Weekly Science for Local Primaries - Schools Together
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Weekly Science for Local Primaries

Year 5 classes from Primary schools within the ESLP attend weekly practical science sessions.  Each class completes a 4 week cycle of lessons Chemistry, Biology and Physics with an emphasis on using apparatus available in the Caterham Science department, but also important scientific learning objectives such as observation, measurement and the recording and presentation of data by small groups and individual pupils.  The cycle finishes with a second visit to the Chemistry department for instigations into ‘rapid reactions’/flashes and bangs. The programme will continue throughout the academic year.  The project started in September 2021 with Furzefield Primary School, and included Audley and St John's Primaries through the year: a total of 221 year 5 students.

Aims

To increase openness to science, and empower pupils through increased confidence, using resources accessible in the Caterham science department.  The sessions address National Curriculum science targets around measuring, recording and presenting data whilst using the apparatus confidently and accurately, whilst also increasing the potential to develop a love of the subjects.

Background

The project was devised at ESLP meetings and conversations between participating schools.  There was a desire to develop a regular programme rather than ‘one off’ activities with less impact.

Resources

Caterham have provided transport and curriculum time within the science department (80 minutes a week) along with practical materials required for the science sessions.  Primary schools class teachers and TAs accompany the classes to manage and assist with the learning.  Primary schools have also spent time completing impact surveys outside of the session time.

The sustainability is built on allocating curriculum time at Caterham and School and at the Primary Schools, and effective communication between the schools.  Careful evaluation will take place at the end of the academic year, and the scheme will continue with improvements.

Impact

The practical Science activities and the Caterham school sight have been engaging.  The sixth form helpers have benefitted, engaging in a practical way and developing personal qualities.  The weekly visits have become an ‘event’ in the science department with many additional science teachers joining in during their break. Catering for a whole class has worked well allowing class teaching staff to support the activities and build on the lessons in between session. In addition, children have been able to identify their own strengths and weaknesses when conducting investigations independently. For example, when reflecting on their learning, a child recounted how their investigation was unsuccessful as they were unable to measure accurately. This was then viewed as a teaching point at the class teacher provided additional opportunities for the child to develop this skill upon their return to school.

We use ImpactEd to measure 'attiudes to science' baseline and final.  This has produced pleasing results, particularly for pupils with Pupil Premium.  We discuss the session at East Surrey Learning Partnership meetings, where all participating teachers are able to feedback on the content and delivery.

‘I would like to study science more’ 47.8% of pupils responded with ‘strongly agree’ at baseline, this increased to 68.4% following the science partnership work with Caterham. Similarly, when given the statement ‘I am interested in the things I learn in science’, 47.8% of pupils responded with ‘strongly agree’ at baseline compared to 73.7% at final.

 Pupil quotes 

"I learnt that I need to develop my skills of measuring to make sure my solution is accurate, otherwise the reaction took a looooong time" Lisa

"I had lots of fun using all the scientific equipment, I was very nervous that I might break something os I used it very carefully" Macy

"I felt like a real scientist! I cant waith to see what we will be doing next week" Riley

"I found looking at the cells quite gross at first, but then the more I looked the more fascinated I became" - Lewis

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