Primary school science has moved far beyond just facts. At the BOS, our aim is to encourage young scientists who love science.
The children are encouraged to use all of their senses to experience their environment and the things around them. In Early Years they are prompted by questions such as “What colour is it?” “Does it feel smooth?” and “Does it smell horrid?”. Such powers of observation and evaluation never leave scientists of no matter what age.
As our children get older their world becomes both broader and finer. When once the garden itself was a source of endless wonder, with age they learn to focus on the universe and the place of Earth in it; and then to refocus on the caterpillar (who was once simply hungry) and the structure of the leaf upon which he sits.
As the scale of the children’s scientific knowledge changes, so does the sophistication of their understanding. Now, they are prompted by higher order questions such as “how?” and, especially, “why?”. And from here they can begin to explore for themselves: to design experiments, to observe changes, to record results and to evaluate their work.
So science is about skills, much more than it is about facts. The children ask relevant questions, pose and define problems and predict outcomes by using Enquiry Skills. Their abilities to analyse and explain enable them to give reasons for their opinions and actions, to draw inferences and use precise language to explain what they think. Creative Thinking skills allow them to generate and extend ideas, to suggest hypotheses, to apply imagination and suggest alternative outcomes. Finally, Evaluation Skills are used to evaluate information, to develop criteria for judging the validity of their own and others’ work and to have confidence in their judgments.
The development of these skills is through focused, practical tasks that allow children to experience in a practical way how the science we learn in school is embedded in the world around them.