Science at Pittington

Autumn Term

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.

EYFS

This autumn children have been thinking the rhythms of the seasons that they experience and their features.  The children discussed autumn and read about what happens to the trees, plants and animals as the season develops. Throughout the season they maintained an autumn table where the children gathered different treasures that they had found outside that signalled the season.  They researched how different trees have different types of seeds and how these seeds are adapted to benefit the needs of the trees.  The children monitored changes in the leaves as the season progressed.  As autumn turned to winter they once again looked at how the season changed around us, the lack of leaves on the trees and the increasing amount of ice that can be seen in the school gardens.

Opportunities include learning about keeping healthy and making healthier choices with food, whereby they spoke about school dinners and the choices they can make themselves now they have started school (drinking more water, choosing fruit for pudding and visiting the salad bar). 

Through the EYFS small world equipment, the children are bringing the natural world to life through play.  They have been investigating underwater life, the arctic, prehistoric dinosaurs and mini-beasts through their resources!

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 learning all about materials.  They tested the properties of materials and spent time grouping and sorting materials in different ways.  They then carried out an investigation to find the most suitable material for Spencer Bear’s raincoat.  The next step for progression was to find out that some materials have properties that make them perfect for some uses and less so for others.  The children investigated different materials that change shape, noting that not of all of them did so in the same way. They then discussed why they were well suited for their purpose.

They have also been looking out for signs of autumn around school and talked about how the leaves change colour and how the weather gets colder. They made rain gauges to find out how much rain fell in Pittington.

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.

Children have been learning about the links between rocks, soils and fossils.  They have then made connections between science and other learning such as about the formation of continents and volcanic activity in geography.

The topic of States of Matter and Electricity have been explored.  They sorted objects into solids, liquids and gases and even acted as the molecules to show what happens when they change from one form to another.  In addition, they investigated the addition of salt to ice and learnt how it lowers the melting/freezing point.  They have taken part in lots of investigations and this even included weighing the gas evident in fizzy drinks.

Currently, they are working on electricity and have explored the different renewable and non-renewable ways in which it can be generated.  They have also made simple circuits and very much enjoyed working with the electrical components.

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.

They have been learning how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including microorganisms, plants & animals.  Their science project this term has been on the work of Carl Linneaus and how he developed a binomial system of classification.  To do this the children mapped out the school field and identified the trees by their leaves.  They then created botanical drawings like Linneaus did and made their own Harry Potter inspired Herbology booklets

Enrichment opportunities

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.

Acknowledgement from our children goes to Morgan McNally who only a few years ago was enjoying the science curriculum at our school.

Now a pupil at Belmont Community School, he was one of ten finalists shortlisted from over 2000 entrants across the UK  

Summer Term

By the end of this summer term, children will have learnt and practised all the science skills for this academic year.  They will have succeeded with many aspects of developing their scientific knowledge, understanding methods for science investigation and recognise how science affects their world.

EYFS – Nursery and Reception

The outdoor learning area during these recent warm and wet months provided new opportunities to explore science and stimulated their inquisitive minds.  Throughout these indoor and outdoor opportunities children explored real-life examples of life cycles and food chains specific to the warmer days and long daylight hours.  Practical investigations and experiments helped them

Children have been observing changes over time through growing cress and enjoyed caring for the seeds and watching them change. 

They were also boat engineers, looking at floating and sinking and tried to make foil boats to float on water.  To extend this they were challenged to make boats to hold 1p coins.  How many coins do you think one of our boats could hold?

Key Stage 1 –Year One and Year Two

Children in years one and two are now more independent and have enjoyed the many more practical aspects for understanding science by enquiring, sharing what they think and analysing data all to help respond to questions posed by the observations within our school environment.

Throughout the year, children from year one have been exploring the school grounds to look for changes in the seasons.  They found a cocoon as a sign of summer and learnt about the evergreen and deciduous trees.  The children planted flowers in their outdoor planters so they could enjoy watching them grow in June and July.  Year one have also been investigating what seeds need to grow.  As a class, they decided to put one pot of cress seeds in the daylight with no water, one pot in daylight with some water and one with some water in a dark cupboard.

Lower Key Stage 2 – Year Three and Year Four

Our children use the skills and understanding acquired throughout the past months and in key stage 1 to improve how they investigate.  Their observations become more methodical and they more confidently apply their maths knowledge.

Children learnt how to make pizza as part of the living processes topic and they learned how yeast feeds on the sugar to create carbon dioxide – respiration.  

 

When responding to questions our children have been presenting results using MS Excel and presenting their findings in MS PowerPoint.  Their illustrations and diagrams have been more colourful and detailed, with labels and captions that help explain their scientific knowledge.

Upper Key Stage 2 – Year Five and Year Six

During these past months, our children have used the past years of learning to challenge themselves and refine their investigative scientific skills with more understanding of variables.  Their skills at recognising how precision of measurement does not ensure accuracy is more apparent.  During this summer term, their ability to record measurements, collate data and present results in handwritten form and using MS Office has become more refined.  More use of cross-curricular skills is evident in how their science knowledge and understanding is demonstrated.

Children in year 6 have been completing the curriculum and this has included a focus on the circulatory system and an exploration of sorting and classification.  They have also had a very clear focus on refining their investigative skills.

Enrichment opportunities

Durham University provided EYFS with a fantastic experience linked with the night sky and the solar system.

Spring Term

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 earthworms and microhabitats, investigating magnetism and exploring sound waves or understanding life cycles and Carl Linnaeus.

EYFS – Nursery and Reception

The practical, hand on exploration of science where children can use the school gardens and outdoor environment develops the keenness to ask ‘I wonder…?’ questions about habitat and environment.  Throughout these indoor and outdoor opportunities children explore real-life examples of life cycles and food chains.  Practical investigations and experiments help them consider states of matter using ice and water.  The sand area was a great place to witness the hydrophilic properties and water permeability of sand.  Children have opportunities to recognise irreversible reactions caused by heat on food and other materials.

Key Stage 1 –Year One and Year Two

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 has included observing seasonal variations, comparing the senses between animals and humans and exploring characteristics of each animal group.   Learning outside the classroom occurred when using hoops to explore different microhabitats and the results compared with their predictions.  

Lower Key Stage 2 – Year Three and Year 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.

Children have experimented with magnetic fields and iron fillings, making cross-curricular links with learning about the earth in science and map reading geography.  During scientific investigations the children use skills practised in maths for data handling. 

Children asked questions such as ‘What is sound?’, ‘What are vibrations?’ and ‘How does sound travel through solids, liquids and gases?’.  This required them to study the structure and function of the ears.  They recognised that there was animal adaption of the ear organ, such as needed for echolocation by bats.  To help with understanding children made

string telephones and explored pitch.  Within the classroom they investigated how loudness was affected by insulating sound materials. 

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 using 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.

Upper Key Stage 2 – Year Five and Year 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.

In greater depth there is the study of life cycles linked more comprehensively with other curriculum subjects to deepen their understanding and application of the skills and knowledge.  The study of electricity is woven into applications within design and technology that incorporate electrical circuits.  The classification of organisms including the life and influence of Carl Linnaeus is researched to learn more about the application of sorting keys and kingdoms.  Practical investigations to study the growth of mould helps children to understand their studies of the Fungi Kingdom. 

Enrichment opportunities

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.

Autumn Term

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.

Enrichment opportunities

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.