Science and the Outdoor Classroom
As a school, we teach science both within the children’s classrooms (CC)and in the Outdoor Classroom (OC). Class teachers have overall responsibility for their children’s science learning, and teach science within their topics, as outlined in our “Planning” section.
All classes in Years 1 to 6 receive a morning or afternoon session of Outdoor classroom learning per week, whilst their class teacher completes activities relating to Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA). These sessions are delivered by our specialist team of Outdoor Classroom staff, who have particular strengths and knowledge relating to Natural Science and learning in the outdoors. Key stage 1 children are taught by Graeme Brown (with support from Trisha Heath and additional LSAs) and Key Stage 2 children are taught my Margaret Portus (with support from Trisha Heath). They enjoy the learning opportunities afforded by our generous school grounds; Year 1 access the bottom garden area adjoining the Foundation Stage Outdoor Area, and Years 2 to 6 access the top garden area and polytunnel learning space. Outdoor Classroom provides a rich, holistic learning experience for our children, including various elements of Gardening, Design Technology, Forest Schools, Sustainable Living in addition to the central theme of Natural Sciences.
Science is led by Steve Elwood.
Science in EYFS
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years and Foudation Stage sets out the learning opportunities relating to Understanding the World. Within the children’s guided activities and free-flow provision , children are encouraged to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Such activities are chosen to link in with the children’s current topic, which changes on a fortnightly basis, and is informed from current events and their interests.
Particular care is taken to ensure the children benefit from a healthy balance of indoor and outdoor learning opportunities, the latter taking advantage of our generous Foundation Stage garden area.
Science in Years 1 to 6
At Bradley Barton, we plan our delivery of science teaching according to the 2104 National Curriculum for England and Wales.
· Scientific Knowledge objectives within the broader realms of biology, chemistry and physics. The teaching of natural science (biology) takes place in our specialist OC lessons; the specific objectives covered here relate to the seasons, current events and most importantly the children’s interests; we ensure that all are taught by the end of the key stage (Y1/2, Y3/4 or Y5/6). Objectives relating to Physics and Chemistry are taught in children’s classes.
· Objectives relating to Working Scientifically are skills that are taught and revisited throughout the year in both class and Outdoor Classroom. These are the practical science skills associated with predicting, planning, carrying out, concluding and evaluating investigations.
Class teachers start planning their term’s science learning by looking at the objectives to be covered in that half term. They consider the big ideas that will need to be taught, and then elicit children’s existing knowledge (this may range from a verbal activity in the style of a floor plan for Y1, to an individual mindmap or reponses to questions in Year 5/6).
Children’s views of their learning
I like finding animals because you just need to look in different places to see where they live (Reception child)
Snails climb out of their shell when they get too big for it, and then they become slugs. When they find a big enough shell, they climb inside and make a new house. (Year 1 child)
I’ve enjoyed learning about pets because I like them and we got to make our own! It would be good to do more experiments, for example potions with red and blue dyes. (Year 2 child)
I enjoy all the experiments that we do in science. My favourite was spinning a bucket of water over my head (Year 3 child)
Working Scientifically means when you’re using science stuff, like stuff on the wall or rulers or microscopes. It is also important to use scientific language, for example germinates instead of grow. (Year 6 child)
Science is fun because you get to work in and outdoors! (Year 4 child)