Arbourthorne Community Primary School

Arbourthorne Community Primary School

'... a place of joy, inclusivity and learning' OfSTED 2022

Summer Term - Science Driver

In the Summer term our major subject focus is Science and we teach smaller ongoing science units throughout each term of the year so that science is always 'simmering'. As well as developing scientific knowledge in key areas of science, a number of strands run through the children's learning experience across the year. Members of our team have had a science career before they entered teaching and enjoy sharing their knowledge of the subject as our in-house experts. We also draw on the expertise of academics and students from the University. Each year we host placements for third year medics at the University who support the delivery of extra curricular science. We are actively engaged in work with science associations and local subject leadership groups and our team keep up to date with the latest training opportunities and research. We take every opportunity to connect with scientists currently working in this field and often have question and answer sessions with University science students as well as inspirational sessions delivered by Sheffield Girls High teachers and students. This ensures that we have experts and enthusiasts available to support the teaching of science. 

Children are naturally curious and fascinated by the world around them and through science we hope to make a valuable contribution to their understanding and equip them for their future lives in an increasingly scientific and technological world. Through building key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. We know that it is vital that science is taught within a context. 


Through teaching Science we are developing:

  • a positive attitude towards Science and an awareness and fascination;
  • an understanding of Science through a process of enquiry and investigation;
  • confidence and competence in scientific knowledge, concepts and skills;
  • an ability to reason, predict, think logically and to work systematically and accurately;
  • an ability to communicate scientifically;
  • the initiative to work both independently and in co-operation with others in line with our core value TEAM;
  • the ability and meaning to use and apply science across the curriculum and real life.


Science lessons are supplemented by a variety of enrichment activities including: 

  • Termly 'Science Focus' days, when children focus on a particular science topic and share learning with their parents and families during exhibition afternoons
  • School trips and in-school workshops delivered by experts (STEM ambassadors)
  • Homework tasks and online learning activities
  • STEM projects (see our STEM page!) 

We  became Sheffield’s first Maker school in partnership with The University of Sheffield in 2022 and children have been able to develop their 'working scientifically' skills through a range of projects and our curriculum for technology and computing. We are keen to raise our children's awareness of how science relates to the real world and can become a future career. We have alumni who are currently studying at University (forensics and medicine).

Approaches to Learning from Foundation Stage to Year 6

In the Early Years Foundation Stage, children begin their journey as scientists through 'Understanding the world' and children begin to develop the skills of observation, performing tests, identifying and classifying and recording findings ready for moving into Y1. Our children develop understanding of the world ( a specific area) through a range of experiences including exploration off-site at local parks, libraries and museums, using our extensive school grounds, growing areas and through our Life Skills House. Parents join us to work in partnership during these experiences and to learn alongside their children. The natural environment forms a large part of the curriculum for exploration and discovery and supports the development of scientific vocabulary. These opportunities are designed to ignite children's curiosity for the world with exploration and going outdoors and getting muddy being key to developing a love of science! High quality books and materials are used to develop scientific knowledge.  

Children in FS learn by:

  • playing and exploring
  • investigations and experiences, and ‘have a go’ explorations
  • active learning 
  • concentrating and learning to persevere if they encounter difficulties
  • enjoying and celebrating achievements 
  • creating and thinking critically 
  • developing their own ideas, making links between ideas, and developing strategies for deciding how to do things

The taught content in the Early Years Foundation Stage supports children's progression into Y1 and is a quality springboard for developing as Young Scientists with a focus on the following progression strands:

  • Observing closely
  • Performing Tests
  • Identifying and classifying
  • Recording findings

'Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical
world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal
experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them –
from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of
society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a
broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their
understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse
world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with
words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening
children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.' EYFS 2021

In Key Stage One and Two our beautiful and extensive outdoor environment continues to be used and trips and visits are built into curriculum planning to extend children's first hand experiences, knowledge, skills and vocabulary. Each termly learning challenge begins with a pre-learning challenge in Science. Pupils reflect on their previous science learning and generate questions they would like to find out the answers to over the course of the term. Teachers address misconceptions, link learning from previous science,  tailor plans to build knowledge and also follow the children’s particular interests. From Y2 onwards, children collate their key pieces of learning in their PROUD books throughout the term and they can revisit prior learning because they have continual access to their previous science learning. They can show how they have built their knowledge and skills. 

Scientific knowledge, skills and understanding are woven into the science curriculum throughout the year and we have created a  progression through the following strands in KS1 which feed seamlessly into progression strands in KS2.

The progression strands running through KS1 are:

  1. Observing closely
  2. Performing Tests
  3. Identifying and classifying
  4. Recording findings

The progression strands running through KS2 are:

  1. Planning
  2. Obtaining and presenting evidence
  3. Considering evidence and evaluating

These ensure a progressive approach to developing skills, knowledge and understanding from Foundation stage to Y6 and prepare children for their secondary education.

Children in KS1 and KS2 carry out investigations learning how to plan different types of scientific enquiries including:

  • recognising and controlling variables
  • exploring how to record data and results of increasing complexity 
  • using scientific diagrams and labels 
  • using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests.  


Outdoor Science

The 'outdoor classroom' provides a meaningful way to engage learners in practical learning, giving them experience of collecting and analysing data, and making predictions in the real world, beyond the limitations of the classroom. We have an outdoor classroom with cooking facilities, a fire pit and community gardens and a large polytunnel for engaging children scientifically in these spaces. 

Teachers are creative with resources, including the use of the school grounds and exploring the local area. The outdoor space is a place for scientific discovery and exploration and our grounds are extensive. Resources include:- Digital cameras, digital microscopes, I phones, and scientific equipment such as data loggers along with natural resources and reusing unwanted household items.

FS, KS1 and KS2 explore the local area, visiting different habitats to compare and contrast. 

 We believe that the more real the experience, the more easily children can make sense of science and come to understand that it’s part of our lives. 


Tree Council Beacon School Status

Arbourthorne Primary school has recently been awarded Beacon School status by the Tree Council for our work as Young Tree Champions. The Young Tree Champions motto is to be a Force For Nature. We do this by:

  • Growing a deeper connection with each other, trees and nature
  • Learning about the amazing role of trees and nature in tackling the climate and nature crises
  • Taking responsibility to care for trees and nature
  • Finding the courage to speak up and share their knowledge and passion for trees and nature to inspire others.

 One of our Y4 children was also the National winner of the Speaking Up For Trees competition. See Hyawqal’s video on the link below- we are so proud to have such a #Forcefornature representing Arbourthorne!

Science Rationale

Snap shots of learning this term

A journey out of this world...

Y5 travelled through space as part of their science learning, bringing theory to life with an opportunity to experience space first hand. Thank you to @educationgroup who brought Virtual Reality headsets allowing us to zoom through the stars and visit planets in our solar system.

Watch the video below to find out some of the favourite facts learnt about Venus!




Science Learning and Experiences from across school

Take a look at the range of experiences and opportunities our children engage in on their journey as Young Scientists at Arbourthorne Community Primary School! All of these experiences are designed to get children thinking, talking, exploring, creating, considering and reflecting, debating and practising science.

Knowledge Organisers

The following Knowledge Organisers for KS1 to KS2 are designed to give key and relevant information to support children's knowledge, growth and interest in key aspects of Science. These are shared termly with families and are included in PROUD books so that children can reference prior learning regularly. See the Foundation Stage pages for the science curriculum 'understanding the world'. Knowledge Organisers are used both in school and at home for reference, and to give ideas about how to add context to children's learning through books to read, films to watch and places to visit.

Learning Journeys 

Parent Information- What is my child learning during the Summer term major Science Focus?

 Please click below to see our Y1 to Y6 'Learning Journeys'. These are pathways of learning which are followed by each year group during their major science theme. These are designed to secure authentic and meaningful outcomes for children.   

Science Progression

Science is on the curriculum every term but in summer a large proportion of time is spent developing science knowledge, understanding and skills. This is the science covered in summer when it is a major unit. Planning for every term includes science and skills and in this way knowledge is built progressively as children journey through school.