Along with English and maths, science remains one of the main core subjects in primary school. It cisan be one of the most exciting and practical subjects and, as a result, is a real joy for teachers and pupils. Children at Cromwell will love the chance to learn through being totally hands-on and finding things out for themselves — the perfect way to understand the world around them. A positive primary science experience is also key to encouraging future generations to not only study this during their secondary phase, but also potentially to follow it as a career.
In the EYFS, science is included within the Understanding the World area of learning. As with other learning in Reception, children will mainly learn about science through games and play – which objects float and sink during water play, for example. Activities such as these will help children to develop important skills such as observation, prediction and critical thinking.
The content of science teaching and learning is set out in the 2014 National Curriculum for primary schools in England. Within this, certain topics and areas are repeated across year groups, meaning that children will revisit a particular topic in some years of primary school but with increasing difficulty and with a different focus each time.
The more detailed content for each year group is as follows and a greakdown of specific obkectives can be downloaded here:
- Plants (basic structure)
- Animals including humans (basic knowledge of parts of human body and comparing animals)
- Everyday materials (describing properties)
- Seasonal changes.
- Plants (what plants need to grow)
- Animals including humans (needs for survival, food and hygiene)
- Use of everyday materials (explore and compare materials for uses)
- Living things and their habitats (explore variety of habitats, simple food chains).
- Plants (life cycles)
- Animals including humans (nutrition, skeleton and muscles)
- Rocks (fossils and soils)
- Light (reflection and shadows)
- Forces and magnets (magnetic materials, attracting and repelling).
- Animals including humans (digestive system, teeth and food chains)
- Living things and habitats (classification keys)
- States of matter (changes of state, evaporation and condensation)
- Sound (vibration, pitch and volume)
- Electricity (simple circuits, insulators and conductors).
- Animals including humans (human development from birth to old age)
- Living things and their habitats (life cycles and reproduction in humans and plants)
- Properties and changes of materials (dissolving, separating materials, reversible and irreversible changes)
- Forces (gravity, air resistance, water resistance, friction)
- Earth and Space (Earth, Sun and Moon, the solar system).
- Animals including humans (circulatory system, diet and exercise, healthy living)
- Living things and their habitat (classification, characteristics of plant and animal groups)
- Light (how it travels, how we see, shadows)
- Electricity (voltage and power in circuits, circuit components, symbols and diagrams)
- Evolution and inheritance (how living things have changed over time, fossils, dinosaurs, adaptation to environment).
Alongside these areas runs the Working Scientifically element. This focuses on the skills the children need to become accurate, careful and confident practical scientists. Children are expected to master certain skills in each year group and there is a very clear progression of these set out for each school to refer to. For example:
In Year 1 a child may have to ask questions, carry out a simple test, record simple data and then try to answer questions.
By Year 6, they should be able to plan and carry out a fair test by using equipment accurately and taking exact readings or measurements. They are also expected to be able to draw conclusions from their results and record them using a range of graphs and charts.