Science at Westover Green Community School
Science is a body of knowledge built up through experimental testing of ideas. Science is also methodology, a practical way of finding reliable answers to questions we may ask about the world around us. Science in Westover Green provides opportunities for children to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live both through practical experience and from other sources of information.
We believe that a broad and balanced science education is the entitlement of all children, regardless of ethnic origin, gender, class, aptitude or disability.
Our science curriculum is based on the following principles:
- Developing children's sense of curiosity in their world.
- Encouraging children to observe and ask questions about what they learn and have the desire to find the answers for themselves, through application of learnt concepts.
- Ensuring children have a deep-rooted knowledge of the world around them, including how they, as humans., fit into this world.
- Develop children's thinking to ensure that they question results collected or ideas they learn - reflecting on why they have found the answers they have.
- Children are immersed in age -appropriate scientific vocabulary in all year groups to ensure that they have the subject specific language skills required to communicate their understanding.
- The science curriculum provides real-life opportunities to apply and deepen their skills and knowledge in the core curriculum subjects ensuring that they can understand the rationale behind learning in these areas.
- Prepare our children for life in an increasingly scientific and technological world.
- Foster concern about, and actively care for, our environment.
- Help develop and extend our children’s scientific concept of their world.
- Develop our children’s understanding of the international and collaborative nature of science.
- 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 scientific enquiries that help our children answer scientific questions about the world around them.
- Equip children with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
The national curriculum for science now 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.
- Encourage the development of positive attitudes to science.
- Build on our children’s natural curiosity and help them to develop a scientific approach to problems.
- Encourage open-mindedness, self-assessment, perseverance and responsibility.
- Build our children’s self-confidence to enable them to work independently.
- Develop our children’s social skills to work collaboratively with others.
- Provide our children with an enjoyable experience of science, so that they will develop a deep and lasting interest and may be motivated to study science further.
- Give our children an understanding of scientific processes.
- Help our children to acquire practical scientific skills.
- Help our children understand risks and hazards and the steps needed to be safe.
- Develop the skills of investigation - including observing, measuring, predicting, hypothesising, experimenting, communicating, interpreting, explaining and evaluating.
- Develop the use of scientific language, recording and techniques.
- Develop the use of computing in investigating and recording.
- Enable our children to become effective communicators of scientific ideas, facts and data.
Teaching and Learning
Science teaching in the school is about excellence and enjoyment. Planning for science is a process in which all teachers are involved to ensure that the school gives full coverage of National Curriculum Science and science in EYFS. Each unit is developed and built on as the children progress through the school. We have reviewed a number of materials including the Essentials (Chris Quigley), Hamilton Trust, Twinkl and Planbee resources which are in line with the New Curriculum, and have adapted these to our circumstances, ensuring good coverage of each programme of study and progression within each. Scientific Knowledge, Conceptual understanding and Scientific Enquiry are incorporated within each unit of work. Children will develop their range of scientific vocabulary. Science will be taught to the whole class with opportunities to carry out investigative work in small groups.
Where appropriate, all teaching staff are encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills in the teaching of science and have the opportunity to do this though the school’s links with local organisations e.g. EDF.
Gifted and Talented pupils.
More able children will be challenged and motivated by differentiated work given by the teacher appropriate to his or her needs. Teachers will also use high level questioning techniques, which allow the more able child to maintain their involvement in the lesson and demonstrate their knowledge and abilities. Occasionally, special arrangements will be made for an exceptionally gifted child to follow an individualised (group) programme with more challenging concepts to tackle.
Pupils with Special Educational Needs
Teachers will aim to include all children in the science lesson. All children will benefit from aspects of the lesson, such as discussion, and other children communicating and sharing ideas. However, a pupil whose difficulties are severe or complex may need to be supported by a special needs assistant in addition to appropriately differentiated tasks given by the teacher.
Wherever possible, the teaching and learning of science is enhanced by educational visits using the local area as a resource or visitors to the school. Science week helps to raise the profile of science in school and allows the children to experience a range of exciting activities and mini projects. The school also currently runs a science club as an extra-curricular activity in the summer term.
It is important that children are taught the rule of safety in science from a young age so that it becomes integral to their experiments and investigations. Materials and equipment need to be treated with respect and care and we endeavour to make sure all children do this. When carrying out scientific activities, children should treat their classroom as though it is a fully equipped science laboratory. As a school we have adopted the ASE’s safety guidance, Be Safe!
Science is planned to meet the varied needs of all learners regardless of their gender, background, and culture, physical or cognitive development. Learning objectives are set to meet these needs in line with our Special Needs policy. Our expectations do not limit pupil achievement and assessment does not involve cultural, social, and linguistic or gender bias. We recognise that science may strongly engage our gifted and talented children, and we aim to challenge and extend them.
Use of Computers
We use computers widely in science. Children are given the opportunity to practise science skills and enhance their presentation using carefully-chosen software, as well as the Internet. Computing equipment is used for enquiry work, including microscopes with digital cameras, video capture of images and activities, and data logging.
Links with other subjects
In our topic-based teaching approach, we use cross-curricular links to science wherever we can. Science relates especially well to curriculum subjects such as literacy, mathematics, computing and design and technology.
We use homework to support school and class activities. This relates to the school’s overall Homework policy.
Records and Assessment
- The school is using ‘I can’ statements created around the New Curriculum, and Statutory Assessment materials to track individual pupil progress in Science.
- At the end of each topic area, class teachers will use their individual assessments to indicate whether a pupil is achieving 'Emerging', ‘Developing’, or ‘Secure’ progress.
- Judgements about pupil performance are based on teachers’ formative assessments where appropriate and a variety of AfL strategies where the children are involved in the process of self-improvement, recognising their achievements and acknowledging where they could improve. Activities during, and at the end of, each topic record achievement and celebrate success.
Monitoring of Science
The monitoring of Science takes place as directed by the Head teacher and Governing body. This is undertaken in the form bi-annual monitoring days and regular reviews.
- Monitoring days take the form of lesson observations, book monitoring and pupil/staff consultations.
- Standards in Science across the school are monitored regularly through review of enrichment/practical evidence (usually in the form of annotated photos), work sampling and evaluation of planning.
Year 5 have used the forest school area to support their learning in Science. They used the fire to begin their unit on materials. They looked at how heating and cooling some materials changed their properties.
Holly Class (Y3) have been learning about Rocks and Soils. The children learnt about how soil is formed over hundreds of years. They made there own soil profiles in an afternoon using cereal, cakes, biscuits and worms!
Holly Class then spent the afternoon making soil profiles in forest school and even included some real worms!
Cedar class (Y4) planted sunflower seeds and have been looking after them, watering them each week and keeping an eye on their growth progress. We have been looking at statistics in maths so during our outdoor learning time, we worked in groups to measure our sunflowers to see which was the tallest. We drew bar charts to show our results.
Morrisons supermarket kindly donated sunflower seeds to every class in the school. The children have thoroughly enjoyed planting their seeds in the Forest School area, whose sunflower will grow the tallest?
In Plum and Mulberry the children have watched eggs hatch chicks and then looked after the chicks and watched them grow.
Year 2 made frames in forest school and searched for living things.
Year 3 made soil profiles using chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, green dessicated coconut and gummy worms! They were delicious!
Year 6 used their natural environment to develop their understanding of classification.
Year 6 investigated light and shadow. Photos show them trying to eliminate the shadow of a bottle, and conduct an experiment to investigate the relationship between the distance of a light source and the height of the shadow.
Strawberry DNA Extraction
Year 6 have been studying key Innovators to Technology and Science; most recently, Rosalind Franklin and her contribution to the discovery of the Double Helix in DNA. As part of their Learning Expedition, the children took on the challenge of extracting DNA from a strawberry! This involved them creating an extraction solution, measuring, filtration, separation and observation.
2020 South West STEM Science Challenge
Challenge Brief: To design and build a rainforest tree that will withstand challenges.
Once again, children from Year 1 to Year 6 recently took part in a fantastic science challenge. The children worked in groups of four, across the key stages to research, design and make a rainforest tree.
The challenge brief was very specific, the tree was to be no taller or wider than 1 metre. It needed to be free standing but should have a root system. The children also needed to make a 300g monkey that could hang on the branches and make a ground dwelling creature that would be protected by the tree canopy.
The children could only use paper, card and masking tape. No plastic, glue guns, wood or wire were permitted (except for the monkeys which could be made from a plastic bottle and wire).
The children worked extremely hard all day to produce their finished trees. The teams scored points for how well their ground dwelling creature was protected by the canopy; how many monkeys the tree could hold and how strong the tree was (it was pulled over using string around the trunk. A Newton meter was used to measure how much force was needed to fell the tree). Luckily Mr Eveleigh was on hand to judge the design of the trees, once all the other scoring had taken place.
Unfortunately the final, due to take place in Bristol at the end of the month has been cancelled due to coronavirus.
Year 3 visit from Museum of Somerset - Bones and Teeth.
The children were able to match skeletons with the correct animal. They studied real animals bones and teeth. They used the ipads and a 'special' t shirt to look inside their bodies!
Year 5 Solar System Homework project
As part of a homework project, the children were asked to create their own representation of our Solar System. It has supported their learning for our current Science topic. As you can see from the photos, the children and their parents and carers did an amazing job! The children were thrilled when Mr. Eveleigh visited our class to look at their fantastic creations.