At the Convent of Jesus and Mary Infant School & Nursery we offer a Science curriculum that is well connected to the school environment, providing a wealth of opportunities to explore, interact, work and learn outdoors in our delightful Saint Francis of Assisi garden.
Our school community is concerned with the local, national and global environment. Our pupils live in urban London with many unable to access the enriching experiences the outdoors can provide. Therefore, our curriculum aims to ensure our pupils understand the impact of our way of life in the world we live in. As such, we undertake to support Pope Francis’s message in his encyclical – ‘Laudato Si’ which found inspiration in Saint Francis of Assisi ‘Canticle of the Sun’; a beautiful prayer to celebrate God’s creation. We see our children as stewards of the earth; therefore, our curriculum explores big questions about the environment and Pope Francis call for action.
At the Convent of Jesus and Mary Infant School & Nursery we use Snap Science as our programme of study for science. In response to the wealth of evidence about the benefits of children experiencing the natural world first-hand – outdoor learning is a key feature of Snap Science. Every year group explores the module ‘Our Changing World’ which offers pupils regular opportunities to explore all aspects of their outdoor environment and build up a rich understanding of how it changes over the year.
Snap Science has science enquiry at its heart and therefore our pupils develop the key scientific knowledge and skills through working scientifically, asking questions and testing ideas against evidence. We have made very careful and deliberate choices to adapt Snap Science modules to develop a well-planned series of lessons incorporating activities in our school garden all year round. This ensures pupils’ engagement with the different types of science enquiry identified in the National Curriculum and also provides meaningful opportunities for the pupils to explore.
All lessons are stimulated by a question for pupils to answer, a scientific phenomenon to investigate or a problem to solve. The programme of study is a comprehensive and rich resource that supports best practice in science teaching and teacher assessment, whilst encouraging teacher professionalism and autonomy. It fully supports our vision and the intent of our curriculum and complements our outdoor learning provision (e.g. The apprentice gardener, Changing of the world).
Snap Science ensures progression of knowledge and skills between the EYFS and KS1, it provides opportunities for revisiting the topics/knowledge and skills and gives pupils the opportunity to build on their prior learning and ensure progression. This programme of study supports teachers’ subject knowledge and links well with our enrichment provision (RSPB Birdwatch, National Bug Hunt, New Life and ducks hatching, gardening lessons).
Every lesson in Snap Science is carefully planned around a question that pupils should answer, ether in the classroom or in the school garden. Genuine curiosity leads to authentic, purposeful science investigation so each explore activity is followed by a differentiated enquire challenge where pupils will collect and analyse data in order to answer their questions and develop their scientific understanding and knowledge. Mostly, pupils’ science investigations will involve them in first-hand collection, recording and analysis of data, although sometimes they will use secondary sources of evidence or information to answer questions.
Lessons are purposeful and well-structured with a learning intention which gives pupils a good understanding of the skills and knowledge they are developing, and with a success criteria which defines the features of the learning intention in the context of the activity so that pupils can identify what they are aiming for and how well they are doing. Snap Science has also been designed to ensure that all pupils in a class can access and master the lesson’s learning intention with each lesson offering three levels of differentiated task. These are planned to challenge and extend the learning of all pupils whilst ensuring they all achieve the learning intention.
The context of the lessons makes sense and matters to all pupils. They will see the relevance of a scientific question to their own lives. In every lesson, pupils are supported through the use of pictures, slides, supporting documents and key vocabulary in order to explain the importance of the question they are answering, make links with the world around them and develop the necessary investigative skills and attributes identified at each stage of their development.
Our science curriculum stimulates and develops children’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject and the world around them. Our enrichment provision encourages interest and engagement in the national initiatives such as RSPB Birdwatch and current environmental issues such as recycling or plastic pollution.
We are proud of our pupils’ learning and celebrate their enthusiasm and achievement in science. This is reflected in our school displays, engagement in national initiates and competitions (Winners of the Great Bug Hunt 2019).
Snap Science ensures a clear progression of knowledge and skills where pupils continually build on their prior learning and systematically develop their understanding of key ideas as well as their scientific skills. As a result, our pupils are confident when speaking about what they learn in science and understand the co-relation between their learning and their commitment as stewards of the earth.
The programme of study offers a variety of assessment opportunities, including self-assessment available for self-reflection and pupils voice at the end of each unit. Snap Science recognises that pupils need opportunities to summarise what they have found out, share their findings and reflect on what they have learned. Each Snap Science lesson has a final Reflect and Review activity which helps pupils to communicate what they have learned in an appropriate and meaningful way using the success criteria to guide them. Being able to summarise understanding is key to developing conceptual knowledge as well as being the vital, final satisfying step in the science enquiry process.
As pupils reflect on their own learning, teachers can also assess the progress that they are making. Each lesson in Snap Science includes guidance for teacher assessment, supporting teachers to find evidence that the learning intention has been understood, and what that may look like, as evidenced in what pupils say, do, write or draw. Assessment therefore is on-going and accurate – focusing firmly on progress in conceptual knowledge as well as data collection and analysis of skills. Teachers use the assessment tools provided by Snap Science to diminish gaps in pupils’ learning and to identify next steps.
The scientific skills taught through Snap Science are further developed through all areas of the curriculum. Writing, drawing, speaking, IT and mathematical formats are all important skills in communicating, recording and presenting findings.
We decided to join in the Great Bug Hunt completion once again this year. This exciting competition is now in it's 6th year, run by the Association for Science Education in partnership with the Royal Entomological Society. Our pupils were asked to identify a local habitat and explore and discover minibeasts within and create a project. We were amazed at all the wonderful work they produced and the creative ways the projects were put together. We submitted our entry and we are proud to announce we are the National winners of the 'Big Bug Hunt 2019!' Well done to all our girls and boys!
At the Convent of Jesus and Mary Catholic Infant School & Nursery, we encourage a fascination and love for science and make connections between science and their everyday lives. By the end of KS1, children are expected to have developed a good understanding of a variety of science concepts, be able to talk about them as well as work scientifically.
We aim to increasing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of our world, and with developing skills associated with Science as a process of enquiry. We hope to enthuse their natural curiosity and encourage respect for living organisms and the physical environment, as well as provide opportunities for critical evaluation of the evidence they find.
Our Science Curriculum
§ Develops scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics;
§ Develops understanding of the nature, processes and methods of Science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them;
§ Equips pupils with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future.
§ Uses a range of methods to communicate their scientific information and present it in a systematic, scientific manner, including the use of technology, diagrams, graphs and charts.
§ Promotes the respect for the resources and equipment they handle with regard to their own, and other children’s safety.
§ Develops an enthusiasm and enjoyment of scientific learning and discovery.
EYFS Curriculum Links:
§ Pupils learn about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
§ They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
§ They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
KS1 National Curriculum Links:
Pupils are taught to
§ Ask simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways.
§ Observe closely, using simple equipment.
§ Perform simple tests.
§ Identify and classify.
§ Use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
§ Gather and recording data to help in answering questions.
§ Explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive.
§ Recognise that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.
§ Identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including microhabitats.
§ Describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain, and identify and name different sources of food.
§ Observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants.
§ Find out and describe why plants need water, light and a suitable temperature to grow and stay healthy.
§ Recognise that animals, including humans offspring and grow into adults.
§ Find out about and describe the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival (water, food and air).
§ Develop an understanding of the need for humans to exercise, eat the right types of food, and be hygienic.
§ Identify and compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, including wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper and cardboard for particular uses.
§ Find out how the shapes of solid objects made from some materials can be changed by squashing, bending, twisting and stretching.