Southborough Church of England Primary School

Southborough Church of England Primary School



Science is an exciting subject at Southborough, with lots of opportunities to apply scientific skills to practical, hands-on learning activities. Key knowledge is taught through experimentation and key questions, which form the foundation of our lessons. Every lesson starts with a key question, such as: 'How do animals keep their teeth healthy if they don't brush them?' (year 4) and 'If I move fast enough I can leave my shadow behind - what do you think?' (year 1). These questions allow all children to start thinking about the topic and start challenging themselves from the very start of the lesson.

Children also have the chance to engage with science at other schools, include a "CSI Forensic Science" day at The Skinners School, and awe inspiring science at a taster day at Saint Gregory's Catholic School.

Aims and Objectives

The word ‘science’, comes from the Ancient Greek for ‘knowledge’, which is a reflection of the huge breadth of the science curriculum and the importance science holds.  Science is an intellectual and practical discipline, made of a combination of knowledge and skills based learning.  It involves the study of the natural and physical world and enables us to make sense of all aspects of everyday life, and the phenomena around us, therefore a good science education provides a foundation for understanding the world and forms the basis of a lot of careers.


The National Curriculum for Science (2014) aims for pupils to:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics

  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them

  • be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science today and for the future


At Southborough, we’re a school which follows the Power of Reading programme, we use core texts to embed and support all science learning. Our science lessons are planned using the National Curriculum to go hand and hand with our Power of Reading texts, giving the children a greater level of understanding, and allowing them to apply their experiences in other lessons to their science learning. For example, while reading Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, where the protagonist journeys into space and orbits the moon, children will learn about space and the celestial bodies within our Solar System. We feel it is very important that children’s learning experiences are enhanced by as much practical experience as possible as learning is deeper when it comes through discovery rather than being presented with facts. Children are also given the chance to present their findings in a range of formats which support elements of the Maths and English curriculums.

Teaching and Learning

Each year group has topics which are aligned with The National Curriculum and their Power of Reading texts.  Some topics are repeated throughout the children’s life at Southborough Primary School and we ensure that children are given the opportunity to build on and deepen their knowledge.  These topics range from seasons, plants, rocks, space, sound and electricity.

Assessment and Recording

At present, Southborough does not formally assess science, though there is a teacher assessment at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2, and teachers continually make assessment judgements during their lessons.  Teachers use a range of strategies to make sure that children's learning is on target and to plan their next steps. Children may record their learning verbally, photographically, through graphs, tables or through explanation or report texts.  For higher attainers, all teachers include deepening challenges within their learning to extend their children’s knowledge and they also plan targeted questions for all children during learning activities so pupils develop their higher-order thinking skills. 

Differentiated Activities

All lessons are designed to be accessible for all pupils to enter while still containing challenging components. Teaching resources and practical experiences are used to scaffold and extend learning. Teachers use a range of strategies to ensure that all children are well planned for challenge to reach their next goal.

Problem Solving

It is an important part of the curriculum that children are able to think of and plan enquires to answer scientific questions and that they are able to think of questions of enquiry, based on scientific findings and observations. Lessons and activities are designed and taught using problem-solving approaches to encourage pupils’ higher-level thinking.


In-line with Southborough’s SEN Policy and ethos, science lessons and activities are designed and planned to include all children through a range of approaches: inclusive questioning, universal use of equipment and concrete objects, together with mixed-ability groupings to enable peer support is utilised alongside quality first teaching throughout the teaching and learning of science. Furthermore, lessons are planned to facilitate the identification of children at all attainment ranges within each class.  In order to include children who struggle to engage with science, Southborough links all science lessons to our Power of Reading core texts so children can apply their knowledge of their English texts to other aspects of their learning.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development, British and Christian Values

The learning climate and culture at Southborough offers a multitude of opportunities to cover and embrace British and Christian Values. All children should feel confidence to voice their views and opinions in their lessons, in line with the value of ‘Mutual Respect’.  Our atmosphere of learning through enquiry fostering an ethos of perseverance.

Some experiments to try at home


Rolling Cans

What you’ll need…

Some canned food, some of which with the labels removed. A surface that you can roll cans down.


What to do…

What’s inside the can will affect how far it will roll. Normally, the more solid the food, the further the can rolls.

Try shaking the cans to ‘listen’ to what’s inside. The ones that you can ‘hear’ tend not to roll as far as the ones you cannot hear.

Roll other labelled cans of food to see if they fit the pattern.

Talk about your ideas of how to figure out what is inside of the cans.

Discuss how you might make the cans roll. Can you make it a fair test, e.g. using the same slope or letting go of the cans rather than pushing them from the top?

Make a small slope.

Explore the unlabelled cans first. Then roll the labelled cans to make a comparison. From what you have seen, can you predict which of the cans contain the beans?

Talk about the distance each can rolled and what is inside it.

Try rolling other things to see if they fit the pattern.


Questions to ask…

What do you think is making the cans roll differently?

Can you see a pattern?

What about the mass of the cans?

What if I froze a can of soup – would it roll differently? Why?


What Materials?

What you’ll need…

Found objects (check they are clean and safe to use) a mixture of man-made and natural


What to do…

We’ve noticed that with so much plastic and other debris around, even the birds are starting to make their nests out of unusual things.  Challenge yourself to go outside and collect objects with which you could attempt to make bird’s nests (make sure you stay safe)

Attempt to build nests.


Questions to ask… 

What materials can you find to build your nest?

Do you need different materials inside and outside the nest?

How will you keep everything together?

What other ways can you think of to build a nest

What would happen to your nest on a windy day?

What would happen to your nest in rainy weather?

What worked well and what could have been improved?

How else could we test the suitability to next building materials based on what we’ve learned?

Which materials do you think work best and why?


Make a Splash

What you’ll need…

Tray to put water in

A variety of waterproof containers


Squeezy bottles


What to do…

Children look at and describe the water when it is undisturbed.  How can you change it just using your hands?  Through questioning, help the children realise that they are applying force - a push or a pull movement to make the water move.

Then encourage them to try squirting, blowing and pouring.  Does the size of the breath when you blow effect how the water moves? Challenge the children to hit a target with a jet of water from a squeezy bottle – what do they observe?


Questions to ask…

How can we describe the water when it is left alone?

What do you do with your hands to make the water change shape?

What happens when you blow hard or softly?

What happens when you change the height which you pour from?

What do you have to do with the squeezy bottles to make your aim more accurate?

Why do you think this is?


Which Hand?

What you’ll need…

1 minute sand timer (or anything that can time)


Unifix cubes or lego

Wooden building brick


What to do…

Practise picking up marbles, stacking the blocks and joining the Unifix cubes.  When they have had an experience of what they can do with each they are times for one minute for each of the 3 activities.  They are only allowed to use 1 hand to:

  • Pick up the marbles 1 by 1 and put them in a bowl
  • Stack bricks
  • Join Unifix cubes together.

Repeat with the other hand.


Questions to ask…

Which hand is best for you?

What was the difference?

What does this tell you?

Which is your preferred hand? Right or left handed?


Shadow Puppets

What you’ll need…

A sunny day or a room with a bright light source on one side.


What to do…

Children to spread out in groups or pairs. Find their shadow. Perform actions and observe how the shadow copies them. Try some activities in one place and others while moving around.

Try and jump on your own shadow. Try and jump on a friend’s shadow.


Questions to ask…

How do you know that is your shadow?

Does your shadow copy everything you do?

What do you think is causing the shadow?

Does your shadow always stay joined to you?

When else have you seen shadows?


Fill a Balloon

What you'll need...

​An old plastic bottle, a balloon, some vinegar (malt vinegar is fine) and some bicarbonate of soda.


​What to do...

​​Put some bicarbonate of soda in the bottle.  The more you use, the more dramatic the reaction.  Then add some vinegar.  Immediately put the balloon over the mouth of the bottle.

Watch as the balloon inflates!


​Questions to ask...

​What is in the balloon? (It is Carbon Dioxide gas - CO2 - it is an odourless, transparent gas which naturally occurs in the air.

How can we experiment with different amounts of bicarbonate of sode?

Would other liquids react in the same way?