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, children can recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They will learn to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
Our science curriculum (overview PDF below) aims for all children to
- 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
- develop the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
Knowledge & Understanding
Our curriculum features a sequence of knowledge and concepts. While it is important that children 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. While we aim for children to be able to describe associated processes and key characteristics in common language, they should also be familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately and precisely. They need to build up an extended specialist vocabulary. Our Knowledge Organisers specify the key knowledge, scientific vocabulary and definitions that we expect every child to have mastered and remembered at the end of each topic.
‘Working scientifically’ specifies the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science for each phase. These skills are not taught as a separate subject but must 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 include: observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; comparative and fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching using secondary sources. Children will find answers to questions through collecting, analysing and presenting data.
Key Stage 1
We want children to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. We aim for them to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. Our curriculum will help them 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 will start 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 happen through the use of first-hand practical experiences, alongside some appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and films.
Lower Key Stage 2
In Years 3 and 4 we aim for children to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They will 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 will 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 will draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out.
Upper Key Stage 2
By Years 5 and 6, children will develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They will do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. They will encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They will also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They will start choosing for themselves 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. Children will 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.