At St. Bernadette’s, we are in the process of writing and developing a bespoke curriculum based on the National Curriculum.
“…careful curriculum design, where new knowledge is broken down into meaningful components and introduced sequentially, can support all pupils to learn scientific concepts. This includes those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.”
Research Review Series: Science. Ofsted, 2021.
Science Curriculum Overview 23/24
“Assessing students' prior knowledge allows an instructor to focus and adapt their teaching plan. For students, it helps them to construct connections between old and new knowledge.”
Assessing Prior Knowledge, Cornell University, 2022
Each unit with a prior knowledge check – this aids both teachers and learners.
A focused flashback helps pupils to retain prior knowledge on the topic and make links between old and new content.
Each planning grid outlines prior knowledge in order to support teaching.
“Sufficient curriculum time must be allocated for pupils to embed what they have learned in long-term memory through extensive practice before moving on to new content.”
Research Review Series: Science. Ofsted, 2021.
Each lesson begins with three flashback activities:
The idea is that this:
Will help to transfer information into pupils’ long term memories
Will act as a ‘pre-teach’ for key concepts and vocabulary
Will address common misconceptions before they arise
Will lead to greater understanding as we progress through a topic as effective links can be made.
“Vocabulary plays a crucial role in science because it is at the heart of science learning and knowledge building. To discuss and build knowledge, students need to have access to the vocabulary of science.”
National Science Teaching Association, 2020
Each unit contains:
A discrete lesson on vocabulary that is taught at the start of the unit, this pre teaches new scientific words.
A selection of key vocabulary showcased on classroom science display boards.
Each lesson contains:
“Researchers have found that the sense of belonging in science matters more than grades and background when it comes to keeping students in science majors and careers. Creating a more equitable, inclusive, and leakproof STEM pipeline requires helping more students feel like scientists.”
Helping students (re)think of themselves as scientists. C&EN, 2020.
Each unit has a key scientist linked to it.
These scientists have been reviewed to ensure our curriculum is more diverse and relevant to our pupils.
Many units also have a ‘Just Like Me’ scientist also included, helping pupils learn about people like them working in different careers within the field of science today.
When learning about scientists, we will focus on:
the impact that scientist had on the world
whose ideas that scientist built upon
the barriers some scientists faced and how they successfully overcame these to make a significant difference to the world around them
which of our ‘Working Scientifically’ skills these scientists utilized.
Here are examples of a few modern and diverse scientists included in our science curriculum:
“Environmental education promotes critical and creative thinking skills and inspires kids to become more engaged with their communities. It helps kids understand why the environment is important and provides them with the building blocks they need to live eco-friendly and sustainable lives.”
Why Environmental Education is Important for Kids. Rubicon, 2021.
The golden thread of environmental awareness runs through each unit in school. Each unit has a linked environmental focus – ‘Care of God’s Creation’ (linked to Catholic Social Teaching). This makes our curriculum more relevant to issues faced today, which should engage pupils and help them to see the real-world purpose of their learning.
Throughout school, children are exposed to five types of enquiry:
Observation over time
Identifying, grouping and classifying
A set of characters have been created to represent each of the ‘Working Scientifically’ skills that the children will utilise within their investigations and enquiries. These characters are displayed in every classroom and appear in many science lessons, even when the focus is not directly linked to enquiry.
At St. Bernadette’s, we believe that reading is a cornerstone of each and every curriculum area. As such, opportunities to share picture books, as well as fiction and non-fiction texts, have been planned into each unit. A range of books related to each science topic have also been purchased for each classroom in order to allow children to extend their learning outside of lesson time.
Reading as part of the Curriculum (sample):
Wider reading material (sample):
Reading Across the Curriculum
Science in Nursery and Reception
The EYFS framework is structured very differently to the national curriculum as it is organised across seven areas of learning rather than subject areas. The skills taught across EYFS feed into national curriculum subjects and statements from Development Matters are prerequisite skills for science within the national curriculum.
The most relevant statements for science are taken from the following areas of learning:
Communication and Language
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Understanding the World