All things are possible for one who believes – Mark 9:23
At Waverley Abbey School, children are encouraged to be curious about the world around them and to ask questions in order to find out more. Through this, children will begin and continue to develop their critical and logical thinking skills, enabling them to make sense of our world – ‘seeing the bigger picture’. With our school ethos of a positive Growth Mindset, we want children to know that they are constantly learning more through science and that through wonder and intrigue, we can develop further as individuals who are understanding, compassionate and knowledgeable about the world we live in.
Our wish is for children to act as scientist s themselves, building on their existing knowledge and having opportunities to share what they know and what they would like to find out. They will also be enabled to develop new skills to solve problems and learn more through practical activities and investigations. Teachers plan in experiments which will help them to make their own discoveries, observations and conclusions, and will even prompt them to ask further questions. The practical element of science is essential in helping children to realise that science is all around them – it is what makes up everything we see, explains how things work and it is still leaving us with further questions to be answered. As stated in the National Curriculum, we want Waverley Abbey students to ‘develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena’, whilst also being supported in understanding ‘how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes.’
Science is taught following the National Curriculum, ensuring the progression of content and working scientifically skills through the year groups and topics. The intent is to ensure children are learning through doing, asking questions and acting as scientists with appropriate guidance from teaching staff. Science is taught through distinct blocks on a half-term basis. This decision was taken to allow topics to be explored in greater depth by maximising the time allowed for lessons, encouraging the use of practical activities, and scientific equipment in order to ensure a broad coverage and exposure.
A key focus for our learners will be their use of topic (specialist) vocabulary. We want them to be familiar with terminology linked to each area of study, so that they are not only secure with these terms, but can actively use them in context. It is also important to us that children are able to read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly. The spoken language is integral in science, so children are encouraged to discuss their ideas, share their thoughts and to challenge views in a respectful and thoughtful manner.
Understanding of key ideas in science is built on across lower and upper key stage 2 and a progression of skills allows pupils to move from early observations and exploration, to considered questioning and drawing out of ideas. Children also use their previous learning to inform their subsequent learning, so they are constantly building their knowledge and understanding of different scientific concepts. With the use of an online resource – TigTag – teachers are supported in being able to plan engaging and content-filled sessions. The use of different film clips provides some exciting examples from the real word to deepen pupils’ understanding of the topic, and encourage fun, active learning with exercises like ‘True or False’ and ‘Odd one out’, where children have to provide reasoned responses and also refer back to key technical vocabulary.
By the end of each topic area, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes taught. Teachers will use ‘Primary STEM’ quizzes to help them assess children’s attainment at the end of the topic, as well as taking into account their own observations through the sessions. Children’s ability to work scientifically will be observed through more of the practical sessions, where children will work independently, in partners or groups to complete an investigation. Children will test out their ideas, making predictions based on their scientific knowledge so far. They will make observations, noticing patterns, grouping/classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests, as well as finding out answers using secondary sources of information. We encourage pupils to draw conclusions using scientific language – both written and verbal – and to base their conclusions on findings/data. Particularly at upper key stage 2, children will be using evidence to justify their ideas and explain what they have found. They will also be encountering more abstract ideas which will help them to understand how the world operates. They will recognise that scientific ideas do change and develop over time, and what we know now, may be vastly different to what is known in the future.
British Science Week is an exciting time for all at Waverley Abbey, as we invite some specialists in to deliver a range of workshops for the children each year. We also have a focus on scientific experiments and activities during this week, encouraging pupils to think about everyday discoveries and to get ‘hands-on’. We always welcome in volunteers as it is important to us that the community are also a part of the learning experience, so do speak with your child’s class teacher if you feel you have something to offer – the more, the merrier!
Trips and internal workshops also form a part of our science curriculum here at Waverley Abbey. In Year 6, we make links with secondary schools, such as Weydon, and also have a visit from ‘zoolab’. Further down the school, in Year 4, a trip is taken to Winchester Science centre.
Overall, we want our Waverley Abbey pupils to be excited and engaged with all that science has to offer, and to continue to be amazed and curious about the world around them. We want our students to be confident moving on to their secondary education with the knowledge and skills they need to continue to progress and deepen their understanding further; reaching their full potential. We want to instil them with the idea that they could be the scientists of the future!