At Rhyl we believe that through the study of science, children develop a sense of the world and how it works. We aim to foster a healthy curiosity about the universe, and encourage our pupils to ask challenging questions about how and why things happen. Science capital is an integral part of Rhyl’s approach to Science and STEAM, as it encapsulates all of the science-related knowledge, attitudes, experiences and social contacts that an individual may have. The teaching of science is a chance for our children to become aware that it is a fundamental part of our everyday modern life, and in doing so, develop and build on their science capital.
We know that children have limited awareness of Science and The World when they begin school. Therefore, our intent is:
- To foster a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena through observing and conducting a variety of experiments as well as within daily play and investigation
- For children to become aware that science is an integral part of our everyday modern life, and to help them to develop an understanding of the world and how it works
- For children to be able to make simple observations, learn new scientific vocabulary, notice changes and begin to develop scientific thinking.
Our pupils begin KS1 with a developing knowledge of the skills they need to be a scientist. Therefore, in KS1 our intent is:
- For pupils to have a strong understanding of the world around them and be able to ask questions and use specific skills and knowledge to help them to think scientifically
- For pupils to have access to rich, stimulating experiences in science that will nurture curiosity
- To develop their Working Scientifically skills as these form the basis for scientific enquiry
At the beginning of KS2, our pupils have a developing understanding of the world around them and need to continue to acquire specific skills and knowledge to help them to think scientifically. In KS2, the intent for our pupils is:
- To provide stimulating, meaningful scientific experiences which will help pupils to develop a lifelong love of science
- To deepen our pupil’s understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas, nurture their curiosity and enable them to develop a range of skills that are useful across their learning and beyond
- For pupils to be able to draw conclusions based on data and use their scientific knowledge to explain their findings
- For pupils to become scientific thinkers, use relevant vocabulary and make purposeful links as they move to secondary school.
The Teaching and Learning of Science
The teaching and learning of Science is carefully planned for across all year groups, following the National Curriculum, as well as through STEAM opportunities, to ensure deep and meaningful connections for the children. Each science lesson promotes a specific Working Scientifically skill, which allows teachers to retain the integrity of the subject. Planning is focused on the five types of enquiry, as outlined in the National Curriculum, and is supported by the use of sentence stems and key vocabulary banks. We believe it is key to build upon children’s prior knowledge and give them the skills to make links and progress throughout their scientific knowledge and understanding. Learning is enquiry-led and children are given the chance to suggest, plan and carry out their own experiments and form their own informed hypotheses and opinions.
Visits and Partnerships
As in all areas of the curriculum, we actively seek out visits to enhance learning. Children regularly go out to experience science in the ‘real world’ at Rhyl and we engage as much with our local Camden community as we do with the wider London areas and beyond. The Outdoor Classroom, which connects across many areas of learning at Rhyl is also used regularly to elevate scientific learning, and allows children to discover and experiment in the natural world. Visits are relevant and closely linked to classroom learning in order to ensure meaningful experiences for the children. In addition to this, we have built strong partnerships with schools and organisations in our local area, such as Regents High and The Francis Crick Institute, meaning we can provide diverse and meaningful experiences for our children in and out of school.
We endeavour to plan and implement events that promote scientific thinking, such as British Science Week, which take place each Spring term. The theme of forensic science and the real life context of a crime scene in school made the week in 2020 meaningful and purposeful for the children, who were fully engaged and excited by the prospect of solving a crime. The week involved the children using a range of scientific enquiries, equipment and methods to test evidence from the crime scene and identify the criminal. On the final day of the week, the children, suspects and a ‘judge’ took part in a trial in which each year group presented their evidence, before identifying who they thought the real criminal was. The impact of the week allowed children to use a real life event and real life jobs and skills across the week giving them an understanding of how science works within the wider world and across different areas of employment. They were able to apply both known and new skills whilst building on their ability to work scientifically, make predictions, enquire, experiment and produce informed findings.
Rhyl children’s opinions on British Science Week:
‘I loved it because I felt like a real scientist and learned about how they solve crimes!’ – Y4 child
‘…it was so fun because we got to act like real police people’ – Y3 child
‘It was really good, I learned about acids and pH and how loads of things around us have a pH’ – Y5 child
‘Chromatography was so cool because you get to see how many different colours are in black ink’ – Y6 child