Switched on Science Curriculum
‘Get started and let’s think like scientists!’
At the start of each Science unit, we begin with a ‘Get started’ opener which provides ideas for eliciting prior learning from previous activities as well as personal experiences at home and in the locality. We encourage critical thinking and research, thus extending and challenging the pupils.
Switched on Science assumes that teachers have high and equal expectations for all pupils and the programme is ambitious for all pupils. It also recognises that some pupils require additional support and offers suggestions where appropriate.
Switched on Science ensures that the science contexts are meaningful and relevant by setting content in a range of interesting contexts that are relevant to the pupils. Pupils are encouraged to relate the science they are learning to their own lives as well as working with contexts in the wider world.
First-hand and practical activity is at the core of Switched on Science at The Grange. Pupils are developed as independent learners who are curious and willing to ask and answer their own questions.
Progressing pupil’s ability to communicate their understanding and explain their reasoning is central to our primary science curriculum and so is a feature of Switched on Science. Pupils are expected to talk about what they have been doing, why they have been doing it and articulate what they have learned.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Science)
To ensure that STEAM is integrated into science learning at The Grange, Switched on Science provides suggestions of people to invite into the classroom and visits out, to support teachers in making these links to widen pupil’s experience and understanding of STEAM. Links are made to the Arts, providing pupils with opportunities to explore how art and science work well together, from observational drawing to scripting a play, creating a sculpture or learning how musicians work.
Implementation is how we translate the objectives (intent) into activity. Everything a pupil does and thinks in science is important, so it is crucial that activities provide regular opportunities for pupils to engage in hands on practical activity as well as think about or research scientific ideas and skills. Pupils are engaged in asking questions and using one of the five science enquiry activities:
• observation over time
• fair or comparative tests
• identification and classification
• pattern seeking
Where appropriate these activities are hands-on, ensuring that pupils engage in regular first-hand experience using a range of equipment, including ICT where suitable, to enhance and deepen learning. Pupils are asked to communicate their scientific findings using a range of different approaches, e.g. writing, drama, poetry, discussion, modelling and using ICT (to create video clips, etc.). Engaging pupils in a range of approaches to communicating science ensures that all pupils can share ideas and by listening to themselves articulate ideas, pupils engage in self-assessment, either reinforcing their learning or changing ideas and therefore moving learning on. By using different approaches to recording and communicating, all pupils can share their science, which means that teachers can access learning through assessment and use outcomes to plan next steps. Switched on Science activities are designed to ensure that the expectations of literacy and mathematics are appropriate to each year group in science and therefore application of literacy and numeracy skills are embedded throughout.
To assess the impact, teachers evaluate the knowledge and skills that pupils have gained against the original expectations of activities (the intent). What and how well pupils have achieved will be accessed through using a range of approaches to assessment for learning.
It is important that assessment supports a pupil’s journey through the science curriculum to ensure appropriate outcomes for each individual. Assessment in Science is an integral part of activities. The learning objectives at the beginning of each activity show the intention for learning and these are then used as the basis for assessment. Verbal feedback, green pen questions and formal feedback are continually used to give feedback. Teachers use a range of evidence to assess pupil’s progress. This includes observing them working, listening to their discussions and using questions to probe understanding and reasoning, alongside their writing and other products such as video clips, models and role play activities. Self and peer assessment is another approach to complement teacher assessment. Not only does this develop a pupil’s ability to reflect on their own learning, it also provides teachers access to how well pupils perceive their learning to be progressing and why.
A feature of Switched on Science is the application of ‘Working Scientifically Skills’ and ‘Knowledge and Understanding’ through regular problem-solving activities. Challenging pupils to apply their learning in new contexts provides opportunities for them to further embed ideas and skills. Assessing how pupils respond to applying their knowledge and skills is an indicator of how successful their leaning has been.