Science at Pittington
At Pittington Primary School we provide many opportunities for our children to learn and practise science skills. As part of the National Curriculum we have three strands for science which are scientific knowledge and understanding, understanding the nature, processes and methods of science and to understand the uses and implications of science within our world.
Opportunities range from looking at sweetcorn before it gets onto our dinner plate and once grown unwrapping it like a present to exploring light and how it is seen and applying their knowledge to create periscopes to allow them to see over objects and around corners. The children did this to help a magical school to defend against dragon attacks by having guards with periscopes on the battlements. Each group had to pass a periscope code-breaking test.
Key Stage 1 – Working like a scientist
Children in years one and two enjoy the practical aspects of learning science by asking questions, suggest answers and their ideas, gathering and recording data to help in answering questions, observing closely the world around them and using simple equipment, to perform simple tests and when identifying and classifying.
Learning includes exploring outside the classroom, learning more about nutrition and why a balanced diet is so important. Children have been finding out just what that means. First of all the class learnt about the different food groups on the ‘Eatwell Plate’ and which they should eat most of and which should be eaten as a treat. Then they planned a day of healthy eating, making our own choices.
Keystage 2 – Years three and four
Our children are able to build on the skills and understand practised in key stage 1 and improve their knowledge for how to investigate using practical comparative and fair tests. Their observations become more systematic with careful observation and accurate measurements using a range of scientific and maths equipment.
To help answer I wonder questions our children gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways, record their findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys or using what they’ve learnt in maths by using bar charts and tables.
Our lower key stage 2 children report on findings from their enquiries suing verbal and written explanations, displays or presentations of their results and conclusions. They use their reading skills to research existing scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.
From these results they are then able to draw simple conclusions, make predictions, suggest improvements and ask further questions that enable them to identifying the differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
Key Stage 2 – Years five and six
During the final two years at our school our children will have many opportunities to challenge themselves and refine their practical science skills with a greater focus on controlling variables where required. In addition to accurate measurements, the use of repeat reading and awareness of precision is learnt. The recording of data and presentation of results becomes more complex using additional data handling skills learnt during maths lessons, such as the use of scatter and line graphs. Further understanding of comparative and fair testing is developed and computer programs such as MS Excel or MS Publisher are incorporated in their verbal and written displays and presentations. Additional skills learnt within English are used when existing scientific evidence can be used to support or refute ideas or arguments.
Children within each key stage periodically have opportunities to experiences such as the visiting inflatable planetarium, whole day visits to Newcastle’s Life Science Centre, in school science events and in class experiences thanks to visiting outreach educators or parents and carers with scientific areas of expertise who bring equipment, exhibits or just convey their passion for this subject of science.