At The Oaks, the Science curriculum has been thoughtfully sequenced to ensure that previous knowledge is revisited and built on, providing children with empirical knowledge to support their science learning. Each unit has been carefully planned to ensure that prerequisite knowledge is built upon and connected content, between aspects within Science and other disciplines (Geography for example), are carefully linked and revisited.
Units are organised into key areas of learning that include; plants, living things and their habitats, animals including humans, forces, materials, seasonal changes and energy. These units are then further grouped into biology, chemistry and physics (with an understanding that links can often be made between these aspects). Mathematical and writing knowledge and skills are used regularly to support understanding of scientific knowledge and develop scientific enquiry – these links have been carefully planned in relation to prior learning outlined in the mathematics programme of study. This will ensure children are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science today and for the future.
Throughout each unit of learning the children will have the opportunity to ask questions and find the answers, observe closely and measure, set up and perform simple tests and enquiries, identify and classify, record, gather, classify and present data. Children will be able to report on and evaluate their findings and be able to draw simple conclusions and make predictions. Teachers will use the TAPS enquiries to help make judgements about the children’s learning.
In Early Years, children explore and learn through curiosity to make sense of the world around them by finding the similarities and differences between the natural world, their homes, and Druids Heath and contrasting environments that they find out about through stories and visits. Children will frequently observe important processes and changes in the natural world around them such as seasons. Children have opportunity to experience and discuss changing states of matter through cooking, nature walks, and observation and drawing and observing animals, plants and the physical environment over time. These science experiences will be complimented by and compared to stories read in class.
When studying plants, pupils in year 1 will focus primarily on understanding what plants are and describing their basic structure e.g. stem, leaves, petals, fruit and roots. This knowledge is then built upon in year 2 where children learn about how seeds and bulbs grow into plants. During this learning, pupils explore the requirements for plants to grow healthily. In year 3, children will use the previous knowledge from both year 1 and year 2 to explore in more depth the functions of the different parts of plants in maintaining a healthy life. This knowledge is then used and built upon in more depth to better understand living things and their habitats later in key stage 2. Throughout these units, pupils draw on their understanding of how seasonal changes can affect the growth of plants.
When studying animals, including humans, children will begin by exploring and grouping common animals into basic classification systems. Similarly, to the plant’s units, children will also learn about the different parts of the human body and link this to senses. In year 2, children will build upon their previous knowledge and look at the basic needs for survival, focusing on animals and humans. Children will explore the similarities and difference between a plant’s needs and those of animals. They will explore how a healthy lifestyle is important for growth making links to PHSE curriculum e.g. healthy body, healthy mind. In key stage two, pupils will learn in more depth about how the human body works through learning about its key systems; skeletal, digestive, reproductive and circulatory systems.
When studying living things and their habits, pupils bring together the knowledge and understanding from units within the plants and animals, including humans’ sequence of learning. In year 2, pupils use their knowledge of plants and animals to begin understanding how habitats compromise of both plants and animals, who are dependent on each other for life. Children will begin to explore life cycles within these habitats and how these play a part in growth.
In lower key stage 2, pupils will develop a deeper understanding of classification and how habitats and environments can change, which can either support or pose danger to animal and plant life. Throughout these units, pupils will draw on their understanding of seasonal changes and their impact on life. In upper key stage 2, pupils will use their knowledge of classification to explore variations in life cycles. They will also describe reproduction, making links to life cycles and human growth. In year 6, pupils will explore classification in more depth, incorporating micro-organisms. Upper key stage 2 will also use the previous knowledge of living things to explore and learn about evolution and inheritance, paying particular attention to how living things and their characteristics have changed over time. Knowledge taught previously about fossils, will be revisited to support exploration and evidence for these changes.
When studying forces, children in year 3 will begin by exploring contact and non-contact forces. This will be explored through comparing how objects can be moved through pushes, pulls and magnetism. In year 4, pupils will continue to look at non-contact forces in the form of electrical force. They will explore simple circuits and their components, as well using knowledge of materials previously gained to identify common conductors and insulators. When in year 5, pupils will explore the non-contact force of gravity, but will focus on building a deeper knowledge of contact forces, in particular air resistance, water resistance and friction. In year 6, pupils revisit electricity focusing on the variation of the different components and how these effect the functionality of a circuit e.g. brightness of bulbs, loudness of buzzers etc…
When studying Energy in key stage 2, pupils begin in year 3 by studying light. Children will explore how darkness is the absence of light and how shadows are formed when light sources are blocked. Knowledge of materials and their properties, taught in key stage 1, will be revisited when exploring how to make shadows using different objects. In year 4, pupils will explore the effect of energy on states of matter and how differing levels of applied energy can change a material. Pupils will also explore sound as an energy. They will learn about vibrations, pitch and volume and how this all contributes to how humans can hear sound. Pupils will use prerequisite knowledge taught in animals, including humans to better understand human senses. In year 6, pupils will revisit and extend their knowledge of light by exploring how light behaves, travels and is sensed by the eye. Pupils will use their knowledge and understanding of shadows to explore how light travels in straight lines.
When studying Earth and space, pupils in year 1 will explore how seasons change throughout the year and what effect this has on temperatures, length of day light and living things. In Year 3 children will have an understanding of rocks and their appearance and physical properties and how fossils are formed. When in year 5, pupils will be taught about the solar system, movement of the planets and how day and night occur. Pupils in year 5 will also learn about the relationship between the Earth, Sun and Moon and this system’s place within the solar system.
When studying materials, pupils in year 1 will learn about how objects in their daily lives are made out of a variety of common materials. Pupils will learn how to group materials based on their physical properties e.g. hard, bendy. In year 2, pupil’s knowledge is extended by learning about how materials are selected for particular uses based on the properties identified. The children will explore how materials can be manipulated using contact forces such as pushes, pulls and twists. When in year 3, pupils will learn about rocks and their properties. They will compare and group using skills and knowledge they have learnt from years 1 and 2. They will explore how fossils are formed, what they are and how they can be used. In year 4, pupils will learn about and explore how materials can change state due to the application or removal of heat energy and at what temperature the change of state occurs. They will focus on grouping materials that have the same state and the processes of condensation and evaporation. Pupils will use this knowledge in their geography curriculum to better understand the water cycle. When in year 5, pupils will explore and group materials based on whether they are soluble or insoluble. Pupils will investigate ways to separate materials that have formed a solution as well as explore reversible and irreversible changes. Children will explore how these materials are experienced and play a part in everyday life.