At Holy Cross CofE Primary School, we are excited to have started using the Primary Knowledge Curriculum (PKC) in September 2020. The PKC Science curriculum aims to equip children with the foundations for understanding the world through a scientific lens. Pupils will be taught units of work that cover and go beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum in the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Pupils will encounter people who have made significant contributions to the field of science over time, understanding that science has been a quest for understanding for many years, and will continue to be so in the future.
As the Early Years is very much centred around exploration and investigation we encourage children to look closely at aspects of the world around them. Children find out about their bodies and how they grow and change and link this to the growth we see in plants and animals too. They are provided opportunities to use their sense to discuss and describe what is all around them and develop a sense of awe and wonder as they make sense of the weather, forces and space.
Our pupils will build a body of key foundational science knowledge as they work through the curriculum, asking questions and developing a sense of curiosity about the world around us. Following the PKC Science curriculum will give children an introduction to fascinating content such as the inner workings of the human body, animals and the environments they live in, plants and their features, forces in nature, what lies beyond the visible and what lies beyond the planet we live on.
Over time their knowledge will deepen moving from recognising and naming parts of the human body to understanding how our muscles work, how our blood moves around our body and how our nervous system helps us to interact with the world. Pupils will be encouraged to use the knowledge they learn in Science and apply it to investigations that test a theory or set out to answer a question. Importantly, substantive scientific knowledge is taught first, before pupils are asked to undertake enquiry. This helps them to fully understand the elements of the enquiry first, and to make informed observations about the processes they see. Gathering information, recording data, graphing data and interpreting findings are all essential skills that pupils will apply to new contexts as they work through the curriculum.
Enquiries include observing over time, pattern seeking, identifying, classifying and grouping, comparative and fair testing and researching using secondary sources. Scientific enquiries provide children with a wealth of opportunities, but first and foremost they will help to deepen understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science as a discipline and how it differs from other subjects they are studying.
Pupils will gain an understanding of the purpose and uses of science both today and in the future. Throughout the science curriculum, children are taught that scientific discoveries have been made since time began around the world. The children learn about the work of scientists such as Lewis Howard Latimer, who invented the carbon filament that allowed Edison’s lightbulb to light up the world. In Year Five children learn about Jabir ibn Hayyan who is thought to have invented a crucial tool for the distillation process: the alembic.
In Year One children learn about their senses and reflect upon the challenges faced by Helen Keller who achieved a university degree despite being blind and deaf from her early childhood. Importantly in Science, over time, children learn about scientists and their search for the truth. They learn that the people who have contributed to science, from Ancient Baghdad to Ancient Rome and beyond, are diverse and many voices make up the story of science. Our Science curriculum builds knowledge incrementally.
Pupils have multiple opportunities to secure and build on their knowledge and understanding as subject content is revisited at points throughout the curriculum. This helps children to master the knowledge and concepts whilst building up an extended specialist vocabulary. This incremental approach helps teachers to identify knowledge gaps and look back at previous content if they need to close gaps in knowledge or understanding.
Our curriculum enables children to understand the important role that science plays in the sustainability of life on earth. We want children following this curriculum to be equipped to go forth into their secondary education with curiosity, passion and a desire for discovery.