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SCIENCE

At Paxton, all of our teaching and learning builds on our core values of Achieve, Respect and Care.   We recognise the importance of science in every aspect of daily life and we encourage children to be inquisitive, curious learners throughout their time at our school and beyond.  Our science curriculum fosters a natural curiosity of our children, encourages respect for living organisms and the physical environment and provides opportunities for critical evaluation of evidence and discussion.  We believe that science encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, concept, skills and positive attitudes.  Our aim is to ensure that all our children leave with scientific and conceptual understanding of the key areas of biology, chemistry and physics and are able to articulate this using the key scientific vocabulary they are exposed to from early years to year 6.  They will develop an enthusiasm and enjoyment of scientific learning and discover, leaving Paxton equipped to understand the uses and implications of science today and for the future. 

 

Curriculum Overviews

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IMPLEMENTATION

We follow the National Curriculum, but use CUSP Science as to guide our teaching and learning of science in year groups.1 - 6 

CUSP Science pays close attention to guidance provided by the National Curriculum sequence and content. It is infused with evidence-led practice and enriched with retrieval studies to ensure long-term retention of foundational knowledge. The foundations of CUSP science are cemented in the EYFS through learning within the Natural World, and People, Culture and Communities. We have Concepts delivered are tracked to ensure that we deliver the National Curriculum. 

 

Science is taught across each year group in modules that enable our children to study in-depth, key scientific knowledge/understanding, skills, and vocabulary. Our aim is that each module activates and build upon prior learning, inclusive of EYFS as the foundation, to ensure better cognition and retention.  Our children ‘learn more to remember more.’  We ensure that each module is carefully sequenced to enable children to layer learning from previous sessions to support in the acquisition and retention of key scientific knowledge. Each lesson begins with a connection to prior learning to support this.   Modules are revisited either later in the year or in the following year as part of a spaced retrieval practice method to ensure pupils retain key knowledge and information over time.  

 

Our science curriculum is sequenced into meaningful and connected ‘chunks’ of content to reduce the load on the working memory as well as creating coherent and strong long-term memories. The sequence of substantive and disciplinary knowledge enables all children to become ‘more expert’ with each study and grow an ever broadening and coherent mental model of the subject. This guards against superficial, disconnected and fragmented scientific knowledge and weak disciplinary knowledge. High frequency, multiple meaning words (Tier 2) are taught explicitly and help make sense of subject specific words (Tier 3). Each learning module in CUSP Science has a vocabulary module with teacher guidance, tasks and resources to enhance and deepen understanding. CUSP Science is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’. The cumulative nature of the curriculum is made memorable by the implementation of Bjork’s desirable difficulties, including retrieval and spaced retrieval practice, word building and deliberate practice tasks. This powerful interrelationship between structure and research-led practice is designed to increase substantive knowledge and accelerate learning within and between study modules. That means the foundational knowledge of the curriculum is positioned to ease the load on the working memory: new content is connected to prior learning. The effect of this cumulative model supports opportunities for children to associate and connect significant scientific concepts, over time, and with increasing expertise and knowledge. CUSP Science deliberately pays attention and values the importance of subject content as well as the context it is taught in. Common scientific misconceptions are identified in all CUSP Science learning modules. These misconceptions are made explicit to pupils. Children draw upon substantive and disciplinary knowledge to reason and practise acquiring the conception, whilst repelling the misconceptions. Examples and non-examples are powerful ways of saying what something is and what something isn’t. 

 

We value the study of scientists from the past as well as promoting diverse present-day role models in the field. These studies help us to learn how they used, at that time, their substantive and disciplinary knowledge to develop a conception. This illuminates how misconceptions can permeate substantive knowledge and appear to be a known truth.  

We encourage all practitioners within in the school to adopt the Connect Example, Explain, Attempt, Apply and Challenge model to support understanding and the embedding of concepts. 

Our minimum lesson expectations are: 

·         Explicit teaching of and use of scientific vocabulary in learning 

·         Revisiting of prior learning 

·         Reading 

·         Working scientifically  

·         Evidence of learning in pupil's books 

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SUPPORTING OUR SEND CHILDREN

Our aim is for science lessons and learning questions to be accessible to all pupils.  We encourage the pre-teaching of scientific vocabulary which provides all children with the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of subject specific language and boost confidence.   

 

We use dual coded Knowledge Notes and Organisers that provide visuals to aid understanding and recall and we adapt these where necessary.   In addition, our knowledge notes are utilised in all lessons to minimise cognitive overload, so children can use and apply their knowledge more easily.  Sentence stems and scaffolds are used where necessary to aid with written evidence. We encourage annotations & diagrams and oral representations recording via scribe or audio/video/pictorially to ensure that all learners are able to demonstrate the key learning. 

We use cumulative quizzes to support our formative assessment before during and after each module.  We are then able to use this to support further planning to address misconceptions. 

IMPACT

We have high ambition for all our Children at Paxton.  It is our intention that our successful approach of a fun, engaging, high quality science curriculum provides our children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding and contributing to the world.  Our children love science.  They will know more, remember more about the curriculum delivered.  Our children will retain prior leaning and explicitly make links between what they have previously learnt and what they are currently learning.  All children will have a wider variety of skills to link scientific knowledge and understanding and scientific enquiry/investigative skills.  They will have a rich vocabulary to articulate their understanding of concepts taught together with a love of learning of all thing’s science.  

We measure impact through:

  • Knowledge and understanding (physics, chemistry and biology) assessed and tracked at the end of each module 

  • Working scientifically is continually assessed within lessons and tracked within y1&2, y3&4, y5&6

  • Prior understanding assessed before teaching topics (through cusp cumulative quick quizzes) and additional assessment is done at the end of the module

 

 Observation of teaching and learning will show: 

  • Teachers have a good level of subject knowledge  

  • Confident children developing their independence in their learning, often posing their own questions and hypothesis for investigation (Y5&6)

  • Marking and feedback- encouraging ‘deeper’ thinking for greater depth understanding

  • Formative assessment through questioning during lessons and investigations 

  • Confident and curious children who can eagerly talk about their science lessons and discoveries they have made  

  • Children able to use and explain the meaning of scientific vocabulary  

  • Teachers using a range of questioning to explore children’s understanding  

  • Children’s misconceptions are addressed through oral and written feedback

  • Children prepared to take risk 

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