton mills in the 19th century. They went on a learning journey, looking at Electricity – the spark of life; a very informative look at the creation and management of electricity. Probably, and arguably the most fun part of the visit was trying the interactive experiments on the first floor. 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. 

Curriculum Implementation

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 2 when the children explore ‘Earth and Space – is the moon made of cheese?’ they also tackle; the lives of significant individuals in the past – Neil Armstrong in history, use the text ‘Whose footprints are on the moon?’ by Simon Bartram in English and use Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh as inspiration for their collage 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. 

Curriculum Impact

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 on the  20th May 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.

At Florence Melly Community Primary School, we are SCIENTISTS!

Key Documentation

Please use the links below which set out the vibrant Science curriculum on offer to our pupils.

 Flo  Flo
Science Curriculum Map   Characteristics of a Scientist   Science Curriculum Milestones

Latest Science Activities

Check out just some of the wonderful activities our children get up to in Science. Please visit our Twitter and Flickr feeds for more fantastic activities.

 Flo  Flo
Edible Science in Year 5   Our Bountiful Allotment   Exploring Plants at Ness Gardens
   
Electrifying Science   Irreversible Changes   Birds of Prey
   
A Visit from the RSPB   Making Slime in Science Club   Investigating Pitch in Year 4

Science programmes of study: Key Stages 1 and 2

Purpose of study

A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

Aims

The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future

Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding

The programmes of study describe a sequence of knowledge and concepts. While it is important that pupils make progress, it is also vitally important that they develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Insecure, superficial understanding will not allow genuine progression: pupils may struggle at key points of transition (such as between primary and secondary school), build up serious misconceptions, and/or have significant difficulties in understanding higher-order content.

Pupils should be able to describe associated processes and key characteristics in common language, but they should also be familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately and precisely. They should build up an extended specialist vocabulary. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including collecting, presenting and analysing data. The social and economic implications of science are important but, generally, they are taught most appropriately within the wider school curriculum: teachers will wish to use different contexts to maximise their pupils’ engagement with and motivation to study science.

The nature, processes and methods of science

‘Working scientifically’ specifies the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science for each year group. It should not be taught as a separate strand. The notes and guidance give examples of how ‘working scientifically’ might be embedded within the content of biology, chemistry and physics, focusing on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions. These types of scientific enquiry should include: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. Pupils should seek answers to questions through collecting, analysing and presenting data. ‘Working scientifically’ will be developed further at key stages 3 and 4, once pupils have built up sufficient understanding of science to engage meaningfully in more sophisticated discussion of experimental design and control.

Spoken language

The national curriculum for science reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their scientific vocabulary and articulating scientific concepts clearly and precisely. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear, both to themselves and others, and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.

School curriculum

The programmes of study for science are set out year-by-year for key stages 1 and 2. Schools are, however, only required to teach the relevant programme of study by the end of the key stage. Within each key stage, schools therefore have the flexibility to introduce content earlier or later than set out in the programme of study. In addition, schools can introduce key stage content during an earlier key stage if appropriate. All schools are also required to set out their school curriculum for science on a year-by-year basis and make this information available online.

Attainment targets

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

Key stage 1

The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly constructed world around them. They should be encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They should be helped to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. Most of the learning about science should be done through the use of first-hand practical experiences, but there should also be some use of appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos.

‘Working scientifically’ is described separately in the programme of study, but must always be taught through and clearly related to the teaching of substantive science content in the programme of study. Throughout the notes and guidance, examples show how scientific methods and skills might be linked to specific elements of the content.

Pupils should read and spell scientific vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word-reading and spelling knowledge at key stage 1.

Key stage 1 programme of study – Years 1 and 2

Working scientifically

During years 1 and 2, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

  • asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways
  • observing closely, using simple equipment
  • performing simple tests
  • identifying and classifying
  • using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
  • gathering and recording data to help in answering questions

Year 1 programme of study

Plants

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees
  • identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees

Animals, including humans

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify and name a variety of common animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals
  • identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores
  • describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals including pets)
  • identify, name, draw and label the basic parts of the human body and say which part of the body is associated with each sense

Everyday materials

Pupils should be taught to:

  • distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made
  • identify and name a variety of everyday materials, including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water, and rock
  • describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials
  • compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties

Seasonal changes

Pupils should be taught to:

  • observe changes across the 4 seasons
  • observe and describe weather associated with the seasons and how day length varies

Year 2 programme of study

Living things and their habitats

Pupils should be taught to:

  • explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive
  • identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other
  • identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including microhabitats
  • describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain, and identify and name different sources of food

Plants

Pupils should be taught to:

  • observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants
  • find out and describe how plants need water, light and a suitable temperature to grow and stay healthy

Animals, including humans

Pupils should be taught to:

  • notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults
  • find out about and describe the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival (water, food and air)
  • describe the importance for humans of exercise, eating the right amounts of different types of food, and hygiene

Uses of everyday materials

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify and compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, including wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper and cardboard for particular uses
  • find out how the shapes of solid objects made from some materials can be changed by squashing, bending, twisting and stretching

Lower key stage 2 – Years 3 and 4

The principal focus of science teaching in lower key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They should do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. They should ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out.

‘Working scientifically’ is described separately at the beginning of the programme of study, but must always be taught through and clearly related to substantive science content in the programme of study. Throughout the notes and guidance, examples show how scientific methods and skills might be linked to specific elements of the content.

Pupils should read and spell scientific vocabulary correctly and with confidence, using their growing word-reading and spelling knowledge.

Lower key stage 2 programme of study

Working scientifically

During years 3 and 4, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

  • asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
  • setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
  • making systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers
  • gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions
  • recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
  • reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
  • using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
  • identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
  • using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

Year 3 programme of study

Plants

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers
  • explore the requirements of plants for life and growth (air, light, water, nutrients from soil, and room to grow) and how they vary from plant to plant
  • investigate the way in which water is transported within plants
  • explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal

Animals, including humans

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition, and that they cannot make their own food; they get nutrition from what they eat
  • identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement

Rocks

Pupils should be taught to:

  • compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties
  • describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock
  • recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter

Light

Pupils should be taught to:

  • recognise that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light
  • notice that light is reflected from surfaces
  • recognise that light from the sun can be dangerous and that there are ways to protect their eyes
  • recognise that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object
  • find patterns in the way that the size of shadows change

Forces and magnets

  • compare how things move on different surfaces
  • notice that some forces need contact between 2 objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance
  • observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others
  • compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet, and identify some magnetic materials
  • describe magnets as having 2 poles
  • predict whether 2 magnets will attract or repel each other, depending on which poles are facing

Year 4 programme of study

Living things and their habitats

Pupils should be taught to:

  • recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways
  • explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment
  • recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things

Animals, including humans

Pupils should be taught to:

  • describe the simple functions of the basic parts of the digestive system in humans
  • identify the different types of teeth in humans and their simple functions
  • construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey

States of matter

Pupils should be taught to:

  • compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases
  • observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure or research the temperature at which this happens in degrees Celsius (°C)
  • identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature

Sound

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating
  • recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear
  • find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it
  • find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it
  • recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases

Electricity

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify common appliances that run on electricity
  • construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers
  • identify whether or not a lamp will light in a simple series circuit, based on whether or not the lamp is part of a complete loop with a battery
  • recognise that a switch opens and closes a circuit and associate this with whether or not a lamp lights in a simple series circuit
  • recognise some common conductors and insulators, and associate metals with being good conductors

Upper key stage 2 – Years 5 and 6

The principal focus of science teaching in upper key stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They should do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. At upper key stage 2, they should encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They should also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They should select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information. Pupils should draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings.

‘Working and thinking scientifically’ is described separately at the beginning of the programme of study, but must always be taught through and clearly related to substantive science content in the programme of study. Throughout the notes and guidance, examples show how scientific methods and skills might be linked to specific elements of the content.

Pupils should read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly.

Upper key stage 2 programme of study

Working scientifically

During years 5 and 6, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

  • planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  • taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  • recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
  • using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  • reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and a degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations
  • identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments

Year 5 programme of study

Living things and their habitats

Pupils should be taught to:

  • describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird
  • describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals

Animals, including humans

Pupils should be taught to:

  • describe the changes as humans develop to old age

Properties and changes of materials

Pupils should be taught to:

  • compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets
  • know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution
  • use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating
  • give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic
  • demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes
  • explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible, including changes associated with burning and the action of acid on bicarbonate of soda

Earth and space

Pupils should be taught to:

  • describe the movement of the Earth and other planets relative to the sun in the solar system
  • describe the movement of the moon relative to the Earth
  • describe the sun, Earth and moon as approximately spherical bodies
  • use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky

Forces

Pupils should be taught to:

  • explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object
  • identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces
  • recognise that some mechanisms including levers, pulleys and gears allow a smaller force to have a greater effect

Year 6 programme of study

Living things and their habitats

Pupils should be taught to:

  • describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals
  • give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics

Animals including humans

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify and name the main parts of the human circulatory system, and describe the functions of the heart, blood vessels and blood
  • recognise the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function
  • describe the ways in which nutrients and water are transported within animals, including humans

Evolution and inheritance

Pupils should be taught to:

  • recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago
  • recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents
  • identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution

Light

Pupils should be taught to:

  • recognise that light appears to travel in straight lines
  • use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain that objects are seen because they give out or reflect light into the eye
  • explain that we see things because light travels from light sources to our eyes or from light sources to objects and then to our eyes
  • use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain why shadows have the same shape as the objects that cast them

Electricity

Pupils should be taught to:

  • associate the brightness of a lamp or the volume of a buzzer with the number and voltage of cells used in the circuit
  • compare and give reasons for variations in how components function, including the brightness of bulbs, the loudness of buzzers and the on/off position of switches
  • use recognised symbols when representing a simple circuit in a diagram