At Okehampton Primary School, we intend to deliver a high-quality science education that provides children with the foundations they need to recognise, understand and have interest in the importance of science in every aspect of daily life both locally and globally. Through weekly timetabled science lessons as well as numerous additional opportunities including our partnership with The Ogden Trust and our PSQM (Primary Science Quality Mark) award, science is rightly given a high prominence in our school. The foundations for understanding the world are taught through the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. By building a scientific foundation which includes knowledge of concepts, methods, processes and uses of science, our pupils will develop an excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. Children will be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain occurrences, make predictions, and analyse causes through the teaching of the statutory content of the National Curriculum and EYFS with an aim to promote understanding and experience of science careers and pathways.
Developing Understanding and Knowledge
Early Year Foundation Stage
In the EYFS, Science is learnt through ‘Understanding the World’. This is planned within the play-based curriculum led by the children themselves and by teachers in adult led learning. STEM activities and resources are provided to promote learning within the classroom provision to be accessed by the children during their independent learning. Additional opportunities for outdoor discovery are incorporated into each learning week.
Key Stage One and Two
Okehampton Primary School meets the objectives of the National Curriculum through our own Base Curriculum developed collaboratively by Science Leaders within The Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust. The Base Curriculum provides a structured framework for scientific learning ensuring key topics are regularly revisited. Children are actively encouraged to recall and apply their own knowledge to scientific concepts.
As specified by the National Curriculum, the Base Curriculum aims 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.
-Ensure children are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
Developing Scientific Skills
Through the topics within the Base Curriculum, children develop their understanding and application of concepts, methods and processes through six key forms of enquiry. Enquiry is used to gain experience and consolidate knowledge but also to develop pupils' disciplinary skills. Our enquiry types include:
-Comparative and Fair Testing
-Observation over Time
-Identifying, grouping and Classifying
Building Scientific Vocabulary
The use of scientific language is key to progression and understanding. Children are taught and expected to accurately use age-appropriate scientific vocabulary as they progress to describe scientific ideas. Key vocabulary, which can be found on knowledge organisers for each unit, is referred to during all lessons and is regularly revisited through the use of retrieval quizzes.
Each unit’s learning is set out clearly using Knowledge Organisers that cite key learning objectives and concepts as well as required vocabulary. Formative assessment is used as the main tool for assessing the impact of science at Okehampton Primary School as it allows for misconceptions and gaps to be addressed immediately rather than building on insecure scientific foundations. It also provides a breadth of assessment methods allowing all children to demonstrate both their knowledge and skills and can take many forms including quizzes, discussions, practical investigations or extended pieces of writing. This happens throughout all units. Children’s existing knowledge and understanding of each topic is assessed before a unit through an elicitation task - which will often be a mixture of practical and written activities. At the end of each unit, children’s knowledge and skills will be assessed by their teacher to ensure all objectives have been met.
The successful approach to the teaching of science at Okehampton Primary School will result in a relevant, rigorous and inspiring science education. Children will be provided with the foundations needed to understand their world and the wide range of opportunities science affords. They will have gained knowledge and skills in line with the statutory requirements and will be competent to use the appropriate scientific vocabulary. They will be able to use their understanding to solve real-world problems and will be able to articulate their knowledge of key scientific concepts. Children will retain a sense of awe and wonder related to the natural world as well as a love of discovery and understanding and they will understand the importance science continues to have globally.
The Dartmoor Ogden Trust Partnership
As lead school of the Dartmoor Ogden Partnership, our teachers are provided with high-quality, bespoke training which they readily transfer into their lessons. Children are provided with top of the range resources which promote accuracy when completing practical investigation and allow for further pupil-led enquiry. Our children also benefit from the many additional opportunities such as our partnership “physics Olympics,” “Science Share” and we are particularly lucky to host a bespoke Phizzi Lab dedicated to and fully equipped for scientific investigation. Relevant, practical scientific enquiry is at the heart of our science teaching. All pupils are encouraged to work as scientists.
We host and take part in many additional scientific opportunities. Recently, these have included:
Please follow the link for further information:
Although it has not yet had its formal opening ceremony, we are pleased that our newly created "Phizzi lab" is already being put to good use by children all across the school. This is a huge boost for science across the community as it provides a dedicated laboratory space, available to all, in which practical enquiry can happen. We are grateful to The Ogden Trust for their support in creating & resourcing the Phizzi Lab and for their continued support with our science delivery.