The science curriculum aims to equip children with the knowledge and skills to build their scientific understanding from separate strands into a coherent picture of how the world works. We use Cornerstones’ Curriculum 22 to structure our curriculum across the school and the science projects are part of that.
Science programmes of study in the national curriculum are assigned to year groups. However, this is not compulsory and they must be covered before the end of the phase: these phases are end of Early Years Foundation Stage, end of Key Stage 1 (Y2), end of Lower Key Stage 2 (Y4) and end of Key Stage 2 (Y6). Physics is not formally introduced until Key Stage 2. However, in Key Stage 1, children have opportunities to explore natural phenomena, such as shadows. In Curriculum 22, the names of the science projects are matched to the national curriculum aspects, for example, Living things and their habitats and Earth and Space. However, in Key Stage 1, the aspect of Animals, including humans has been separated so that children study humans before expanding to explore animals. Our curriculum is mapped in a series of 2 year cycles to match our school’s context. There is a cycle for Year1/2, Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 although our separate Early Years Foundation Stage has its own distinct 2 year cycle.
The science projects are sequenced to develop both children’s substantive and declarative knowledge, and if possible, make meaningful links to other projects. For example, in Year 3, the projects Plants and Light are taught alongside the design and technology project Greenhouse and the art and design project Beautiful Botanicals. These links allow for children to embed their substantive knowledge in new and often real-life contexts. The sequencing of projects ensures that children have the substantive knowledge and vocabulary to comprehend subsequent projects fully. Each project’s place in the year has also been carefully considered. For example, projects that involve growing plants or observing animals are positioned at a suitable time of year to give children the best possible opportunity to make first-hand observations. Within all the science projects, disciplinary knowledge is embedded within substantive content.
Our school is in the catchment for Camborne Science and International Academy and its STEM specialist Nexus campus; we continue to have strong links with these secondary schools, particularly in KS2, so that all of our pupils can benefit from access to specialist STEM teaching to enhance their deepening understanding and provide them with excellent examples of their future science education.
Teachers use Cornerstones Curriculum 22, of which the science projects are a part. Through these plans, the teachers have clear guidance on the national curriculum statements for the specific area and for the skills of working scientifically that will be addressed in each lesson and throughout a project. The design of Curriculum 22 ensures that the knowledge and skills are taught in a cumulative and progressive way and this progression is clearly available to teachers and leaders from within the Cornerstones programme. Using the lesson plans from Cornerstones as a base, teachers can then extend and innovate their planning to take account of their own expertise and newly available resources.
The school has further resources in order to deliver high quality physics lessons through ‘Phizzi Boxes’ in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2; these can be used successfully in conjunction with Curriculum 22 to further resource the investigations and experiments. Teachers also refer to the PLAN documents around 'Working Scientifically' as these provide further examples of how children can meet these objectives in different ways.
The Cornerstones programme provides assessment materials for the end of each project and these will be used by teachers to accurately assess, along with their lesson-by-lesson teacher judgement, which children have achieved the necessary objectives. Occasionally, teachers may decide to use their own assessment task either alongside or instead of the Cornerstones assessment if it is more appropriate to the project or cohort of children. Data is recorded in the assessment folder and reviewed by the science co-coordinator across the year and teacher comments are communicated in summative report at the end of the year.