WHY ARE WE TEACHING A KNOWLEDGE-RICH CURRICULUM; HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?
Our science curriculum is designed so that pupils can develop and sustain their curiosity about the world, their enjoyment of scientific activity and understand how natural phenomena can be explained. The knowledge rich curriculum uses the Association for Science Educations 14 big ideas in and about science. These give pupils a framework to develop a rich understanding of the foundation links to all areas of science. A key aim of this curriculum is to help pupils come to appreciate the connections between the disciplines of science. For example, pupils will be able to understand that science explanations, theories and models are those that best fit the facts known at a particular time. This knowledge of science will enable pupils to engage in science in everyday life.
WHY ARE WE TEACHING THIS CONTENT?
We aspire for pupils to leave school with a desire to participate in science whether as an active member of society or as a candidate for further study in science, with a genuine interest in the discovery of new scientific knowledge and appreciation of how science impacts the lives of everyone. The science content is carefully sequenced, with emphasis on practical skills, mathematical and the literacy knowledge that is required for students to be able to articulate this knowledge equipping pupils with skills from data analysis, standard form, rearranging equations to calculating the efficiency of an appliance, to understanding and using tier 3 (subject specific) vocabulary.
WHY ARE WE TEACHING IT IN THIS ORDER?
During Key Stages Three and Four students cumulatively build knowledge and skills needed to succeed at GCSE and progress to further study or future employment. The curriculum model centres around being able to revisit topics, offering opportunity to further increase and secure knowledge, skills and understanding, with carefully selected practical opportunities to develop enquiry and problem-solving skills. We have planned for delivery of both the substantive knowledge we expect each pupil to have gained in each year group. But also the disciplinary knowledge, which underpins how science works and allows pupils to understand how science knowledge has grown and continues to.
WHAT DO PUPILS NEED TO REMEMBER AND BE ABLE TO DO IN THIS SUBJECT?
The curriculum map allows for topics to be revisited over the course of study, each time a topic is revisited more depth is added through the detail required in the core questions, thus further connections are made between prior learning and new knowledge. The map of practical and mathematical skills ensures pupils develop the necessary knowledge and skills needed for success in the required practical’s and KS4. For example, starting with basic plant and animal cells, the periodic table and basic equations in physics, then progressing onto specialised cells, the development of the periodic table and how this underpins bonding in chemistry to complicated equations and being confident in rearranging the equations, to give a few examples.
WHAT METHODS DO WE USE TO HELP PUPILS SECURE THIS KNOWLEDGE IN LONG-TERM MEMORY?
Low stakes retrieval practice is used at the start of each lesson, with a mixture of more recent questions but always including questions from previous topics and previous years, which helps long term memory using spaced practice. Based on Rosenshine’s principles of instruction, new learning in each topic is broken down into small steps across a series of planned lessons linked to the core questions associated with each lesson. The size of the step increases as pupils gain more knowledge. Where topics interleave links between concepts are made explicit to pupils helping them to build new knowledge to their existing schema. Retrieval practice is used at the end of each lesson to retrieve new knowledge learnt using core question methodology.
WHAT METHODS DO WE USE TO HELP PUPILS SECURE THIS KNOWLEDGE IN LONG-TERM MEMORY AND APPLY IT IN COMPLEX TASKS?
Throughout the lessons, pupils have an opportunity not just to recall knowledge through rote learning but through carefully planned and designed tasks have the opportunity to practise applying their factual knowledge and develop procedural knowledge and practical skills. Some examples that are used to secure knowledge in long-term memory are listed below. Our science teachers use these as appropriate to the context of what they are teaching:
- Retrieval practice – daily, weekly and longer term – using a variety of questioning techniques such as, Brain dumps/free recall, quick quiz, cloze activities
- Variety of questioning methods to encourage learning and thinking;
- Think, pair, share and snowballing discussions
- Debate and belief lines
- Teacher led demonstrations (predict, observe and explain)
- Independent research
- What a good one looks like (WAGGOL) – sharing model texts or explanations with pupils.
- Literacy activities and extended written tasks- explanations, story telling
- OREO model for persuasive writing – opinion, reason evidence opinion
- IPEEL writing frame– introduction, point, explain, evidence, link
- Exam practice and revision skills
- Knowledge organisers
- Use of scaffolding, I do, we do and you do, sentence structures.
- Literacy – because, but, so.
- Individual SLOP work to apply and embed knowledge.
To view the Science Curriculum Overview click here.
More information on the Science Department can be found on their website here.