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Our whole-school Curriculum Development Leader for Science is R Markham

A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all children should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, children 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.

Developing the young scientist at Someries Infant School and Early Childhood Education Centre

During their time at Someries Infant School and Early Childhood Education Centre, children will acquire the following key knowledge, skills and understanding in science as part of our unique Prime Learning Challenge curriculum.

Early childhood education curriculum milestones

Developing the knowledge and skills I need to be a successful young scientist

The progress of pupils accessing our Early Childhood Education Centre is monitored using our unique curriculum milestone objectives to ensure they are suitably prepared with the foundational knowledge, skills and understanding they require to succeed in key stage one.

I explore materials with different properties, both indoors and outdoors. I use all my senses to investigate, manipulate and play with these materials, repeating actions which have an effect. I also notice patterns with strong contrasts and am attracted by patterns resembling the human face.

I talk about the differences between materials and the changes I notice. I explore different collections of materials with similar and/or different properties using my senses during hands-on exploration.

I also understand the key features of the life cycle of a plant and an animal. When observing plants and animals I talk about what I see using a wide range of vocabulary.

I can name and identify different parts of the human body.

I recognise that some environments are different to the one in which I live and I know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. I look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and changes in nature and understand the effect of changing seasons on the world around me.

I also develop my own ideas through experimentation with diverse materials to express and communicate my discoveries and understanding.

I explore the natural world around me, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants and I know some similarities and differences between the natural world around me and contrasting environments drawing on my experiences and what has been read to me.

I also understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around me, including the seasons and changing states of matter.

Achieving these milestones throughout my early childhood education will support me in accessing my first steps in key stage one because they provide a foundation for me being able to:

  • use simple equipment to observe closely
  • perform a simple test
  • compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis on their simple physical properties
  • describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, including pets)

Key stage one

How children will build on the foundational knowledge, skills and understanding they developed throughout their Early Childhood Education

Pupils in key stage one explore the world around them and raise their own questions. They experience different types of scientific enquiries, including practical activities, and begin to recognise ways in which they might answer scientific questions. They use simple features to compare objects, materials and living things and, with help, decide how to sort and group them, observe changes over time, and, with guidance, they begin to notice patterns and relationships. They ask people questions and use simple secondary sources to find answers. They also use simple measurements and equipment (for example, hand lenses and egg timers) to gather data, carry out simple tests, record simple data, and talk about what they have found out and how they found it out. With help, they record and communicate their findings in a range of ways and begin to use simple scientific language.

As well as working scientifically, four areas of science are taught in year one including:

  • Plants
  • Animals, including humans
  • Everyday materials
  • Seasonal changes

Pupils use the local environment throughout the year to explore and answer questions about plants growing in their habitat. Where possible, they observe the growth of flowers and vegetables that they have planted.

They become familiar with common names of flowers, examples of deciduous and evergreen trees, and plant structures (including leaves, flowers (blossom), petals, fruit, roots, bulb, seed, trunk, branches, stem).

Pupils work scientifically by observing closely, using magnifying glasses, and comparing and contrasting familiar plants; describing how they were able to identify and group them, and drawing diagrams showing the parts of different plants including trees. Pupils keep records of how plants have changed over time, for example the leaves falling off trees and buds opening; and compare and contrast what they have found out about different plants.

Pupils use the local environment throughout the year to explore and answer questions about animals in their habitat. They understand how to take care of animals taken from their local environment and the need to return them safely after study. Children become familiar with the common names of some fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, including those that are kept as pets.

Pupils have plenty of opportunities to learn the names of the main body parts (including head, neck, arms, elbows, legs, knees, face, ears, eyes, hair, mouth, teeth) through games, actions, songs and rhymes.

Pupils also work scientifically by using their observations to compare and contrast animals at first hand or through videos and photographs, describing how they identify and group them; grouping animals according to what they eat; and using their senses to compare different textures, sounds and smells.

Pupils explore, name, discuss and raise and answer questions about everyday materials so that they become familiar with the names of materials and properties such as hard/ soft; stretchy/ stiff; shiny/ dull; rough/ smooth; bendy/ not bendy; waterproof/ not waterproof; absorbent/ not absorbent; opaque/ transparent. Children explore and experiment with a wide variety of materials including for example brick, paper, fabrics, elastic, foil.

Pupils work scientifically by performing simple tests to explore questions, for example ‘What is the best material for an umbrella?’

Pupils observe and talk about changes in the weather and the seasons and work scientifically by making tables and charts about the weather; and making displays of what happens in the world around them, including day length, as the seasons change.

As well as working scientifically, other areas of science are taught in year two, including:

  • Living things and their habitats
  • Plants
  • Animals, including humans
  • Uses of everyday materials

Pupils are introduced to the idea that all living things have certain characteristics that are essential for keeping them alive and healthy. They raise and answer questions that help them to become familiar with the life processes that are common to all living things. Pupils are introduced to the terms ‘habitat’ (a natural environment or home of a variety of plants and animals) and ‘micro-habitat’ (a very small habitat, for example for woodlice under stones, logs or leaf litter). They raise and answer questions about the local environment that help them to identify and study a variety of plants and animals within their habitat and observe how living things depend on each other, for example, plants serving as a source of food and shelter for animals. Children compare animals in familiar habitats with animals found in less familiar habitats, for example, on the seashore, in woodland, in the ocean, in the rainforest.

Pupils work scientifically by sorting and classifying things according to whether they are living, dead or were never alive, and recording their findings using charts. They describe how they decided where to place things, exploring questions, for example ‘Is a flame alive? Is a deciduous tree dead in winter?’, and talk about ways of answering their questions. They construct a simple food chain that includes humans (for example: grass, cow, human). They describe the conditions in different habitats and micro-habitats (under logs, on stony paths, under bushes) and find out how the conditions affect the number and type(s) of plants and animals that live there.

Pupils use the local environment throughout the year to observe how different plants grow. They are introduced to the requirements of plants for germination, growth and survival, as well as to the processes of reproduction and growth in plants. Children are taught that seeds and bulbs need water to grow but most do not need light because seeds and bulbs have a store of food inside them.

Pupils work scientifically by observing and recording, with some accuracy, the growth of a variety of plants as they change over time from a seed or bulb, or observing similar plants at different stages of growth; setting up a comparative test to show that plants need light and water to stay healthy.

Pupils are introduced to the basic needs of animals for survival, as well as the importance of exercise and nutrition for humans. They are also introduced to the processes of reproduction and growth in animals. The focus at this stage is on questions that help children to recognise growth and they are not be expected to understand how reproduction occurs.

Pupils work scientifically by observing, through video or first-hand observation and measurement, how different animals, including humans, grow; asking questions about what things animals need for survival and what humans need to stay healthy; and suggesting ways to find answers to their questions.

Pupils identify and discuss the uses of different everyday materials so that they become familiar with how some materials are used for more than one thing (metal can be used for coins, cans, cars and table legs; wood can be used for matches, floors, and telegraph poles) or different materials are used for the same thing (spoons can be made from plastic, wood, metal, but not normally from glass). They think about the properties of materials that make them suitable or unsuitable for particular purposes and are encouraged to think about unusual and creative uses for everyday materials. Pupils find out about people who have developed useful new materials, for example John Dunlop and John McAdam.

Pupils work scientifically by comparing the uses of everyday materials in and around the school with materials found in other places (at home, the journey to school, on visits, and in stories, rhymes and songs); observing closely, identifying and classifying the uses of different materials, and recording their observations.