The school has chosen to use Empiribox as our main vehicle for delivering Science at Milton Court. The reason for this is a well-thought out and well executed practical primary science curriculum can bring a myriad of benefits to the table. Identified in “How practical work supports science” (From Getting practical: a framework for practical science in schools (SCORE, 2009a), the study broadly sees these benefits as:
1. Skills Development including the planning, observation, analysing and evaluating set within the context of knowledge units and topic
2. Experiential Learning including opportunities to test out own ideas and theories, develop problem solving approaches, encourages pupils to develop as self-learners as well as scaffolding team working for collaborative learning, all promoting engagement
3. Independent Learning empowering pupils to work at their own pace and level, whilst supporting differentiation by outcome task and questioning, building confidence and engagement
4. Learning in Different Ways and so facilitating working in teams, as individuals, observing using all senses rather than predominantly visual and thus providing a more comprehensive approach to learning styles
These benefits, whilst a consequence of experiencing true practical science in the classroom, can have much further reach than the confines of the subject of Science alone.
The majority of these acquired skills are transferrable not merely across all curriculum subjects but into the wider world, including the world of work. Our aim for this holistic approach to learning provide pupils with far greater opportunity to assimilate knowledge, develop a greater understanding of how to approach their own learning, how to assess, evaluate and evidence outcomes.
Through using Empiribox for delivering science, we can ensure the following barriers to a successful practical science curriculum are converted to our main strengths:
1. Subject specialism. Through termly CPD and support material online, the teaching staff are able to ascertain the right level of scientific knowledge and skill set to deliver high quality science lessons every week. This inevitably leads to a widespread increase of confidence in the teaching of science and children’s love of science.
2. Resources and facilities. Staff and children will have access to the most appropriate and capable resources available for each investigation and experiment they conduct. This allows for more hands-on scientific learning, increased level of engagement and thus improvements in attainment.
3. Time. Due to the increased CPD and thus subject knowledge the teachers possess and the ample stock of appropriate resources, including differentiated planning, the teachers are able to invest their time in understanding the lesson planning, progression of skills and knowledge for their pupils and tailor lessons to meet the needs and enjoyment of their class. In turn, more time can also be spent on appropriate formative and summative assessment and thus identify and plug gaps in children’s knowledge accordingly.
Empiribox provides formative and summative assessments according to each skills focus of Planning, Data and analysis and Evaluation. This facilitates accurate tracking of pupil attainment throughout each term, academic year and each key stage. To support this formal assessment, pupil trackers are used with each unit, helping teachers assess individual pupils as they progress throughout each unit.