National Curriculum Purpose of study
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 pupils 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, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:
develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
THE PRIMARY CURRICULUM FOR SCIENCE
In keeping with the shift from a skills based curriculum to a knowledge-based one, the new programme of study for science puts a greater focus on acquiring scientific knowledge, and less emphasis on developing scientific skills and understanding.
The scientific enquiry strand, now called working scientifically, is set out on a two-yearly basis. As before, this aspect is not taught separately, but is embedded throughout the subject. Despite the yearly layout, it is only compulsory to teach the content by the end of the relevant key stage.
There is greater progression in the skills of scientific enquiry.
In Key Stage 1, pupils are expected to do less than before – they no longer need to make predictions, recognise unfair tests or compare results with predictions. In Upper Key Stage 2, pupils are expected to do more – to work more independently, make more accurate measurements, and keep more complex records.
There is greater emphasis on learning scientific vocabulary.
Throughout the new programme of study, pupils are required to read and spell scientific vocabulary. However, a vocabulary list is not provided.
Habitats and food chains are now introduced in Key Stage 1.
In Year 2, pupils learn how different habitats provide for the needs of different living things, and represent feeding relationships within a habitat using a simple food chain.
Evolution and inheritance is a new area of study in Year 6.
By studying fossils, pupils learn that living things change over time – a process called evolution. They learn that although characteristics are passed from one generation to the next, offspring vary from their parents. Gradually this variation, acted on by the process of natural selection (survival of the fittest), makes living things more suited to their environment – they evolve.
Other additions to the programme of study include:
in Year 1, seasonal changes;
in Year 3, the transportation of water in plants;
in Year 4, the human digestive system;
in Year 5, the solar system;
Science is all about finding new things out, discovering how things work and investigating what we can do with this new knowledge. I love it!