At Victoria Primary Academy we believe that a high quality science curriculum builds the foundations for understanding the world through the scientific disciplines of chemistry, biology and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the future prosperity of the world. Our pupils are taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science.
Through building knowledge and understanding, children will be able to recognise the power of rational explanation. We know that the quality and variety of language are key in developing scientific vocabulary and the ability to articulate scientific concepts. Therefore, building pupils’ scientific vocabulary is a vital part of our curriculum which is built on as children progress through school. All children are taught to use and remember Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary as part of their Science lessons. This supports children’s knowledge and understanding, not only of the topic they are studying, but of the world around them.
We intend for all our pupils to develop a sense of curiosity and excitement about the natural world and understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things behave and analyse reasons why. Science at Victoria allows children to become independent thinkers, to ask questions and seek answers and to make sense of the world around them through careful observation, investigation and applying scientific skills and processing.
Science lessons at Victoria are both theoretical and practical so that all children to explore concepts in a variety of ways. We will include opportunities to learn outside, to support an understanding of science in the real world. We work closely with local secondary schools, who help to enrich the curriculum and to support staff with training opportunities. As a school, we have chosen to use the CUSP curriculum for Science. This is because the CUSP curriculum absolutely synchronises with our own principles and approach to learning. This curriculum states:
CUSP Science has sequenced the national curriculum 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 pupils 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 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.
At Victoria Primary:
- Children will develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through biology, chemistry and physics.
- Children will develop an understanding of nature and answer scientific questions about the world around them.
- Children will be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science now and in the future.
- Children will use scientific vocabulary to describe and explain the world around them
Teaching a Broad and Balanced curriculum for educational recovery DfE June 2021 states:
The first step in adjusting the science curriculum is to identify the content in biology, chemistry and physics that is most important for enabling pupils to build up their knowledge of key scientific concepts.
At Key Stage 1:
- an example of content which will support future study is knowledge about herbivores because it allows pupils to learn about food chains in key stage 2. This, in turn, enables them to understand ecosystems in key stages 3 and 4.
At Key Stage 2:
- concepts that are beneficial to future study include, but are not limited to, forces, electricity, magnetism, materials and substance, reactions, nutrition, evolution and inheritance, ecosystems, properties and changes of materials.
The curriculum should also identify the most important procedures and concepts underpinning the scientific method that may not be as secure following remote teaching. Again, these decisions will be based on the role of these procedures and concepts in future study.
At Victoria Primary Academy:
- Planning is based on the CUSP Framework and is linked back to the National Curriculum for Science. It allows for depth of understanding and opportunities to make links between learning in science and other curriculum areas.
- Science specific vocabulary is taught explicitly and is displayed in all classrooms. This is linked to each area of science: biology, chemistry and physics and is progressive throughout the academy.
- High quality books, both fiction and non fiction, are used to support learning. These can act as a hook to interest children at the start of a topic or throughout to enhance the learning. They are displayed in the classroom and are accessible to all children.
- Practical investigations are used in all year groups to enthuse and support pupil’s understanding. These are progressive throughout the academy and allow children to hypothesise, observe, record and explain findings using scientific vocabulary and techniques.
- Pupils with additional needs are supported to access the learning as appropriate depending on their need. Pupils with physical disabilities may need access to specialist tools or resources. Some pupils will benefit from pre teaching of key vocabulary. Some pupils may benefit from additional time or support from an adult to complete their work.
For more information, please contact the Science Subject Leaders:
Miss E Malpas
Miss J Costanzo