At St. Stephen’s, we aim to enable our children to learn about the world around them in an exciting and child-led way. We make every effort to provide our learners with repeated opportunities to practise their newly acquired skills in order to deepen and strengthen their understanding.
Through our enquiry-based science curriculum, we believe children can experience new skills in contexts relevant to themselves. During their time in KS2, we will ensure that there is a visible learning journey for all learners which shows both coverage and progression through the curriculum.
The basis of our approach comes straight from the National Curriculum. Each year group has five topics to explore, from Rocks and Light to Evolution and Inheritance. Some topics are covered once whereas others – such as Living things and their habitats – are explored in more depth each year. Each topic acts a vehicle to learn about five different types of enquiry and scientific skill.
Each year, learners will explore five different types of enquiry: Pattern seeking, Observing over time, Comparative and fair testing, Research using secondary sources and Identifying, classifying and grouping. Enquiries are presented with an over-arching question and children are encouraged to ‘work scientifically’ to answer these questions. Examples include:
‘What is Snow?’
‘Can all changes be reversed?’
‘Why do we have day and night?’
‘How are rainbows formed?’
There are five main skills that form the basis of an investigation: Planning, Observing or Obtaining evidence, Recording, Concluding and Evaluating. Within these skills, children will be guided towards designing an investigation, making a prediction, understanding dependent and independent variables, recording data in charts or graphs and drawing conclusions from their results. These skills will be revisited at multiple times throughout the year and allow children move towards conducting their own investigations independently – ‘working as Scientists’. Teachers model each skill before allowing children to practise the skill alongside the teacher before having a go independently. This I do – We do – you do approach is familiar to children from other learning in Writing and Maths.
Mastery in Science
At St. Stephen’s, our mastery approach provides children with repeated opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills across a range of real-life contexts. As with Writing and Maths, children are encouraged to ‘Try’ a new skill before they then ‘Use it’ in a different contexts. Once they have applied the skill, and can demonstrate a good conceptual understanding, learners will be provided with the opportunity to ‘Prove it’. Teachers will use ‘Hinge’ questions to assess children’s understanding and determine whether they are ready to apply understanding in another way, or whether further teaching is required to address any misconceptions.