We believe that science should stimulate and excite our pupils’ curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. It should make them eager to ‘find answers,’ by experimenting and seeking new knowledge. Pupils should be able to describe associated processes and key characteristics in common language, but they should also be familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately and precisely.
At Darrick Wood Junior, children enjoy science at many levels. Some are excited by the practical nature of the subject, indeed we strive to make scientific enquiry an ever larger part of the children’s experience. Others have a thirst to find out about the world, about how things work, why things happen and to this end we encourage individual research.
We see science as a predominantly ‘doing’ subject, and aim to strike an appropriate balance between the practical experience of experimentation, and the necessity to carefully record observations and draw conclusions. Working scientifically is more than just fair testing. The framework in the new National Curriculum comprises five possible approaches:
Observing changes over time: What happens to my bean seeds after I plant them?
Looking for naturally-occurring patterns and relationships: Do beans curl clockwise or anti-clockwise as they grow?
Identifying and classifying things: There were 12 different types of beans in the market in France! What were they?
Researching using secondary sources: Gardeners say that growing beans is good for the soil. I wonder why they say that?
Comparative and fair testing: Does it make any difference if I put fertiliser on the beans when they are growing?
Increasingly, Science is organised into cross-curricular themes throughout the twelve terms at the Junior School. Details of what is covered in each Year Group can be found in the attached documents.
We make full use of ICT, e.g. to carry out research, take readings using sensors, record results and draw graphs.
We use a locally rich and diverse environment as much as possible in the study of many different topics, such as habitats, plant and animal life and the study of soil types.
To celebrate our annual Science day this year, we got all dressed up for our focus on careers in Science. We enjoyed a number of practical activities throughout the day that related to a given career.
Year 3: Archeologists
The Y3s put on their best Indiana Jones impressions for their day as archeologists. Firstly, the children delved into the different layers of the Earth through their bread models. Each piece of bread represented a different layer of the Earth and when squished, a cross-section could be extracted (using a trusty clear straw) to expose the different layers.
They then went onto looking at what fossils can tell us about the eating habits of birds by testing out a number of different bird beaks to see which one best picks up different types of food. Lastly, the archelogists discovered bones in a sand pit and could begin to describe how the animal may have looked and behaved.
Year 4: Engineers
The Y4s were building bridges, learning which structures are best for withstanding force. There were some incredibly impressive bridges built: using the triangle structure, the bridges could withstand a good amount of weight despite being made from straws and tape!
Year 5: Medicine
The Y5s were very lucky, enjoying two workshops from experts in their field. Mrs Goodall provided a fantastic workshop on the nervous system with practical elements to illustrate how the body functions. Mr Kilgour had the shock of his life through a Tens machine, which works by stimulating nerves with a mild electrical current. The children made their own (literal) thinking caps which got them thinking about the function of specific areas of the brain. Their second workshop was provided by Mrs Lingard; the children learnt all about how the ear functions and even took part in a simulation that allows the children to experience a little of what it would be like to be hearing impaired.
Year 6: Chemical research
The Y6s donned their (or rather their older sibiling’s) lab coats to take part in a variety of messy experiments. The children enjoyed the classic volcano experiment, learning how an acid and base react to form carbon dioxide. We went for fun and colourful for our demonstration of density, creating our very own rainbow from sugar solutions. If this wasn't enough, the Y6s also benefited from a workshop with Mrs Allen: they learnt all about eating well and had a healthy debate on energy drinks!
Science Day 2018
The theme for Science Week 2018 was “exploration and discovery” and we celebrated this theme by building rockets to take us to Space (or at least the lower part of the Troposphere!). We investigated how rockets are designed to minimise air resistance and how water pressure can be used to launch our rockets. The children enjoyed watching their rockets being launched by their teachers: partly because there was a chance the teachers would get wet and partly for the enjoyment of watching their creations fly.