In teaching Science, we aim for students to leave Whitelands with the ability to understand the world around them, through having received a broad exposure to the foundational ideas of each of physics, chemistry and biology. Science has a great ability to improve lives, so it is essential that students develop a knowledge of core scientific ideas and methods, alongside an understanding of how these have come to pass. We teach students about the nature of scientific questions and processes, as well as how the acceptance of scientific ideas comes about as larger bodies of evidence are generated in support. We show our students how the acceptance of scientific truths has been influenced by society and culture. In doing all this we expect students will leave Whitelands with an excitement and curiosity about the world in which they live, and an ability to analyse causes and recognise the power of rational explanation.
The curriculum is intended to create inquisitive scientists with an excellent understanding of the scientific method and ability to apply their knowledge. This means that students will have the skill set to be able to do the following:
- Ask Science Questions.
- Confidently deploy scientific language in describing and explaining everyday phenomena.
- Carry out valid investigations and suggest improvements to procedures.
- present aa and evaluate evidence.
In order to be able to understand the positive impact that scientists have had in our modern world, students will be exposed to a variety of experiences within the curriculum. These provide exposure to the range of science related careers, showing how scientists work collaboratively in order to make and evidence new discoveries.
Our curriculum is academic and ambitious:
STEM based employment is a robust part of the local and regional economy, and knowledge-based industries are a key part of its prosperity, so it is our intention that all students should be able to progress to either vocational or academic Post-16 options in the sciences if they so choose, and potentially far beyond. We expect all Whitelands students to leave with good Science GCSEs and as such we will offer both Combined Science and Separate Science routes. With this in mind, the lessons planned are challenging enough to stretch the top end and we embed the SEN6 principles into all of our science lessons with the aim of all students achieving the same ambitious learning objectives.
Our curriculum is broad and enriching:
Our science curriculum intends to inspire our students and help them to understand the world around them. It is based on the National Curriculum Programme of Study for Key Stage 3 to ensure all students have a broad exposure to the three core disciplines of science, however we extend past the National Curriculum by including opportunities to discuss key figures in establishing scientific knowledge as we believe that it is important for students to understand how science builds and grows on what was accepted previously. Initially, we take time to familiarise students with standard lab equipment and investigative procedures so that they can safely and confidently behave as scientists. We then teach fundamental ideas of science before moving on to more abstract concepts.
Examples of experiences we aim to offer our students include:
- Regularly discussing science in the news so that students understand where science fits into our modern world.
- Hosting STEM ambassadors from local industry to show students the relevance of the subject in their careers.
- Access to the use of natural ecological habitats when studying.
- Introducing the timeline and refinements of historical discoveries when introducing concepts within the curriculum.
- Visiting museums to understand how historic scientific evidence formulates an understanding of our evolved world.
We promote core literacy:
We promote literacy in Science through the introduction and written use of Tier 3 vocabulary. Science introduces students to a large number of complex words, so we regularly model correct use of vocabulary and provide students with feedback to improve their written work. We read scientific texts in class to infer and comprehend the concepts explained. We believe this is important as Scientific researchers need to be able to understand and learn from other scientific research.
Our Curriculum is values-based:
in all of our lessons we discuss and promote the relevance of OuR TRAIT at Whitelands Academy. Then in varying topics, we discuss both these traits and British Values were relevant. For example, we promote the need for resilience when meeting new and tricky concepts, such as balancing equations in chemistry or manipulating equations in physics and we teach students about respect and tolerance when we meet the biology topics of reproduction and inheritance.
We promote retention of foundational knowledge:
Our Lessons always start with a knowledge retrieval task. The questions for these are mapped from our schemes of learning so that we maximise students retention of knowledge by making use of spaced recall. Our home learning further supports this by requiring students to spend time reviewing the course knowledge on their knowledge organisers, for current and previous topics, before completing quizzes to test their understanding.