“At The Bewbush Academy, we encourage children to be inquisitive throughout their time at the school and beyond. Our science curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity in children about our universe and promotes respect for the living and nonliving."
At the Bewbush Academy we largely follow the content of the 2014 National Curriculum. However, due to our consideration for spaced learning, we have changed the order of some units and planned for short revision units at appropriate times. One of our six key areas from our curriculum driver of Well-being of Body and Mind is care for our planet; therefore we have also supplemented our curriculum with units of learning around sustainability in years 2 and 6. We have also made the decision to incorporate additional healthy eating units in all year groups to further emphasise the importance of looking after our health.
The Bewbush Academy aims for all pupils 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
● are equipped with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
The importance of subject vocabulary
At the beginning of each unit, our teachers identify ‘Star Words’ to supplement the core knowledge identified at the planning stage. This is not an exhaustive list and teachers may want to add to it as the unit unfolds whilst maintaining a consideration for cognitive load. An important aspect of both continuity and progression is to ensure that time is devoted to thinking about what ‘Star Words’ the pupils have already mastered and how this can be built upon and extended during their time at The Bewbush Academy.
● Science is taught (weekly) in planned and arranged units of study by the class teacher, to have a project-based approach. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge.
● Through our planning, we involve problem solving opportunities that allow children to apply their knowledge, and find out answers for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess pupils regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all pupils keep up.
● We build upon the previous knowledge and development of skills. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to 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 and new vocabulary (star words) and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics.
● Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.
● Children are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities, visits, trips and visitors to complement and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and link with the knowledge being taught in class.
● Regular events, such as Science Week or project days, allow all pupils to come off-timetable, to provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community.
The approach at The Bewbush Academy results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them. Frequent, continuous and progressive learning outside the classroom is embedded throughout the science curriculum. Through workshops, trips and interactions with experts, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Children learn the possibilities for careers in science, as a result of our community links and connection with national agencies such as the STEM association. This ensures that children have access to positive role models within the field of science from the immediate and wider local community. From this exposure to a range of different scientists from various backgrounds, all children feel they are scientists and capable of achieving. Children at The Bewbush Academy overwhelmingly enjoy science and this results in motivated learners with sound scientific understanding.
Before starting any science unit, our teachers begin by assessing pupil ‘start points’. They do this through the use of a ‘Learning Map’. In their first lesson, pupils are introduced to the topic of their unit and asked two questions: What do you think? and What do you wonder?
Children complete the boxes connected to these questions. As the unit progresses, lesson by lesson, children are encouraged to consider if they can confirm what they thought or wondered; or whether they actually had misconceptions relating to the topic. There is also an opportunity for children to record new learning. Teachers may decide to present this as a whole class Learning Map but, at the very least, all children will have their own individual map showing their journey.
Here is an example of a learning map proforma:
To end each unit, children take part in a low stakes quiz. Teachers will compile questions (mostly multiple choice) inspired by the core knowledge identified in the planning process, before the unit has been taught.
Throughout the unit, and after the low stakes assessment is completed, teachers track progress on our Core Knowledge Trackers.