The curiosity for science starts in the EYFS where it is investigated through the Development Matters strands of ‘Understanding the World’ and ‘The Natural World’. Children are encouraged to be curious, looking at the world around them, making observations and asking questions about what they see. Hands on, outdoor experiences help children to be explore their natural world and adult interaction and questioning helps encourage discussion and vocabulary. Switched on Science EYFS is used and adapted to fit with children’s interests and other areas of learning, with the golden threads of EYFS such as seasons, being interwoven throughout the year through teaching and exploration of the outdoors.
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At New Bolsover Primary School, we encourage children to be inquisitive throughout their education and beyond. The science curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in children about their immediate environment, and further afield, whilst promoting respect for living and non-living things. We believe science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes.
Throughout the programmes of study, in each year, children will acquire and develop key knowledge, that has been identified within the National Curriculum and Early Years Development Matters. We ensure that ‘Working Scientifically’ skills are built-on and developed throughout children’s education; this will allow them to apply their learnt knowledge of science when using equipment, conducting experiments, building arguments and explaining concepts and theories confidently, whilst continuing to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings.
In addition, investigations are a crucial part of our science curriculum. Activities are well-thought through in order to support children in the planning, completion and reviewing of multiple investigations. We aim to develop the children’s curiosity whilst encouraging a resilience to adapt thinking when difficulties arise during investigations. When applicable, we strive to ensure that science units refer to famous scientists and scientific careers (and current events, where necessary); this creates an anchor for how the children’s learning links with real world activities.
At New Bolsover, we create a positive attitude to science learning within our classrooms, and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science.
Teachers take pride in making science as fun and hands on as possible- promoting challenge and curiosity. Children are encouraged to be inquisitive and to ask questions about the world around them. This starts right from nursery where children explore the setting and begin to wonder how and why. Throughout school, we have a big focus on reading and vocabulary so children are exposed to and expected to use the vocabulary they learn in their science lessons. Each class has a lab coat where we write our vocabulary for each lesson. Over the year, this will build up and become a resource that the children can refer to and use. We also have a vocabulary tier on display, which helps the children retain and refer to key vocabulary.
From KS1, we use a scheme called Switched on Science which helps us to plan engaging, vocabulary rich lessons that the children really enjoy. Teachers think carefully about the children and tailor lessons to their needs and interests. We work on recording in a variety of ways and do a lot of collaborative learning to help share our knowledge. Some of the topics covered across school are: animals including humans, living things and their habitats, electricity, forces and magnets and seasonal changes. Where possible, science lessons are active and offer children chances to explore and discover through physical activities, while also encouraging deep and scientific thinking. Each class has a class book of science, in which work is recorded through photographs and annotations that the children can refer back to. Some children also have the opportunity for their work to be chosen to feature in the book.
Through teacher planning, we involve problem solving opportunities that allow children to explore and discover for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and are given opportunities in class to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom and across school. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons and involves high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in lessons to assess already known conceptual knowledge and skills. This assessment of children is carried out regularly to identify gaps in learning. We build upon the learning and skill-development of previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, they become more proficient in selecting and using scientific equipment. As the children progress through school they also develop skills to collate and interpret results, becoming increasingly confident in their growing ability to create conclusions based on real evidence. ‘Working Scientifically’ skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career, with teachers using formative assessment to track gaps in learning and to then feedback into the planning process.
The successful approach at New Bolsover School results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. This ensures that the children have the necessary scientific knowledge, vocabulary and curiosity to leave primary school ready and excited to continue their journey in scientific learning.
In addition, the children are able to demonstrate their retention of scientific knowledge in quizzes, which reflect learning throughout the curriculum, and more focused scientific ones, at strategic points in the year.
As children progress through school, they are able to become more independent and confident in questioning a hypothesis and investigating independently. We believe that this helps create strong academic learners but also lifelong scientists.
What the children at NBP think about science:
“We like investigating and experimenting because you get to find things out and that’s fun.”
“I like that you get to find out facts for yourself and do research.”
“Science links to real life…like electricity and diseases. It helps keep you safe.”
“Planning experiments is fun because you get to work together and find things out. I like to talk about science lessons at home with my dad because he likes science too.”
“We did a really cool experiment about the Mars. We used dust to create the surface of the planet and dropped things onto it…it was a lot of fun!”
What children at NBP think a scientist is:
Someone who discovers things
Someone who experiments and doesn’t stop looking
Someone who finds things out about things that interests them
Someone who find cures for things that make us ill
Someone who is resilient and patient- it probably won’t work first time!
Someone who helps the world get better