Science at St Robert Bellarmine Primary School
Science is a major part of the curriculum in any school and St Robert Bellarmine Primary School is no different. It is our aim to develop a child's understanding of the world about them and their own interaction with it through research, cross-curricular links, hands on experience and fun!
Our curriculum has evolved into a topic based approach and most teaching and learning of Science is carried out within those topics. This means that we can ensure that the children have a valuable and exciting learning experience which we hope will inspire them to have a life long interest in the scientific world. The learning we deliver is varied and interesting, but still cumulative in nature so that the children's understanding develops as they move through the school.
In parallel the children are constantly developing their skills in scientific enquiry including: identifying and classifying, pattern seeking, research and comparative and fair testing.
A fair test is an experiment where only one thing is changed in the test, therefore the results can only be due to that one change. Imagine a child was testing whether a toy car would roll further on wood or carpet. They would roll the car with same force on the wood and on the carpet and measure the difference. This is a fair test. However, if the child chose one car to roll on the wood and another to roll on the carpet, the test would not be fair. Would the difference in distance be because of the surface they rolled on, or because one car was better than the other?
There are different forms of science enquiry including: carrying out a fair test, conducting a survey, classifying, pattern seeking, research and observing and measuring something over time. Here are some photographs of science enquiry taking place in our school.
Year 1 Seasons
The pupils in Year 1 went on a hunt to look for signs of Autumn.
Investigating States of Matter
The children used chocolate to investigate the states of matter.
The observed the chocolate melting after it was heated turning from a solid to a liquid. They then observed the water evaporating in the beaker turning from a liquid to a gas and then condensing back to a liquid when the water vapour hit the cooler surface of the petri dish. The pupils then were challenged to make a huge chocolate button, leaving the melted chocolate to cool and solidify making a solid once more.
Which Helicopter Is The Best?
The pupils formulated their own scientific questions and planned their own fair test, making sure they changed just one variable whilst keeping all the others the same. The pupils investigated:
How does the materials affect the speed the helicopter falls?
How does the number of paperclips (weight) affect the speed the helicopter falls?
How does the shape of the wings affect the speed the helicopter falls?
In line with the Science curriculum, Year 4 were visited by Kingfisher Education, who delivered a stimulating Water Cycle and Water Efficiency Workshop. This was fun and interactive, and provided pupils with a unique learning experience in relation to the water cycle. The children loved acting out the water cycle as this enabled them to discover the journey water takes. By the end of the workshop, the pupils had practical advice about how to be water efficient and the importance of ‘Think before you Flush’ in order to save water. A team discussion about water in developing countries was thought-provoking, and the children realized that they should not take the water they use and drink every day for granted. Finally, the children heard about the dangers of entering open water such as a reservoir.
Nursery have been learning all about life cycles and had some real life chicks to look after. They kept the eggs warm in an incubator and kept watch as each egg hatched and a baby chick appeared. The children then looked after the newborn chicks, giving them food and water and making sure they were kept warm, under the heaters.
The rest of the school couldn't resist a visit too.
Science: Investigating Forces (Friction).
In science we planned a fair to investigate friction. The scientific question was:
How does the material of the surface affect the distance the car travels?
We then worked in groups to send the car down the ramp and changed the material of the surface and measured the distance the car travelled. We made sure the test was fair by changing just one variable (the material of the surface) and kept all the rest the same.
In addition to the curriculum, the children practice scientific investigations through activities led by external visitors. The whole school benefited from a visit from the Escape Rooms, with each year group being split into teams to attempt scientific challenges. Each team were given scientific questions, and if they were answered correctly they obtained clues which helped them to unlock boxes.
The children had so much fun, and developed their team-work and critical thinking skills!
Year 2 investigated the properties of everyday materials and completed many activities in relation to this. The children found everyday objects in the classroom such as cupboards, pencils, white board pens, taps, blinds and jumpers and were able to identify what material each object was made of. Beyond this, the children were able to say why the objects were made out of each material, for example doors and cupboards are made out of wood because wood is strong, hard-wearing and rigid.
They also went outside to investigate the reasons for using different materials to make different parts of the school. Additionally, they conducted an experiment with playdough to investigate whether the shape of an object can change by squashing, bending, twisting or stretching it.
The children were set a D.T. challenge based on their scientific knowledge of the properties of materials. They enjoyed designing and making cars out of cardboard to play with, using techniques such as cutting, gluing, bending and folding.
Year 3 conducted an investigation into whether a material is magnetic. They observed how magnets can attract or repel each other and were able to say why magnets attract some materials and not others. The children identified the two different poles on a magnet and then made a prediction about whether two magnets would attract or repel each other.
Based on their knowledge of forces, the children enjoyed a D.T. day in which they followed instructions to make magnet mazes and flying rocket games which they could play with!
Year 5 focused on reversible and irreversible changes. In relation to reversible changes, the children conducted an experiment to find out how the properties and sizes of different sweets impact the time they take to dissolve. They were able to observe the findings, record the results and report and present their findings.
The children also conducted a scientific enquiry into irreversible changes. They mixed together vinegar and bicarbonate of soda and observed how the formation of a new material (Carbon Dioxide) meant that the change was irreversible.
Year 1 were experimenting with different materials to build the house from The Three Little Pigs. They were trying to answer the question: Which house was hardest to blow down?
Light and Shadows
Year 3 went outside in the sun to investigate what their shadows looked like and how they were formed. They then went on to work in groups to design a fair test to investigate light.
Year three set up an investigation to find out which magnet was strongest. They used different magnets and measured the height at which it could pick up the paperclip.
Year 6 collected a range of leaves from trees and bushes around our surrounding area. They then identified the leaves by looking closely at their features. Once they had done this the pupils set about writing their own classification keys to help identify the leaves we can see around our school environment.