SCIENCE CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
Parayhouse School is committed to offering a high quality science education which provides the foundations for understanding our world. Our aim is to build the students key basic knowledge and understanding of concepts and to encourage a curiosity and excitement about the world around them. Students should be encouraged to understand the nature, processes and methods of science at a suitable and differentiated level. Students will be supported to ‘work scientifically’ through a range of topics which explore content from all 3 science strands.
We aim to deliver content in an engaging way which focuses on acquiring knowledge which is practical and purposeful and adapted to the needs of our students. Where possible lessons should offer opportunities for practical demonstrations and encourage students’ investigation skills. With the support of our teaching and therapy staff, students will develop their use of scientific language at an appropriate level.
Science is delivered in Pluto, Neptune and Saturn through ‘topic’ lessons where skills and knowledge are embedded into a theme to allow for deeper learning in a suitable context for the students. These topics focus on the students’ basic understanding of the world around them and are designed to meet their functional needs.
In Jupiter and Mars students receive stand-alone Science lessons which are delivered through hour slots each week. These lessons follow an adapted National Curriculum programme of study.
Children at all levels have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in each module and, through planned progression, we offer them an increasing challenge as they move up the school. Given the wide range of complex learning needs within each class, it is important that we offer a flexible, personalised curriculum which suits our individual students. In addition, taking into consideration the potential change in the needs of our cohort year on year, we remain committed to revising and adapting our offering as in necessary. However, in general terms the progressive content of our Humanities curriculum coverage may look as follows:
Students will begin observing and commenting on the world around them including animals, plants, the weather and everyday objects and materials. They will begin looking for patterns and changes and start to show concern for living animals and the environment.
Students will explore animals and plants in more detail including naming body parts and senses and beginning to categorise them. Students will also begin to distinguish between materials and some of their properties. They should explore the seasons and the changes they bring, developing their understanding of the weather. They will be supported to perform simple tests and use basic scientific equipment, recording their ideas and actions in suitable ways.
Students will continue to cover all previous topic areas in further detail, exploring causes, effects and purposes (e.g. why the seasons change, the suitability of different materials, the effects of a plant not receiving water and food etc.) with more focus on ‘working scientifically’.
They will further develop their skills in scientific enquiry including observing over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; the concept of fair testing (controlled investigations); and researching. They will be supported to start trying to explain what is occurring and making predictions.
Where suitable, students may continue to develop their scientific understanding at a more advanced level including exploring parts of flowers and their processes and a further exploration of the human body including muscles and skeletons. They will begin to look at grouping rocks and discussing fossils, developing a basic understanding of how light and shadows are formed and how magnets work.