Science at Portway Infant School
At Portway Infant School we want children to be excited and eager to find out about the world around them and motivated to find the answers to questions about what they see.
It is important that children build up their experience and knowledge of Science through carefully planned topics and first hand experiences and to make links and apply their learning from year to year and from one topic to another.
Children are naturally inquisitive and our Science lessons give opportunities to make observations, ask questions about what they notice and begin to investigate in a practical and fun way.
We will teach our knowledge and skills through practical experiences and lessons which build on the children’s understanding across all areas of Science, from bug hunting at Forest School in Year R to investigating owl pellets in Year 2. Children will be able to develop their understanding of scientific ideas in addition to observing changes over time, noticing patterns and sorting plants, animals and materials.
We learn about animals and how to care for them by looking after our school fish, guinea pigs and snails as well as hatching and caring for our own Indian Runner Ducks in Year R.
In Year R, we want children to explore the natural world around them and to make observations, talking about what they have noticed and drawing pictures to record what they have learnt.
Children will use small world play to explore different environments. They develop their knowledge of animal and plant names through seasonal Wellie Walks, visits to Forest School and Longdown Farm, and observing the change and growth of caterpillars and ducklings in the summer term.
At Harvest time children explore different fruits and vegetables and have an opportunity to grow their own when in role as Farmer Duck in our class gardens in the Spring.
Children also enjoy learning about materials and how to reduce our plastic in our environment by recycling and reusing resources, and explore different processes by cooking gingerbread houses, designing Superhero vehicles that can go faster and faster and watching the weather change as we move from one season to another.
In the spring term, children have a visit from a real Nurse to support learning in the role play ‘Portway Hospital’.
The children in Year 1 also have an opportunity to observe the changing seasons, focussing on how the day length and temperatures change and build up a knowledge of the seasonal pattern of their environment. They explore pushes and pulls by exploring cars and ramps, and find out about the characteristics of different materials in their environment. By investigating what materials their toys are made of, children then use their knowledge to design a new helmet for a knight!
Children also have an opportunity to explore using their senses and learn about the different parts of their body, building on the Hospital role play in Year R. They become familiar with different plants and trees around school, building on the learning in Year R by drawing labelled diagrams, creating their own ‘Flower Keys’ and designing new plants for our Forest School.
Year 1 children regularly investigate how the changing seasons affect what insects are found in different habitats around our school grounds. There are opportunities to make observations and collect data and begin to use them to answer questions.
During the summer term, they learn about the various animal groups we have, how different animals have certain characteristics and the difference between carnivores and herbivores, before focussing on the Deadly 60.
In Year 2, children build on the knowledge and skills for animal families developed in Year R and Year 1 and become animal experts on snails, crocodiles penguins and owls, learning about their habitats, characteristics and basic needs and deepening the cross curricular links with Literacy and History. The learning includes opportunities to set up simple investigations to determine what snails like to eat, examine pellets to find out about the diet of owls and a visit to the local Hawk Conservancy.
Children develop their knowledge on plants, from going on Wellie Walks in Year R and naming the parts of plants in Year 1, and observe how bulbs and seeds grow into mature plants. Children will also investigate the conditions required for the growth of plants and design simple investigations to help them to grow.
There is an opportunity to investigate a range of materials and to find out about their uses for household items after learning about their characteristics in Year 1. After the previous learning of eating 5 fruit and vegetables a day in Year R, Year 2 children find out about the basic needs for humans and the importance of eating a balanced diet and having a healthy lifestyle, even persuading the Lighthouse Keeper to change his diet and exercise regime! Knowledge on different food groups also enables the Year 2 children to support the kitchen in evaluating their school dinner menus and designing a new vegetable wrap.
All of our topic linked investigations provide opportunities for children to develop their skills in gathering and recording data and performing simple tests to answer questions.