At Great Corby School and Nursery our science curriculum stimulates and excites children’s curiosity about the world around them. We aim for all our children, from Early Years through to Year Six, to enquire, investigate and ask scientific questions through the use of high-quality resources, hands-on experiences, visits and visitors and exploration of the outdoor environment.
Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge, vocabulary and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes.
Our Science curriculum is knowledge and vocabulary rich, ensuring children gain a deep understanding of fundamental scientific knowledge and concepts as well as embedding key science specific vocabulary and terminology (Tier 3 vocabulary). In addition, children are encouraged to develop their scientific curiosity and understanding by working scientifically.
At Great Corby School and Nursey, we follow Development Matters and the National Curriculum. Please see the science progression document for more information.
At Great Corby School and Nursery we base our two-year rolling science curriculum upon the CUSP Science model, allowing each area of learning to be taught for depth rather than breadth. This is organised into three distinct subject domains: biology, chemistry and physics. Where interdisciplinary concepts are encountered, such as the particle model, these are taught explicitly and then connected across science domains.
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 and we have adapted these to our mixed year group context. We follow the sequence of substantive and disciplinary knowledge, enabling pupils to become ‘more expert’ with each focus and grow an ever broadening and coherent mental model of the subject.
As well as ensuring pupils are taught key knowledge, each module is designed to offer pupils the opportunity to undertake scientific enquiries and develop their skills as a scientist in asking questions, planning and carrying out experiments, collecting and analysing information and drawing conclusions.
Cumulative Quizzing (Supporting Cognitive Load)
At the start of each module, pupils undertake a short quiz to establish prior knowledge and understanding of the module content. Throughout each module, pupils continually revisit previous content to reinforce key knowledge and vocabulary. Threaded through the teaching of each module, pupils take short quizzes to check their understanding and knowledge.
Knowledge Organisers and Knowledge Notes
Accompanying each module is a knowledge organiser which contains key vocabulary, information and concepts which all pupils are expected to understand and retain. Knowledge notes are the elaboration and detail to help pupils acquire the content of each module. They support vocabulary and concept acquisition through a well-structured sequence that is cumulative. Each knowledge note begins with questions that link back to the cumulative quizzing, focusing on key content to be learnt and understood. Knowledge organisers and knowledge notes are dual coded to provide pupils with visual calls to aid understanding and recall. Knowledge organisers and knowledge notes are referenced throughout each module.
Science and Literacy
In our Science curriculum we encourage pupils to access high quality texts to support their learning and develop their skills in accessing information from a range of sources. Teachers model reading science texts and pupils spend time partner reading or reading independently to acquire knowledge or deepen their understanding.
Vocabulary forms a key part of our science wider curriculum. Subject specific Tier 2 and Tier 3 words are incorporated in each module and pupils are encouraged to develop their own ‘vital vocabulary’ lists.
When discussing their findings or presenting information, pupils are encouraged to speak using full sentences incorporating the key scientific vocabulary.
Pupils are encouraged to write across all areas of the curriculum and teachers model how to write purposefully in each subject using key structures and vocabulary. Pupils are encouraged to use their science books as reference books, using previous work, knowledge organisers and knowledge notes.
All science modules are underpinned by high quality texts, which support wider curriculum reading through our school library service. As well as our own school library, the children use online resources and a range of science equipment. In addition, we enable children to broaden their scientific understanding and curiosity through educational visits.
Continuous Professional Development
All staff have undergone remote CPD in Cognitive Load Theory and Spaced Practice Retrieval Theory. They also have access to a wide range of CPD through the Unity CUSP website.
The impact of our science curriculum is measured through the monitoring cycle in school. This includes:
- Lesson observations
- Book monitoring
- Learning walks
- Discussions with class teachers
- Discussions with pupils
Monitoring is used to measure whether:
- Children enjoy and are enthusiastic about science in our school.
- There is a clear progression of children’s work and teachers’ expectations in our school.
- Children’s work shows a range of topics and evidence of the curriculum coverage for all science topics.
- Children are becoming increasingly independent in science, selecting their own tools and materials, completing pupil-led investigations, and choosing their own strategies for recording.
- Feedback from teachers has an impact on our pupils.
- All children are making progress, including EAL, PP and SEND children.
Monitoring is also used to identify gaps in the curriculum that may need to be addressed across the school, or within individual year groups. Monitoring is an ongoing cycle, which is used productively to provide the best possible science curriculum for our children. After the implementation of our science curriculum, pupils should leave primary school equipped with a range of skills to enable them to succeed in their secondary education and to be able to enjoy and appreciate science throughout their lives.