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Science

The Science Curriculum comprises Life Sciences, Chemistry and Physics at a level appropriate to each age group. A specialist laboratory is available for practical small-group teaching so Forms are often subdivided for this subject. Whenever appropriate pupils are directed to enjoy practical activities in the Airthrie garden.

In common with other subjects, the curriculum is based on the requirements of the National Curriculum and utilises the skills of specialist subject teachers.

Airthrie Science Curriculum

Science is taught through relevant practical activities to encourage scientific thinking and enhance scientific knowledge.

KEY STAGE 1

During Years 1 and 2; Forms Ash and Beech pupils are taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of each programme of study:

  • Asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways.
  • Observing closely, using simple equipment.
  • Performing simple tests.
  • Identifying and classifying.
  • Using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
  • Gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.

Year 1 - Form Ash

Plants

Pupils are taught to:

  • Identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees
  • Identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees.

Animals including humans

  • Identify and name a variety of common animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
  • Identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.
  • Describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, including pets).
  • Identify, name, draw and label the basic parts of the human body and say which part of the body is associated with each sense.

Everyday materials

Pupils are taught to:

  • Distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made.
  • Identify and name a variety of everyday materials including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water and rock.
  • Describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials.
  • Compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties.

Seasonal changes

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Observe changes across the four seasons.
  • Observe and describe weather associated with the seasons and how day length varies.

Year 2 - Form Beech

Living things and their habitats

Pupils are taught to:

  • Explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive.
  • Identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other.
  • Identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including micro-habitats.
  • Describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain, and identify and name different sources of food.

Plants

Pupils are taught to:

  • Observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants.
  • Find out and describe how plants need water, light and a suitable temperature to grow and stay healthy.

Animals, including humans

Pupils are taught to:

  • Notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults.
  • Find out about and describe the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival (water, food and air).
  • Describe the importance for humans of exercise, eating the right amounts of different types of food, and hygiene.

Uses of everyday materials

Pupils are taught to:

  • Identify and compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, including wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper and cardboard for particular uses.
  • Find out how the shapes of solid objects made from some materials can be changed by squashing, bending, twisting and stretching.


KEY STAGE 2

Pupils in Years 3-6; Forms Cedar, Larch, Spruce, Alder, Poplar and Oak are given a range of scientific experiences to enable them to raise their own questions about the world around them. They start to make their own decisions about the most appropriate type of scientific enquiry they might use to answer questions; recognise when a simple fair test is necessary and help to decide how to set it up; talk about criteria for grouping, sorting and classifying; and use simple keys. They look for naturally occurring patterns and relationships and decide what data to collect to identify them. They make decisions about what observations to make, how long to make them for and the type of simple equipment that might be used.

They learn how to use new equipment appropriately. They collect data from their own observations and measurements, using notes, tables and standard units, and help to make decisions about how to record and analyse this data. Pupils look for changes, patterns, similarities and differences in their data in order to draw simple conclusions and answer questions. They identify new questions arising from the data, make predictions for new values within or beyond the data they have collected and finding ways of improving what they have already done. They also recognise when and how secondary sources might help them to answer questions that cannot be answered through practical investigations. Pupils use relevant scientific language to discuss their ideas and communicate their findings in ways that are appropriate for different topics.

Each year group follows their own programme of study, each topic building upon previous experiences to enhance progress.

Year 3 - Form Cedar

Pupils are taught to:

  • Identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers.
  • Explore the requirements of plants for life and growth (air, light, water, nutrients from soil, and room to grow) and how they vary from plant to plant.
  • Investigate the way in which water is transported within plants.
  • Explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

Animals including humans

Pupils are taught to:

  • Identify that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition, and that they cannot make their own food; they get nutrition from what they eat.
  • Identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement.

Rocks

Pupils are taught to:

  • Compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties.
  • Describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock.
  • Recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter.

Light

Pupils are taught to:

  • Recognise that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light.
  • Notice that light is reflected from surfaces.
  • Recognise that light from the sun can be dangerous and that there are ways to protect their eyes.
  • Recognise that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by a solid object.
  • Find patterns in the way that the size of shadows change.

Forces and magnets

Pupils are taught to:

  • Compare how things move on different surfaces.
  • Notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance.
  • Observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others.
  • Compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet, and identify some magnetic materials.
  • Describe magnets as having two poles.
  • Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, depending on which poles are facing.

Year 4, Forms Larch and Spruce

Living things and their habitats

Pupils are taught to:

  • Recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways.
  • Explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment.
  • Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Animals including humans

Pupils are taught to:

  • Describe the simple functions of the basic parts of the digestive system in humans.
  • Identify the different types of teeth in humans and their simple functions.
  • Construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey.

States of matter

Pupils are taught to:

  • Compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.
  • Observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure or research the temperature at which this happens in degrees Celsius (°C).
  • Identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature.

Sound

Pupils are taught to:

  • Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.
  • Recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear.
  • Find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it.
  • Find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it.
  • Recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases.

Electricity

Pupils are taught to:

  • Identify common appliances that run on electricity.
  • Construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers.
  • Identify whether or not a lamp will light in a simple series circuit, based on whether or not the lamp is part of a complete loop with a battery.
  • Recognise that a switch opens and closes a circuit and associate this with whether or not a lamp lights in a simple series circuit.
  • Recognise some common conductors and insulators, and associate metals with being good conductors.

Year 5 - Forms Alder and Poplar

Living things and their habitats

Pupils are taught to:

  • Describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird.
  • Describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals.
  • Describe the changes as humans develop to old age.

Properties and changes of materials

Pupils are taught to:

  • Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets.
  • Know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution.
  • Use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating.
  • Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic.
  • Demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes.
  • Explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible, including changes associated with burning and the action of acid on bicarbonate of soda.

Earth and space

Pupils are taught to:

  • Describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system.
  • Describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth.
  • Describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies.
  • Use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.

Forces

Pupils are taught to:

  • Explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object.
  • Identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces.
  • Recognise that some mechanisms, including levers, pulleys and gears, allow a smaller force to have a greater effect.

Year 6 - Forms Oak H and Oak W

Living things and their habitats

Pupils are taught to:

Describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals.

Give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.

Animals including humans

Pupils are taught to:

  • Identify and name the main parts of the human circulatory system, and describe the functions of the heart, blood vessels and blood.
  • Recognise the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function.
  • Describe the ways in which nutrients and water are transported within animals, including humans.

Evolution and inheritance

Pupils are taught to:

  • Recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.
  • Recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents.
  • Identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution.

Light

Pupils are taught to:

  • Recognise that light appears to travel in straight lines.
  • Use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain that objects are seen because they give out or reflect light into the eye.
  • Explain that we see things because light travels from light sources to our eyes or from light sources to objects and then to our eyes.
  • Use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain why shadows have the same shape as the objects that cast them.

Electricity

Pupils are taught to:

  • Associate the brightness of a lamp or the volume of a buzzer with the number and voltage of cells used in the circuit.
  • Compare and give reasons for variations in how components function, including the brightness of bulbs, the loudness of buzzers and the on/off position of switches.
  • Use recognised symbols when representing a simple circuit in a diagram.