For every child to be able to gain a knowledge and an understanding of the world around us through observation and experimentation, developing skills associated with a process of enquiry. Through practical application, children will be able to draw conclusions about themselves and the world around them. At Greswold we have a strong focus on practical investigation. Pupils are encouraged to be curious and think both scientifically and creatively, using the outdoor environment to learn Scientific ideas in context. Pupils are encouraged to use and apply simple scientific language when communicating their ideas and also to present their ideas in different ways. The children will be given the opportunity to observe and analyse the behaviour of natural things and develop a respect for living organisms and the physical environment around us.
Science is explored through ‘Understanding the World’ and is closely linked to children’s physical development when talking and learning about the body and the effects of exercise. Volunteers, parents and members of the local community are invited in to share knowledge and first hand experiences of professions such as vets, doctors, firefighters and police. Much of the learning is led by children’s interest in change, including changes to themselves, the environment and materials. Pupils discuss the seasons daily, completing the classroom weather charts. The school environment provides children with the opportunity to make observations, collect items of interest and generate discussions which support questioning and prediction skills. The children are taught to care for and respect all living things by building bug cities and feeding the birds. They contribute to their own outside area through the planting of seeds, using the produce and showing care and respect for their immediate environment. Nursery enhance their learning of this area with a visit to the farm.
The children will name, sort, identify and investigate everyday materials by exploring their environment and performing simple experiments such as testing the strength of different materials. They will use their senses to complete investigations and name and label their own body parts. Pupils have a visit from the animal lady to introduce their animal topic, providing them with the experience of seeing and touching animals from around the world. They will explore which animals are omnivores, carnivores and herbivores and compare animal body parts to their own through practical activities. The children will learn how to classify animals through song and movement. The children will engage in a variety of experiments to develop their observational and investigative skills. They will gather, record and interpret data about local weather patterns and observe changes throughout the seasons through nature walks to the local woods. Through this experience, they will observe and collect samples from common plants and trees. They will learn how to identify the basic structure of a flowering plant through cross curricular links with Art.
The children explore different materials, describe their properties and discuss how suitable they are for use in different everyday situations. They carry out investigations to test how waterproof different materials are. When exploring living things, pupils classify things as living, once alive and never alive. They spend time learning about familiar and unfamiliar habitats, that different animals start life in different forms, some as eggs and some as live births and they look at the needs of the young of different species. They use the outdoor nature area at Greswold and the grounds at Dunfield House to investigate microhabitats and the different minibeasts that live there. They also look at the life cycles of different animals and make detailed observations of how caterpillars metamorphose into butterflies. They thoroughly enjoy watching the caterpillars grow in the classroom and then release them as butterflies a few weeks later. They extend their knowledge of the diets of different animals to understand about food chains. Pupils learn about plants and the difference between seeds and bulbs, having the opportunity to plant their own in the outdoor area. They plant sunflower seeds and monitor them weekly to investigate what they need for healthy growth. Each term the children explore our wonderful school grounds and observe the way that the plants and wildlife change through the seasons.
Pupils explore push and pull forces, as well as friction, and where these forces appear around them every day. They also describe the properties of a magnet in simple terms and learn about the uses of magnets. They complete fair tests to investigate what every day materials are magnetic and begin to think of reasons for this. The children explore the characteristics of rocks, learn their names and investigate where they see rocks around them. They carry out simple tests on different rocks, explore the composition of soil and think about how soil is made. They learn about the formation of fossils and make their own model fossils. Pupils look at pictures of dinosaur fossils and try to come to some conclusions about the living dinosaurs the fossils came from. They look at different food groups, human dietary requirements and begin to identify different food types and their different uses in the body and link this to their D&T project of designing and making a healthy sandwich. They consider the classification of animals according to diet as carnivores, herbivores or omnivores, researching the diets of animals in more detail. Pupils learn about external and internal skeletons, making a life size skeleton diagram and studying the names and functions of the major bones in the human skeleton, naming the different bones in their own bodies. In addition, the children learn about light and distinguish a light source from reflected light. They learn that light travels in straight lines, study how we see and are taught how to protect their eyes. They then carry out some experiments to find out about shadow formation, linking this to shadows that they may see. Pupils carry out a long-term investigation of the factors that affect the growth of plants, observing and measuring their plants for the course of the investigation. They learn about the main functions of the different parts of a plant and will study the life cycle of a flowering plant, including studying the structure of a flower and the different methods of seed dispersal, put in to context by looking at plants from the nearby locality.
Pupils learn about sounds listening to and identifying sounds around them. They learn how their ears work to detect sounds and carry out experiments to help them learn about loudness and pitch, using data loggers to investigate the best material for muffling sound. They also make and play musical instruments. Children then investigate states of matter, learning that materials come in three states of matter: solid, liquid or gas. They identify materials as solids, liquids or gases, including some that are harder to classify such as sand or sponge. They investigate changes of state. Pupils learn about electricity and find out that some materials allow electricity through them and others do not. They learn about the history of electricity and they make and test electrical circuits with a variety of components. They use their knowledge of electricity to design and build a model of a burglar alarm for a house. Pupils will also learn about classification of a variety of living things and how they can be grouped according to shared characteristics. They use and construct keys to identify unfamiliar animals and plants. Pupils also learn about digestion, the structure of the mouth and about how to care for their teeth, investigating which drinks stain teeth the most. They build a model of the digestive process, using their new knowledge to produce a piece of creative writing. They explore interrelationships in food, constructing food chains and food webs. They also learn about the water cycle.
The children are given the opportunity to study a wide variety of topics. They explore forces of gravity, air and water resistance. They undertake several investigations, such as making a Spy Spinner, to further their understanding. During their Space topic, the children study the solar system, learning about the relative movements of the planets and the Moon and relating these to the way they experience the Sun and the Moon on Earth. They carry out some research into planets and present their findings to their peers. Pupils revisit the life cycle of plants, and learn about pollination. They compare the life cycles of birds, mammals, insects and amphibians and learn that insects and amphibians undergo metamorphosis. The children then advance this learning to relate it to the human life cycle and the changes of the body during puberty. The children also look at materials and their properties. Through a series of investigations, the children explore everyday uses of materials and their suitability for their purpose. In addition to this, the children investigate dissolving, separating and mixing solutions, discussing reversible and irreversible changes.
Pupils will build on their knowledge of electricity from Year 4 to learn more about circuits, including: how to use recognised symbols to represent circuits; associate impact of voltage on the components they want to power and give reasons for variations; compare series and parallel circuits, making links to how these might be used in real-life situations and use their knowledge of electricity to create games that use electric circuits. Children will further develop their understanding of light from Year 3 to make more detailed investigations of shadows, explaining why shadows have the same shape as the object that cast them and how changing certain components affects the brightness and size of shadows. Children will also explore reflectivity and the function of the eye, and linking this with their knowledge that light travels in straight lines, will be able to explain how people see objects. They will enhance their knowledge of living things from previous years to gain a more-detailed knowledge of classification, understanding the origin of the 5 Kingdoms and being able to describe observable characteristics based on similarities and differences from each Kingdom. Pupils will also study the circulatory system, learning about the basic components that make up blood; the main parts and functions of the heart; the circulatory system; the main parts and functions of the lungs and the respiratory system. Through this learning, children will explore the impact of diet, drugs and life-style choices on the human body and investigate through active science how exercise affects breathing and heart rates, gaining knowledge of what constitutes a healthy average in both to apply to their own life-style choices.
The topic of evolution and inheritance is taught by a local secondary science teacher in conjunction with the transition period of children preparing for their next school. They learn how animals and plants are adapted to their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution. Children will also recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind and through exploring genetics, realise that normally, characteristics of offspring vary and are not identical to their parents.