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Eaton Primary School

Learning Together through Challenge

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The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers; they are the one who asks the right questions.’  
Claude Levi-Strauss


At Eaton, our science curriculum is ambitious which places knowledge, vocabulary, working and thinking scientifically at the heart of our principles, structure and practice.  In Science, an extensive and connected knowledge base is constructed so that pupils can use these foundations and integrate it with what they already know. Misconceptions are challenged carefully and in the context of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge.

Children learn about significant scientists and their contribution to the body of knowledge and understanding of the world we live in.

What Do We Teach

Our Science curriculum teaches both substantive knowledge (the subject knowledge and vocabulary for each topic) and disciplinary knowledge (the knowledge of how to work scientifically).


  • Communication & Language
    • Understand ‘why?’ questions
    • Articulate scientific ideas
    • Use talk to work out problems, organise ideas and explain
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
    • Healthy choices
    • Overall health and wellbeing:  toothbrushing; sleep; road safety; healthy eating
    • Manage own personal and hygiene needs
  • Understanding the World
    • Exploration of materials
    • Make sense of life story
    • Plant seeds and care for growing plants
    • Forces
    • Effect of changing seasons
    • Changing states of matter
    • Compare environments

Year 1:

  • Seasonal changes
  • Plants
  • Animals, including humans:  parts of the human body
  • Everyday materials

Year 2:

  • Living things and their habitats
  • Animals, including humans:  offspring that grow into adults
  • Use of everyday materials
  • Plants

Year 3:

  • Animals, including humans:  nurtrition; skeleton; muscles
  • Forces and magnets
  • Light     
  • Plants
  • Rocks

Year 4:

  • Living things and their habitats
  • Electricity
  • Animals including humans:  digestive system; teeth
  • Sound
  • States of matter

Year 5:

  • Properties and changes of materials
  • Aninmals including humans: changes through human development
  • Earth and space
  • Forces
  • Living things and their habitats

Year 6:

  • Living things and their habitats
  • Light
  • Animals, including humans: circulatory system
  • Animals, including humans: water transportation
  • Electricity
  • Evolution and inheritance

How Do Pupils Learn?

A guiding principle of our Science curriculum is that each study draws upon prior learning. For example, in the EYFS, pupils may learn about The Natural World through daily activities and exploring their locality and immediate environment. This is revisited and positioned so that new and potentially abstract content in Year 1, such as Animals, including humans, is related to what children already know. This makes it easier to cognitively process. This helps to accelerate new learning as children integrate prior understanding.

Working scientifically:  Pupils make more sense and deeper understanding of the substantive concepts and knowledge by using what they know through disciplinary knowledge tasks after they have been taught the content to create long-term memory:

I = Identifying and classifying

P = Pattern seeking

R = Research using secondary sources

O = Observing

F = Fair and comparative testing


Science is organised into three distinct subject domains: biology, physics and chemistry. Where inter-disciplinary concepts are encountered, such as the particle model, these are taught explicitly and connected across science domains.


The curriculum we use has sequenced the national curriculum into meaningful and connected ‘chunks’ of content to reduce the load on the working memory as well as creating coherent and strong long-term memories. The sequence of substantive and disciplinary knowledge enables pupils to become ‘more expert’ with each study and grow an ever broadening and coherent mental model of the subject. This guards against superficial, disconnected and fragmented scientific knowledge and weak disciplinary knowledge. High frequency, multiple meaning words (Tier 2) are taught explicitly and help make sense of subject specific words (Tier 3). Each learning module in CUSP Science has a vocabulary module with teacher guidance, tasks and resources to enhance and deepen understanding.


The Science curriculum is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’. The cumulative nature of the curriculum is made memorable by the implementation of Bjork’s desirable difficulties, including retrieval and spaced retrieval practice, word building and deliberate practice tasks. This powerful interrelationship between structure and research-led practice is designed to increase substantive knowledge and accelerate learning within and between study modules. That means the foundational knowledge of the curriculum is positioned to ease the load on the working memory: new content is connected to prior learning. The effect of this cumulative model supports opportunities for children to associate and connect significant scientific concepts, over time, and with increasing expertise and knowledge.


The Science curriculum deliberately pays attention and values the importance of subject content as well as the context it is taught in. Common scientific misconceptions are identified in all learning modules. These misconceptions are made explicit to pupils. Children draw upon substantive and disciplinary knowledge to reason and practise acquiring the conception, whilst repelling the misconceptions. Examples and non-examples are powerful ways of saying what something is and what something isn’t.


The Science curriculum values the study of scientists from the past as well as promoting diverse present-day role models in the field. These studies help us to learn how they used, at that time, their substantive and disciplinary knowledge to develop a conception. This illuminates how misconceptions can permeate substantive knowledge and appear to be a known truth.


Our science curriculum fulfils and goes well beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum as we believe there is no ceiling to what pupils can learn if the architecture and practice is founded in evidence-led principles.

How Do We know What Children Have Learned?

  • Questioning
  • Pupil Book Study
  • Talking to teachers
  • Low stakes “drop in” observations/learning walks
  • Quizzing and retrieval practices
  • Feedback and marking
  • Cumulative quizzing
  • Explanative assessment tasks
  • Structured assessment tasks
  • Progress in book matches the curriculum intent