Each unit is carefully planned to ensure that prerequisite knowledge is built upon and connected content, between aspects within Science and other disciplines (Geography for example), are carefully linked and revisited.
At Princethorpe Schools, the Science curriculum is sequenced carefully to ensure that previous knowledge is revisited and built on.
Units are organised into key areas of learning that include plants, living things and their habitats, animals including humans, forces, materials, seasonal changes and energy. These units are then further grouped into biology, chemistry and physics (with an understanding that links can often be made between these aspects). Mathematical knowledge and skills are used regularly to support understanding of scientific knowledge and develop scientific enquiry – these links have been carefully planned in relation to prior learning outlined in the mathematics programme of study.
When studying plants, pupils in year 1 will focus primarily on understanding what plants are and describing their basic structure e.g. stem, leaves, petals, fruit and roots. This knowledge is then built upon in year 2 where pupils learn about how seeds and bulbs grow into plants. During this learning, pupils explore the requirements for plants to grow healthily. In lower key stage, pupils will use the previous knowledge from both year 1 and year 2 to explore in more depth the functions of the different parts of plants in maintaining a healthy life. This knowledge is then used and built upon in more depth to better understand living things and their habitats in later key stage 2. Throughout these units, pupils draw on their understanding of how seasonal changes can affect the growth of plants.
When studying animals, including humans, pupils will begin by exploring and grouping common animals into basic classification systems. Similarly, to the plant’s units, pupils will also learn about the different parts of the human body and link this to senses. In year 2, pupils will build upon their previous knowledge and look at the basic survival needs, focusing on animals and humans. Pupils will explore the similarities and difference between plants needs and those of animals. They will explore how a healthy lifestyle is important for growth. In key stage two, pupils will learn in more depth about how the human body works through learning about its key systems. In lower key stage 2, pupils will be taught about the muscular and skeletal system and the digestion system. In upper key stage 2, pupils will build on their previous learning by looking at how humans change and grow throughout their life, starting from birth and finishing at old age. Pupils will also be taught about the circulatory system and its component parts, they will use knowledge of lifestyles to understand how this can impact on the bodies systems. Pupils will use learning from chemistry (in-particular solubility) to understand the circulatory system in more depth.
When studying living things and their habits, pupils bring together the knowledge and understanding from units within the plants and animals, including humans sequence of learning. In year 2, pupils use their knowledge of plants and animals to begin understanding how habitats compromise of both plants and animals, who are dependent on each other for life. Pupils will begin to explore life cycles within these habitats and how these play a part in the growth. In lower key stage 2, pupils will develop a deeper understanding of classification and how habitats and environments can change, which can either support or pose danger to animal and plant life. Throughout these units, pupils will draw on their understanding of seasonal changes and their impact on life. In upper key stage 2, pupils will use their knowledge of classification to explore variations in life cycles. They will also describe reproduction, making links to life cycles and human growth. In year 6, pupils will explore classification in more depth, incorporating micro-organisms. The final unit of biological science at W is using the previous knowledge of living things to explore and learn about evolution and inheritance, paying particular attention to how living things and their characteristics have changed over time. The knowledge taught previously about fossils, will be revisited to support exploration and find evidence for these changes.
When studying forces, pupils in year 3 will begin by exploring contact and non-contact forces. This will be explored through comparing how objects can be moved through pushes, pull and magnetism. In year 4, pupils will continue to look at non-contact forces in the form of electrical force. They will explore simple circuits and their components, as well as using knowledge of materials previously gained to identify common conductors and insulators. When in year 5, pupils will explore the non-contact force of gravity but will focus on building a deeper knowledge of contact forces, in particular air resistance, water-resistance and friction. Pupils will use knowledge developed in design and technology to explore how mechanisms are used to allow a small force to have a greater impact. In year 6, pupils revisit electricity focusing on the variation of the different components and how this affects the functionality of a circuit e.g. brightness of bulbs, the loudness of buzzers.
When studying Energy in key stage 2, pupils begin in year 3 by studying light. Pupils will explore how darkness is the absence of light and how shadows are formed when light sources are blocked. Knowledge of materials and their properties, taught in key stage 1, will be revisited when exploring how to make shadows using different objects. In year 4, pupils will explore the effect of energy on states of matter and how differing levels of applied energy can change a material. Pupils will also explore sound as energy. They will learn about vibrations, pitch and volume and how this all contributes to how humans can hear a sound. Pupils will use prerequisite knowledge taught in animals, including humans to better understand human senses. In year 6, pupils will revisit and extend their knowledge of light by exploring how light behaves, travels and is sensed by the eye. Pupils will use their knowledge and understanding of shadows to explore how light travels in straight lines.
When studying Earth and space, pupils in year 1 will explore how seasons change throughout the year and what effect this has on temperatures, length of daylight and living things. When in year 5, pupils will be taught about the solar system, movement of the planets and how day and night occurs. Pupils in year 5 will also learn about the relationship between the Earth, Sun and Moon and this system’s place within the solar system.
When studying materials, pupils in year 1 will learn about how objects in their daily lives are made out of a variety of common materials. Pupils will learn how to group materials based on their physical properties e.g. hard, bendy. In year 2, pupil’s knowledge is extended by learning about how materials are selected for particular uses based on the properties identified. The pupils will explore how materials can be manipulated using contact forces such as pushes, pulls and twists. When in year 3, pupils will learn about rocks and their properties. They will compare and group using the skills and knowledge they have learnt from years 1 and 2. They will explore how fossils are formed, what they are and how they can be used. In year 4, pupils will learn about and explore how materials can change state due to the application or removal of heat energy and at what temperature the change of state occurs. They will focus on grouping materials that have the same state and the processes of condensation and evaporation. Pupils will use this knowledge in their geography curriculum to better understand the water cycle. When in year 5, pupils will and explore and group materials based on whether they are soluble or insoluble. Pupils will investigate ways to separate materials that have formed a solution as well as explore reversible and irreversible changes. Pupils will explore how these materials are experienced and play a part in everyday life.
During Years 1 and 2, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the of the science units:
- ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways
- observing closely, using simple equipment
- performing simple tests
- identifying and classifying
- using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
- gather and record date to help answering questions.
During years 3 and 4, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:
- asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
- setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
- making systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers
- gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions
- recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
- reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
- using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
- identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
- using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.
During years 5 and 6, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:
- planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
- taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
- recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
- using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
- reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and a degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations
- identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments