Intent: How we aim to grow scientists (EYFS-Y6)

All pupils at Frodsham Weaver Vale are entitled to be taught the key knowledge and skills in the scientific disciplines to develop understanding of the world around them at an age-appropriate level and in line with the National Curriculum. We use the National Curriculum guidelines in order to develop our scientific curriculum, but our aim is to make science relevant and exciting to our children, with purposeful outcomes that they care about achieving.

We aim to harness children’s natural excitement and curiosity and inspire them to pursue scientific enquiry. Throughout the primary years, children should learn to explain and analyse phenomena, make predictions and solve problems. We want our children to develop an intrinsic desire to question the ways the world around them works, through progression of skills in enquiry to compliment study in biology, physics and chemistry.  

We acknowledge that to understand scientific terminology and apply its vocabulary to learning, pupils need to access experiential learning to commit skills to long term memory.

We aim to ensure that all children can draw upon prior learning as they progress through each year group from EYFS to the end of key stage two.

We aim to meet the needs of all learners in our curriculum- challenging them and enabling them to problem solve and undertake learning at a deeper level. We encourage our children to talk about their learning in wider application beyond the scientific classroom.

Implementation: our pedagogy in science (EYFS)

The Curriculum

The EYFS framework sets out the content that should be covered in the early years. Adults working in the setting aim to identify the starting points of each unique child in terms of their knowledge, vocabulary, ideas and interests relating to the specific area ‘Understanding the World’. Teachers are familiar with previous and subsequent year groups’ curriculum content in order to link learning and build on previous knowledge and identify suitable next steps to be developed with each child.

Scientific skills and knowledge are developed through the prime areas, for example discussing and sharing ideas and experiences in response to stories and non-fiction texts and role-play (C&L); appreciating the importance of exercise and a healthy diet (PD) and developing a positive self-image and respect for living things (PSED).

Teachers are encouraged to follow children’s interests and lines of inquiry without explicitly teaching content from other year groups.

Scientific enquiry

Scientific enquiry in the early years is driven by children’s own questions and adult-led provocations. Children are supported to notice similarities and differences, environmental features, make observations of living things and explain why some things occur.

Language for learning

The EYFS setting provides a rich language environment for children. Adults identify and model scientific vocabulary appropriate for the topic and age. They further embed vocabulary using simple definitions, images and actions which can be repeated. Children are encouraged to say the words for themselves and use them in context.

Implementation: our pedagogy in science (Y1-6)

The Curriculum

The National Curriculum statutory requirements are taught and assessed in each year as a basic minimum. Teachers are familiar with previous and subsequent year groups’ content in order to link learning and build on previous knowledge. They are also aware of where a unit of work fits in with the bigger picture of the science curriculum across the primary school – an essential in ensuring key knowledge is taught and assessed to maintain progression through the curriculum.

Assessment for learning is used continually to adapt teaching to meet the needs of the pupils. Teachers are also encouraged to follow children’s interests and lines of inquiry  within the unit without encroaching on the content taught in other year groups.

Science is taught by class teachers weekly, and enhanced by 2 Science weeks a year led by Pupil voice and their interests. Science content can also be covered through a cross-curricular approach when it fits in with the overarching class topic.

Scientific enquiry is question-led and (over the academic year) include: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. In order to secure conceptual understanding, key knowledge and skills are taught prior to engaging in enquiry. 

Language for learning

Time is taken to identify and teach the specialist vocabulary associated with each topic. Vocabulary is displayed in all classrooms, Teachers further embed vocabulary using definitions, images and actions to teach, practise and aid recall from memory. This vocabulary practice forms part of a mini starter activity in every lesson.

Particular attention is paid to identifying possible misconceptions or confusion with language when a familiar word has a specific meaning in science, e.g. ‘conductor, key, theory, law, reliability, solution, prediction etc.’ Children learn to spell scientific vocabulary correctly, at an age appropriate level. They are given opportunities to pronounce vocabulary correctly (e.g. in chorus, in a pair, when answering questions), to use it in context and to revisit the words and meanings regularly throughout the topic.

Impact: evaluating the curriculum and pedagogy by assessing learning in science (EYFS)

Ongoing formative assessment through interactions and observations of children by adults to understand their achievements and interests helps to plan each child’s next steps in learning.

Children are assessed against the EYFS profile in line with EYFS assessment policy. 

Impact: evaluating the curriculum and pedagogy by assessing learning in science (Y1-6)

Teachers plan regular opportunities for pupils to check how well they are learning what they have been taught. This develops metacognitive awareness and self-regulation strategies in pupils and informs the teacher in planning next steps in learning, making adjustments as needed.

The National Curriculum calls for opportunities for pupils to: Communicate ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. At Frodsham Weaver Vale this could involve project work over several sessions, writing an explanation, creating a poster, small group discussion with an adult assessor, creating a presentation, etc. The variety in pupils’ responses: the correct use of scientific language, explanation of concepts and application of knowledge assist teachers in assessing the depth at which each pupil has learned the material they have been taught.