We are Scientists!

‘The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’ Psalm 118:23 

At St Mary’s we teach our children to be inquisitive about Science and to be excited by the world around them. Science is taught weekly across Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and through ‘Understanding the World’ in our EYFS. The Science curriculum that we provide encourages the children to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena.

Scientific Enquiry

We teach children to work scientifically by asking scientific questions, use scientific vocabulary (which is on display in all of our classrooms), investigate a line of enquiry, analyse results and refer back to their predictions. Scientific enquiry is strand that is covered throughout each topic from EYFS to Year 4 that involves lots of “hands on” approaches for the children to have first-hand experience of testing questions and hypotheses. As the children move through the year groups they are challenged to devise and complete their own scientific enquiries. Click on the links below for examples from each class.

In EYFS Science the children are given a problem solving task set from the class text. For example the children explored the story ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’. They shared their ideas to help Plop (the owl from the story) find a suitable light source to help him see in the dark. They were given a selection of resources and had to test the resources to identify if they were a light source or not. They tested the torch to shine light into the ‘bear cave’. They then made the light reflect from the mirror as they shone the torch at the mirror.

Throughout Key Stage 1 the children investigate questions and hypotheses. For example in Year 1 the children investigated the hypothesis “You can’t identify objects using sense of smell”. The children had 6 mystery cups with 6 different items in for the children to explore and predict the item in the cup using only their sense of smell. The children recorded their predictions in their books. The Year 2 set up an investigation to find out ‘How do germs spread?’. The children worked as a group to test different areas of the school where the most amount of germs would be found and which places and objects carried germs. When observing the germs the following week the children could then compare their predictions with the results.

Year 3 had a fantastic afternoon exploring shadows. The children drew around the shadow of our partner in the playground. They discussed how shadows are created using our prior learning in Science, e.g. light travels in a straight line, objects can block the light. They discussed how we could the change the orientation of our shadow but realised we couldn’t and reasoned why. After approximately 30 minutes, we went back to our shadows, standing on our footprints (we drew around our feet at the same time we drew around our shadow). They discovered that the shadow had changed position and reasoned why, drawing on our knowledge of how the earth rotates and the position of the sun in the sky. Following this the
children decided they would plan an investigation to see if the size of our shadow would change over the course of a day.

Year 3 also used Starburst sweets to show how different types of rocks are formed. Each Starburst was cut into pieces to represent sediments. Pressure was applied to the sediments to form a sedimentary rock and discussed the compaction process. To create a metamorphic rock, heat and pressure was applied using our hands, to represent what happens underground. Finally they used heat (a microwave), to melt the ‘rock’ and let it cool, representing how igneous rocks are formed.

In the Year 4 topic on sound, the children chose an appropriate hypothesis to investigate how far sound travels outside e.g. “All sounds travel further than 1m in the playground”. The children decided that they could work with a partner and use different instruments to make sounds. One person made the sound while the other walked away until they could no longer hear it. They drew a line on the playground and measured the distance accurately in metres and centimetres.

After Year 4 had learnt about sounds travelling in waves and being caused by vibrations, they investigated how they could then hear those sounds. They used an interactive fact “hotspot” on the whiteboard to find out how sounds travelled through the air into our ears then eventually turned into electrical impulses to be interpreted by our brains. They made models that included the outer ear (or pinna), auditory canal, ear drum, cochlea and the auditory nerve. They drew arrows to show the direction that the sounds travel in and then used their models to explain what happens to the sound at each part.

Our Science curriculum is broad and balanced and taught in a variety of ways including whole class lessons, collaborative small groups or individually, both in the classroom and outdoors. Links are made across different areas of learning to ensure that learning is maximised. We fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum, as well as providing additional experiences through visits, visitors, the outdoors and use of technology (fully immersive experiences using VR).

Click on the buttons below for some Science activities you can share at home.

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