Science at Windmill Primary School
Our Vision and Core Principles for Science teaching at Windmill Primary:
To develop the knowledge and skills children need to question, explore and investigate the world around them, encouraging them to believe they can become the scientists of the future.
We aim to give every child as much science-related knowledge and experience as possible to develop positive attitudes towards Science. We want our Science teaching to help children believe they can become the scientists of the future with the ultimate goal of improving young people’s lives and life chances. Our aim in teaching Science is to encourage all children to think that Science is important and relevant to their lives, now and in the future.
Through our teaching of Science, we aim to build upon children’s natural curiosity of the world around them and to provide as many opportunities as possible for children to experience the awe and wonder of the natural world. Through a hands-on approach to Science which puts investigation at its heart, children will have the opportunity to ask questions and to decide how to explore and experiment to find out the answers.
We are very proud to have achieved the Primary Science Quality Mark, a national award recognising excellence in Science provision.
Science teaching at Windmill Primary takes a practical, hands-on approach, giving children the opportunity to develop their scientific knowledge, scientific skills and understanding of the uses of Science. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and we aim to engage and excite all learners, giving them a sense of wonder at the amazing world we live in. We follow the principles of the Thinking, Doing, Talking Science Research Project (Oxford Brookes University) which encourages investigation and the development of working scientifically skills. Children at Windmill Primary love doing Science and we plan our Science lessons in order to provide them with as many practical opportunities as possible to investigate and explore.
Each year group covers the Science topics for their specific year, as laid out by the National Curriculum. At Windmill, we currently have one exception to this where we have swapped two topics between Year 5 and Year 6 so as to fit better with termly, over-arching Topics. Earth and Space is taught in Year 6 and the Year 6 Electricity objectives are taught in Year 5. Taking a cross-curricular approach is encouraged to ensure that links across the curriculum are used to extend and maximise the coverage of Science.
Science is taught on a regular basis to ensure that children are experiencing Science in such a way as to build their skills and knowledge. This equates to a lesson a week but this may be delivered in blocks should teachers prefer to have `Science Weeks’.
Lessons are planned to specifically cover the objectives from the National Curriculum as set out for a particular year group. This close focus on year group objectives ensures that when topics are revisited in subsequent years, this revisiting builds on what the children have learnt, rather than just revises what they have done in previous years.
The Science National Curriculum contains two strands:
Knowledge content – things that children need to know
Working Scientifically – things that children need to be able to do in order to engage in scientific enquiry.
Both of these strands are taught alongside each other with children using different enquiry types to answer scientific questions about the world around them. These enquiry types are:
Pattern seeking investigations, for example: Do taller people jump further?
Fair and comparative tests, for example: Which material is best to make a raincoat for teddy?
Observations over time, for example: What do plants need in order to grow?
Classifying, identifying and surveying, for example: How could you group a selection of different materials?
Research using secondary sources such as books and the internet, for example: What is the gestation period of a range of different animals and does this correlate to their size?
Across a year of Science teaching, teachers ensure that their lessons provide the children with:
experience all types of scientific enquiry
focused coverage of all strands of the working scientifically objectives allowing them to develop their scientific skills
opportunities to develop the knowledge to understand scientific concepts required by the National Curriculum
explicitly teaching of the correct scientific vocabulary to enable children to explain their ideas and learning.
An overview of the National Curriculum objectives, both in terms of knowledge and skills, can be found here:
At Windmill Primary, our Science lessons often have more than one lesson objective; there may be a knowledge objective and a working scientifically objective. When carrying out investigations, teachers focus on one particular aspect of the working scientifically curriculum. Any recording that the children do will be based around this objective. For example, if the objective for a particular investigation is to ask Scientific questions, then the recording done by the children will be to write their investigation question. This allows children the time they need to focus on doing the investigation, rather than `writing up’ the whole experiment which is an extremely lengthy process. Children are, however, given the opportunity to record whole investigations at least once a year, for example, through participation in Science Oxford’s Big Science Event.
Our Science teaching is enriched with visits from experts, including those from within the school community; and trips to, for example, museums and science centres. At Windmill, we are lucky to have some excellent outdoor spaces within our school grounds, including wildlife areas and a pond. Teachers use this resource as much as possible in their teaching, encouraging children to understand the natural world around them and to take responsibility to look after it.
Children enjoy Science lessons and all are able to actively engage and participate
Science lessons build on previously learning, systematically developing children’s Scientific knowledge
Children develop the Science skills they need in order to be able to investigate and explore Science concepts
Children understand that Scientific questions can be answered by different types of enquiry
Children are equipped with the vocabulary necessary for them to explain their learning
Children will develop a life-long interest in the natural world, including their local environment and will have a commitment to caring for it, understanding that we can all make a difference
By the time they leave Windmill Primary, children will have sufficient Science knowledge, skills, and vocabulary to equip them for the next stage in their Scientific educational journey
Children will understand that Science is important and relevant to their lives, now and in the future, and will consider STEM careers
Further information for parents
Can you help enrich our Science lessons?
If you are a parent who works in the field of STEM and you would be willing to come into school to talk to the children about your work, please contact the Science Lead: Kate Jaeger email@example.com and you will be add to a register of parent scientists that teachers can draw upon to enrich our Science curriculum.
Supporting Science Learning at Home
For some fun experiments and investigations that you can do at home, you may like to have a look at these websites:
We have some fantastic museums and gardens in Oxford, all of which have events specifically designed for young people. Visiting is a wonderful way to spark your child’s interest in Science and most of them are free. You may like to keep an eye on what’s on using this link: