Aims and purposes of science


· develop knowledge and understanding of important scientific ideas, processes and skills and relate these to everyday experiences;

· learn about ways of thinking and of finding out about and communicating ideas;

· explore values and attitudes through science.

· build on their scientific knowledge and understanding from and make connections between different areas of science;

· use scientific ideas and models to explain phenomena and events;

· understand a range of familiar applications of science;

· think about the advantages and drawbacks of scientific and technological developments for the environment and in other contexts, considering the reasons for different opinions;

· carry out investigations of different types, on their own and in groups, making use of reference sources and evaluating their work;

· communicate what they did and its significance;

· learn how scientists work and the importance of experimental evidence in supporting scientific ideas.

Knowledge and understanding

Students should:

  • be curious about things they observe, and experience and explore the world about them with all their senses;

  • use this experience to develop their understanding of key scientific ideas and make links between different phenomena and experiences;

  • begin to think about models to represent things they cannot directly experience;

  • try to make sense of phenomena, seeking explanations and thinking critically about claims and ideas.

Processes and skills

Students should:

  • acquire and refine the practical skills needed to investigate questions safely;

  • develop skills of predicting, asking questions, making inferences, concluding and evaluating based on evidence and understanding and use these skills in investigative work;

  • practise mathematical skills eg counting, ordering numbers, measuring to an appropriate number of decimal places, drawing and interpreting graphs and bar charts in real contexts;

  • learn why numerical and mathematical skills are useful and helpful to understanding.

Language and communication

Students should:

  • think creatively about science and enjoy trying to make sense of phenomena;

  • develop language skills through talking about their work and presenting their own ideas using sustained and systematic writing of different kinds;

  • use scientific and mathematical language including technical vocabulary and conventions, and draw diagrams and charts to communicate scientific ideas;

  • read non-fiction and extract information from sources such as reference books or internet resources.

Values and attitudes

Students should:

  • work with others, listening to their ideas and treating these with respect;

  • develop respect for evidence and evaluate critically ideas which may or may not fit evidence available;

  • develop a respect for the environment and living things and for their own health and safety.

Building on students’ earlier experiences

These experiences are likely to have included:

  • asking questions about why things happen;

  • investigating a wide variety of objects and materials in the natural and made world;

  • learning about themselves and living things;

  • looking closely at similarities and differences, patterns and change;

  • talking about their observations and sometimes recording them.

Health and safety

Teaching risk concepts to students will help them make their own decisions about risk so that they can:

  • recognise the existence of hazards, risks and uncertainty in a range of contexts;

  • assess their own ability, and the ability of others, to deal with different situations;

  • assess the consequences when dealing with hazards presented to themselves and others;

  • seek advice from appropriate sources to minimise and manage risk;

  • understand that rules and regulations follow from risk assessment and help define individual and collective responsibility.

Features of progression

To ensure students make progress in science, teaching will provide opportunities for students to progress:

  • from using everyday language to increasingly precise use of technical and scientific vocabulary, notation and symbols;

  • from personal scientific knowledge in a few areas to understanding in a wider range of areas and of links between areas;

  • from describing events and phenomena to explaining events and phenomena;

  • from explaining phenomena in terms of their own ideas to explaining phenomena in terms of accepted ideas or models;

  • from participating in practical science activities to building increasingly abstract models of real situations;

  • from unstructured exploration to more systematic investigation of a question;

  • from using simple drawings, diagrams and charts to represent and communicate scientific information to using more conventional diagrams and graphs.